Finding Recent Inventions is Easy?

With better understanding of intellectual property, finding recent inventions related to your subject matter of choice is much easier. This section will introduce you to several ways of protecting new inventions, including utility patents and design patents.

Usually when thinking about recent inventions, a person will imagine a new widget that works in a novel new way. However, inventors actually invent in many different ways, and their new inventions may be protected by a variety of different patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and other intellectual property laws.

Some inventors are individuals or product engineers that develop new products or devices for sale to consumers. Other inventors are scientists or researchers who develop complex biological, chemical, or medical inventions that provide breakthroughs in science and technology. Others are designers that provide for a novel and improved design for articles of manufacture in which the design of the product looks and works better than before.

New inventions come in different kinds of expression that can each be important, and each kind of invention should be understood to improve your ability to find relevant information and recent inventions that help to make decisions and expand knowledge of technology and commerce. These different types of recent inventions may be protected by a variety of different laws of intellectual property. Each core type of protection for inventions will be explained in order to help find and evaluate new inventions.

For example, the recent invention of a product of manufacture such as a golf club may be protected by a utility patent, a design patent or both. While another product of manufacture like a watch design may be protected by both a patents, copyright and trademarks. Sometimes a recent invention can be protected by many different types of intellectual property concurrently.

Example: Protecting a Recent Invention Multiple Ways

Expanding upon the fictional example of a watch, the novel invention of a hypothetical cartoon character based watch may theoretically be protected by several utility patents, a design patent, copyrights, trademarks, trade dress, and even a trade secret or two.

The following is a hypothetical example of patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade dress and trade secret that could protect a new invention make-believe cartoon character watch invention:

Utility Patent

A patent like US Patent No. 4,897,826 - Novelty wrist watch – may protect the utilitarian features like the watch’s band. U.S. Patent Office image

Design Patent

An ornamental design for a wrist watch as shown, but imagine with a Mickey Mouse®(1) character instead of the character shown.


Images of Mickey Mouse® are protected by copyright and trademark law. The writers on Wikipedia®(3) discuss this fact and provide examples of a Mickey Mouse® image that could be used in our watch example. See Mickey Mouse Wiki.


The words Mickey Mouse® are a registered trademark owned by Walt Disney Productions, LTD. The original word mark was registered in 1934, and is not a recent idea. However, Walt Disney has acquired additional federal and international registered trademarks through the years. Some of these trademarks are graphical and protect the images of Mickey Mouse®. For instance, the mouse shown here is a US federal trademark.

Mickey Mouse trademark example

Our hypothetical watch could easily be designed to incorporate this particular mouse figure into the ornamental design of the watch band.

Trade Dress

In the example of the Minnie Mouse®(2) design, the recent trademark mark registration includes colors and patterns that when applied to the watch are easily recognized by the public and may be considered to be inherently distinctive or to be distinctive through acquiring “secondary meaning” as an indication of the source of the goods and services to the consumer.

Trade Secret

A trade secret might include something like the recent discovery of a composition for manufacture of comfortable watch bands that has a secret formula or a in-house marketing strategy and customer list for sell of the watches that is only known to insiders within the company. Trade secrets like these can sometimes take many years to be reverse engineered or become public.

Are you ready to find recent patents like your invention?

Understanding these concepts of intellectual property helps the patent search expert to develop their keen sense for finding recent inventions and intellectual property relevant to their project. Use these tools and concepts to improve your focus and results in finding inventions with a patent search.

An invention is technically defined by U.S. patent law in 35 U.S.C. 101 as “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.”

These subject matter defined by patent law is certainly capable of being patented. However, other novel inventions based on ideas and concepts not defined by patent law may be discovered that are not patentable. These new ideas may still be protected many time by other forms of intellectual property.

By broad definition, an invention is any creation of something in the mind. Business success depends on using a variety of creations of the mind.

Do you need more information to help you find recent inventions?

(1) Mickey Mouse® is a registered trademark, no. 0315056 and others, of WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS, LTD. CORPORATION CALIFORNIA, registered July 17, 1934.

(2) Minnie Mouse® is a registered trademark, no. 3588872 and others, of Disney Enterprises, Inc. CORPORATION DELAWARE, registered March 10, 2009.

(3) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.