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Statutory Subject Matter

Smith Hopen Intellectual Property Term Glossary Definition for Statutory Subject Matter
35 U.S.C. 101 recites the four primary statutory classes of subject matter as any new and useful 1) process; 2) machine; 3) manufacture; or 4) composition of matter. Also included is any new and useful improvement of such process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter. A process includes the steps of a method, without restriction to any particular structure, and pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 100, a process also includes a new use of a known process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter. A manufacture is an article of manufacture and includes any man-made object. A composition of matter refers to a chemical invention. Printed matter is not included in the recitation of patentable subject matter and is therefore not patentable. A pure business idea is not patentable, but a new, useful and nonobvious business method may be patentable. However, only about one-third of business method patent applications are approved by the PTO.


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