Process patents are an important class of patents, as many inventions are best-defined, or most clearly patentable, as processes. In many cases, a well-crafted process claim can keep the most threatening competitors at bay and be highly lucrative via licensing and generating royalty income.
A process is considered patentable if something new or changed in the process produces an unexpected (non-obvious) result, such as higher yield, improved product quality, lower operating costs, or longer equipment lifetime. For example, a patentable process could be a novel combination of existing process steps, a change in the order of steps, the addition of a step to an established step sequence, the elimination of a step previously thought necessary, or the use of a material or substance that is new to the process. Certain processes are not manufacturing processes at all, but instead services that do not directly produce a tangible product...
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