I want to file a US patent for a new paradigm of search engines. But I don't know whether it is considered abstract and thus is it patentable or not? I explain it by an example.

Just as an example suppose faceted search (which is already known an used). The user enters a query and the system shows different possible meanings of that query. Then user selects the desired meaning and the system refines the results according to the selected meaning. For example, the user enters "JAVA" then the system shows a list of options including: Java Programming Language, Java Island, Java Coffee, Java Dance, etc. Then the user selects Java Island and the system refines the search results according to his selection and shows only the results related to the Java Island.

In this example, first different systems and implementations might identify different sets of candidates for possible meanings. Second, they might use different algorithms to refine the results based on the selected meaning. These are open research problems in this search paradigm and their solutions are not proposed by the patent. But the overall structure is described and the definition (input/output) of each component is known but specific implementations are not described.

If this system were not publicly known would it be possible to patent it?

As an example, in this patent I will invent a new destination (faceted search) and explain the steps for reaching it. I say that you will need a car, you will need gas, you will need road, etc. First, fill the car by the gas. Then, start you car. Then, .... But I don't tell what kind of car you must use, what kind of gas you must use, ... .

If not, if we just add some very very simple (not practically desirable) way of implementing to it, will it become patentable?


I have seen many different and opposite opinions on this, so I suggest my personal way to try to find out a logic:

  • if what makes your invention it's a new combination of known elements/methods/technologies then you shouldn't disclose the way of implementing those "blocks". Think about every computer related patent application: you use a machine comprising an hard disk but you don't explain the hard disk implementation. The risk is that the above combination is obvious and then non patentable;
  • if otherway what makes the invention is a new "block", then you claim generally the new function and provide at least an embodiment description disclosing the detailed implementation. The risk of not providing an enough detailed descritpion is to try to patent the "time machine": a machine comprising a way of selecting the date to which to transport the traveler and a mean to transport it to that date.
  • Good explanation and seems reasonable. But could you give me some sample (or anything related) to the first type? Moreover, could you tell me your opinion about the second question: If not, if we just add some very very simple (not practically desirable) way of implementing to it, will it become patentable?
    – Shayan
    Jul 29 '15 at 18:04
  • Good examples of the first kind of applications are those related to business methods.
    – user8305
    Jul 30 '15 at 9:19

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