I am currently working on getting my organization known, and came up with ideas for services that no one else offers right now (please don't ask for very specific details, I don't really want to give them away yet). I was wondering if there was a way to patent a service (since it is a process)?

The service I am focusing on is where you send in your device, we do things to it, and we send it back, but it's the things we do to it that we want to patent (and the things I'm not going to put here). Is this possible? And if so, is there anything special I must do to make it work and what would the cost estimate be?


  • Please consider that if the service is always to be done in-house and it isn't observable what you are doing, you could consider keeping it a trade secret. Trade secrets have legal standing. Try searching on Wikipedia to learn more.
    – Eric S
    Dec 13, 2016 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


Can we patent a process?


35 USC 101 provides (emphasis added):

Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.

Is the service you describe a patent eligible process?

Not every process can be patented however. In particular, it must not be "abstract". There is no hard rule for what is abstract. However, methods for financial trading (for example) are typically not allowed.

Because you can't share precisely what you're doing, it's impossible to give you a firm answer. However, since you seem to be doing something to a physical device, then your process is probably not abstract, and so would probably be fine.


It's impossible to give you an answer here, since it depends on the nature of your invention and who your attorney is. It wouldn't be less than about USD 5000 for the patent application preparation and prosecution though, I would think.

What should you do

Go talk to a patent attorney. You will be able to disclose all the details of your invention to them, and they can give you a more accurate opinion of its patentability, along with a cost estimate.

  • Wow! Thanks a lot! This is very helpful info to my organization (I'm a first time business owner, so I don't know a whole lot about everything yet). Dec 10, 2016 at 4:44

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