I have created new mathematical theorem. I don't know of its advantage or application. I am confident that it will be advantageous in the future so due to that reason I have 3 questions:

  1. Is a theorem patentable?
  2. Is there an advantage to publish my theorem in a scholarly journal?
  3. What country should I patent my theorem in?
  • Suggest you find a specific application, then try to patent. If you are part of a university they will do the patent work if you convince them of the economic future of the "invention". – 3dalliance Dec 21 '16 at 18:57
  • Comment as this is outside US (Germany): PatG explicitly says no: §1 (3) "The following in particular shall not be regarded as inventions within the meaning of subsection (1): 1. discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;" – cbeleites unhappy with SX Dec 22 '16 at 18:19
  • Per 2. prior publication usually nullifies a patent application. The "invention" can't have been disclosed publicly, eg published in a journal, prior to the application having been made. Some countries do have grace periods though. – pbhj Jun 29 '17 at 1:02

Theorems are excluded from patentability.

35 U.S.C. 101 Inventions patentable.

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.

Emphasis added.

  • I don't disagree with your conclusion, but I don't think you've really given a complete reasoning. That is, isn't a mathematical theorem basically an algorithm, which is in turn basically a process? – Maca Dec 16 '16 at 12:02
  • I wasn't sure what the US equivalent to epc 52 (2) is, so I left that out. Difference between process and theorem is the physical application of the former. – DonQuiKong Dec 16 '16 at 13:11
  • I think the part you left out is probably the most important part of the answer. It's also the hardest part to answer, since there's no codified US equivalent to EPC 52(2), since the exclusions are largely judicially created. I suspect (though I'm not certain) that it would be based on the judicial development of patent eligibility, and particularly Alice-style abstractness. – Maca Dec 16 '16 at 13:54
  • Alice and following judgements could be relevant, but might be to much for this answer. – DonQuiKong Dec 16 '16 at 16:35

I'm not an expert in this nor a lawyer. My understanding is you can't patent an abstract mathematical algorithm in its own right. What you might be able to patent is the application of an algorithm to solving a specific problem. This is a bit of a moving target as there have been some recent legal decisions with regards to software patents.

With regards to whether you should pursue a patent, understand that getting a patent takes time and money. If you are in academia, it might be more useful to you personally to publish your algorithm. Also if you are associated with an university, the university may be able to provide guidance with respect to patenting and licensing.

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