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Let's suppose that someone has discovered that wood from a specific tree, hitherto unused in making chairs, provides profound health benefits when sat on.

Can they claim the patent of "chairs made from wood of this specific tree"?

Mechanically, the chairs are no different from other chairs, except that the material used is wood from this specific tree.

Is it novel? Is it useful? Is it non-obvious?

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  • Patenting a natural phenomena can be fraught. If the medical benefit can be questioned , and there is a flaw in the initial analysis but later analysis shows that benefit to not be valid, then the patent would be not valid. Jun 8, 2023 at 17:53

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I am not a lawyer so I can't cite any legal precedent. In my opinion, the chair made with the wood of a new tree would not be patentable. Wooden chairs have existed for centuries if not longer. Chairs have been made from the wood of many tree species. So far as you've described there is nothing novel about the design of a chair from this new wood. I'm not sure what the "profound health benefit" is, but I'm assuming it isn't coming from the design of the chair. If the wood itself has some innate new property than perhaps claiming that might merit a patent. If it had such a property it would be silly to limit the claims to chairs only.

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  • What do you think to patent a method? If he/she discovered that that particular wood can give any clear health benefit if sitting on it, I think it is patentable. So, the chair is patented in the category of health tool/healing method, not the chair itself. It will be like, say imaginatively, if we inhale air specific rate, speed, or amount, it will give a health benefit, say such as healing nerve, etc. Apr 7, 2023 at 19:10
  • @AirCraftLover My point is that if there is a health benefit there must be some sort of mechanism which accounts for the benefit. You may be able to patent that mechanism if it is novel. The way the questioner describes the chair, the mechanism is not based on the physical design so must be related to the properties of the material. If such unique properties exist, you may get a patent on their use. This is much broader than patenting just the chair.
    – Eric S
    Apr 8, 2023 at 0:01
  • I understand that there is still unclear here, but as business method is patentable, so, I believe, this healing method is patentable too. As the he/she clearly stated "chairs made from wood of this specific tree," know that that specific tree can heal is an invention. It is the method to be patented, not the chair, moreover the three. He/she knew it because he/she have observed, and that observation result is patentable invention. Apr 8, 2023 at 5:17
  • @AirCraftLover I am not a lawyer, just someone who is listed as an inventor on 99 patents. I believe my opinion is sound, but I respect you think differently.
    – Eric S
    Apr 8, 2023 at 15:34
  • Maybe I am wrong. Actually, even the invention is patentable, the Inventor actually have problem to charge royalty from anyone use it, unless the inventor make his/her own chair and sell. So, it is almost certain that it will not benefit the inventor. Apr 8, 2023 at 17:22
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Patent is a form of intellectual Property that is granted by the national patent office across the jurisdiction. Every National patent office has their own law related to granting the patent for a product or process which solved a existing problem/ encounter by the humankind, which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

As per the INDIAN PATENT ACT 1970, SECTION 3; describes what are not inventions. I wanted to bring your kind attention towards Section 3 (c) & Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act, 1970. Section 3(c): the mere discovery of a scientific principle or the formulation of an abstract theory or discovery of any living thing or non-living substance occurring in nature;

Section 3(d): the mere discovery of a new form of a known substance which does not result in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that substance or the mere discovery of any new property or new use for a known substance or of the mere use of a known process, machine or apparatus unless such known process results in a new product or employs at least one new reactant.

So the mere discovery of new Substances which are already existing in nature are not patentable. The specific kind of wood discovered are already present in the nature and it does not involved any human kind intervention in term of technology. but the design of chair made from that wood qualified for the protection under IP for its ornamental design hence protected under Industrial design.

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