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What cannot be patented

What cannot be patented ?

Intellectual Property are of various types including but not limited to a patent that is described as a right granted by a government for an invention that includes a design or new processing.

Before working on a patent, you need to know if your invention can be patented or not because some inventions/ products can never be patented due to specific reasons. 

Here are some of the examples of what cannot be patented:


Discovery is an act of detecting something new in form of living and non-living creatures. The reason why a discovery can never be patented even if a new or useful scientific is made from it is that it is a thing that has not been created or invented. It already existed in the environment and someone else just recognized it late.

The same applies to the mathematical method. It can not be patented since it is considered as an act of mental skills that produce non-repeating patterns. However, usage of mathematical formula to invent new software, or any other invention is allowed to be patentable.


Traditional knowledge is known as a living body of knowledge that develops and passes from one generation to another within a community. A community can innovate a certain knowledge through innovation and they can choose to protect it through the Patent office, but traditional knowledge can not be patented because it is informal and oral and it also involves ancient roots. For example, usage of turmeric to treat skin ailments.


Opting for dramatic, music and artwork patent is not possible. Musicians should be able to know how Intellectual property works in terms of their career. Even though music is not patented, it has some legal procedures that musicians go through to protect their songs. Musicians are allowed to go for copyright to protect lyrics, music etc. They can also register the name of the band or the music’s group name as a Trademark to avoid competition in the music industry. 


Biotechnology is a wide area of biology, which involves the use of living systems and organisms to develop or make products. A variety of plants and animal breeds can not be patented if it’s based on mere discovery. Discovering living organisms like plants or animal breeds, does not provide the authority to get patent. Usage of living organisms along with other elements to create something unique and non-obvious may grant a patent right.


These are the types of machines that once set in motion state, will still be in motion forever. they do not have any additional energy to maintain it. Some of the examples can be capillary action and Villard’s wheel. These types of machines are not granted the right to patent because they produce more energy than it consumes and it is also not possible to give a proof that these type of machines can last till eternity.


Before opting for a Patent application, make sure your invention is unique and non-obvious. Patents shall not be patented on a new variety of plants, scientific theories, ideas concepts and discoveries.