An educational process, defined as a structure of teaching which yields a particular educational outcome, can be patented if certain requirements are met.
Like all other patents, a patent for an educational process must satisfy three basic elements: the invention must be 1) useful, 2) non-obvious, and 3) novel (new). If these requirements are met, then an educational process is likely eligible for patent protection.
An inventor may seek to patent their educational process with a method patent, also known as a process patent. A method patent “is one of the four principal categories of things that may be patented through ‘utility patents’” (1). The scope of method patents is quite broad and covers inventions ranging from a process on how to make a shirt to certain types of software.
For an educational process, an inventor would be patenting the series of steps in the educational process which leads to a particular result. Like patenting business methods, obtaining a patent for an educational process is quite difficult because it can be hard to demonstrate that the educational process is unique and distinguishable from other existing educational methods.
In summary, although obtaining a method patent for an educational process may be more difficult than a standard utility patent, it can be patented if the requirements discussed above are satisfied.
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