Can you patent simple things that exist in the world naturally? By simple things I mean like a neem stick toothbrush or Turmeric power?

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    Is there a reason you thought this might be possible?
    – user40839
    Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 22:22
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    @ComicSansSeraphim Yes because some patented a teabag with turmeric in it patents.google.com/patent/KR200431008Y1/… I wanted to know if it is the teabag design the patented or the turmeric in the tea bag
    – user43628
    Commented Jan 23, 2022 at 1:00
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    @user43628: That document doesn't patent turmeric. It patents a process for preparing turmeric (including a teabag packaging) for drinking as tea. Commented Jan 23, 2022 at 5:07
  • @comicsansaraphim it was possible for decades to patent isolated purified versions of natural substances with useful properties not present in the naturally occurring substance. Commented Jan 23, 2022 at 18:10

1 Answer 1


No - unless there is some modification. Until a recent SCOTUS case (Myriad) involving DNA you could patent a purified and isolated version of a natural substance.

A process to purify a natural substance would be patent eligible as would a method of use of a natural substance to accomplish something.

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    Do you mean patent a purified substance itself, or the process to purify the substance? (Or a process that used the purified substance?) Commented Jan 23, 2022 at 5:03
  • @Oddthinking: At a certain point, that distinction becomes difficult to define. Any patented product is made out of non-patented atoms, it's the arrangement that makes it special. Extracting DNA may give it properties that it did not have before, e.g. because before extraction is existed in a watery environment. I suppose I could patent a fertilizer made out of DNA, if that was useful.
    – MSalters
    Commented Jan 24, 2022 at 16:48
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    @MSalters - there is a clear distinction between a claim for a substance and a method claim involving a substance. As mentioned I my answer it was clear patent law that a natural substance isolated from its natural state that had useful properties could be patented. That was changed by the Myriad ruling. That ruling did not prevent something that was not found in nature from being patented even it had similarly to something found in nature. Commented Jan 24, 2022 at 19:17
  • Using the fertilizer hypothetical, if it was just DNA that existed in nature it could be a patented substance in the past but no longer. If it is synthesized DNA that does not naturally occur then fine also fine if it is combined with something else. And maybe a method claim would fly where a substance claim might not. Commented Jan 24, 2022 at 19:22

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