What can be patented?

Any useful technical development potentially can be patented if it meets the other requirements of being sufficiently different from prior technology and a sufficient disclosure of information is provided. Patents can protect processes, machines, articles of manufacture, such as hand tools or immobile furniture items, or compositions of matter, such as new chemical formulations. Patents are granted for high technology developments as well as relatively mundane household items. In some situations, business methods and computer software can also be patented in the United States with useful, concrete, and tangible descriptions. However, the subject matter requirements for patents varies in different countries.