In the United States, you can get patent protection for a “new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” 35 U.S.C. 101.
This includes machines, things made by hand or by machine, and some chemical molecules, as well as methods of doing things, such as making products or chemicals.
In addition to being new, an invention has to be non-obvious. That means that if an invention would have been obvious to someone holding ordinary skill in the area of the invention, it is not patentable. An emerging area of patent law is that the invention cannot be abstract. This comes into effect most often when the invention is claiming software, or a process running on a computer.
If you have a question about whether your invention is patentable, please give us a call.