Requirements To Obtain A Patent

The question of whether a particular invention is “patentable” is a complex issue that has been the subject of thousands of legal decisions. For that reason, it is not possible to summarize all that is required for an invention to be “patentable.”

Generally, an invention must be “novel” and not “obvious.” The novelty test merely requires that there be some difference between the inventive product or process and other prior products or processes. The differences need not be major. In fact, the most valuable patented inventions are often small modifications or improvements over the prior products or processes. If any difference at all exists between the prior art and the new invention, then the new invention is “novel” as described inĀ article. For that reason, most inventions meet the test of novelty.

It is generally difficult for an inventor to make a determination of whether a particular invention would have been obvious. In fact, the patent law refers to improper holdings of obviousness as being based upon “hindsight.” That is, once you know what the invention is, it may appear obvious. Many good inventions seem obvious once you understand how they are constructed or operate. The legal question is, however, whether an invention would have been obvious before the invention was made.

For the above reasons, it is not typically advisable for an inventor who is not well versed in patent law to attempt to make a determination of whether a particular invention is “patentable.” Rather, the inventor should ask whether the invention provides benefits which were not available before the invention was made. If the invention does provide a benefit, then it is advisable to contact an experienced patent attorney or an patenting agency such as InventHelp.

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