Innovative Patent & Intellectual Property Attorneys

Is my idea novel and non-obvious enough for a patent?

| May 17, 2021 | Patents

In Minnesota, when a person or company formulates an idea they believe is unique and might qualify for a patent, they will frequently think positively about the future and how it will be received by the public. Getting a patent is not as easy as it sounds and there is a significant number of underlying factors that must be considered. It is beneficial to start from the bottom and understand the basics. With a patent, that includes the relatively simplistic terms as to whether it is novel and non-obvious. These might sound clear, but there is major nuance in the context of patents.

Novel and non-obvious: What does it mean?

These terms might seem confusing, but when assessing them based on the law, they are relatively easy to understand. The synonyms for “novel” are “original,” “new” and “fresh” among other words. This clarifies what the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office looks for. A product that was not in existence before will be considered novel. Still, there are relatively high thresholds for patents. If the invention had been patented before, was described in printed material, is used by the public, is for sale or can be acquired by the public prior a patent being sought, then it is not new and cannot be patented. If another individual sought a patent under the same description first, then the latter attempt will not yield a patent.

“Non-obvious” is also relatively self-explanatory, but might also lack clarity as to whether the patent can be granted. If a person formulated an idea that requires little-to-no innovation and is something that can be done relatively easily without much planning or forethought, then it is likely to be considered obvious and will not be patented. This is also true for the replacement of one item for another if it can be used without noticing any difference.

For the intricacies of patents, experienced help can be imperative

Patents can be lucrative and help a person or a business reach higher levels. Even with that, the simple desire to create a new and innovative item does not necessarily mean it meets the threshold for patents. To be protected and know if a patent can be received, how to go about it and what certain terms mean, it is beneficial to have experienced legal guidance. Consulting with those who are aware of the complexities of patent law and know the work that goes into creating new products can be helpful with achieving the goal of getting a patent.


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