Fact Sheet: What is patentability?

Whenever businesses want to patent an idea or a product the whole process has to meet the patentability criteria. Because any invention has to fulfill a certain standard that consists of 3 certain criteria. You might have also heard of the fact that some products are patent eligible. The proper meaning of both terms will be explained in the following lines….

The core of patentability consists of three parts. They will be described in the next chapter. They are basically novelty, obviousness and usefulness. They have to be fulfilled somehow.

  • Novel
  • Non-obvious
  • Useful

Every invention must be novel, non obvious and useful. In any other cases the product will not get the patent honor. This is the classic routine of the US patent law. So let us look at the criteria in detail. They will display in an easy way, what patentability is.

1. Novel

This means the invention must be new, but it is often not as easy than that. No other patent issued in the world can have previously described it. Also, no kind of any printed publication can have described it. If the invention is known in the U.S., even without a patent or in a published document that describes it, patentability is not there. Patent laws really go into detail. So you will only get a patent if your idea or product is really new. This criteria might be the most important because it makes sure that patents are somehow unique. Otherwise a lot of duplicate patents could easily emerge and lots of quarrels around the same idea would appear. This patentability criteria is also the hardest part. Proving that an invention is novel is mostly done by applying for a patent in one document. Especially in Europe you have to describe each inventive step, that leads to solution of a technical problem.

2. Non-obvious

The non-obvious term requires that the invention should not be obvious to an ordinary person. This person would have a standard set of skills in the industry or field relating to the invention. It’s hard to classify exactly what makes someone ordinary or what forms a standard skill set. When you’re making your case for why your invention is patentable, this is typically the hardest criterion to meet.The useful requirement means that the invention must have a purpose that is useful or solves a problem. It’s easier to meet this criteria in technology and electronic patents. But it tends to become more complex in pharmaceuticals, chemical compounds and in certain other areas as well. You may also hear a reference to something being patent eligible, which is different from being patentable. If the invention is patent eligible, that usually means it falls within the U.S. patent law categories, so you can consider obtaining a patent.

Patentability goes deeper into the laws and individual requirements. It ensures the invention meets each of these and is truly eligible for patent protection.

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Patents have to go through a process that will proof that the patent is new, solves a problem somehow and was not patented before. The so called patentability has to be proven before every patent filing.. Finally the patent owner will receive a patent. Patentability stand above eligibility and goes more into patent law details.

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