Is My Invention Patentable?
In virtually all cases, there are three main requirements to determine whether an invention is patentable. The three requirements are:
- Utility – Utility means that the invention has usefulness. If the invention is not useful, it cannot be patented. Patent Attorney Matthew Sean Tucker has previously discussed in a blog post what it means for an invention to be useful. For example, an invention used only for illegal purposes lacks utility. Inventions are not useful for their intended purpose if their only purpose is illegal, immoral, inoperable, have only aesthetic purposes, thoeretical phenomena, invovle nuclear weapons, avoid paying taxes, or is a human organism.
- Novelty – Novelty takes a look at what existed prior to the invention and determines whether an identical invention existed. A slight variation or distinction, no matter how small, will satisfy the novelty requirement. Differences in structure, processes, and the like are looked at to determine novelty. New combinations also satisfy the novelty requirements, so long as it has never been combined in that way before. New uses is another way to satisfy the novelty requirement. Additionally, inventions lose their novelty in the U.S. after you have placed it into the stream of commerce, or even offered it for sale, within one year thereof.
- Nonobviousness – The nonbviousness looks at whether it would have been obvious to arrive at the present invention based on prior inventions to one of ordinary skill in the art. Registered Patent Attorney Matthew Sean Tucker has encountered instances where the invention would have been obvious in one field of art, but not in another. For example, what is obvious to a neurosurgeon may not be obvious to a school teacher, and vice-versa. Because obviousness is a legal term of art, the meaning is not simply the definition you may expect. Accordingly, it is always best to discuss your invention with a registered patent attorney to determine whether your invention is sufficiently nonobvious over the prior art. Obviousness may be overcome by arguing to the patent office by arguing secondary factors of nonobviousness.
Secondary Factors of Nonobviousness
In many cases, arguing secondary considerations will allow you to overcome rejections based on obviousness. Some of the secondary factors include:
- Commercial Success – Commercial success of the product can be used to argue that the inventive aspects of your product was not obvious, otherwise the industry would have implemented those features to capitalize on its success.
- Long Felt But Unsolved Need – Solving a long felt need to a problem typically will overcome a rejection of obviousness.
- Failure of Others – In instances where others have tried, but failed, to reach the invention, an argument can show that because others have failed, the invention is nonobvious.
- Solves Unrecognized Problem – If those of ordinary skill in the art would not have recognized the problem, then the prior art cannot be held to be an obvious variation of the described invention.
- Contrary to Prior Teachings – In many instances, an invention will specifically teach away from a specific solution. An invention that is contrary to the prior is likely to be overcome as prior art.
- Impossible to Combine – The patent office may combine multiple prior art to teach away your invention. If the combination of the two inventions would not operate for its intended purposes, then the inventions cannot be combined to render your invention obvious.
Contact a Tucker Law Patent Attorney
If you have any questions, contact a patent attorney with Tucker Law today. With an office conveniently located in Fort Lauderdale, Tucker Law services clients throughout South Florida, including West Palm Beach, Broward, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami-Dade. Call the Firm toll-free at 1-844-4-TUCKER or or send us an email through the Firm’s website. A firm attorney will contact you for a free consultation.