When you want to file for a new patent, you have to show that your invention or idea is worthy of this kind of protection. That means that you’re going to have to show two things. Examiners are going to look for novelty and non-obviousness, and if you do not meet their standards you are unlikely to secure patent protection. An Orange County, California patent lawyer can help you learn more about this examination process and find ways to show that your idea is a novel one.

How Do Examiners Look For Novelty and Non-Obviousness?

Patents will only end up being issued for new and non-obvious inventions. Examiners will compare whatever you want to patent to what’s known as “prior art.” Now prior art can mean a product that already exists, but it can also mean a patent or a research paper.

If someone else has already thought of your invention or idea, then that can make it difficult to argue its novelty or non-obviousness. This is true even if the similar idea developed by someone else only exists as a patent and not as a product that is ready to go to the market.

How Is Novelty Defined?

Novelty essentially means that your exact invention does not exist. Similar things can exist, but your idea or invention is unique in such a way that it stands out. If any prior rt demonstrates all of the elements of your invention, you are not going to get a patent.

This is why it is also important to be aware of how disclosures work. If your idea has been disclosed before, you may not be able to file for a patent. A publication showcasing your idea could count as a disclosure as could an offer for sale. Appearing in a publication can also count. There is a one-year grace period after a disclosure where you can usually still apply for a patent, but you have to be careful.

How is Non-Obviousness Defined?

If someone with expertise in this field looked at all prior art, they would not have come up with your solution. This is what non-obviousness means. Your invention has to be something that is more than a logical incremental improvement to something that already exists.

How Can I Respond to Objection?

When an examiner issues an objection, you can respond. You have to have an argument for why your idea still deserves a patent. You can try to show that:

  • You did combine obvious elements, but the results were unpredictable
  • You recognized a problem that others did not, making your invention non-obvious
  • Your invention goes against an accepted understanding in this field, so it is novel and non-obvious

Talk to a Patent Lawyer

If you want to learn more about how you can secure patent protection for your idea or invention, contact Burns Patent Law. Schedule a consultation and talk to a patent lawyer who knows this process inside and out.