Understanding Innovation And Obviousness In Patent Law

The United States Patent and Trademark Office uses three primary criteria in evaluating patent applications. One of them is utility, or how useful an article or process is. The other two criteria — novelty and nonobviousness — are interrelated, and not always clear on the surface.

Dominic A. Frisina, the lead attorney for Frisina, LLC, has guided hundreds of inventors through the patent process over the past 13 years, in Ohio and elsewhere, and can examine your application to determine if your creation meets these two crucial tests of patentability.

Novelty: Inventing Something Truly New

Novelty is the aspect of your invention that makes it unique. One of the reasons it is vital to avoid public disclosure during the patent process is because if aspects of your invention are disclosed prior to application, they will be considered "prior art" and your application may be denied.

Nonobviousness: Going Beyond Common Sense

The requirement that a patented invention be "non-obvious" can be confusing, but it essentially requires an inventor to provide more than an incremental improvement on a process or product.

Here are several ways in which an invention could be found "obvious:"

  • The invention substitutes one known element in the design for another.
  • The invention uses a known technique that has been used to improve a similar device.
  • The invention employs a solution that is drawn from a limited number of identifiable or predictable options that have a reasonable chance of success.

Get A Frank Assessment Of Your Invention's Potential

Our firm, based in Cleveland and serving clients worldwide, can help you evaluate if your invention is patentable. Call our lawyer at 440-600-1992 or use our online intake form to set up a no-cost introductory appointment.