What Constitutes a Patentable Invention?

To be patentable, your invention must meet three essential criteria: novelty, utility, and nonobviousness. Novelty means that the invention is not known to others, while utility means that it is useful. Nonobviousness means that it would not be obvious to someone of ordinary skill in the art. Once you’ve met these three criteria, your invention is likely patentable. Fortunately, patents aren’t difficult to obtain, so you’ll soon be able to patent your new creation.


The non-obviousness of a patent-worthy invention has been a contentious topic since the first patent laws were enacted. While patent courts have largely agreed that the invention must be obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art, they have disagreed on the qualifications of that person. Experience and advanced academic degrees are not enough to determine if an invention is obvious.

In order to qualify for patent protection, an invention must be “non-obvious” to a person in the same field. In other words, the new invention can’t be anticipated by prior technology or previous published works. This means that the invention is not based on prior art. Prior art is anything that was previously known to someone in the United States before the applicant’s invention. Prior art can include prior patents or published publications.

The Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the “teaching, suggestion, motivation” test in KSR v. Teleflex, which had changed the standard of determining whether an invention was obvious. The court criticized the Federal Circuit for applying the TSM test in a rigid manner, which arguably required a more formalistic approach. The court also recognized that hindsight is useful in assessing whether an invention was obvious.


A utility patent is the most expensive type of patent to obtain. These patents can take up to five years to process, and they cost upwards of $10,000. For this reason, many inventors file for a provisional patent instead, which provides protection while the application is pending, an extension of time to develop the patent, and protection from theft or loss. This article focuses on the process and fees associated with obtaining a utility patent.

To obtain a utility patent, an inventor must demonstrate that his or her invention is useful and operable. There is also a strand of the patent law known as “beneficial use,” which has been around for years but hasn’t been applied widely. To qualify for a utility patent, an inventor must show how their invention works in the real world. A hypothetical machine or process, for instance, cannot be patentable.

The most common type of patent is a utility patent. This type of patent protects new and useful inventions. It also protects processes, machines, and compositions of matter. A “machine” is anything that can be considered a machine, while a “composition of matter” refers to a chemical composition. And a “process” refers to a method, technology, or any combination of ingredients that produces a useful product.


In order to qualify for a patent, your invention must be new and useful, as compared to prior art. New subject matter is a “sweet spot” for patentability in the United States. The invention must not have been published or disclosed in the public domain or become part of the “state of the art” (a practice known as imitation).

Prior art consists of similar, earlier inventions. In other words, prior art is any piece of work that is similar to your invention. If there are previous works that are similar to yours, then your invention is not new. Moreover, prior art works are often difficult to distinguish from the submitted invention. If this happens, the U.S. Patent Office may reject your patent application. But, it’s important to know that patent applications are difficult to get granted unless you have a great deal of prior knowledge.

While there are many exceptions to this rule, there are many ways to determine whether your invention is novel. For example, you may want to consider whether the invention was published in a foreign country six months before Joe’s invention was patented in the U.S. Then, you can determine whether it’s a truly new and useful improvement over the existing product. You might be surprised to learn that there are many paperclip patents issued for simple modifications to the design and strength of paperclips. It’s always good to study the patentable literature before submitting a patent application. A patent attorney has access to these publications.

Utility is the second condition on patentability

The Patent Act of 1952 established the requirement that an invention be useful. In other words, it must have some real, immediate moral utility. Utility statements can help you prove that your invention meets this requirement. It is not sufficient if you just state that your invention is useful; it also must be new and inventive. While patent examiners often disagree, they are required to look at prior art and published patent documents, as well as the same invention.

The USPTO requires that an invention meet utility by fulfilling 35 U.S.C. SS101. The utility requirement is fairly simple and is intended to promote useful arts. In general, the USPTO interprets this requirement broadly. Utility is defined as “the ability to accomplish a useful purpose,” although this definition may not be realized until years after an invention is patented. But not all inventions meet utility requirements.

If your invention works, you may have a utility patent. Utility patents are granted for improvements and new inventions that improve a known product. Once granted, your invention is protected against the use, sale, and duplication of that product. Obtaining and maintaining utility patents is a valuable asset, giving you exclusive commercial rights to the latest technology. However, utility patents can be complex and expensive.


Patent drawings, also known as schematics, are the most common forms of technical illustrations used in a patent application. They can also be used to support claims for software and business methods. According to the European Patent Office, good quality drawings are extremely important for patent applications. Here are the main requirements for patent drawings. These requirements vary from country to country. The purpose of patent drawings is to aid in understanding the invention. Drawings may not be as necessary in all cases, but in many cases, they are crucial.

A drawing includes any representation of the invention. It must be legible and contain the necessary details to illustrate its functional features. The drawings must also include the words that describe the invention and how it works. Some drawings may have mathematical formulas, but these must be separate figures labeled with brackets. The drawings should also be legible and durable. They must contain as many views as are needed to clearly demonstrate the invention. The views must be produced in the same direction.

The formal requirements for patent drawings are provided by Rule 11 PCT and Rule 46 EPC. Patent drawings must be presented in a way that allows direct reproduction, photo offset, microfilming, or other methods. The patent drawing must also comply with the formalities stipulated in the Patent Ordinance. If the invention includes drawings, the drawings should be accompanied by an abstract. The abstract should inform the public about the technical problem the invention solves. In addition, the abstract should be written in such a way that it is easily understandable by a third party.

Priority of invention

There are many aspects to consider when determining the priority of an invention when patenting it. The dates of conception and reduction to practice are important. The invention must have been made with reasonable diligence. An inventor must show that the invention was a result of reasonable effort before the other party made it known. This period is called the priority year. If A made the invention after the other party, then the later invention is considered priority, even if it was not reduced to practice before the first inventor.

Inventions with high business impact will need greater resources than low-priority inventions. For example, an air filter may be of low priority if the enterprise producing it does not make an air filter. On the other hand, a new design for a car seat may be of high priority but has low business impact. Priority rights are not available for these low-priority inventions. The invention must have a high level of novelty and business impact.

Another factor to consider is the priority of the invention. If the invention is high priority, it is best to apply for patent protection in the country where the invention was made. The claims in a high-priority patent application will be more expansive. If the invention is low-priority, the enterprise may route the application to a strategic partner for review and approval. If the invention is low-priority, the strategic partner may route it to another company.