Colorado Patent Attorney Q & A Radio Interview: Part 4

Okay, what’s first?

The US Patent Laws requires that your invention be unique or “novel”. If you haven’t figured it out already, you can’t patent someone else’s idea or an idea that is already on the market – it isn’t any invention.


And Second?


The US Patent Laws also requires that your invention not be obvious (or that your invention is non-obvious).


What does non-obvious mean?


Your invention might be obvious if someone having ordinary skill in the relevant art would think of your idea when considering the state of the art as a whole.

In other words, if your invention is to make a software application (that is already available for desktop computers) available on a mobile phone, it is likely that your idea is going to be considered obvious. All you’re contributing to the so-called “invention” is rewriting an existing computer process for a mobile phone platform.


But if my idea is obvious, then why haven’t I seen it in the marketplace already?


Your invention may be novel (nobody else has it), but might still be obvious. The Examiners at the US Patent Office are allowed to cite multiple references (sometimes they cite to 3 or 4 or even more) and say that the combination teaches every aspect of your invention.


How can I tell if my invention is obvious?


It is often difficult to determine if your invention is obvious. What one person might consider obvious, another person might consider to be non-obvious. A lot of time and money can be spent arguing with the Patent Examiners whether an invention is obvious or not. A patent attorney can talk to you about the merits of your invention.

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