Patent Nonobviousness

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How Do I Know if My Invention is Obvious or Not?

If a person of ordinary skill in the field of your invention would not have been able to think of or make the invention by looking at the available public information, your invention will probably be considered to be nonobvious.

What Sorts of Public Information Will the USPTO Look at to See if My Invention is Obvious?

The USPTO considers all relevant public information that was available before your invention was made. The relevance of the information does not have to be directly related to the industry of your invention. For example, if you invented a type of briefcase, you would not only look at information and knowledge of briefcases, but also clasps, hinges, and other things that have similar qualities and problems as the briefcase.

What Does it Mean to Have Ordinary Skill?

A person having ordinary skill in the art of the invention is someone who deals frequently with the issues the invention tries to solve. The inventor¿s skill is not relevant to what the ordinary skill is. For example, if an inventor is new to the field or not familiar with its issues, it might take tremendous insight for him to create an invention that was obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art. Several factors are used to determine the ordinary level of skill in the field, including:

What Other Factors Can Prove My Invention was Nonobvious?

Courts have considered several other factors when deciding whether or not an invention was obvious.

Do I Need a Patent Attorney?

If you are considering filing for a patent on your invention and are concerned about the requirement of nonobviousness, you may want to contact a patent attorney to clarify some of the complex issues related to the patent process.

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Last Modified: 01-04-2012 04:33 PM PST

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