Your Guide to Understanding Patent Novelty

One of the basic requirements for an invention to be considered patentable is that it must be novel, or new, according to the patent laws of the United States. What exactly determines patent novelty and how might it affect your ability to patent your invention?

What is Patent Novelty?

Novelty means that the invention in question is completely new. Simply put, it must be an “invention” in the strictest sense of the word. You must be the first one to have invented the product and the first one to file a patent application for the invention in order for it to qualify for a patent.

How Disclosure Affects Novelty

Disclosure can also affect patent novelty. According to patent law (35 U.S.C. §102), an invention cannot be patented if:

  • The invention was described in any kind of publication, or otherwise available to the public, more than one year before the actual filing date.

  • The invention was offered for sale to the public or used publicly more than one year before the actual filing date.

The term “available to the public” has a broad definition and can include a demonstration at a trade show, a lecture or speech, an oral presentation at a meeting, a YouTube video, statements made on a radio talk show, a website or other online material. Once the product has been publicly disclosed in any way, the inventor has only one year to file their patent application. If they wait longer, the product will no longer be considered novel and will not qualify to receive a patent.

Patent novelty requirements give inventors good reason to file for a patent as soon as possible, preferably before any kind of public disclosure of the invention has taken place. As a qualified patent attorney, I can help you to determine whether your invention is considered novel in accord with current patent law, and therefore patentable, or not. I can also help you to file your patent application quickly and efficiently if we determine that it is.

If you are considering filing for a patent for your invention, don’t hesitate to contact me. Remember, the sooner you file your patent application the sooner you can begin protecting the novelty of your invention.

Kelly G. Swartz is a patent attorney licensed to practice in front of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and in the state of Florida.  She limits her practice to intellectual property law including patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secrets.

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