Following three conditions to be satisfied by an invention to be patentable –
Novelty – An invention will be considered novel if it does not form a part of the global state of the art. Information appearing in magazines, technical journals, books, newspapers etc. constitute the state of the art. Oral description of the invention in a seminar/conference can also spoil novelty. Novelty is assessed in a global context.
An invention will cease to be novel if it has been disclosed in the public through any type of publications anywhere in the world before filing a patent application in respect of the invention. Prior use of the invention in the country of interest before the filing date can also destroy the novelty. Novelty is determined through extensive literature and patent searches.
It should be realized that patent search is essential and critical for ascertaining novelty as most of the information reported in patent documents does not get published any where else.
Inventiveness (Non-obviousness) – A patent application involves an inventive step if the proposed invention is not obvious to a person skilled in the art i.e., skilled in the subject matter of the patent application.
The prior art should not point towards the invention implying that the practitioner of the subject matter could not have thought about the invention prior to filing of the patent application. Inventiveness cannot be decided on the material contained in unpublished patents. The complexity or the simplicity of an inventive step does not have any bearing on the grant of a patent.
In other words a very simple invention can qualify for a patent. If there is an inventive step between the proposed patent and the prior art at that point of time, then an invention has taken place. A mere ‘scintilla’ of invention is sufficient to found a valid patent.
Usefulness – An invention must possess utility for the grant of patent No valid patent can be granted for an invention devoid of