What are the requirements for a valid patent?

A patent must be

  • New
  • Inventive
  • Capable of industrial application
  • Not one of the excluded areas

An invention will be new if it has not been done before, anywhere in the world, prior to the date you apply. It is therefore important that before you apply for a patent, you take steps to ensure your inventions are only discussed under confidential conditions. It is also advisable that if you are thinking of patent protection, you consult a lawyer at an early stage. The last thing you want is for your patent to be invalid through your own actions.

For a patent to be inventive it must have what is known as an inventive step. The invention must not be obvious. The test is “the man skilled in the art” who is a hypothetical person (or persons), used by the Courts, and said to have common general knowledge of the sector of the invention concerned. They are also presumed to have no inventive capability. If the invention would be obvious to that person, then the patent will fail on this ground.

To be capable of industrial application, a patent must simply be capable of being used in any kind of industry. It does not actually have to have been applied industrially.

There are various exclusions from protection which include discoveries, scientific theories, schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, computer programmes and the presentation of information.

Last update on 28.09.11 by the ACID Team.

Go back

Please log-in to add a comment.