What is novelty?

Glenn W. Peterson

It goes without saying that the process of applying for a patent in Sacramento can be incredibly complex. Yet of all the different elements that go into patenting your invention, the one that you likely think that you fully understand is that in order to be patented, your creation must be completely new. Even this requirement, however, has its subtle nuances. What may seem new to you may not necessarily match the definitions established by patent law. Thus, it is important that prior to applying for your patent, you must understand the idea of novelty.

What is novelty? It is the idea that your invention is something completely new, and has not yet previously been described, mentioned or detailed in any of the following areas:

The public domain
Previously filed patents
Published applications
The moment that the ideas or concepts are made available, they may cease to become your own. For example, if you create your invention with the help of a co-inventor, and then they file for a patent individually, your invention is no longer considered novel and therefore cannot be patented by you.

Technically, the moment your invention becomes available for public consumption it no longer is novel. This is true even if you are the one to makes its details public. There is, however, an exception to this rule. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, if you, a co-inventor or another party to whom you provided subject on the details of your invention are the ones to disclose its details to the general public, its concept remains novel for up to one year from the date of that disclosure. You have that time to file for a patent and protect your invention as your own.