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Is My Invention Novel?

We continue from our last post to elaborate more on what is novelty, inventive step and which ideas might be protected with patents and referred to as inventions.

The World is small for inventors

Novelty and inventive stepIt happens quite often, that inventors come to us and are pretty much confident, that ideas in their heads are novel and no-one in the world has thought about such useful thing. In addition to that those inventors have no doubts that their idea will sky-rocket in terms of turnover whenever the product will become available to the market and therefore are  very suspicious in telling the idea, even to the patent professional. Sometimes those ideas are really amazing: novel and successful. Unfortunately quite often we are forced to prove that it is not new and already described in other patents.

In Lithuania alone I have met 2 inventors having an idea to integrate power adapter into cellphones. I also did not knew about such solution before, but when I started the first patent search on this topic, after approximately 30 minutes it became clear, that at least 3 different implementations were already patented several years ago. For the second inventor - it was a real shock for him when I told him 'it is not new' immediately after he explained me his idea.

Some similar situation was with several other inventors - one guy came up with an idea of creating fume filters, which are attachable to the nose in the dentist's office or other bad smelling places; another guy invented a pocket box for medicine - with separate chambers for each day of a week - so that the patient could always remember if he already took medicine today. However the idea was not new and described in dozen of different patents with many kinds of improvements.

I'm not saying it was clear in advance that novelty of those ideas will be denied. I just want to emphasize, that patent search is a must before any trial of idea protection. And that the world is bigger than we think, whereas many great patented ideas are not on the market, therefore seem novel for us.

Then what characteristics of an idea shall give us hope for worldwide novelty?  

In our experience we see that there is higher chance of novelty for inventions created by people working in some exact field for several years. For example, I have seen very successful and novel ideas of candle manufacturers and talking to them one might at once feel that those specialists know the market and its trends very well. So their invention patent and design registrations were highly supported by the experts in the patent offices.

Also very often it reveals that ideas and technical solutions of scientists are quite successful. Few reasons, why those ideas are often novel include:

Laser Scientists1. Scientists always track new science publications from their field;

2. Real life applications of the scientific effort often come after a fundamental discovery, i.e. first a law of physics or whatsoever is discovered, only then companies and scientists-entrepreneurs try to create products, materials and methods based on those laws;

3. Scientists are creative. Their job is trying to do something, that has never been done before.

Nevertheless scientist are quite successful in creating novel ideas and protecting them, they track scientific publications and very often they are not aware about state-of-art  patents. That sometimes is an issue for their idea protection. Bigger universities have their own patent lawyers and technology transfer specialists, who are performing many patent searches, but scientists from smaller institutes or laboratories experience something unexpected when they go to patent consultants for a patent search.

Conclusion

The more involved an inventor is in a certain narrow technical field, the higher are the chances of having novelty with the invention ideas. Continuous and systematic review of latest scientific publications and patents helps concentrating inventive efforts more precisely to discover and protect newest trends and ideas and experience great commercial success later.