Patented inventions must be different from existing knowledge or previous inventions, otherwise known as prior art. What is prior art?
Prior art is:
- anything in public use or sold in the United States for more than a year prior to the patent application’s filing date;
- anything publicly known or used by others in this country before the invention date;
- anything made or built in this country by another before the invention date;
- prior patents issued more than a year before the patent’s filing date or any time before the date of invention;
- prior publications dated more than a year before the patent’s filing date or any time before the date of invention; or
- U.S. patents with a filing date prior to the invention date. What are Invention date and One Year Rule?
There are three types of differences:
The new invention must have at least one piece of hardware that is physically different from prior art. This can be an addition or a subtraction of hardware. It may also be something less obvious than that. For example, a physical difference may be that the invention works in a different temperature range or a different mode than what was indicated by prior art. These will all satisfy the novelty criteria for patenting a new invention.
2. new combination
Novelty may include new combinations of prior art. In other words, two previously patented inventions are prior art. But if they are combined in such a way that is not already patented, then this new combination is considered novel.
3. new use
A patented invention’s use is described in the claims section of its patent application. If you think of a new use that isn’t discussed in the patent application, then that new use satisfies the novelty component. This new use of an already patented invention may be patentable.