You are currently viewing Novelty in Patent Law

Novelty in Patent Law


Last Updated on May 31, 2024 by Kanakkupillai

In the realm of patent law, the concept of novelty holds paramount importance. It revolves around the fundamental principle that for an idea to be granted a patent, it must be genuinely novel. This means it should significantly differ from previously published works, known techniques, and marketable commodities. The essence of novelty lies in being “new when compared to prior art.” The Patent Act of 1970 governs patent issuing and defence in India, emphasizing the critical role of novelty in the patent acquisition process.

Achieving a patent involves demonstrating that an invention is original, valuable, and non-obvious. The innovation must not constitute previous art, encompassing everything found in printed media or mentioned in a patent application. Keeping the idea confidential is crucial, especially when considering filing in other nations. In certain European and Asian countries (“absolute novelty” countries), there is no grace period, making it imperative to maintain absolute secrecy. However, European countries have an exception that allows a six-month grace period for filing if public disclosure was made without the inventor’s consent.

Importance of Novelty in Patent

A patent protects an innovation, preventing competitors from appropriating the idea. Without patent protection, an innovator has no legal recourse if their idea is taken. To preserve originality and avoid prior art challenges, it’s essential to keep the concept confidential, refrain from using media that could disclose it, and ensure it’s not for sale before the patent application.

1. Obviousness in Deciding Novelty

Determining obviousness can be challenging, and creators may unintentionally undermine their case. Incorporating concepts from multiple publications can strengthen a patent application, but it may still be rejected if the sources are related or mention each other. Avoiding printed cues and suggestions that make the invention evident is crucial.

2. Usefulness

Usefulness is another critical factor in achieving patent novelty. Distinguishing practical applications from abstract or artistic concepts is essential. Even in fields like farming, an idea with practical applications qualifies as a novel idea and may be patented. Utility, often called “industrial application” in other nations, is a key aspect of patent eligibility.

3. Anticipation and Novelty

Anticipation, taking an idea beyond the obvious, poses another challenge for potential patents. If a previous creation is a forerunner to a newer idea, it may not be considered novel. However, combining unrelated concepts to create a new product can qualify as a fresh idea, making the invention patentable.

4. Common Mistake

Innovators often make mistakes that render their innovations unpatentable. To avoid pitfalls, innovators should avoid publicizing, discussing, or exhibiting their concepts without obtaining a patent. A thorough investigation of the prior art and not discarding an idea solely based on existing art are crucial steps to preserve an invention’s patentability.

5. Procedure to File

The process of filing a patent begins with determining the type of patent that suits the invention—whether it’s a utility, design, software, or plant patent. The next step involves choosing the correct type of patent application, be it provisional, non-provisional, or international.


In conclusion, when evaluating the patentability of an invention, novelty stands out as a key factor. A close examination reveals both parallels and differences in patent laws practised in India, the United States, and the United Kingdom. In India, the emphasis is on more than just a new shape or a previously unknown use; it must pass the three patentability requirements of novelty, industrial applicability, and inventive step. Comprehending and rigorously evaluating the novelty concept are crucial steps in the patent application procedure for success.

Related Services

G.Durghasree B.A.B.L (Hons)

G Durghasree B.A.B.L (Hons) is a registered trademark attorney with extensive experience as an Advocate for a period of 8 years. She possesses expertise in trademark law, including trademark filing and trademark hearings. Additionally, she is skilled in contract drafting and reviewing, providing legal advice and opinions, particularly in the areas of Company Law, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), and Goods and Service Tax Law (GST). Her experience encompasses both litigation and non-litigation aspects of these laws.