Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 9:24 AM

Point of novelty


In an invention, what is a point of novelty?  Claims for an invention, in a patent application, should capture one or more points of novelty that show the invention is not something previously known or an obvious variation of what is known.  The legal definitions and arguments about what is known, what is obvious, and what constitutes an invention span volumes of essays, articles, books and court cases.  Colloquially, a point of novelty is that which is different, that which sets apart the invention from other articles, devices, apparatuses, systems, methods, materials and so on.  A point of novelty is that which makes us react, upon seeing the invention, by saying, “Oh, that is clever!”  If we can capture the “that” in a claim, we have well represented the point of novelty, and the claim is ready for inclusion in a patent application.  There are other concerns, of course, such as representing the proper scope of the invention in the claims, and positioning the claims against known art.  But, if a claim does not capture one or more points of novelty, the claim is likely off the mark and should be reconsidered.

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