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Posted by R. Berg on March 03, 2003

In Reply to: Patent posted by English Learner on March 03, 2003

: Hello there,
: I browsed a website and ran into certain paragraph about patent. I don't quite understand its meaning. Could you please help me out? It is cited as following:

: Section 103. Conditions for patentability; non-obvious subject matter

: (a) A patent may not be obtained though the invention is not

: identically disclosed or described as set forth in section 102 of

: this title, if the differences between the subject matter sought to

: be patented and the prior art are such that the subject matter as a

: whole would have been obvious at the time the invention was made to

: a person having ordinary skill in the art to which said subject

: matter pertains. Patentability shall not be negatived by the

: manner in which the invention was made.

: 1. What is patentability? Any difference from patent?
: 2. What does this paragraph mean? Could you analyze the paragraph? It's way too long to be understood.
: 3. What does the last sentence mean? Does it mean the refuted present patent applicant can't deny the patentability of the prior art because of its close similarity? Namely, A is denied because A has similiarity with B, which has patent. A can't use this excuse of similarity against B claiming that B shouldn't get patent either. Am I right? I am pretty confused now. Thank you for your great help.
: English Learner

This is a difficult paragraph to understand. To be sure of what it means, you would have to have a patent attorney interpret it for you. Here is my understanding of it, but remember that I am not a lawyer.

1. Patentability means whether an invention CAN (legally) be patented or not--whether it qualifies as something that could have a patent. Some inventions are patentable but do not have actual patents.

2. I understand the paragraph to mean that an invention cannot be patented unless it is different enough from all previously patented inventions that a typical person familiar with the particular field would not have been able to invent the new thing, given the state of technology that existed at the time the new thing was invented.

3. The last sentence means something like "The way the invention was made cannot be a reason for denying a patent to its inventor," but I don't understand how that rule would be applied.