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Novelty in patents: a European perspective

Published on January 31, 2019   43 min

Other Talks in the Category: Technology & Operations

Hello. My name is Dr. Jonathan Atkinson from HGF Limited in Leeds, and I am a European Patent Attorney specializing in the field of pharmaceuticals. I have a degree and a doctorate in chemistry from Oxford University, and my doctoral thesis is concerns the synthesis of chiral derivatives of morphine type alkaloids. In addition to being a UK and European Patent Attorney, I'm also a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Today, I am going to talk to you about the concept of novelty in the field of patents.
Before I delve into the concept of novelty, I'll provide a little introductory background regarding the nature of a patent itself. A patent is granted for a maximum of 20 years, apart from certain exceptions in the pharmaceutical industry when it can be a little longer. The patent needs to be renewed annually by paying renewal fees to the patent office. Patents are granted for novel and inventive, for example non-obvious inventions and are intended to protect a concept or idea. The patent only has effects in the country in which it was granted. The scope of protection afforded by a patent is defined in the language of the claims, which can be found at the end of the patent's specification.
We can now consider what makes an invention patentable. There are five fundamental criteria that must be met if a patent is to be granted. Firstly, the claimed invention must be novel. This is the topic that we're going to investigate in more detail today. Novelty means that the invention is not already in the public domain. The second criterion is that the claimed invention must be inventive meaning, it must not be obvious, taking into account what is known already. The third criterion is that the invention must be sufficient, meaning that the invention must be adequately described in the patent's specification, so that it can be reproduced. Fourthly, the invention must be capable of industrial application. This criterion is relatively easily met by most commercially important inventions. Finally, the fifth criterion is that the invention must not be one of a number of statutorily excluded categories, such as discoveries, mental acts, or computer programs, etc. Although, in passing, I should mention that there are certain exceptional cases where subject matter like computer programs and other excluded subject matter may be patented.

Novelty in patents: a European perspective

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