Can Innovations Be Patented?

Can innovations be patented? The answer to this question depends on several factors, including industrial applicability, novelty, and non-obviousness. Here are three of the most common requirements for patentable inventions:


What are the requirements for patent eligibility? Inventions must be unique and not obvious to the public. Furthermore, they must be useful and describe the technology in sufficient detail that ordinary people can reproduce the technology. The process for patenting an idea or product is different for every country. To be eligible for a patent, an individual must meet the national criteria that govern intellectual property rights. In some countries, patent eligibility is much easier than in others.

There is no hard and fast proof that patents lead to more economic growth. During the socialist era in the Soviet Union, for instance, people did not produce a decent refrigerator. However, it is clear that a patent system stimulates more innovation and knowledge sharing. In fact, the patent system enables people to profit from their own inventions. And since knowledge is the basis for economic growth, innovation and creativity are closely linked.

It is a myth that an inventor is guaranteed to make money. The reality is that many inventors make a living part-time from their inventions and other jobs. But a good idea is worth pursuing. In fact, most inventors are smart children who scored in the 90th percentile in math and reading. However, they do not file patent applications right away. So, what should they do? Can innovations be patented?

One method for determining whether inventions should be patented is through scientific breakthroughs. During the nineteenth century, only 19 percent of US chemical innovations were patented. In the twentieth century, however, this percentage rose to forty-nine percent. In the same period, industrialists patented new manufacturing machinery. Some inventions became popular after these breakthroughs, while others were never patented. And despite all the debates, there are many successful examples of patented innovations.

Industrial applicability

A vital component of patenting an innovation is its industrial applicability. An innovation cannot be patented unless it has practical, profit-producing uses in the industry. While the term “clever” is sometimes used informally, it is usually a more formal concept. It is a relatively low hurdle to overcome. However, it can be used to exclude certain innovations from being patented. If it violates a law of physics, it will not be allowed.

Most studies on innovative development in Russia focus on strengthening the economy, but do not consider the industrial applicability of innovations. To understand this aspect of innovation development in the country, the author examines the current state of industrial capacity in the country and the level of industrial applicability. He concludes that there is an enormous need for significant investments to ensure the success of the modernization process. To this end, it is critical to understand the potential benefits of an innovative policy.


Patent law has two different standards. One test is called novelty, which requires the invention to be new. The other, utility, requires that the invention perform a certain function or accomplish a specific task. This standard can be more difficult to meet, because it is subjective. A utility patent is not valid for products that are similar to the product being patented. But it can be patented for products that are different from a similar one in some way.


The U.S. Supreme Court has provided two useful approaches to non-obviousness and innovation patentability. One of them, in KSR v. Teleflex (2006), provides guidelines for what constitutes “obvious” and what does not. The other is known as “relative obviousness.”

While patents grant a monopoly right to the inventor, they also interfere with economic optimization and market pricing. Only if the costs of monopoly outweigh the benefits of innovation can patents be justified. However, patents must be granted for non-obvious inventions. For this reason, they must be based on innovation rather than simple imitation. Besides, non-obviousness is the only way to prevent a copycat from stealing an inventor’s work.

The Supreme Court first applied the non-obviousness standard in the case of John Deere Co. v. Graham, 383 U.S. 1 (1966). The Court considered the scope of prior art, the differences between the claimed invention and the relevant art, and the level of skill of the practitioner of the relevant art. The test for patentability is not straightforward. Patents that are obvious must not be invalidated unless they are substantially more valuable than competing products.

If the patent claim fails on either count, the claim must be based on the concept that the invention is “useful, novel, and non-obvious.” These terms have specific legal meanings under federal law. Thus, technically non-obvious inventions may not satisfy the patentability criteria. However, intellectual property attorneys are trained to make minute distinctions between the two. Their clients include business organizations and inventors.

Net present value

Patents provide a valuable source of revenue, but they have a downside. When a patent term is indefinite, the development costs of idea A would far exceed the discounted stream of monopoly profits the inventor would receive. Similarly, when a patent term is five years, the net present value of innovations when patentable is reduced by a factor of twenty. However, there is a solution to this problem.

Using a conventional VBP approach, an innovator would expect to capture 50% of the total value of their innovation during the protection period of a patent. By using this approach, a manufacturer will guarantee 50% of the value of an innovation to itself. This would make the investment worthwhile for the NHS. As a result, the new antibiotic would be paid for from the first year. In contrast, when a manufacturer applies the net present value approach to a patent, they fail to capture the full value of the innovation.

While all ideas are valuable, some are better than others and should be developed. In order to maximize society’s welfare, it is important to develop all innovations, even those with low costs and low value. In other words, those innovations with high net present values should be developed. Ultimately, this is the goal of patents, as they decentralize the decision about whether or not to pursue an innovation. You can use the patent to develop your idea, enabling it to reach its full potential.

The longer a patent term, the greater the incentive for the inventor to create the patented idea. But by increasing the term of the patent, the DWL associated with an innovation increases. Thus, a ten-year term may be optimal for a company that wants to innovate and save costs. However, a patent term that is longer than 20 years is not optimal. The optimal patent term depends on the welfare gains and losses associated with a patented idea.