This is nothing more than a slider that calculates unit price in between standard price breaks. How exactly is this ground-breaking?

In reference to the patent: US7979318


To be granted a patent has to be novel and non-obvious over the prior art at the time of filing. It does not have to be ground-breaking, ingenuous, the next world wonder or even commercially viable. That's simply no requierement for a patent.

In 1997 a mother of three filed a patent for online shopping carts which was auctioned of for 2.5 million pounds in London ~10 years afterwards. Retrospectively, that seems like a pretty obvious invention. Nevertheless, nobody had thought of it or if they did, nobody published it.

An invention does not have to be ground-breaking to become a strong patent.

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  • A good answer. Regardless, I would have considered the cited patent as obvious. It's pretty recent. – Eric S Jul 1 '17 at 13:28
  • @EricShain obvious concerning patents basically means "combining two or three prior art references produces the claimed invention". It's different than the "obvious" where we say "yes, obviously you can do that". – DonQuiKong Jul 1 '17 at 13:39
  • Obvious can also mean someone skilled in the field would find it an obvious thing to do. In this case, by 2000, having interactive controls on a web page was common practice. My guess is no one bothered to patent it and the examiner only looked at the patent art. – Eric S Jul 1 '17 at 13:44
  • @EricShain that's the literal definition, but for purposes of prosecution it means what I said above because the obviousness has to be proven using prior art references. And the person skilled in the art does not act even remotely inventive, so obvious boils down to combining known features. – DonQuiKong Jul 1 '17 at 13:51
  • (Which doesn't mean this patent was necessarily non-obvious, but many times the perceived obvious patents are perceived that way because obvious in patent prosecution doesn't mean what obvious means for most people. – DonQuiKong Jul 1 '17 at 13:54

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