I have an invention in mind, but there is a certain patent with claims that look nearly identical except for one minor part, where the existing patent differs. This minor part is in the very first claim itself. Yet, the existing patent and my invention differ wildly in outcome if this minor part is modified (there's nothing particularly advanced, technically speaking, about the modification), and a few additional non-novel features are added, as I do in my invention. At the end of these modifying steps, the end result is quite advanced.
So my question is: When evaluating for inventive step, novelty, non-obviousness and so on, does the examiner focus on the claims or the overall invention? When looking at the claims, it seems there's not much difference between the two, but when looking at the inventions, they are radically different.
Does this bode well for my potential USPTO patent?