Kindly could you please help me clarify my doubts on patents?

  1. If an invention has novelty and industrial application but not quite non-obvious, how can such inventions be protected?

  2. If an invention has novelty and industrial application but is not considered to have an inventive step (not an improvement to existing art).

  3. Are "Utility patents" inventions that satisfy the 3 criteria of novelty, non-obviousness, and industrial application? If not,is an Utility patent a patent for inventions that only satisfy 2 of the criteria?

  • The terms used in the question "inventive step" and "industrial application" are not part of US patent law. If you are asking about European patent laws, particularly German, the answer is different than for the US.
    – George White
    Sep 10, 2013 at 16:47
  • Also the style on this and all stack exchange sites is to not use signatures or any other polite phrases at the end of posts. You could put that type of information in your username or profile.
    – George White
    Sep 10, 2013 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


In the US and many other locations the only type of protection for the way something works is an "invention" patent, called a utility patent. In Germany, China, Australia, Brazil and others there are "real" invention patents and also "petty patents". In some places these are called a "utility model" vs "invention patent", generating some confusion.

These rights are generally easier and quicker to get but offer narrower protection. Both the time length of protection and the extent of protection are less than for full "invention" patents.

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