For an invention to be patentable, it must, in general, satisfy three key criteria:
- New – The invention should not be publicly known in any way, anywhere in the world. Owners of inventions should be careful to keep the invention secret until a patent application has been successfully made. If the idea has already been talked about, commercially exploited, advertised or demonstrated, then the novelty of the invention may be compromised.
- Inventive step – The invention must be an improvement over any existing product or process that is already available. The improvement must not be obvious to someone with technical skills or knowledge in the field of the invention.
- Industrial application – The invention must be useful and have some form of practical application. It should be capable of being made or used in some form of industry.
A method of treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy or diagnosis practised on the human or animal body is not patentable.
An invention that is generally expected to encourage offensive, immoral or anti-social behaviour will not be published or patentable.