The patentability comprises the conditions that must be met for an invention to be granted a patent, and by extension it also refers to the substantive conditions that must be met for a patent to be held valid.

Patent laws usually provide that, in order for an invention to be patentable, it should

  • be of patentable subject-matter
  • be novel, see novelty (newness)
  • be non-obvious, see non-obviousness (in US patent law), or involve an inventive step (in European patent law);
  • be useful, see utility (in US patent law), or be susceptible of industrial application, see industrial applicability (in European patent law).

Usually the term patentability only refers to "substantive" conditions, and does not refer to formal conditions such as the "sufficiency of disclosure", the "unity of invention" or the "best mode requirement".

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