A patent for a claimed invention may not be obtained, notwithstanding that the claimed invention is not identically disclosed as set forth in section 102, if the differences between the claimed invention and the prior art are such that the claimed invention as a whole would have been obvious before the effective filing date of the claimed invention to a person having ordinary skill in the art to which the claimed invention pertains. Patentability shall not be negated by the manner in which the invention was made.
Cite as 35 U.S.C. § 103 Source: July 19, 1952, ch. 950, 66 Stat. 798; Pub. L. 98-622, title I, §103, Nov. 8, 1984, 98 Stat. 3384; Pub. L. , 104-41 § 1 , Nov. 1, , 109 Stat. 351; 1995 Pub. L. , 106-113 div. B, § 1000 (a)(9) [title IV, §4807(a)], Nov. 29, 1999, 113 Stat. 1536, 1501A-591; Pub. L. , 108-453 § 2 , Dec. 10, , 118 Stat. 3596; 2004 Pub. L. , 112-29 §§ 3 (c), Sept. 16, , 2011 20 , Sept. 16, , 125 Stat. 287, 335. 2011 current through 9/5/2017 HISTORICAL AND REVISION NOTES
There is no provision corresponding to the first sentence explicitly stated in the present statutes, but the refusal of patents by the Patent Office, and the holding of patents invalid by the courts, on the ground of lack of invention or lack of patentable novelty has been followed since at least as early as 1850. This paragraph is added with the view that an explicit statement in the statute may have some stabilizing effect, and also to serve as a basis for the addition at a later time of some criteria which may be worked out.
The second sentence states that patentability as to this requirement is not to be negatived by the manner in which the invention was made, that is, it is immaterial whether it resulted from long toil and experimentation or from a flash of genius.
AMENDMENTS 2011- Pub. L. , 112-29 § 3 (c), amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section consisted of subsecs. (a) to (c) and related to conditions for patentability; non-obvious subject matter.
Subsecs. (a), (c)(1).
Pub. L. , 112-29 § 20 (j), struck out "of this title" after "102". 2004-Subsec. (c). Pub. L. amended subsec. (c) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (c) read as follows: "Subject matter developed by another person, which qualifies as prior art only under one or more of subsections (e), (f), and (g) of section 108-453 of this title, shall not preclude patentability under this section where the subject matter and the claimed invention were, at the time the invention was made, owned by the same person or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person." 102