A question of any inventors is: “Is my idea patentable?” In the eyes of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), there are two critical thresholds your idea must surpass: your invention must be both novel and it must be unobvious.
In terms of novelty, your invention must be totally unique. It can’t be the same as any other invention previously invented or described somewhere in print. If your invention has been disclosed somewhere (such as in a printed article) or if it has been made and sold to the public, you will not pass the novelty threshold of the patent office.
In terms of unobvious, this one is a little more difficult to describe – but let me try. Even if you create an invention that has never existed before (thus passing the novelty threshold as described above), the essence of your invention still has to be non-obvious to someone who is “skilled in the art”. In plain English, that means someone in the field of your invention wouldn’t think it’s obvious to make your invention by simply tweaking a characteristic of an existing invention as explained on https://azbigmedia.com/business/why-new-inventors-turn-to-inventhelp-for-support/.
For example, if you claim to invent a light bulb that is twice the size of an ordinary light bulb, it wouldn’t pass the “unobvious” threshold because someone in the field of lighting would see it as an obvious change to an existing product. In general, simply changing material composition, colors, dimensions, and other fundamental characteristics of existing products would be flagged as obvious by the U.S. patent office.
If you’d like to see how the U.S. patent office describes the above two characteristics of novelty and non-obviousness, you can check on the USPTO.gov Web site.
Bottom line: Your idea is only patentable if it is both novel and unobvious. If you believe your idea passes both thresholds – congratulations! That’s a huge milestone in the invention process. But don’t stop now. Keep the momentum going. There are patenting agencies like Invent Help that could help you out with each step.