Shape Change Not Inventive

For a patent to be valid, it is not sufficient that it is simply something new. There has to be an inventive step over the 'prior art', so that the item or process for which the patent is sought is not an obvious development.

This test is at the heart of many successful challenges to the validity of patents. In a recent case involving decorative beads for children, a patent application based on a change of shape from round or tubular to polyhedral – so the beads would glitter in the light – was found by the court to lack an inventive step.

The patent was thus invalid.