THE NON-OBVIOUSNESS REQUIREMENT IN THE CHILEAN PATENT LAW: A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT
The conventional rationale for granting patent protection is based upon the belief that patents are an important element in order to incentivize technological and productive innovation. The patent system sets out a series of requirements that inventions must meet. These conditions on patentability purport to ensure that patents serve as a real incentive -and not an obstacle- for innovation. The patent regime thus protects inventions that, in general, are useful, new, and non-obvious in light of the prior art. Improper application of these requirements, however, has created a dilemma for patent law. In particular, the PTO has issued myriad IP rights of dubious validity. This problem seems to be particularly acute in the case of the nonobviousness condition. Indeed, both academics and judges have struggled to identify a principled method for assessing whether claimed inventions meet this requirement. This paper seeks to critically analyze the criteria set out by the Chilean Patent Office in order to estimate whether a certain invention is indeed nonobvious.