About the Inventioneers Patent Scholarship

For those of you new to our program, we are the Inventioneers, a non-profit public charity. We began as a FIRST® LEGO® League
(FLL®) team back in 2004 and had amazing success in that program (we still need to pinch ourselves every once in a while).
We were the four time NH State FLL® Champions and in April of 2010, we earned the Champions Award at the FLL® World Festival
in Atlanta, GA.

We have a utility patent pending at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Important Announcement:

Program Re-Launch Coming Fall 2016!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Inventioneers Expand "Obviousness" Tip

Who decides what ideas are "obvious"?  Well, it could be the USPTO and/or the courts.  This is an interesting sticking point.  One problem is what's called a "hindsight bias".  Wow, that sounds complicated.  Well, all it means is that after someone explains an idea to you, guess what, it seems obvious!  BUT, was it obvious before it was explained to you?  Which came first, the chicken or the egg.  Here this dilemma explained in a journal article:

"It is the patentability standard of obviousness—the legal framework upon which courts and the Patent Office interpret whether the proposed invention would have been obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art—that controls this balance.  The difficulty for courts in determining obviousness, and thus patentability, is hindsight bias.  When someone already knows how an invention works it is all too easy to consider it obvious, yet before learning about the invention, the same person would not have been able to envision the invention."

(Scott R. Conley, Irrational Behavior, Hindsight, and Patentability:  Balancing the "Obvious to Try" Test with Unexpected Results, IDEA Vol. 51 No.2)