Patent Revocation and Why It Is Necessary

Patent Revocation and Why It Is Necessary

Everyone who applies for a patent would like to keep the rights to this patent for as long as possible. This is understandable because of the high level of intellectual property protection provided by patent rights. However, intellectual property laws may regard certain patents as invalid due to non-inventiveness, non-novelty, non-patentable subject matter, or insufficiency of disclosure. Such patents violate the concepts underpinning patent laws. When a patent is deemed to be invalid, it will be revoked.

Once a patent has been revoked, it will be unable to provide its owner with any intellectual property protection. A revoked patent is treated as though it had never existed in the first place. This would mean that the person who had previously owned the patent will find that the patented item in question is now vulnerable to actions taken by external entities.


When intellectual property authorities deem a patented item to be non-inventive, the associated patent will be revoked. A non-inventive item is one which is deemed to be obvious. In the context of intellectual property, the term “obvious” is used in relation to the average knowledge level of a person with experience and skill in the field in which the invention is to operate at the date on which the patent application was made. In addition, if multiple existing references or publications display elements of the item to be patented, the item will be regarded as non-inventive and its patent will be revoked.

Inventiveness is necessary for any patented item because a lack of inventiveness shows that little to no effort was expended to make that item valuable and desirable to potential customers as well as society. The requirement for inventiveness also incentivizes patent owners to undertake proper research instead of merely using discoveries and breakthroughs made by others for their own gain.


Any item to be patented which is found to not be novel will also experience a revocation of its patent. If either an invention to be patented or a primary element of the invention has been found to be known to the public prior to the date of the patent claim, the item in question will not be regarded as novel. Intellectual property authorities may also choose to conduct further examinations of prior references or publications. If these examinations prove that an item or element of the item can be found in these references of publications, the associated patent will be revoked on grounds of non-novelty.

Patents for non-novel items must be revoked in order to discourage plagiarism. When only novel items receive patents, those who seek to obtain a patent will strive to develop inventions which are truly original. The concept of novelty also ensures that those who already had the freedom to conduct certain business activities will maintain this freedom. The patenting of non-novel items would deny their owners such a right because these items may form part of the items sold or services provided.

Non-patentable Subject Matter

Not all subject matter can be patented. Each country’s intellectual property laws state a list of items and concepts which are barred from receiving patent protection. These items often include mathematical formulas, scientific methods, formats for presentation of information, and methods for conducting corporate activities. These categories are usually defined narrowly in order to properly define what is deemed to be non-patentable.

Intellectual property authorities around the world establish and enforce the patent system in order to facilitate innovation and public benefit. If certain types of subject matter were to be patented, innovation and public benefit might be inhibited instead of promoted. In many instances, the patenting of such subject matter would only benefit the patent owner while instead harming the public. Therefore, patents for certain types of subject matter ought to be revoked.

Insufficiency of Disclosure

When applying for a patent, it is necessary to specify every key detail about the invention which is to be patented. By disclosing such information, it can be determined if the invention can be used, practiced, or made by a person skilled in the relevant field without expending undue effort. If such a disclosure is not made, the patent in question is liable to revocation.

The concept of insufficiency of disclosure stems from fundamental elements of patent laws. Failure to properly disclose such information constitutes a violation of this “unwritten contract”; thus, any patents associated with items for which all necessary information is not disclosed should be revoked.

This article is brought to you by Exy Intellectual Property Malaysia and Singapore.