The System of  IP

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Conditions of Patentability

There is general recognition that a patent should only be granted for an invention that
  1. is new;
  2. involves an inventive step;
  3. is industrially applicable.
These three conditions of patentability may be referred to as substantive conditions in the sense that they form the fundamental technical content of the solution claimed to be an invention in the patent application.

The apparently simple fact that an invention must be novel, has in fact long been disputed in relation to the question, "..against what knowledge should novelty be determined..". In other words, if an invention is patented in a particular country, is it sufficient to prove that it is novel against knowledge existing in that country? In this case all knowledge imported from abroad could be patentable. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) proposes the so-called universal or worldwide definition of novelty. This includes knowledge from all over the world, provided it is from "publication in tangible form". 
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