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Novelty describes something that is new or original. A novel legal issue refers to a question that has not been addressed by the court, leaving the court with no binding precedent on the matter. A novel legal issue is commonly called a case of first impression

In patent law, novelty is one of the statutory requirements for obtaining a patent.

Generally, novelty requires that the claimed invention has not been patented, described in a printed publication, in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public (prior art) before the applicant filed the patent application. See 35 U.S.C. §102(a). However, there is an exception if the public disclosure was made by the applicant and occurred less than one year before they filed the patent application. See 35 U.S.C. §102 (b)

[Last updated in September of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]