Novelty is a fundamental requirement that must be met in order for patents, utility models and industrial models alike to be granted. It basically means that the invention or design proposed was not publically known prior to the presentation of the protection application or in other words, that it had not been previously disclosed.

Disclosures are considered to be any kind of public presentation of the proposal, for example publications in magazines or online, presentations at fairs, promotion in catalogues or published scientific articles or theses. Any of these types of disclosure, the date of which may be checked, would remove novelty from the proposal, thereby making it impossible to protect. As such, it is very important for the author of the proposal to abstain from making any such disclosures before presenting industrial protection in any way, in addition to receiving suitable legal counseling.

Novelty or anticipation based on a previous document is judged independently, without combining the text in question with any other document and evaluating whether or not this prior document (for example another patent or utility model) gives rise to knowledge of all the essential characteristics proposed in its own right.

In the case of industrial models, there is a one-year grace period in Europe, which enables protection after disclosure, provided that said disclosure was made by the author themselves and is accredited. However, this exception does not exist in other territories except the US, thus meaning that, in the event of presenting a protection application in Europe after making a disclosure, provided that this is done within the grace period, it is not possible to request subsequent extension to other territories.