Flash of Genius Doctrine [Patent Law] Law and Legal Definition

Flash of genius doctrine or flash of genius test refers to a test for patentability used by U.S. federal courts. The doctrine evolved from the decision in Cuno Engineering Corp. v. Automatic Devices Corp., 314 U.S. 84 (U.S. 1941) Where it was held that an inventive act had to come into the mind of an inventor in a "flash of genius" and not as a result of tinkering.

Flash of genius doctrine states that an invention must indicate the flash of creative genius, not merely a skill of the calling. Patents were granted only if an inventor revealed the flash of genius behind the invention. If the inventor fails, s/he loses the right to private grant on the public domain. However, the flash of genius doctrine now stands repealed in the U.S.