The most important part of the patent is a “claim” because it defines the metes and bounds of intellectual property which you claim belongs to you.
If a patent was directed to a pencil, then the patent may claim a simple pencil as follows:
“A pencil comprising (1) a wood piece, (2) a lead piece within the wood piece; and (3) an eraser attached to the wood piece with a metal sleeve crimped onto the eraser and wood piece.”
With this claim, even though the pencil invention is patentable subject matter, a person who submits a patent application directed to the pencil will not receive a patent grant for such an invention. The reason is that patent law states that you may obtain a patent grant if your invention is not embodied or disclosed in a single prior art as shown in https://www.canyon-news.com/how-inventhelp-can-assist-you-as-a-new-inventor/106365 post.
In other words, you may obtain a patent if your invention is novel. Here, the above stated pencil claim is within the prior art and is not novel. In this regard, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will not grant a patent with the above given pencil claim.
Let us assume that you invent something to add to the pencil invention. In particular, let us assume that you invention a special type of glue which makes attachment of the eraser to the wood more effective and cheaper to manufacture compared to the metal sleeve.
In this regard, your pencil invention is not disclosed within the prior art and is considered to be novel in view of the prior art. Nonetheless, you may obtain a patent if your invention is non-obvious in view of the prior art.
The term non-obvious is a term of art used among patent agents and attorney and is similar to but does not mean literally non-obvious. Simply put, what you as an expert in your field of knowledge may consider to be obvious may be considered to be non-obvious in the “patent” sense.
For example, generally, reducing the size of the invention does not make the invention patentable. In other words, you may not receive a patent for the world’s smallest pencil. However, specifically, if there were some unexpected results with making the pencil that small, then you may receive a patent on the world’s smallest pencil.
For example, if by making the pencil small, you were able to attach the eraser to the wood piece through an electrostatic charge instead of through the metal sleeve or adhesive, then you may receive a patent on the world’s smallest pencil.
Bottom line, generally, if you invent something, you should seek professional advice from patenting experts, like InventHelp, to determine whether your invention is worth patenting and is likely to ultimately end in an issued patent.