Rediscovering Patents (Part 1 of 2)

What is a patent?

Some describe it as being similar to real property, because it is a negative right or a “right to exclude” (you can read more on this topic here:

Others describe it as being different from real property, because it is an intangible asset.  An intangible asset is typically juxtaposed to a tangible asset (e.g., real property–a house, land).

But merely describing a patent as a negative right or not being tangible fails to answer the question–these answers only describe what a patent is not.

So, what is a patent?

To answer this question, let’s consider (1) the purpose of a patent, and (2) how a patent achieves that purpose.

In this post, we’ll be discussing (1) the purpose of a patent.

For what purpose is a patent granted?

Simple–a patent is granted to an inventor for an invention.

What is an invention?

Citing to our Patent Clause, an invention is a discovery–a new way of addressing some problem, whether known or unknown prior to the point of discovery.

So how does the grant of a patent actually relate to a given discovery?

A patent is a legal instrument to embody that discovery, that step forward–it’s aim is to capture the essence of that discovery.

This is the purpose of a patent.

How does a patent embody or capture the essence of that discovery?

We’ll be discussing this in our next post.


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