"We have looked about to see what nations are the greatest, so that we can be like them. We asked ourselves 'What is it that makes the United States such a great nation?' and we investigated and found that it was patents, and we will have patents."
~ Korekiyo Takahashi (1854-1936), first commissioner of the Japan Patent Office
- So others don't profit from your ideas
- Because unpatented technology creates worse dilemmas than patented technology
- To control exploitation of patented technology
- To receive financial return from commercialization of patented technology
- To stimulate progress
what is a patent?
- An exclusive intellectual property right, essentially a monopoly, on an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem.
- It blocks others from making, using, or selling the invention for 20 years from filing date, providing protection for the owner of the patent.
- In return, the inventor provides full public disclosure of the invention.
Three types of patents
- Utility patents "for a new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof"
- Design patents "for a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture"
- Plant patents "for a distinct and new variety of plant"
what a patent is not
- Does not provide a right to do anything
- Generally, does not consider ethics & morality
why track patents?
"Patents are one of the few real indicators of future product releases, provided it can be established which patents relate to specific products." ~Bob Stembridge, Thompson Scientific, 2006