Inventions are one of the keystones of modern civilization. They transform already existing things into things completely different. Inventions change the world around us and change the way we do things. One of the biggest inventions of all time is the telephone.
Many inventions change the way we communicate with each other and improve our quality of life. An invention is normally a new thing, whereas an invention is generally an improvement to something existing. Often companies will claim to be an inventor, and display a huge stack of patents as proof. Patent applications demonstrate an invention concept, describe the way the product or technology works, detail the technical background and design ideas. Patent applications provide the information necessary to allow a patent to be issued by the USPTO. Patents are proof of original ideas, of having conceived something first, and recording the new invention via a legal process called patenting.
Inventions can happen everywhere, but many are housed within the United States, where they enjoy relatively protection. The majority of innovations however, are not protected, because the United States has not defined exactly what an invention is. This is referred to as the “innovation argument”. Generally, if an invention is described by someone as an invention, it will be protected. Some general examples include: music, food, clothes, computer chip designs, etc.
The idea behind each invention may come from a number of sources. But there are two primary ways to define an invention. One way is to consider an invention as an improvement on known products or processes. The second way is to consider an invention as an idea that sparks new product categories or ideas. A patent application that describes a new product category as an improvement on an existing product will generally be granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Many inventions today are considered to be in the field of medicine. Examples include computer viruses, insulin, genetics, medicines, enzymes, hormones, synthetic drugs, artificial intelligence, etc. Most of these inventions were not public knowledge prior to the turn of the century. Many times major medical journals publish articles describing the inventions of the previous year. So, if an invention is published in a medical journal it could potentially be patentable.
Dangers of Inventions If you have read the book, “A Brief History of Inventions”, you would notice that the invention of the wheel occurred when people discovered that grinding stone really does make things move faster. Thus, one could say that most inventions are dangerous. Unfortunately, there have been many cases of dangerous inventions since the book was written. The list includes things like the electric bomb, hydrogen bomb, nuclear warhead, nuclear power, the hydrogen bomb, etc. So, if you’re going to make an invention, make sure it’s safe!