Why is patent law important?

What life would be like without protecting the rights of inventors

Sometimes it’s interesting to think about what the world might be like without some of the key inventions that have changed the way we live and human history. It is often not realised how important patent law has been in the development of technology. Patent law protects the legal rights of inventors to a proprietary claim over the ideas and inventions that they create. It creates an incentive for people to invent new things. For this reason intellectual property protection is one of the key foundations for the development of an advanced society.

The history of some of the greatest patents

We’ve compiled a list we believe are the top 5 inventions of all time. Number one on our list is the telephone. The first telephone patent was registered by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 with number United States Patent Number 174, 465. Although it was several decades before the invention entered wide circulation and use, the device is obviously transformed human society by creating the ability to communicate over long distances instantaneously. As with many of the great inventions, there was a dispute over the rights to the original idea. Elisha Gray, one of Alexander Graham Bell’s colleagues had his attorney file a caveat over the invention the very same day that Bell’s attorney filed a patent application. At the time, the law in United States said that the first person to invent was the true owner of the patent rather than the first person to register. It is estimated that there are now 6.92 billion telephones both fixed and mobile in use in the world today, greater than the population of the entire earth. It is a daily part of life of most people in the world.

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The second invention on our list is the computer. Usually, the invention of the computer is attributed to John Vincent Atansoff and Clifford Berry who were the first to create a computer that operated by electronic means and was programmable. They created this invention in 1939 but failed to capitalize upon it due to the imposition of World War II. Subsequently, the computer became part of the public domain. Later, in 1946 to inventor is called Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchly created device which they claimed was the first digital computer. However, the Federal Court in United States rescinded the patent in 1973 because it was derived from the original design of the earlier inventors. The personal computer and the mobile computer which are derivatives of these inventions are now part of daily life for billions of people around the world. The computer has completely changed the way people work, play, communicate, do science, make calculations, write and store information.

The third device on our list is the television. In 1834 Paul Nipkow began working on the television in its mechanical form. The electronic cathode-ray tube television was then developed by Philo Farnsworth and Vladimir Zworykin. There was also substantial patent litigation associated with the development of the television. Farnsworth first showed a working electronic television to the press on September 3, 1928 and then later to the public at large on August 25, 1934. Farnsworth was granted Patent number: 1773980 fiied January 7, 1927 and issued August 26, 1930. At the same time, Zworykin was developing an electronic television while he was working for Westinghouse Corporation. A representative of the corporation offered to buy it from Farnsworth for USD $100,000, which at the time was enormous amount of money. However, Farnsworth said no and competing patent applications later filed by the company based on research conducted by Zworykin. It was later found, Farnsworth was the true inventor of the electronic television.

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The fourth device on the list is the automobile. The first self-propelled vehicle designed to use on the road is attributed to Mr Nicholas Joseph Cugnot who first publicly demonstrated the device in 1769. However, it was not until 1885 and Mr Karl Benz, the namesake of the world-famous company Mercedes-Benz, that are practical automobile powered by an internal combustion engine was actually developed. Mr Gottlieb Daimler then patented what is thought of as the first gas engine powered four-wheel motor vehicle. However, Mr Benz eventually patented a number of his later inventions.

The final invention on the list is penicillin. It was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928. However, as with many discoveries, it was later patented and commercialized by other parties. Andrew Moyer patented the first method of industrial production of penicillin in 1948. Moyer was also able to conclusively prove that the drug was an effective antibacterial agent. He also made the drug available to soldiers wounded in the combat during the D-Day landings. The provision of the drug to soldiers in the war also greatly reduce the cost of production of the drug making it widely available to the general public for little more than $.50 per dose at the height of the production runs.

Just sit back and imagine for a few seconds what life might be like without these inventions. You’re not have a telephone to call family and friends, you would not have a computer to read this article with, you would not be able to enjoy your favorite shows or keep up-to-date with what was going on in the world without a television. And you would be reliant on public transport or walking with no car. Finally, your body would be susceptible to easily curable infections which could easily kill you if were not for the invention of the first antibiotic. Life would be very different without these inventions and they are dependent on the protection is provided by patent applications which give inventors an incentive to invent and benefit from the commercialization of their ideas and inventions.

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