The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
Gustave Flaubert

Friday 6 June 2014

Pioneer patent (US)

A patent disclosing a function so novel that the patent enjoys a broad range of equivalents, under the US Supreme Court's decision in Westinghouse v Boyden Power Brake Co. 170 U.S. 537 (1898).
The Court said there that the term 'is commonly understood to denote a patent covering a function never before performed, a wholly novel device, or one of such novelty and importance as to mark a distinct step in the progress of the art'. A sort of super-inventive step, then. The electrical telegraph and the telephone are often cited as examples. Perhaps the Dyson twin-cyclone vacuum cleaner ought to be on that list too.

1 comment:

  1. The problem with this definition is that it involves a logical fallacy. "A wholly novel device" would violated conservation of matter and energy. Every invention in the History of the world is a combination of known/existing elements.

    A pioneer patent should probably be defined more in terms of its market impact, such as creating a whole new industry (telephone), or alternatively a technology that impacts a large number of industries (laser).