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An invention is a unique or
novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfiction Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document A document is a written ...
device
device
, method, composition or process. The invention process is a process within an overall
engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more speciali ...

engineering
and product development process. It may be an improvement upon a machine or product or a new process for creating an object or a result. An invention that achieves a completely unique function or result may be a radical breakthrough. Such works are novel and not obvious to others skilled in the same field. An inventor may be taking a big step toward success or failure. An inventor is a person who creates or discovers an invention. The word ''inventor'' comes from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
verb ''invenire'', ''invent-'', to find. Although inventing is closely associated with science and engineering, inventors are not necessarily engineers nor scientists. Some inventions can be patented. The system of
patent A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depe ...

patent
s was established to encourage inventors by granting limited-term, limited
monopoly A monopoly (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...

monopoly
on inventions determined to be sufficiently novel, non-obvious, and useful. A patent legally protects the intellectual property rights of the inventor and legally recognizes that a claimed invention is actually an invention. The rules and requirements for patenting an invention vary by country and the process of obtaining a patent is often expensive. Another meaning of invention is
cultural inventionA cultural invention is any innovation 190px, Thomas Edison with phonograph. Edison was one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding List of Edison patents, 1,093 U.S. patents in his name. Innovation is the practical implementation of ...
, which is an
innovative 190px, 1,093_U.S._patents_in_his_name..html" ;"title="phonograph">Thomas Edison with phonograph. Edison was one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding List of Edison patents">1,093 U.S. patents in his name.">phonograph">Thomas Edison ...
set of useful
social behaviour Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language ...
s adopted by people and passed on to others. The
Institute for Social Inventions{{short description, Think tank for improving quality of life The Institute for Social Inventions was a think tank A think tank, or policy institute, is a research institute A research institute, research centre, or research center is an establish ...
collected many such ideas in magazines and books. Invention is also an important component of artistic and design
creativity Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea In common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, suc ...

creativity
. Inventions often extend the boundaries of human knowledge, experience or capability.


Types

Inventions are of three kinds: scientific-technological (including medicine), sociopolitical (including economics and law), and humanistic, or cultural. Scientific-technological inventions include railroads,
aviation Aviation is the activities surrounding mechanical flight and the aircraft industry. ''Aircraft'' includes airplane, fixed-wing and helicopter, rotary-wing types, morphable wings, wing-less lifting bodies, as well as aerostat, lighter-than-air ...
,
vaccination Vaccination is the administration of a vaccine A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active to a particular . A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from we ...

vaccination
, hybridization,
antibiotics An antibiotic is a type of antimicrobial substance active against bacteria. It is the most important type of antibacterial agent for fighting pathogenic bacteria, bacterial infections, and antibiotic medications are widely used in the therapy, ...
, astronautics,
holography Holography is a technique that enables a wavefront In physics, the wavefront of a time-varying field is the set () of all where the wave has the same of the sinusoid. The term is generally meaningful only for fields that, at each point, v ...

holography
, the atomic bomb, computing, the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
, and the smartphone. Sociopolitical inventions comprise new laws, institutions, and procedures that change modes of social behavior and establish new forms of human interaction and organization. Examples include the British
Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...

Parliament
, the US
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...

Constitution
, the Manchester (UK) General Union of Trades, the Boy Scouts, the
Red Cross The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian Humanitarianism is an active belief in the value of human life, whereby human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread specie ...

Red Cross
, the
Olympic Games The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes An athlete (also sportsman or sportswoman) is a pe ...
, the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
, the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
, and the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six p ...
, as well as movements such as
socialism Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, ...
,
Zionism Zionism ( he, צִיּוֹנוּת ''Tsiyyonut'' after ''Zion Zion ( he, צִיּוֹן ''Ṣīyyōn'', , also variously ''Sion'', ''Tzion'', ''Tsion'', ''Tsiyyon'') is a placename in the used as a synonym for as well as for the as ...
,
suffragism Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an Constituency, ele ...
,
feminism Feminism is a range of social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by a large group of people to achieve a particular goal, typically a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting popu ...

feminism
, and animal-rights veganism. Humanistic inventions encompass culture in its entirety and are as transformative and important as any in the sciences, although people tend to take them for granted. In the domain of linguistics, for example, many alphabets have been inventions, as are all
neologism A neologism (; from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
s (
Shakespeare William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national p ...

Shakespeare
invented about 1,700 words). Literary inventions include the epic,
tragedy Tragedy (from the grc-gre, τραγῳδία, ''tragōidia'', ''tragōidia'') is a genre of drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (theatre), play, opera, mime, ball ...

tragedy
, comedy, the
novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or experiences, whether nonfiction Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document A document is a written ...

novel
, the
sonnet A sonnet is a poetic form Poetry (derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located ...
, the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
, neoclassicism,
Romanticism Romanticism (also known as the Romantic era) was an artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe towards the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to ...
,
Symbolism Symbolism or symbolist may refer to: Arts * Symbolism (arts), a 19th-century movement rejecting Realism ** Symbolist movement in Romania, symbolist literature and visual arts in Romania during the late 19th and early 20th centuries ** Russian symb ...
, Aestheticism,
Socialist Realism Socialist realism is a style of idealized realistic art that was developed in the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It ...
,
Surrealism Surrealism was a cultural movement A cultural movement is a change in the way a number of different disciplines approach their work. This embodies all art forms, the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") ...

Surrealism
,
postmodernism Postmodernism is an intellectual stance or mode of discourse defined by an attitude of philosophical skepticism, skepticism toward what it describes as the meta-narrative, grand narratives and ideology, ideologies of modernism, as well as oppos ...
, and (according to Freud)
psychoanalysis Psychoanalysis (from Greek language, Greek: + ) is a set of Theory, theories and Therapy, therapeutic techniques"What is psychoanalysis? Of course, one is supposed to answer that it is many things — a theory, a research method, a therapy, a bo ...

psychoanalysis
. Among the inventions of artists and musicians are oil painting, printmaking,
photography Photography is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and int ...

photography
,
cinema Cinema may refer to: Film * Cinematography Cinematography (from ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It ...

cinema
, musical tonality, atonality,
jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human s ...
, rock,
opera Opera is a form of theatre Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of performing art that uses live performers, usually actor, actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a s ...

opera
, and the symphony orchestra. Philosophers have invented logic (several times),
dialectics Dialectic or dialectics ( grc-gre, διαλεκτική, ''dialektikḗ''; related to dialogue Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States Engli ...

dialectics
, idealism, materialism,
utopia A utopia ( ) typically describes an imaginary community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identi ...

utopia
,
anarchism Anarchism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...

anarchism
,
semiotics Semiotics (also called semiotic studies) is the study of sign processes (semiosis Semiosis (, ), or sign process, is any form of activity Activity may refer to: * Action (philosophy), in general * Human activity: human behavior, in sociology ...

semiotics
,
phenomenology Phenomenology may refer to: * Empirical research, when used to describe measurement methods in some sciences * An empirical relationship or phenomenological model * Phenomenology (architecture), based on the experience of building materials and the ...
,
behaviorism Behaviorism is a systematic approach to understanding the behavior of humans and other animals. It assumes that behavior is either a reflex In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including thei ...
,
positivism Positivism is a philosophical theory A philosophical theory or philosophical position''Dictionary of Theories'', Jennifer Bothamley is a view that attempts to explain or account for a particular problem in philosophy Philosophy (from ...
,
pragmatism Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that considers words and thought as tools and instruments for prediction, problem solving, and action (philosophy), action, and rejects the idea that the function of thought is to describe, represent, ...
, and
deconstruction Deconstruction is an approach to understanding the relationship between Text (literary theory), text and Meaning (linguistics), meaning. It was originated by the philosopher Jacques Derrida (1930–2004), who defined the term variously throughou ...

deconstruction
. Religious thinkers are responsible for such inventions as
monotheism Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciou ...
,
pantheism Pantheism is the belief that reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent within a system, as opposed to that which is only imaginary Imaginary may refer to: * Imaginary (sociology), a concept in sociology * The ...

pantheism
,
Methodism Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations Denomination may refer to: * Religious denomination, such as a: ** Christian denomination ** Jewish denomination ** Islamic denomination ** Hindu d ...
,
Mormonism Mormonism is the religious tradition and theology of the Latter Day Saint movement of Restorationism, Restorationist Christianity started by Joseph Smith in Western New York in the 1820s and 1830s. As a label, Mormonism has been applied to var ...
, iconoclasm,
puritanism The Puritans were English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to purify the Church of England of Roman Catholic practices, maintaining that the Church of England had not been fully reformed and should become more Protestant. ...
,
deism Deism ( or ; derived from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the p ...
, secularism, ecumenism, and the
Baháʼí Faith The Baháʼí Faith (; fa , بهائی ') is a new religion teaching the essential worth of all religions and the unity of all people. Established by Baháʼu'lláh Baháʼu'lláh (12 November 1817 – 29 May 1892) was a Persian ...
. Some of these disciplines, genres, and trends may seem to have existed eternally or to have emerged spontaneously of their own accord, but most of them have had inventors.


Process


Practical means

Ideas for an invention may be developed on paper or on a computer, by writing or drawing, by
trial and error Trial and error is a fundamental method of problem-solving Problem solving consists of using generic or ad hoc Ad hoc is a Latin phrase __NOTOC__ This is a list of Wikipedia articles of Latin phrases and their translation into English ...
, by making models, by
experiment An experiment is a procedure carried out to support or refute a hypothesis, or determine the efficacy or likelihood of something previously untried. Experiments provide insight into Causality, cause-and-effect by demonstrating what outcome oc ...

experiment
ing, by testing and/or by making the invention in its whole form.
Brainstorming Brainstorming is a creativity technique, group creativity technique by which efforts are made to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members. In other words, brainstorming is a si ...

Brainstorming
also can spark new ideas for an invention. Collaborative creative processes are frequently used by engineers, designers, architects and scientists. Co-inventors are frequently named on patents. In addition, many inventors keep
records A record, recording or records may refer to: An item or collection of data Computing * Record (computer science) In computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures ...
of their working process - notebooks, photos, etc., including
Leonardo da Vinci Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (15 April 14522 May 1519) was an Italian of the who was active as a painter, , engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor and architect. While his fame initially rested on his achievements as a painter, he als ...

Leonardo da Vinci
,
Galileo Galilei Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de' Galilei ( , ; 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642), commonly referred to as Galileo, was an astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific q ...

Galileo Galilei
,
Evangelista Torricelli Evangelista Torricelli ( , also , ; 15 October 160825 October 1647) was an Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ...

Evangelista Torricelli
,
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
and
Albert Einstein Albert Einstein ( ; ; 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest physicists of all time. Einstein is known for developing the theory of relativity The theo ...

Albert Einstein
. In the process of developing an invention, the initial idea may change. The invention may become simpler, more practical, it may expand, or it may even ''morph'' into something totally different. Working on one invention can lead to others too. History shows that turning the concept of an invention into a working device is not always swift or direct. Inventions may also become more useful after time passes and other changes occur. For example, the
parachute A parachute is a device used to slow the motion of an object through an atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a layer or ...

parachute
became more useful once powered
flight Flight or flying is the process by which an object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy), a thing, being, or concept ** Entity, something that is tangible and within the grasp of the senses ** Object (abstract), an o ...

flight
was a reality.


Conceptual means

Invention is often a
creative process Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea In common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such ...
. An open and curious mind allows an inventor to see beyond what is known. Seeing a new possibility, connection or relationship can spark an invention. Inventive thinking frequently involves combining concepts or elements from different realms that would not normally be put together. Sometimes inventors disregard the boundaries between distinctly separate territories or fields. Several concepts may be considered when thinking about invention.


Play

Play may lead to invention. Childhood curiosity, experimentation, and imagination can develop one's play instinct. Inventors feel the need to play with things that interest them, and to explore, and this internal drive brings about novel creations. Sometimes inventions and ideas may seem to arise spontaneously while
daydreaming Daydreaming is the stream of consciousness that detaches from current external tasks when attention drifts to a more personal and internal direction. This phenomenon is common in people's daily life shown by a large-scale study in which particip ...

daydreaming
, especially when the mind is free from its usual concerns. For example, both J. K. Rowling (the creator of
Harry Potter ''Harry Potter'' is a series of seven fantasy literature, fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The novels chronicle the lives of a young Magician (fantasy), wizard, Harry Potter (character), Harry Potter, and his friends H ...

Harry Potter
) and Frank Hornby (the inventor of
Meccano Meccano is a Scale model, model construction system created in 1898 by Frank Hornby in Liverpool, United Kingdom. The system consists of reusable metal strips, plates, Structural steel#Common structural shapes, angle girders, wheels, axles and g ...
) first had their ideas while on
train In rail transport Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicle A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine that transports people or cargo. Vehicles include wag ...

train
journeys. In contrast, the successful aerospace engineer
Max Munk Max Michael Munk (October 22, 1890 – June 3, 1986) was a German aerospace engineer who worked for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was a United States federal agency founde ...
advocated "aimful thinking".


Re-envisioning

To invent is to see anew. Inventors often envision a new idea, seeing it in their
mind's eye A mental image or mental picture is an experience that, on most occasions, significantly resembles the experience of visually perceiving some object, event, or scene, but occurs when the relevant object, event, or scene is not actually present ...
. New ideas can arise when the conscious mind turns away from the subject or problem when the inventor's focus is on something else, or while relaxing or sleeping. A novel idea may come in a flash—a
Eureka Eureka often refers to: * Eureka (word) file:Eureka! Archimede.jpg, Archimedes exclaiming ''Eureka''. In his excitement, he forgets to dress and runs nude in the streets straight out of his bath ''Eureka'' ( grc, εὕρηκα) is an interjection ...
! moment. For example, after years of working to figure out the general theory of relativity, the solution came to Einstein suddenly in a dream "like a giant die making an indelible impress, a huge map of the universe outlined itself in one clear vision". Inventions can also be accidental, such as in the case of
polytetrafluoroethylene Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene that has numerous applications. The commonly known brand name of PTFE-based compositions is Teflon by Chemours, a corporate spin-off, spin-off from DuPont (1802 ...

polytetrafluoroethylene
(Teflon).


Insight

Insight can also be a vital element of invention. Such inventive insight may begin with questions, doubt or a hunch. It may begin by recognizing that something unusual or accidental may be useful or that it could open a new avenue for exploration. For example, the odd metallic color of plastic made by accidentally adding a thousand times too much catalyst led scientists to explore its metal-like properties, inventing electrically conductive plastic and light emitting plastic-—an invention that won the Nobel Prize in 2000 and has led to innovative lighting, display screens, wallpaper and much more (see
conductive polymer Conductive polymers or, more precisely, intrinsically conducting polymers (ICPs) are organic polymer A polymer (; Greek ''poly- Poly, from the Greek :wikt:πολύς, πολύς meaning "many" or "much", may refer to: Businesses * China Po ...
, and
organic light-emitting diode An organic light-emitting diode (OLED or organic LED), also known as organic electroluminescent (organic EL) diode, is a light-emitting diode A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor A semiconductor material has an v ...
or
OLED An organic light-emitting diode (OLED or organic LED), also known as organic electroluminescent (organic EL) diode, is a light-emitting diode with E27 screw in base, A bulb-shaped modern retrofit LED lamp File:Chip-On-Board CO ...
).


Exploration

Invention is often an exploratory process with an uncertain or unknown outcome. There are failures as well as successes. Inspiration can start the process, but no matter how complete the initial idea, inventions typically must be developed.


Improvement

Inventors may, for example, try to improve something by making it more effective, healthier, faster, more efficient, easier to use, serve more purposes, longer lasting, cheaper, more
ecological Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms In biology ...
ly friendly, or
aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of m ...

aesthetic
ally different, lighter weight, more
ergonomic Human factors and ergonomics (commonly referred to as human factors) is the application of psychological and physiological principles to the engineering and design of products, processes, and systems. The goal of human factors is to reduce human ...
, structurally different, with new light or color properties, etc.


Implementation

In
economic theory Economics () is a social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a bran ...
, inventions are one of the chief examples of "
positive externalities Positive is a property of Positivity (disambiguation), positivity and may refer to: Mathematics and science * Positive formula, a logical formula not containing negation * Positive number, a number that is greater than 0 * Plus sign, the sign "+ ...

positive externalities
", a beneficial side effect that falls on those outside a transaction or activity. One of the central concepts of economics is that externalities should be internalized—unless some of the benefits of this positive externality can be captured by the parties, the parties are under-rewarded for their inventions, and systematic under-rewarding leads to under-investment in activities that lead to inventions. The
patent A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depe ...

patent
system captures those
positive externalities Positive is a property of Positivity (disambiguation), positivity and may refer to: Mathematics and science * Positive formula, a logical formula not containing negation * Positive number, a number that is greater than 0 * Plus sign, the sign "+ ...

positive externalities
for the inventor or other patent owner so that the economy as a whole invests an optimum amount of resources in the invention process.


Comparison with innovation

In contrast to invention, innovation is the implementation of a
creative
creative
idea that specifically leads to greater value or usefulness. That is, while an invention may be useless or have no value yet still be an invention, an innovation must have some sort of value, typically economic.


As defined by patent law

The term ''invention'' is also an important legal concept and central to patent law systems worldwide. As is often the case for legal concepts, its legal meaning is slightly different from common usage of the word. Additionally, the ''legal'' concept of invention is quite different in American and European patent law. In Europe, the first test a patent application must pass is, "Is this an invention?" If it is, subsequent questions are whether it is new and sufficiently inventive. The implication—counter-intuitively—is that a legal invention is not inherently novel. Whether a patent application relates to an invention is governed by Article 52 of the European Patent Convention, that excludes, e.g., discoveries ''as such'' and software ''as such''. The EPO Boards of Appeal decided that the technical character of an application is decisive for it to represent an invention, following an age-old Italian and German tradition. British courts don't agree with this interpretation. Following a 1959 Australian decision ("NRDC"), they believe that it is not possible to grasp the invention concept in a single rule. A British court once stated that the technical character test implies a "restatement of the problem in more imprecise terminology." In the United States, all patent applications are considered inventions. The statute explicitly says that the American invention concept includes discoveries (35 USC § 100(a)), contrary to the European invention concept. The European invention concept corresponds to the American "patentable subject matter" concept: the first test a patent application is submitted to. While the statute (35 USC § 101) virtually poses no limits to patenting whatsoever, courts have decided in binding precedents that abstract ideas, natural phenomena and laws of nature are not patentable. Various attempts have been made to substantiate the "abstract idea" test, which suffers from abstractness itself, but none have succeeded. The last attempt so far was the "machine or transformation" test, but the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 2010 that it is merely an indication at best. In India, invention means a new product or process that involves an inventive step, and capable of being made or used in an industry. Whereas, "new invention" means any invention that has not been anticipated in any prior art or used in the country or anywhere in the world.


In the arts

Invention has a long and important history in
the arts The arts refers to the theory, human application and physical expression of creativity Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something somehow new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scienti ...
. Inventive thinking has always played a vital role in the
creative process Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea In common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such ...
. While some inventions in the arts are patentable, others are not because they cannot fulfill the strict requirements governments have established for granting them. (see
patent A patent is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depe ...

patent
). Some inventions in art include the: *
Collage Collage (, from the french: coller, "to glue" or "to stick together";) is a technique of art creation, primarily used in the visual arts, but in music too, by which art results from an Assemblage (art), assemblage of different forms, thus creat ...

Collage
and construction invented by Picasso *
Readymade Found object is a loan translation from the French ''objet trouvé'', describing art created from undisguised, but often modified, objects or products that are not normally considered materials from which art is made, often because they alread ...
art invented by
Marcel Duchamp Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp (, , ; 28 July 1887 – 2 October 1968) was a French painter, sculptor, chess player, and writer whose work is associated with Cubism Cubism is an early-20th-century avant-garde The avant-garde (; In 'advanc ...

Marcel Duchamp
* mobile invented by
Alexander Calder Alexander Calder (; July 22, 1898 – November 11, 1976) was an American sculptor Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts The visual arts are Art#Forms, genres, media, and styles, art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, ...

Alexander Calder
* Combine invented by
Robert Rauschenberg Milton Ernest "Robert" Rauschenberg (October 22, 1925 – May 12, 2008) was an American painter and graphic artist whose early works anticipated the Pop art movement. Rauschenberg is well known for his Combines (1954–1964), a group of artwork ...
* Shaped painting invented by
Frank Stella Frank Philip Stella (born May 12, 1936) is an American painter, sculptor and printmaker, noted for his work in the areas of minimalism and post-painterly abstraction. Stella lives and works in New York City. Biography Frank Stella was born in Mal ...
* Motion picture, the invention of which is attributed to
Eadweard Muybridge Eadweard Muybridge (; 9 April 1830 – 8 May 1904, born Edward James Muggeridge) was an English photographer important for his pioneering work in photographic studies of motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a c ...
Likewise,
Jackson Pollock Paul Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956) was an American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist Abstract expressionism is a post–World War II art movement in American painting, developed in New Y ...

Jackson Pollock
invented an entirely new form of painting and a new kind of abstraction by dripping, pouring, splashing and splattering paint onto un-stretched canvas lying on the floor. Inventive tools of the artist's trade also produced advances in creativity.
Impressionist Impressionism is a 19th-century art movement An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a specific period of time, (usually a few months, years or decades) or ...
painting became possible because of newly invented collapsible, resealable metal paint tubes that facilitated spontaneous painting outdoors. Inventions originally created in the form of artwork can also develop other uses, e.g. Alexander Calder's mobile, which is now commonly used over babies' cribs. Funds generated from patents on inventions in art, design and architecture can support the realization of the invention or other creative work.
Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi
Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi
's 1879
design patent In the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, stat ...
on the Statue of Liberty helped fund the famous statue because it covered small replicas, including those sold as souvenirs. The timeline for invention in the arts lists the most notable artistic inventors.


Gender gap in inventions

Historically, women have been unrecognised for their inventive contributions, despite being the sole inventor or co-inventor in inventions, including highly notable inventions. Notable examples include Margaret E. Knight, Margaret Knight who faced significant challenges in receiving credit for her inventions; Lizzie Magie, Elizabeth Magie who was not credited for her invention of the game of Monopoly (game), Monopoly; and Chien-Shiung Wu whose male colleagues alone were awarded the Nobel Prize for their joint contributions to physics. Societal prejudice and legal barriers have both played a role in the gender invention gap. For example, the patent applications made to the US Patent Office for inventions were less likely to succeed where the applicant had a "feminine" name, and women lost their independent legal rights to their husbands once married. See also the gender gap in Patent, Patents.


See also

* Bayh-Dole Act * Bold hypothesis * Chindōgu * Creativity techniques * Directive on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions * Discovery (observation) * Edisonian approach * Heroic theory of invention and scientific development * Independent inventor * INPEX (invention show) * International Innovation Index * Invention promotion firm * Inventors' Day * Kranzberg's laws of technology * Lemelson-MIT Prize * :Lists of inventions or discoveries * List of inventions named after people * List of inventors * List of prolific inventors * Multiple discovery * National Inventors Hall of Fame * necessity is the mother of invention, Necessity (Invention's mother) * Patent model * Proof of concept * Proposed directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions - it was rejected * Scientific priority * Technological revolution * ''The Illustrated Science and Invention Encyclopedia'' * Timeline of historic inventions * Science and invention in Birmingham - The first cotton spinning mill to plastics and steam power.


References


Further reading

* Isaac Asimov, Asimov, Isaac. Asimov's Chronology of Science and Discovery, Harper & Row, 1989. * Edmund Fuller, Fuller, Edmund, ''Tinkers and Genius: The Story of the Yankee Inventors''. New York: Hastings House, 1955.


External links


List of PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) Notable Inventions
at WIPO {{Authority control Inventions, Creativity Human activities Inventors