What other discoveries have led to inventions?

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925E-CaP-2010_Layout 1 23.09.10 10:47 Page1 LEARN FROM THE PAST, CREATE THE FUTURE: Inventions For more information contact WIPO at www.wipo.int World Intellectual Property Organization and Patents 34, chemin des Colombettes P.O. Box 18 CH-1211 Geneva 20 Switzerland Telephone: +41 22 338 91 11 Fax: +41 22 733 54 28 WIPO Publication No. 925E September 2010 edition ISBN 978-92-805-1431-5Contents PREFACE INVENTIONS What are inventions? How do we know when inventions were first invented? Game – Inventions of Ancient Civilizations How are inventions invented? Inventions improve our lives Game – Inventor Match-maker PATENTS What are patents? Why are patents important? When were patents invented? Modern patent laws How do inventors obtain patents? When should an invention be patented? What happens if an invention is not patented? Are patented inventions protected worldwide? Can there be different inventors for the same invention? Patents are a wonderful source of information The PCT Gazette Game – PCT Detective 2INVENTIONS What are inventions? Generally speaking, an invention is a new product or process that solves a technical problem. This is different from a discovery, which is something that already existed but had not been found. Consider, for example, the telescope and the mountains of the moon. The telescope is an invention that was created in 1608 when Hans Lipperhey, a Dutch eyeglass maker, combined convex and concave glasses at either end of a tube. It was only with the invention of the telescope that humans (Galileo Galilei to be precise) were able to look far enough into the sky to see the mountains of the moon. Galileo didn’t invent these mountains, he discovered them - with the help of an invention. Just as inventions can lead to discoveries, discoveries can sometimes also lead to inventions. For example, Benjamin Franklin’s discovery of the electrical effects of lightning led him to invent the lightning rod around 1752. This invention is still in use today and has made buildings much safer places during thunderstorms. From the beginning of time, humans everywhere have been inventing. In fact, most of what is around you now was invented by someone in the past. We have grown so used to these things, however, that we often don’t think of them as inventions. Think about the alphabet that we are using to communicate right now. The ink and paper that these words are written on. The clothes you are wearing. The chair you are sitting on. All of these are inventions and there is a person, a human mind, behind each of them. 5Think about it: What other inventions have led to discoveries? What other discoveries have led to inventions? How many inventions can you identify in this scene? What would your world be like without inventions? Inventions are essential to our everyday life and yet most people know very little about their origins. 6How do we know when inventions were first invented? Many inventions were invented thousands of years ago so it can be difficult to know their exact origins. Sometimes scientists discover a model of an early invention and from this model they can accurately tell us how old it is and where it came from. However, there is always the possibility that in the future other scientists will discover an even older model of the same invention in a different part of the world. In fact, we are forever discovering the history of ancient inventions. An example of this is the invention of pottery. For many years archeologists believed that pottery was first invented in the Near East (around modern Iran) where they had found pots dating back to 9,000 BC. In the 1960s, however, older pots from 10,000 BC were found on Honshu Island, Japan. There is always a possibility that in the future archeologists will find even older pots somewhere else. Sometimes archeologists can only find pictures or written references of an ancient invention. Though they are proof that the invention existed, texts and pictures can make it difficult to determine when, where and by whom the invention was created. This is the case of the compass. Scholars have found a clear description of a sinan (navigational device) in a Chinese text dating back more than two thousand years. While no actual models of this invention have been found to date, the description in this ancient text leads us to believe that this ancient form of compass was invented as Sinan model by Susan Silverman 7 courtesy of Smith College, History of Science and Technology Programearly as 2400 years ago in China, and it took more than 1000 years for it th to be introduced to the West (via Arab traders) in the 13 Century AD. When scientists are very lucky, they find texts that not only mention past inventions but also describe them in great detail and even reveal the name of the inventor and the approximate date of the invention. In these cases we have concrete proof of when, where and by whom the invention was created and we can give proper credit to the inventor. This is how we know, for example, about the Greco-Egyptian engineer Heron of Alexandria who created countless machines in the late first century AD. Also known as mekanicos (machine man), Heron was famous in his time for his numerous inventions, especially his automatic machines that included a steam engine, a coin-operated slot machine and automatic doors. Sometimes, different ancient civilizations independently invented very similar items. For example, almost every ancient civilization invented mirrors. Ancient mirrors made of polished volcanic glass (obsidian) have been found in Turkey and Mesoamerica, while polished bronze or copper mirrors were made Heron’s steam by the inhabitants of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, engine model by Karen Fisher Greece, Rome, and the Indus valley. courtesy of Smith College, History of Science and Technology In modern times, patents help us to determine when, where Program and by whom an invention was invented. The second chapter in this book will give you more information about the use of patents. 8Game – Inventions of Ancient Civilizations Some inventions from thousands of years ago are still in use today. Do you know the origins of these ancient inventions? Russia Alaska China Iraq Mexico Egypt Australia Kite Chocolate Lighthouse Wheel See page 55 for answers Boomerang Snow Goggles Skis 9 T R A P I L C : P A MHow are inventions invented? Necessity is the mother of invention. -famous proverb In order to invent, inventors first identify a need or problem. They then think of a creative way to solve the problem, and work hard to make that solution possible. Here are a few examples of things that have inspired inventors to invent. 1) Needing something that is not available in the market: Invention Profile: Adding Machine Blaise Pascal was a well-known French philosopher, mathematician and physicist but he was also a young inventor. His father was a tax collector who spent long hours calculating by hand how much tax he had to collect. In 1642, at the age of 19, Pascal invented a mechanical adding machine which his father could use to calculate the taxes more quickly and accurately. Pascal’s machine was called the Pascaline. 102) Wanting to help somebody: Invention Profile: Stop-motion Device for Textile Looms In 1850, at the age of 12, Margaret Knight witnessed a serious accident at a textile mill. Concerned for the safety of the mill’s workers, she invented a stop-motion device to quickly stop the powered textile looms in case something went wrong. Her invention was put to use at many mills where it increased the safety of all mill workers. This was only the first of Margaret’s many inventions. She was granted more than 25 patents in her lifetime, including one for a flat-bottomed paper bag still used in some stores today. 3) Combining two or more products to produce a new and better product: Think about it: How many inventions can you uncover by combining two of the items listed below? Motor Camera Book Wheels Clock Computer Shoes Bicycle Telephone Radio 114) Applying a better understanding of nature: ® Invention Profile – VELCRO One day in 1941, Swiss engineer George de Maestral took his dog for a walk in the Swiss Mountains. By the time they returned home, his clothes and his dog were covered with cocklebur seeds. Curious about what had made these seeds stick to fabric, George decided to examine them under a microscope. He found that the seeds had tiny hooks that had stuck to the loops of the fabric. George decided to use the same principle of tiny hooks and loops to develop a new and better fastener than the zippers available at that time. After many experiments he developed two nylon tapes (one covered with tiny loops and the other with tiny hooks) which stuck together when ® pressed. The VELCRO brand fastener was patented in 1951 and is now used in many products including shoes, jackets and bags. Colorized scanning electron micrographic ® image of joined VELCRO . © Dee Breger, Drexel University 125) Combining traditional knowledge with modern scientific concepts: Invention Profile – Pot-in-Pot Cooling System Northern Nigeria is a hot, semi-desert rural area where many people have no electricity. Most people grow and sell their own crops, yet keeping fruits and vegetables fresh in this type of climate is a real challenge. Without refrigeration, most fresh food rots within a couple of days. Throwing away spoiled crops means lost income for poor families. Eating the rotting crops causes serious health problems. Local teacher Mohammed Bah Abba was concerned about this problem and decided to find a solution for it. As a boy born into a family of clay pot makers, Mohammed knew that these traditional clay pots retained water even when dry. In 1995 he combined this traditional knowledge with his understanding of biology, chemistry and geology to design a pot-in-pot cooling system that acts as a “desert refrigerator”. Mohammed’s cooling system is made up of a small pot placed inside a larger pot with wet sand filling the space between the two clay pots. The fruit and vegetables are kept in the smaller pot, covered with a damp cloth and left in a dry, ventilated place. When water from the sand evaporates, it causes the temperature in the pots to go down several degrees so the food in the smaller pot is always cool. With the pot-in-pot system food stays fresh much longer. For example, aubergine can stay fresh for 27 days instead of the usual three days. Mohammed’s system has improved the lives of thousands of people, which is why in 2000 he won the prestigious Rolex Award for Enterprise. 13 Courtesy of The Rolex Awards for Enterprise6) Improving past inventions: Not every invention has to provide a completely new solution. Some very good inventions are improvements on previous solutions. In the short history of the home computer we have seen many improvements in the way data are externally stored. Small memory sticks can now store more information than the older, bigger and more fragile floppies. Can you imagine the next improvement for external data storage? 2010s Next improvement 2000s Memory sticks 1990s CD-Roms/DVDs 1980s Floppy disks 14 Courtesy of SonyInventions improve our lives Inventions improve our lives in many ways. They make our tasks easier, entertain us, improve our knowledge of the world, and even save lives. Think about it: Make a list of inventions that make your life easier, better or simply more fun. Below are a few examples to get you started. Inventions that make our lives easier: Cars Inventions that increase our knowledge of the world: Microscopes Inventions that entertain us: Televisions Inventions that save lives: Fire extinguishers 15Game – Inventor Match-maker We owe our modern way of life to all the inventors who came before us and yet most people cannot name more than one or two of them. This is quite surprising when you consider that the names of many inventors are hidden in the names of inventions we use everyday. Can you match the inventions below with their inventors? Gabriel Fahrenheit coffee-making method and filter Alessandro Volta bread slices with filling of meat, cheese, etc. George Eastman writing system for the blind Louis Braille camera with roll film Levi Strauss battery Earl of Sandwich blue jeans Melitta Bentz mercury thermometer and temperature scale See page 56 for answers 16Think about it: Can you find other inventors whose names are related to their inventions? Here are a couple of examples to get you started: Diesel engines – invented in 1892 by German engineer Rudolf Diesel Pasteurization process – invented by French chemist Louis Pasteur in 1856 Inventions are so important to all of us that we should encourage talented inventors to keep inventing. One way to encourage inventors is by preventing people from stealing their inventions. In the next chapter we will see how patents help to achieve this. 17PATENTS What are patents? A patent is an official document given to an inventor by a government. This document generally gives inventors the right to stop anyone else from copying, using, distributing or selling the invention without their permission. Patents are a part of Intellectual Property, which is a legal way to protect all creations of the human mind. Intellectual Property is divided into Industrial Property and Copyright. Intellectual Property Industrial Property: Copyright: Patents protect inventions protects literary and artistic works Industrial designs protect the designs of products Trademarks protect distinctive signs Why are patents important? Inventions are the result of hard work. It may only take a moment of inspiration to think of a good idea but it takes a lot of research and experimentation to turn the idea into a useful and working invention. Inventors deserve a reward for the amount of time they spend developing their ideas. They also need the security of knowing that if they share the invention with the rest of the world, nobody will steal it, use it or copy it without their permission. Patents provide rewards and protection for inventors but they also benefit society. In return for patent protection, inventors agree to reveal all the technical information about their invention. This information is available to everyone and has enough details so anyone with basic knowledge 18of the invention’s field can reproduce the invention. In this way, patents help to spread new knowledge. This new knowledge can in turn help others to solve different problems, or to make further advances in science and technology. Inventor Profile – Leonardo Da Vinci Leonardo Da Vinci was a famous painter and sculptor but also a great inventor. He had an excellent understanding of how machines worked and invented many things during his lifetime. His inventions included parachutes, flying devices, diving gear and many other machines. Before patents existed, some inventors kept their inventions secret for fear that they would be stolen or copied. Some historians believe that Da Vinci wrote the notes on his experiments backwards (“mirror writing”) to make it harder for other people to read and copy them. It took hundreds of years for scholars to find and decipher some of Da Vinci’s notebooks. Recently, some people have started making models of inventions that Da Vinci described and drew in his notebooks more than 500 years ago. For example, in 2000 Katarina Ollikanen from Sweden built a rigid pyramidal parachute based on Da Vinci’s drawings from 1485. She used only tools that would have been available in Da Vinci’s day. Her English skydiver boyfriend, Adrian Nicholas, used this parachute to make a successful 3,000 meter descent in South Africa, proving that Da Vinci’s parachute invention worked. The first non-Da Vinci, modern parachute was invented in 1797 by André Jacques Garnerin, more than 300 years after Da Vinci sketched his version in his notebooks. Knowing this, we cannot help but wonder how history might have been different if Da Vinci had shared all his inventions with the rest of the world. 19Think about it: Think of three items that you use everyday. How different would your life be if the inventors of these items had not shared their inventions with the rest of the world? When were patents invented? th In the 15 Century, Venice was a very important center for art, science, trade and commerce. Many inventors lived in Venice at the time and in 1474 the government invented the first law to protect the rights of inventors. This Venetian law allowed any inventor of a workable invention to register it in a state office. With this registration, the inventor would have certain rights over his invention so nobody would be able to copy or sell it without the inventor’s permission. This protection was limited to 20 years, after which time the invention could be copied or sold by anyone. In return for this protection, the inventor had to use the invention for the benefit of the state. After Venice, other states began to encourage and protect their inventors with similar laws, and nowadays almost all countries have their own modern patent laws. 20Modern patent laws Modern patent laws protect the inventor for a specific period of time (usually 20 years) during which, in general, it is illegal for anyone else to copy, use, distribute or sell the invention without the approval of the inventor. In return for this protection, inventors reveal in their patent applications the technical details of how their inventions work, so that other people can learn from them. Once inventors have patent protection, they can make money by being the only ones allowed to produce, distribute and sell their inventions. Some inventors are too busy working on their next idea to spend time trying to sell their previous inventions. In these cases, inventors may prefer to license their inventions. When inventors license their patented inventions, they authorize another person or a company (the licensee) to produce, sell or distribute them as long as they pay a license fee. This license fee rewards inventors for their creations and allows licensees to “commercialize” inventions so that consumers can benefit from them. If people copy, distribute or sell a patented invention without the patentee’s permission, they commit a patent infringement. The patentee can sue the patent infringer in a law court. When the patent protection expires, the invention enters the public domain and anyone can commercialize it without asking the inventor for permission. 21How do inventors obtain patents? Inventors obtain patents for their inventions by submitting a patent application to their national patent office. This application includes a detailed description and diagram of the invention and how it works. Patent application forms and other patenting procedures can be complicated so many inventors employ a patent lawyer to help them through the process. Lists of recommended patent lawyers can usually be found at national industrial property offices or lawyers associations. Find the link to your country’s industrial property office at the following Internet address: http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/urls.jsp Inventions can be as simple as a paperclip or as complicated as a robot but they must meet certain conditions of patentability before they can be patented. These conditions are: 1) Industrial Applicability (Utility) – Meaning that the invention can be made or used in any kind of industry, or must have a practical use; it cannot be just an idea or a theory. If the invention is for a product, someone must be able to make that product. If the invention is for a process then it must be possible to carry out that process. For example, a time machine may be a great idea but unless an inventor actually creates one that truly allows people to travel in time, the simple idea of the time machine cannot be patented. 2) Novelty – Meaning that the invention must have a new characteristic that is not part of the current knowledge in its technical field. In the application, the inventor must describe the invention in detail and compare it with previous 22 existing technologies in the same field in order to demonstrate its newness.

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