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An invention is a unique or novel device , method, composition or process. The invention is a process within an overall engineering and product development process. It may be an improvement on a machine or product or a process for creating an object or a result. An invention that achieves a completely unique function or result can be a radical breakthrough. Such works are novel and not obvious to others in the same field . An inventor may be taking a big step in success or failure.

Some inventions can be patented. A patent Legally Protects the intellectual property rights of the inventor and legally Recognizes That has Claimed invention is Actually an invention. The rules and requirements for patenting an invention vary from country to country and the process of obtaining a patent is often expensive.

Another meaning of cultural invention , which is an innovative set of useful social behaviors adopted by people and passed on to others. [1] The Institute for Social Inventions collected many such ideas in magazines and books. [2] Invention is also an important component of artistic and design creativity . Inventions often extend the boundaries of human knowledge, experience or capability.

Three areas of invention

Inventions are of three kinds: scientific-technological (including medicine), sociopolitical (including economics and law), and humanistic, or cultural.

Scientific-inventions include railroads, aviation , vaccination , hybridization, antibiotics , astronautics, holography , the atomic bomb, computing, the Internet , and the smartphone.

Sociopolitical inventions including 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 , the US Constitution , the Manchester (UK) General Union of Trades, the Boy Scouts, the Red Cross , the Olympic Games , the United Nations , the European Union , and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights . as movements such as socialism , Zionism , suffragism , feminism , and animal-rights veganism.

Humanistic inventions encompass culture in its entirety and is as transformative and important as any in the sciences, but people tend to take them for granted. In the domain of linguistics, for example, many alphabets have been inventions, as are all neologisms ( Shakespeare invented about 1,700 words). Literary inventions include the epic, tragedy , comedy, the novel , the sonnet , the Renaissance , neoclassicism, Romanticism , Symbolism , Aestheticism, Socialist Realism , Surrealism , postmodernism , and (according to Freud) psychoanalysis. Among the inventions of artists and musicians are oil painting, printmaking, photography , cinema , musical tonality, atonality, jazz , rock, opera , and the symphony orchestra. Philosophers have invented logic (multiple times), dialectics , idealism, materialism, utopia , anarchism , semiotics , phenomenology , behaviorism , positivism , pragmatism , and deconstruction . Religious thinkers are responsible for such inventions as monotheism , pantheism ,Methodism , Mormonism , iconoclasm, puritanism , deism , secularism, ecumenism, and Baha’i . Some of these disciplines, genres, and trends may have existed spontaneously, but most of them have had inventors. [3]

Process of invention

Practical means of invention

Alessandro Volta with the first electrical battery . Volta is recognized as one of the most influential inventors of all time.

Idea for an Invention May be Developed on paper or computer was, by writing or drawing, by trial and error , by making models, by experimenting , by testing and / or by making the invention icts in whole form. 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 of their working process – notebooks , photos, etc., including Leonardo da Vinci , Galileo Galilei , Evangelista Torricelli , Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein . [4] [5] [6] [7]

In the process of developing an invention, the initial idea may change. The invention may become more simple, it may expand, or it may even be morph into something totally different. Working on one invention can lead to others too. [8]

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 est devenu more Useful ounce powered flight Was a reality. [9]

Conceptual means

Thomas Edison with phonograph . Edison was one of the most prolific inventors in history, holding 1,093 US patents in his name .

Invention is often a creative process . 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 often involved 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. citation needed ] Several concepts can be considered when thinking about invention.


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 has new creations. [10] [11]

Sometimes inventions and ideas may seem to arise spontaneously while daydreaming , especially when the mind is free from its usual concerns. [12] For example, both, JK Rowling (the creator of Harry Potter ) [13] and Frank Hornby (the inventor of Meccano ) [14] first HAD Their ideas while we process journeys.

In contrast, the successful aerospace engineer Max Munk advocated “loving thinking”. [15]


To invent is to see anew. Inventors often envision a new idea, see it in their mind’s eye . New ideas can arise when the conscious mind turns away from the subject or when the inventor’s focus is on something else, or while relaxing or sleeping. A novel idea may come in a flash-a Eureka ! moment. For example, after years of working on 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. [16] Inventions can also be accidental, such as in the case of polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon).


Insight can also be a vital element of invention. Such inventive insight may begin with questions, doubt or a hunch . It may be useful or noticeable that something unusual or accidental may be useful for the future. For example, the odd metallic color of plastic by accidentally adding to a thousand times too much catalyst 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 , and organic light-emitting OLED diode gold ). [17]


A rare 1884 photo showing the experimental recording of voice patterns by a photographic process at the Alexander Graham Bell Laboratory in Washington DC Many of their experimental designs are panned out in failure.

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.


Inventors May, for example, try to Improve something by making it effective more, Healthier, faster, efficient more, Easier to use, serves more Purposes, along lasting, cheaper, more ecologically friendly, gold Aesthetically different, lighter weight, more ergonomic , structurally different, with new light or color properties, etc.

Implementing Inventions

Railways – probably the most important invention in land transport . (Railway station in Bratislava , Slovakia)

In economic theory , ” positive externalities ” are examples of ” positive externalities “, a “beneficial side-effect”. One of the central concepts of economics is that externalities should be internalized-unless some of the benefits of this externality can be captured by the parties, the parties are under-rewarded for their inventions, and systematically under-rewarding leads to under-investment in activities that lead to inventions. The patent system captures those 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.

Invention vs. innovation

Main article: Innovation

In the social sciences, an innovation is something that is new, and has been adopted and created to create positive value. This is a key distinction from an invention which can not create positive value but furthers progress in a given area of ​​development. The theory for adoption of innovation, called diffusion of innovations , considers the likelihood that innovation is adopted and the taxonomy of persons adopts it or adopts it. This theory was first put by Everett Rogers . [18] [19] Gabriel Tarde also deals with the adoption of innovations in his Laws of Imitation . [20]

Purposes of invention

An invention can serve many purposes, and does not necessarily create positive value. These goals might be very different and may change over time. An invention or its development can not be used by its inventors. Plastic is a good example. [10] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31]

Invention 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. Furthermore, the legal concept of invention is quite different in American and European patent law.

In Europe, the first test has a patent application must pass is, “Is this an invention?” If it is, subsequent questions are inseparable. The implication-counter-intuitively-is that a legal invention is not inherently novel. Whether patent, eg, discoveries as such, and software as such. The EPO Boards of Appeal is an application for an invention, following an age-old Italians and German tradition. British courts do not 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 short-term commented that the technical character test implies “… restatement of the problem in more imprecise terminology.”

In the United States, all patent applications are considered inventions. 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 is patent application is submitted to. While the statute (35 USC § 101) virtually poses no limits to patenting whatsoever, courts and tribunals are not patentable. Various attempts were made to substantiate the “abstract idea” test, which suffers from abstractness itself, but eventually, none of them was successful. The last attempt so far was the “machine or transformation” test, but the US

Invention in the arts

Invention has a long and important history in the arts . Inventive thinking has always played a vital role in the creative process . [32] While some inventions in the arts are patentable , others are not because they can not fulfill the requirements of the law. (see patent ).

Some inventions in art include the:

  • Collage and construction invented by Picasso
  • Readymade invented by Marcel Duchamp
  • mobile invented by Alexander Calder
  • Combine invented by Robert Rauschenberg
  • Shaped painting invented by Frank Stella
  • Motion picture, which is attributed to Eadweard Muybridge [33] [34]

Likewise, Jackson Pollock invented an entirely new form of painting and a new kind of abstraction by dripping, pouring, splashing and splattering paint onto a stretched canvas lying on the floor.

Inventive tools of the artist ‘s trade also produced advances in creativity. Impressionist painting became possible because of newly invented collapsible, resealable metal paint tubes that facilitated spontaneous painting outdoors. citation needed ] Inventions originally created in the form of artwork can also develop other uses, ie, Alexander Calder’s mobile, which is now commonly used over cribs’ 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’s 1879 patent design on the Statue of Libertyhelped the famous statue because it covered small replicas, including those sold as souvenirs. [35]

The Timeline for invention in the arts lists the most notable artistic inventors

See also

  • Bayh-Dole Act
  • chindogu
  • Creativity techniques
  • Directive on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions
  • Discovery (observation)
  • Edisonian approach
  • Heroic theory of invention and scientific development
  • Independent inventor
  • Ingenuity
  • INPEX (invention show)
  • International Innovation Index
  • Invention promotion firm
  • Inventors’ Day
  • Kranzberg’s laws of technology
  • Lemelson-MIT Prize
  • Category: 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
  • 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 spinning cotton mill to plastics and steam power.


  1. Jump up^ Artificial Mythologies: A Guide to Cultural Invention by Craig J. Saper (1997); Review of Artificial Mythologies. A Guide to Cultural Invention, Kirsten Ostherr (1998)
  2. Jump up^ Nicholas Albery, Matthew Mezey, Mary McHugh and Marie Papworth (editors). “Best Ideas: A Compendium of Social Inventions”. The Institute for Social Inventions, London, 1995.
  3. Jump up^ Mikhail Epstein. Inventive Thinking in the Humanities. Common Knowledge(Duke UP), Winter 2017, Vol.23, No. 1: 1-18
  4. Jump up^ The Inventor’s Notebookby Fred Grissom and David Pressman (2005)
  5. Jump up^ Leonardo da Vinci: Artist, Scientist, Inventorby Simona Cremante (2005)
  6. Jump up^ “Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress” . Memory.loc.gov . Retrieved 2013-07-17 .
  7. Jump up^ about Albert Einstein [ dead link ]
  8. Jump up^ “Continuing Patents at the US Patent and Trademark Offices” . Uspto.gov . Retrieved 2013-07-17 .
  9. Jump up^ White, Lynn: The Invention of the Parachute,Technology and Culture, Vol. 9, Nremante (2005)
  10. ^ Jump up to:b “Lemelson Centers Invention at Play: Inventors Stories” . Inventionatplay.org. Archived from the original on 2013-10-20 . Retrieved 2013-10-03 .
  11. Jump up^ Juice: The Creative Fuel That Drives World-Class Inventors (2004), p.14-15 by Evan I. Schwartz.
  12. Jump up^ Claxton, Guy. “Hare Brain, Mind Tortoise: Why Intelligence Increases When You Think Less”. Fourth Estate, London, 1997.
  13. Jump up^ Smith, Sean. “JK Rowling: A Biography.” Michael O’Mara Books Limited, 2001.
  14. Jump up^ Jack, Ian. “Before the Oil Ran Out: Britain 1977-87”. Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, 1987.
  15. Jump up^ “Engines of Our Ingenuity No. 1990: Max Munk” . Retrieved 2017-03-05.
  16. Jump up^ Einstein: A Life by Brian Denis p.159 (1996)
  17. Jump up^ Nobelprize.org, The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2000 ArchivedOctober 19, 2011, at theWayback Machine.
  18. Jump up^ Diffusion of Innovations, 5th Edition by Everett Rogers (2003)
  19. Jump up^ “ciadvertising.org” . ciadvertising.org . Retrieved 2013-10-03 .
  20. Jump up^ The laws of imitation Gabriel Tarde (1890)
  21. Jump up^ “Explore invention at the Lemelson Center :: Smithsonian Lemelson Center” . Invention.smithsonian.org. Archived from the original on 2013-10-05 . Retrieved 2013-10-03 .
  22. Jump up^ Talk of the Nation (2004-12-24). “Exploring the Process of Inventing” . NPR . Retrieved 2013-10-03 .
  23. Jump up^ [1] ArchivedJanuary 5, 2009, at theWayback Machine.
  24. Jump up^ “United States Patent and Trademark Office” . Uspto.gov. 1994-12-01 . Retrieved 2013-10-03 .
  25. Jump up^ “Glossary” . Uspto.gov. 2004-08-22 . Retrieved 2013-10-03 .
  26. Jump up^http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/it/1985/2/1985_2_18.shtml
  27. Jump up^ “at Directnic” . Packagingtoday.com . Retrieved 2013-10-03 .
  28. Jump up^ “Plastic Materials (Aar – ACN)” . Ides.com . Retrieved 2013-10-03 .
  29. Jump up^ “Plastipedia: Plastics Encyclopedia – Plastics Processes” . Bpf.co.uk . Retrieved 2013-10-03 .
  30. Jump up^ “The Plastics Historical Society – Home” . Plastiquarian.com . Retrieved 2013-10-03 .
  31. Jump up^ [2] ArchivedSeptember 14, 2008, at theWayback Machine.
  32. Jump up^ Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity Seen Through the Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhiby Howard Gardner (1993)
  33. Jump up^ Encyclopedia.com and Muybridge
  34. Jump up^ “Eadweard Muybridge (British photographer) – Encyclopædia Britannica”. Britannica.com. 1904-05-08 . Retrieved 2013-08-30 .
  35. Jump up^ 1879, F. Auguste Bartholdi US Patent D11,023