What’s the Difference? Discovery - Invention - Patent

A discovery...
concerns something that already exists at the time of discovery, but was previously unknown. As a result of the discovery, nothing has changed apart from an associated increase in knowledge. Discoveries are therefore the first description of a natural law or a law derived from natural laws.

An invention...
concerns something that was not previously there. However, a correlation exists with already known items, to which changes are made, meaning that the effect is improved in terms of quantity or quality. Today there is a tendency only to refer to tangible matters and exclude abstract notions from inventions. Inventions are creative achievements, which allow for previously unknown solutions and applications in the area of technology. In case of inventions, natural laws are applied in an unprecedented constellation to solve a given problem, whereby the first description or application of this technology constitutes an invention. If this is commercially usable, it can be protected by a patent or utility model.

A patentable invention (section 1 Patent Act) is a:

  • commercially applicable,
  • new,
  • non-obvious method for
  • technical action, i.e.
  • an instruction on the use of controllable natural forces with regard to direct achievement of a causally clear result.

Patents are therefore granted for inventions, which are new, relate to inventive activity, and are commercially applicable.

A patent...
is a sovereign property right to an invention, which grants a time-limited right of exclusion. A patent provides its holder with the right to ban others from using the patented invention, i.e., for example producing commercially, supplying, or using a protected product, or applying a protected procedure commercially.

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