Patents: utility

This requirement comes from the broad language of Section 101 itself.

One does not have to identify all uses, only one specific use--patent will still cover all uses.

Why do we care if it useful? What is the problem if there is no use?
  • Might still cause backlog in the Patent Office
  • Don't want to encourage invention of non-useful devices
  • Not cost-free to grant patents to people
  • Still leaves an opportunity to exploit system: and the more patents out there, the more would-be patent holders have to do to get new patent
Entertainment is considered useful!

What about the issue of "moral utility"? (Don't give patents for things that are bad for society.)
  • But don't want PTO to be arbiter of morality!
  • Plus even "illegal" activities can change over time (alcohol and Prohibition...)
  • As a result: not looked to much in modern times, but concept still exists and PTO/courts may still look to it
Specific Utility or, Does it Actually Work?
  • Does this matter? 96% of patents never make a penny!
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