Where Patents Are, There Is Creativity
Where Patents Are, There Is Creativity
  • Reporter Kim Chang-jun
  • 승인 2013.06.05 19:01
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Patent, which is a representative of intellectual property right (IPR), aims to open a technology to the public and give the inventor exclusive rights. Thus, an intellectual property office (IP office) is a place that various ideas get into, and also where these ideas are evaluated by the standards of creativity. Let’s take a look at the standards of creativity in evaluating patents, and some examples of creative inventions.
There are two standards of creative inventions, “novelty” and “inventive step.” If an applied idea has a novelty, it means the idea is new and not has been accepted as a patent before. The technologies that are announced to people or used widely or published on a literature are called the “prior arts.” By comparing the idea and the prior arts, whether it is new or not is evaluated.
Even if no prior art is found to be the same as the idea, the idea will not be granted as a patent if the invention is not different enough from similar inventions that are already out there. The invention must be sufficiently different from what has been used or described before it can be said to be not obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the area of technology related to the invention. Then the invention is said to have an inventive step (meaning it is not obvious). For example, if a sock with a special function attached has already been taken as a patent, and a glove with the same function was applied to IP office, then the glove will not be granted. Not only novelty and inventive step but other requirements exist, including availability for industry and ethicality. By these standards, appropriate ideas will be given intellectual properties. Some examples of creative inventions are introduced below.
Bladeless Fan
There are several ways for creative thinking; addition, subtraction, minifying, shortening, etc. Wireless phone and wireless microphone are the examples of subtraction. Another example of subtraction-applied-invention which is recently coming into spotlight is “bladeless fan” made by Dyson. This innovative fan doesn’t have a blade and instead creates wind by using Bernoulli’s principle. Although Dyson possesses a patent on this technology in Korea, an invalidation procedure against the patent is going on by domestic enterprises.
Besides, there are also many cases that a new use was found out from a thing which had already had a certain use. Viagra was first developed as a vasodilator to cure angina, but is now used for curing impotence. Medicine for impotence and that for angina have the same component,“sildenafil citrate.”
Crown Holding
We can find another great invention in our daily lives: bottle cap. Crown holding, a bottle cap that looks like a crown and widely used for soda, was first invented by an American engineer William Painter. It is known that he had collected almost three thousand caps and spent more than a year. However, the fact that the key idea was from his wife’s careless words tells us that a ground-breaking idea can sometimes come from unexpected source.

※This article was written with the help of Administrative Patent Judge Won, Jong-Hyuk.