In the world of business, invention and innovation are closely linked, but each has its own specific role to play.
An invention arises as an idea, often randomly, without having explicit economic and competitive motivations.
Innovation is the process by which the invention is designed and implemented into a new product or process, with the main goal being its marketing. As such, it therefore favours a company’s productivity and economic growth.
The aim of every company is to acquire a good market position for its products and services and maintain an economic and competitive advantage: this is where invention assumes a central role in a company’s activities.
But what is an actual invention? The Industrial Property Code and the Civil Code do not provide a specific definition, but doctrine and jurisprudence help us in this.
What is meant by invention?
We can start from the direct subject of a patent to give a valid definition, thus an invention is the solution to a technical problem which meets the requirements of patentability, or novelty, originality and inventive activity, and an immediate industrial application (art. 45 Italian Industrial Property Code).
Depending on the requirements mentioned and the specific state of the art to be obtained from inventions, it is possible to identify their classification.
Classification of inventions
The different categories are as follows:
A product invention solves a technical problem by means of a product that is patentable, such as,
“a machine, an instrument, a tool or a mechanical device, an industrial product or result and the technical application of a scientific principle, as long as it gives immediate industrial results” (Article 2585 of the Italian Civil Code).
It allows to improve an existing product, or create a new one, which can meet the customer’s needs in terms of technology, performance and reliability, always with a view to achieving a competitive advantage compared to competitors.
A process invention solves a technical problem relating to the specific production mode, thus the invention of a “new method or industrial manufacturing process” (Article 2586 of the Italian Civil Code) intended for manufacturing products.
It makes it possible to improve a production method or process or create a new one, also in application of widespread technology, in order to reduce relative costs.
A derived invention uses one or more existing inventions in order to obtain a new technical solution, which until then had not been acquired.
Derived inventions are in turn divided into:
– Improvement inventions
These allow to improve the solution to a technical problem already solved in a pre-existing invention, with a better solution.
– Combination inventions
These solve a technical problem through an original combination of elements or means already known individually, chosen based on the specific qualities and specific effects they can produce, achieving a new technical and economically useful result.
– Translation inventions
These allow the transfer of elements or product or process means which are already known in the state of the art from a certain field to another technical field in which the invention has never been applied: the result is certainly a new solution.
Inventions and enterprise
With this brief overview, we wanted to offer some information and applications on an invention as a necessary condition for promoting innovation and competitiveness among companies.
All this is possible if the entrepreneur implements an effective investment policy and research and development activities that favour the dissemination of ideas, with the aim of proposing invention(s) valid for the patent procedure.