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Note: "Genius of Art! What Achievements are Thine?" The Social Shaping of Inventiveness Requirements in Antebellum Patent Law


Scholars have described non-obviousness as a critical element of the United States patent system. The requirement mandates that, at the time of invention, an invention must not have been obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art. In effect, this screens routine improvements out of the patent system and rewards inventions perceived to be scientific breakthroughs.