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Figures of InventionA History of Modern Patent Law$
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Alain Pottage and Brad Sherman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199595631

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199595631.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 January 2022



(p.1) 1 Introduction
(p.iii) Figures of Invention

Alain Pottage

Brad Sherman

Oxford University Press

This book charts the emergence of the conception of the invention in modern patent law, focusing on the material media in which the intangible form of the invention is made visible in legal settings. It presents an alternative conceptual history of modern patent law in which the central actors are the media that make the intangible form of the invention visible and tractable, such as scale models, texts, botanical types, and deposits of living material. It also explores historical developments that settled the conditions in which the distinction between idea and embodiment became an unquestioned premise of patent doctrine. In addition, the book outlines a set of representational practices that are essential to the functioning of patent jurisprudence but not noticed or explained by patent doctrine. It suggests that the invention in its modern sense emerged in the course of the eighteenth century, when lawyers and administrators began systematically to make the distinction between ideas and embodiments, or between the invention and the material artefact in which it was expressed.

Keywords:   invention, patent law, material media, scale models, botanical types, patent jurisprudence, patent doctrine

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