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Patents: the inventor who claimed too much

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How much right should an inventor have to control the future? That was the question decided by the United States Supreme Court in the famous 1853 case of Samuel Morse and his telegraph, and the answer the Court gave then is still the law today. This rule of law, now more than 140 years old, says that no matter how great an invention may be, there comes a point where a court will step in and say that the public's right supersedes the inventor's right. Fortunately for Morse, he was able to stop O'Reilly's infringement based on his narrower claims. Similarly, inventors seeking broad patent protection today include narrower claims in their patents to protect against the possibility that a court may find that they, too, have claimed too much

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Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 4 )