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The complexities of patent law

"I wish I'd thought of that!" How often people in Michigan may say this as they sit at home watching a commercial for a new and exciting product. An ingenious device that simplifies a difficult chore may make millions of dollars for the inventor. While many may wish they had thought of it first, others may complain that the inventor stole their idea. However, according to patent law, being the first to come up with an idea may not be enough.

Patents are granted by the U.S. government to protect a person's rights to profit from an invention. Those seeking a patent must show that the invention is useful and is distinct from any previous inventions. If an invention does not have a practical purpose, it will not be eligible to receive a patent.

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