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This lesson explores the concept of utility as a condition for patentability under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The lesson can serve either as an introduction to the topic or as a review after covering the material in class. Although the fundamental concepts in this lesson are not difficult, the optional essay explores a particularly challenging topic.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain if an invention is useful if its function is harmful, immoral, or simply of minor importance.
  2. Determine if an invention is useful if it is inefficient or impractical.
  3. Determine if an invention is useful if it has been demonstrated to work only on laboratory animals.
  4. Explain whether an invention is useful if its only function is to serve as an object for further scientific research.
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