Publication Title

Washington University Journal of Law & Policy


Part I of this Essay introduces the existing law governing the institutional allocation of the power to interpret patent claims. Part II provides a compendium of “the relevant prior art”—the existing legal mechanisms that could be useful in analyzing the technical problem introduced in part I. Part III addresses the last and most difficult issue, albeit the one simplest to grasp. The success of a technical invention is typically evaluated by quantitative results. In the domain of technology, practicality counts—not abstract analogies, nor a priori conjectures, nor unsubstantiated predictions. For most technologies, quantitative results are easy; the market provides them. The proof of the better mousetrap is not that the world will beat a path to your door, but that it will pay money once it gets there.