Patent Law - Friend or Foe of Progress in Expansion Joints and Bearings


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Title: Patent Law - Friend or Foe of Progress in Expansion Joints and Bearings

Author(s): Lawrence A. Hymo

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 70


Appears on pages(s): 29-57

Keywords: bearings; civil engineering; control joints; inventions; joint sealers; patents; plastics, polymers and resins; sealing.

Date: 1/1/1981

In the roughly five hundred years since patents began to be granted, inventors have created millions of new ideas, in all branches of technology. Patents have provided the incentive to inventors to create new ideas, to develop those ideas and to take the risk of promoting those ideas. As a result of their efforts, technology exists now which would be beyond the comprehension of persons who lived in earlier times. In the period since the end of the Second World War, great advances have been made in bearings and expansion joints. Large movement joints are now sealed to prevent intrusion of foreign substances. Bearings have greatly increased in load ratings and endurance under adverse environmental conditions. Joints and bearings, as they now exist, were inconceivable less than 50 years ago. Patents have encouraged the numerous inventors who contributed to that progress. Patent systems exist to distinguish between real contributions and old ideas, and to limit the scope of patent monopolies to the new technology contributed by each inventor. Those systems are necessary to assure that patents reward progress, rather than retarding it by granting monopolies over ideas which should be freely available to all persons.