February 12 this year marks the 213th birthday of Charles Robert Darwin, known as the "Father of the Theory of Evolution" according to which evolution of the species is driven by a process of natural selection. Namely, a process by which random variations in a subject's phenotype (i.e., characteristics) that increase the suitability of the subject to a changing environment and its ability to reproduce, are genetically maintained in the population and cause an evolution and creation of new species.
As exciting and revolutionary as the theory of evolution has been (and still is), Darwin did not "invent" it and it cannot be regarded as an "invention".
An invention is a creative achievement which usually develops from a hypothesis, a scientific discovery, or an experimental discovery, and always includes an element of human intervention. The hypothesis or the scientific discovery by themselves are not an invention. They cannot be owned by anyone and can certainly not be patented.
A patentable invention according to the Israeli Patent Law is a product or a process in any technological field that is new, inventive, useful, and industrially applicable.
Therefore, no matter how novel and inventive a theory or an idea may be, abstract scientific theories are not patentable.
One of the main reasons for that is the question of the usefulness and industrial applicability of the scientific theory as such. The brilliant laws that govern the process of evolutionary selection do not have a direct use or industrial applicability, and if such use is found, it may be regarded as an invention only if the proposed product or process involves a modification of the natural processes.
And last, but not least, in the case of evolution, Darwin (as well as other less celebrity scientists such as Alfred Russel Wallace) crafted an ingenious theory based on its careful observation of Nature. If so, who after all can be defined here as an inventor?
Perhaps the finches of Galapagos.
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