Property Law

Invention in an Envelope

Invention in an Envelope

Up until March 16, 2013, the US was the lone holdout for the first-to-invent system. Prior to that, it was tribal knowledge that if you invented something, you could write down a description of the invention, put it in an envelope, mail it back to yourself, and hang on to that sealed envelope as proof that you were the true inventor. OK- it takes a lot more than that to actually own intellectual property rights, but it was a good start and it actually had legal effect.