The Patent Act of 1790 was one of the first federal laws enacted by the initial Congress, to encourage and protect rights in patents. This legislation is authorized by the Constitution "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." U.S. CONST., Art. I, § 8, cl. 8.
The most significant amendments to the Patent Act occurred in 1793, 1836, 1870, and 1952.
A patent office was not created by the original law, but was established later.
- NOTE: Prosecution History Estoppel, the Doctrine of Equivalents, and the Scope of Patents, 13 Harv. J. Law & Tec 465, 468 (2000).