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  • The Patent Act of 1790 was the first patent statute passed by the federal government of the United States. It was enacted on April 10, 1790, about one year after the constitution was ratified and a new government was organized. The law was concise, defining the subject matter of a U.S. patent as “any useful art, manufacture, engine, machine, or device, or any improvement thereon not before known or used.” It granted the applicant the "sole and exclusive right and liberty of making, constructing, using and vending to others to be used" of his invention.

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