Patents on processes and methods, however, complicate this dynamic even more. They are somewhat strange creatures in patent law. These inventions relate to the performance of particular steps, as opposed to a machine or object that could perform the process. In fact, a patent covering a method does not necessarily cover something physical. Instead, the steps of the process are covered. So, the intangibility dynamic is magnified—the intangible patent covers acts that, even in the real world, are fairly intangible. For example, a company could build a massive plant to use a patented method of producing a chemical. Under current law, the plant itself does not infringe upon the patent on the method. Only when someone hits the switch and turns it on—resulting in the steps of the method being performed—would there be infringement. Building the plant alone would not be sufficient.

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