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"You didn't know there was such a thing as wheel mouse and you came up with it all on your own?"
Such situations are entirely possible, yes. Inventor's don't necessary read the newest top-notch everyday, you know.
Nobody with a imo healthy mind is going to check the US Patent Office if something was ''invented'' already.
The patent system doesn't work on an international basis either, as it isn't worldwide. The USA would love to have it this way. They tried in Europe, but alas, the USA's secret lobby got intercepted, got in public, protests were going on and it failed *huge smile c:*.
How is it justified that an inventor in country X has to be Y to a previous inventor, while an inventor in country Z has to pay nada?
Solution: move out of USA to *fill in any country here*. Invent something. Get back to the USA. There, oops().
The thought-control system just doesn't work... it only obstructs those who did not known about the invention. Those who know about it can easily reinvent it in any non-USA country.
"They have no value until they are enforced."
Thus, they are of value, because you can enforce them. Will you enforce them? What are the stakes?
May i ask you *why* exactly you patented them bbrv? Is it a so-called ''defensive patent''? If so, will it stay a ''defensive patent''? Perhaps a reader can agree with your motivation and future regarding this issue...
"Being the first to patent an idea is hugely different from being the first person to have the idea."
Duh? Ofcourse that is different. Because the rules are different. Now if you can argument how it is according to you justified..? Btw it is generally more than a mere ''idea'', it is generally worked out already; an idea put in practise.