In our earlier blog entries, we mentioned three concepts: inventorship, conception and reduction to practice. Inventorship was discussed last time, and we will cover the other two in this blog entry.

A conception is the formulation of the complete means for solving a problem. Conception does not mean the mere recognition of a problem. Conception does not mean a general approach to solving a problem without specific means to accomplish the approach.

The conception must be specific enough to allow a person of reasonable skill in the art to reduce the invention to practice without undue experimentation. In addition, there is a special two-part rule for the conception of a chemical compound. First, the inventor must conceive the structure of a chemical compound. Second, the inventor must possess the operative method of making the compound.

There are two types of reduction to practice – actual or constructive. Actual reduction to practice includes the physical construction of the invention and the testing of a physical embodiment to determine whether it performs as contemplated. The invention need not be perfect or incapable of further improvement. An inventor need not carry out the actual reduction to practice. However, he or she must supervise it. Conception may occur contemporaneously with the actual reduction to practice.

Constructive reduction to practice occurs when an inventor files a patent application. Constructive reduction to practice is equivalent to actual reduction to practice.