Guide to cultural Invention, Kirsten Ostherr (1998) Nicholas Albery, Matthew Mezey, Mary McHugh and Marie Papworth (editors). Org, The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2000 Archived October 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. "Engines of our Ingenuity. 16 Inventions can also be accidental, such as in the case of polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon). Invention is often an exploratory process with an uncertain or unknown outcome. One of the central concepts of economics is that externalities should be internalizedunless some of the benefits of this positive externality can be captured by the parties, the parties are under-rewarded for their inventions, and systematic under-rewarding leads to under-investment in activities that lead. Talk of the Nation. Invention as defined by patent law See also: Patentability The term invention is also an important legal concept and central to patent law systems worldwide.