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Psychotic patients and patent applications: The mad scientist revisited?

  • David V. James (a1) and Paul L. Gilluley (a2)
Abstract

The clinical observation that some psychotic patients were attempting to register their ideas as patents prompted a survey of published patents. The hypothesis was that, given supposed links between creativity and mental illness, the Patent Office might be a repository of psychotic ideas. Searches were made on specific topics suggested by our patients' applications. A survey was undertaken of unusual patents in the collection as a whole, and of authors with unusual track records. Bizarre and eccentric patents were identified, but patents of the sort that our patients attempted to register were absent. Possible explanations for this result are discussed.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Andreasen, N. C. (1987) Creativity and mental illness: prevalence rates in writers and their first-degree relatives. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 12881296.
Hare, E. (1987) Creativity and mental illness. British Medical Journal, 295, 15871589.
Jamison, K. R. (1993) Touched with Fire. New York: Free Press.
Kawakami, K. (1995) 101 Useless Japanese Inventions: The Art of Chindogu. London: Harper Collins.
Kessel, N. (1989) Genius and mental disorder: a history of ideas concerning their conjunction. In Genius: The History of an Idea, (ed, P. Murray). Oxford: Blackwell.
Post, F. (1994) Creativity and psychopathology. A study of 291 world-famous men. British Journal of Psychiatry, 165, 2234.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Psychotic patients and patent applications: The mad scientist revisited?

  • David V. James (a1) and Paul L. Gilluley (a2)
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