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Technically correct. Esthetically abhorrent.

One of the most awkward sentences that I've read in law school appears at the end of 103(a) of the Patent Act: "Patentability shall not be negatived by the manner in which the invention was made."


Uggh. Today, I again encountered the word again, this time in an otherwise excellent article by Walter Gellhorn, Contracts and Public Policy, 35 Colum. L. Rev. 679 (1935):

But when the legislature selected only one sanction to enforce compliance with what it regarded as the public interest, the courts at once came face to face with the problem whether the selection of one negatived the desirability of also using the other.

Gellhorn is otherwise an excellent (and sarcastic) writer, so I'll assume he was smoking crack when he used the word "negative" as a transitive verb.

Technically, it's a correct usage. Esthetically, it's a disaster. Kind of like high heels. The women who wear them always walk funny.


This one always bothers me too. What's wrong with "negate?" Why turn a verb into a noun back into a verb? It's sort of like how Brits use "orientated" instead of "oriented."

It always makes me think of soldiers, communicating through radio: "Negative, negative! Abort! Abort patent now! Manner in which invention made is indicative of obviousness! Clear out, NOW!"

As for the high heels -- grah. As far as I can tell, shoes like Tevas were invented for love. The rest are all about hate and destruction.

I don't walk funny in high heels.