What Is Technical System in TRIZ ?

Y. B. Karasik,
Thoughts Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.

In response to my recent article "What is system in TRIZ ?" I received a letter from a reader who wished to remain anonymous. He proposed the following definition of a technical system:

Besides being factually inaccurate (a group of objects responsible for an unwanted situation is also called SYSTEM in TRIZ), the above definition begs the following questions:

  1. Slight modifications to technical systems are hardly patentable because do not satisfy the criterion of novelty. Are they not technical systems then ?
  2. Software systems were not patentable until recently. Were they not technical systems then ?
  3. If the detailed description of a machine (or method) was first published in a journal, such machine (or method) cannot be patented. Does it cease to be a technical system then ?
  4. Patent law varies from country to country. What is patentable in one country may not be patentable in another. Does it mean that what is a technical system in Japan may turn out to be not a technical system in the US ?
  5. Machines and inventions existed from the times immemorial when no patent law existed. Are machines of the ancient Egypt not technical systems then ?