Originally Posted by Shaggy
An idea isn't patentable. A specific implementation of an idea might be, but not the idea itself.
Its not as easy as that. actually sometimes even a material is patentable not the implementation of a process to generate it. A "talented" patent writer will take care to write a patent that way, that the material itself is protected, not the process he invented to generate it so. So even if someone else finds another technique, he still remains the right. Is it smart to grant "result patents" instead of just "process patents" IMHO no, but it is possible currently.