Difference Between Discovery and Invention (With Table)

In the modern world where technology is changing rapidly, new things are either discover or invented that impact the life of the individual in one or another way. Discovery and invention may sound the same but it is just a misconception. Discovery means when unexpected things are uncovered while invention means making something new by using a unique idea.

Discovery vs Invention

The main difference between discovery and invention is that discovery means finding out something which is already existed but does not uncover or perceived before. Invention on the other side is developing and converting a new idea into something useful which does not exist before.

Discovery is finding out something for the first time which is not been used before. It is the process of determining or gaining knowledge of something which is already existed in the world but had not seen earlier. Discoveries cannot be patented because it is about making something known and does not mean or include producing a new thing.

The invention is converting an idea into a reality. It is about creating, developing, experimenting, and implementing a new idea and transforming it into something useful. Various technical and scientific procedures are followed and experiments are made to create a new item that serves a specific purpose.

Comparison Table Between Discovery and Invention

Parameters of ComparisonDiscoveryInvention
What is it?Discovery means finding out something which is already existed but does not perceive before Invention is developing and converting a new idea into something useful which does not exist before.
InvolveIt involve exploration It involves experimentation
RepresentsDiscoveries are the initial outcome of the natural occurrencesInventions are technical procedures that include devices, artifacts, and processes
ExistenceIt is about recognizing or detecting pre-existed thingsIt is about creating and developing non-existed things
PatentDiscoveries cannot be patentedInventions can be patented
DevelopDiscoveries can be made accidentally or purposelyInventions are done purposely to meet a specific purpose

What is Discovery?

Discovery is detecting a new item or something which is already existed in the world but remains uncovered. In other words, it is about making a new thing known by exploring the natural occurrence. Gravity and the plant cell are an example of discoveries. These things have already existed but people do not know about the same. In discovering the new concept the curiosity plays a major effective role. With curiosity people would be able to research various concepts and the repetitive questioning procedures will lead to making some things unexpected.

What is Invention?

The invention is producing or developing a unique item that has not existed in the world before. It is about transforming a new idea into something useful which is developed to meet a specific purpose. The automobile, Railway, Airplane, Wheel are a few examples of inventions, in which people invent something that has never existed before and take the technology to some other level.

Inventions are done to serve a specific purpose or for instance, facilitate the individual by fulfilling a particular need and requirement. It is made by effectively utilizing the distinct tool and turn out them into something amazing and useful. Inventions are the result of planning that involves a unique idea that can be patented.

Main Differences Between Discovery and Invention

  1. Discovery is finding out the pre-existed thing. It is about recognizing a new item or thing that already existed in the world but in an uncovered way. While creating and developing an idea into something useful that does not exist before is called invention.
  2. Discovery and invention may sound similar but they are different from each other in one or another way. Discovery involves exploring and finding out something which is not acknowledged or not known to the people but exists in the world. On the contrary, invention involves a predefined process of experimentation and using the distinct tool to create or produce something new and useful that never predict before.
  3. Discovery and invention will lead to some outcome that makes a major impact in the world. Questioning and curiosity help in recognizing and uncovering a new item and coming out with the natural occurrences. While the inventions on the other side involve various technical procedures as well that results in the outcome of conceiving new devices, artifacts, and processes.
  4. The existence plays a significant role in differentiating between these two terms. Discovery is uncovering or recognizing the pre-existed things that already existed but nobody have the knowledge about their existence. On the contrary, inventions are producing and creating non-existed things. It is about transforming the ideas in creating something productive and useful to meet a specific purpose,
  5. Recognizing a new thing or item by an individual or group of people that never heard before will give the right of patent to those individuals but in discoveries, the person who discovers the thing has no patent right on the discovered thing or item because it is the natural occurrence. On the contrary, the inventors who make the inventions and come up with a unique idea to develop somethings useful have the right to get a patent for the invention, hence inventions are patentable.
  6. Discovery of an item or subject can be done accidentally, can be the result of curiosity or it can also be done purposely by making and following procedures. On the contrary, inventions are always done purposely.


Discovery and inventions are interrelated terms that consequently result in producing or creating a new subject or thing and promoting modern technology. Both of these concepts results in creating a major impact worldwide and are associated with each other in one or another way. Discoveries recognize the pre-existed things while the invention is transforming the idea into something useful and this can be done by using the material that is already discovered.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC384082/
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1478-4408.1965.tb02651.x

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Editorial Staff at Ask Any Difference is a team of experts in the field of "Difference Between" topics and led by Sandeep Bhandari, Piyush Yadav and Chara Yadav. Trusted by over 1.5 million readers worldwide
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