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I have an Invention ... Now What?
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   What's My First Step....?
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   Author  Topic: What's My First Step....?  (Read 1546 times)
MrM
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What's My First Step....?
« on: Jan 11th, 2005, 1:32pm »
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I have an idea for a computer program that currently does not exist and for which there is an abundant need and something of a public outcry. I know based upon the money spent on other programs in this "community" that it has the potential to be extremely profitable. I have thought through how the program would work and what it would do, and have concluded that it would be relatively simple to create and market the program and it would have a world-wide market place.... here is the problem , I know nothing about computer programming and I know that the moment I disclose this idea to any programming company they will quickly recognize the profit potential of this idea and probably begin working on it or something just like it right away. In this instance, I have little confidence in a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement for several reasons including the questionable or non-existent ethical practices of many programming concerns, and the fact that if I don't have something to "hang my hat on" that says this idea belongs to me, someone could begin working on a program virtually identical to mine. Any thoughts on how I should proceed, or what steps I should take before I pitch this idea would be greatly appreciated.
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JSonnabend
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Re: What's My First Step....?
« Reply #1 on: Jan 12th, 2005, 7:52am »
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The first steps, in my opinion, are:
 
     (1) Find a qualified programmer.  
 
     (2) Have an attorney draft and the developer sign a software development agreement that protects your intellectual property interests in the software.  
 
     (3) Have the programmer develop the software.  
 
Once that is done, you can take the dual steps of:
 
     (1) seeking proper protection for your software and  
 
     (2) shopping the software around.
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
Intellectual Property and Technology Law
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JSonnabend@SonnabendLaw.com
Penny_Ballou
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Re: What's My First Step....?
« Reply #2 on: Jan 13th, 2005, 8:52am »
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>> I have little confidence in a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement...<<
   
I hear you on that score. Since what is/is not enforcible per each state's laws I would go with an attorney in the state the programmer resides.  
 
>>  (3) Have the programmer develop the software.<<
 
Would not the programmer be the first to reduce it to practice and, perhaps, may need to do more than tweak it to get it to produce its intended results. Why would he/she not minimally be named inventor and/or a co-inventor?  
 
Afterall, the "conceptiventor" is merely that while the programmer works out performance nuts n' bolts turning the idea into a doable reality through his technical skills?  (I do understand the notion of surrending patent/copyright [IP] and financial rights in exchange for full payment).  
 
PB
 
 
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JSonnabend
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Re: What's My First Step....?
« Reply #3 on: Jan 13th, 2005, 10:15am »
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on Jan 13th, 2005, 8:52am, Penny_Ballou wrote:
Would not the programmer be the first to reduce it to practice and, perhaps, may need to do more than tweak it to get it to produce its intended results. Why would he/she not minimally be named inventor and/or a co-inventor?

In some instances, you may be entirely correct, at least to the extent of a co-inventor.  These issues should always be addressed in the software development agreement.
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
Intellectual Property and Technology Law
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JSonnabend@SonnabendLaw.com
Isaac
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Re: What's My First Step....?
« Reply #4 on: Jan 13th, 2005, 7:30pm »
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The question of whether a programmer, lab assistant, or technician
working under the direction of someone is an inventor
has no simple answer other than "it depends".  Consider
that a software invention can be constructively reduced
to practice by being described in a patent application that
contain only descriptions of functionality and it becomes clear
that a software based invention can be patented even though
no coded version of the invention has ever existed.
 
On the other hand, the process of generating code for even a
non novel idea can result in the programmer generating a
patentable invention.  In that case, the person contracting for the
code might not even be an inventor at all.
 
An inventor is someone who contributes to the conception of
a patentable invention as claimed.  Someone who simply reduces
the invention to practice as directed by someone else is not
an inventor.  Easier to say than to apply.
 
Obviously a great deal of the business issues can be dealt with via
contractural agreements between the involved parties.
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Isaac
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