Intellectual Property Forums (

(Message started by: boozerker on Sep 17th, 2007, 1:27pm)

Title: Open patents?
Post by boozerker on Sep 17th, 2007, 1:27pm
I'm not certain how some of the newer methods dealing with Intellectual Property such as open content, GNU General Public License, or Creative Commons license became legally established and recognized, but can a similar thing happen for patents and be official? And under the same circumstances as the above open material, or entirely different ones?


Title: Re: Open patents?
Post by MattB on Sep 17th, 2007, 2:05pm
Hi Boozerker,

Patents generally (with some exception) protect different embodiments of intellectual property than copyrights.  As my understanding goes, the previous open forms are for copyright in software, code and literature.

A big difference between copyright and patents is that a copyright remains a common-law form of protection.  Such that a writing cannot be freely copied (with some exceptions) regardless of registration.  On the other hand, patents generally require the USPTO issuance to have effect.

Therefore, to answer your question, the only way for a patent to have the same treatment would be for someone to dedicate the patent to the public (or under some general license).  For instance, someone (who would go to the trouble and expense of getting an issued patent) can set out guidelines to practice the invention and enforce the patent on anyone who would abuse the privilege.  If there were no guidelines and the inventor wanted everyone to freely use the patent, the best method to go about this would be to just publish the work/invention for all the world to see.  

One way to publish would be to file a patent application and pay the fee(s) up to publication and then abandon or to put it on the Internet, trader magazine, etc.

By publishing, and noting your invention date, you will prevent another from patenting the invention and obvious changes.

If this does not answer your Q, please respond.


Title: Re: Open patents?
Post by boozerker on Sep 17th, 2007, 3:57pm
Excellent response (and got some more questions from that).

By "publication" you seem to be referring to some point in the patent process. If so, then if you do publish the design in a widely circulated trader magazine, but hadn't sent it through any official patent steps, then are you saying that it won't prevent another company or individual from patenting the invention? However, if that's not the case -- then am I able to simply publish the invention as is, with no guidelines attached, and would that still prevent others from patenting it solely for themselves?

Also, how would you recomment finding a patent agent/attorney with ideal qualifications for such a goal?

Title: Re: Open patents?
Post by boozerker on Sep 18th, 2007, 10:29pm
A third set of questions (still need answers to the two above).

1. If a company were to have a system where people can donate their inventions or artistic material free to the world via that company, yet do so reassured by an agreement that's independently notarized, duplicated, filed and shared with the contributor, how feasible would it all be?

The purpose of that agreement and getting things on official record is to inject a healthy dose of trust, professionalism, and fairness into each step. Nondisclosure agreements would be effective until proper release of the contributor's material, and video copies of the presentation kept by each party as further evidence.

2. What does anyone here recommend as a step by step method to achieving the entire goal? The operation will be structured to keep costs low or nonexistent for contributors, so a nonprofit model is likely.

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