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   Author  Topic: real life scenario  (Read 1325 times)
peter beechey
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real life scenario
« on: Sep 16th, 2006, 3:36pm »
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Heres a real world situation for which I may need a proper patent - if it is patentable. I will do some searching on my own to try and figure out the answer myself. It relates to prior art and is hard for me to understand. eg supposedly someone patented 'an outdoor camping toilet' which was a toilet seat that could be affixed to the bumper of a car. Neither the toilet seat nor the car (A nor B) could be patented but can the original concept of (A+B) be patented? Another example is a dishwasher - too late for me to patent now - but a company here in New Zealand where I live has been the first (?) to develop a twin draw dishwasher - so rather than having to fully load the dishwasher - you need only set one smaller drawer to wash (eg if you are a smaller family). Is this idea - in itself - patentable, or would this be either a copyrighted design or would only the motor mechanism that allows the dishwasher to run as a single or double draw be patentable rather than the general concept itself?
Thanks,
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Wiscagent
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Posts: 843
Re: real life scenario
« Reply #1 on: Sep 16th, 2006, 5:42pm »
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Potentially either of these inventions (toilet seat mounted to car, and two draw dishwasher) are patentable.  Under US law (and I believe New Zealand law is essentially the same on this) the invention must be novel, not obvious, and useful.
 
Certainly these inventions meet the requirement for usefulness.  The inventions may have been novel, i.e. not publicly known, prior to this newsgroup posting.  Demonstrating that the inventions were not obvious (i.e. requiring an inventive step) probably would have been more difficult.
 
Note that inventions, not ideas, can be patentable.  In this context the key difference is that an invention be “enabled” – in your patent application you must be teach a skilled person how to make and use your invention.
 
Peter - you wrote that you "may need a proper patent."  A patent may be a useful business tool - but one is not required to make or sell a product.
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Richard Tanzer
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Peter Beechey
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Re: real life scenario
« Reply #2 on: Sep 16th, 2006, 7:48pm »
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Thank you - your answer was most enlightening. I need to digest it - but I think it has given me some clarity on the way forward. I think perhaps what you are saying is:
A bag is not currently patentable, nor is a broom, but if I show someone how to saw the end of a broom off, and attach some bags to either end so as to distribute the load, and then attach a towel and stick the whole lot over someones shoulders to carry the shopping home, then for what it is worth! (and assuming no one had ever thought to try that before) - the result might be patentable?
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Wiscagent
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Re: real life scenario
« Reply #3 on: Sep 16th, 2006, 8:11pm »
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Yes, your broom stick / towel / bag invention might be patentable.  
 
One U.S. Supreme Court ruling states that a combination which only unites old elements with no change in their respective functions is precluded from patentability under the obviousness rules.  In your example the broom stick is being used to carry a bag at either end and distribute the load to the shopper's (or is that schlepper’s) shoulders.  Clearly this is not the customary use of a broom stick.
 
In contrast, if I were to bolt a conventional telephone to a conventional refrigerator without any particular interaction between the items, my telephone / refrigerator combination is probably not patentable; it would be considered a “mere agglomeration.”  This is actually a problem with trying to patent kits that are simply convenient collections of items.
 
New Zealand law is probably similar in these respects.
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Richard Tanzer
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gilteva
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Re: real life scenario
« Reply #4 on: Jun 12th, 2007, 9:30am »
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If I combine a refrigieator and a mixer, and shows that there is an advantage of combinning, because I need only one power cord, for example, will it still be rejected?
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