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Is it Patentable?
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   new invention combining known ideas
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   Author  Topic: new invention combining known ideas  (Read 2632 times)
Wiscagent
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Re: new invention combining known ideas
« Reply #10 on: Nov 30th, 2005, 4:26pm »
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Among the requirements for a patent application is:
 
  The specification shall contain a written description of
  the invention, and of the manner and process of
  making and using it, in such full, clear, concise and
  exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art
  to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly
  connected, to make and use the same, and shall set
  forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor of
  carrying out his invention.  (from 35 USC 112)
 
You need to provide a description of the invention in such full, clear, and concise and exact terms as to enable a skilled helicopter artisan to make your gadget without “undue experimentation.”  
 
Also, because an ordinary helicopter can taxi along a runway - much like a car can cruise along a highway, your claims would have to distinguish your “helicar” from a helicopter.  
 
I know that flame throwers have been carried aboard helicopters.  So your claims would also have to distinguish simply carrying a flame thrower on your “helicar” from actually using it.  I’m also aware that helicopters have fired tracer bullets, and probably dropped white phosphorous bombs or grenades, so you’d also have to make sure that your claim doesn’t read on any of that prior art.
 
As Jim wrote earlier, the analysis is “very fact-specific.  To ask whether a new location for a known thing is non-obvious is not enough.  The answer depends on the specifics of the thing and the proposed new location, or new context/environment.”
 
 
 
Richard Tanzer
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Richard Tanzer
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JimIvey
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  jamesdivey  
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Re: new invention combining known ideas
« Reply #11 on: Nov 30th, 2005, 5:31pm »
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Thanks, Richard.  I would let that stand as good advice, but I'd like to address one specific point because it evidences a common misperception that I spend quite of bit of time dispelling.
 
on Nov 30th, 2005, 2:55pm, tot wrote:
cant I just say propellars and rotor without exact measurements (to be as broad as possible)?

The Spec is not the place to gain breadth of coverage.  While being too specific in the claims can unduly narrow your protection, being too inspecific in the Spec can result in invalidity of one or more of your claims.  That's why there are two parts -- one that gives your technology to the public, and one that defines your right to exclude.  If you don't give the first part, you don't get the second part.
 
on Nov 30th, 2005, 2:55pm, tot wrote:
Also, does it matter that it wouldnt fit down a normal highway, if I dont specifically say that it is to be used on a highway?  

Fair enough.  How are you going to solve all the other problems?  Your specification will have to be sufficient that someone with ordinary expertice can go out and build your helicar "without undue experimentation."  At the very least, you're going to have to describe a linkage of the rotors to a power source and controls for the rotors -- unless flying your helicar is not meant to be survived.  If you want to have such broad coverage as to cover super-gluing rotors to the top of a car in a manner than may or may not be operative to fly the car, that's been done (not novel).
 
Actually, if you move away from helicopter to gyroplane, it might be feasible and much simpler to describe.  However, it's very unlikely you'll get enough speed in a car in the snow for lift-off.  If you solve that, you may have something.  Gyroplanes are much much easier to fly and the rotors are less finicky -- more amenable to folding away and stoing.
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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tot
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Re: new invention combining known ideas
« Reply #12 on: Dec 7th, 2005, 4:12pm »
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Thanks, guys, I understand where you are going, but then I look at a patent like 6,918,350, a sea-based hydrogen oxygen generating system, and I get confused all again.  The claims in this patent are for windmill on a ship, such that the power generated by the wind seperates water molecules.  From the above mentioned comments, I would think that this would need to be described very technically, with many detailed claims.  However, the main claim, with basically 10 dependant claims that are also generally written, is as follows:
 
1. A method for generation of gasses contained in a salt solution by the steps of:  
 
(a) disposing one or more floating wind turbines on waters distant from a proximate shore, wherein said floating wind turbines further comprise wind turbines affixed to navigable collection vessels at sea;  
 
(b) disposing said vessels with one or more predetermined geographic zones, each of said zones having a suitable wind velocity for operation of said wind turbines, being without established shipping lanes, and providing communication between the collection vessels within the zone and a command center;  
 
(c) generating electricity by an electrical generator connected to each of the wind turbines; and  
 
(d) extracting said gasses from a salt solution by means of electrolysis using said electricity.  
----------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Now, why is it that this general claim is acceptable, where as my helicopter combined to a car claim above would not be.  I dont see what the difference is between "said floating wind turbines further comprise wind turbines affixed to navigable collection vessels at sea" and something like I mentioned above, "a flame thrower attached to the front and a helicopter unit with propellers attached to the hood."  It certainly cant be that affixing a wind turbine to a vessel is commonly known, whereas affixing a helicopter unit to a car wouldnt be, could it?  
 
I am just trying to understand the difference.
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Isaac
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Re: new invention combining known ideas
« Reply #13 on: Dec 7th, 2005, 4:40pm »
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The question here is not just what's in the claim but what's in the specification.  The detailed description has to enable the claims.    
 
Generally, you cannot tell by looking at the claim alone whether there has been an enabling description.
 
On the other hand not every detail is required to make a description enabling.  If one of ordinary skill in the art can come up with a working model without "undue experimetation" then the description is enabling.   For example if some thumbrule known by ordinary technicians would get a working blade dimension or would get something close that could be varied to work without undue experimentation, then those details do not have to be disclosed.
 
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Isaac
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  jamesdivey  
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Re: new invention combining known ideas
« Reply #14 on: Dec 7th, 2005, 6:26pm »
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Isaac's right.  The place to claim is the claims.  The place to describe is the specification.  If you merely cite the claim and wonder why the claim doesn't teach one how to make and use the invention, that's because the claim isn't the place for that.  I suspect the specification of that patent (don't have time to look it up now) describes all that stuff in greater detail that does the claim.
 
Even so, the windmills on the boats are much simpler than your idea.  Well, the flame-thrower is pretty simple -- probably a straight bolt-on job.  The helicopter/car combo is not simple at all.
 
Windmills are well-known. Putting them on a boat is a simple bolt-on job.  Anchoring the boat out of a shipping lane is pretty straightforward too -- just need a map and a GPS (or ****tant and watch and compass).  Electrolysis is dirt simple too -- I first saw it demonstrated in middle school (then called Jr. High).  I wouldn't be surprised to learn that elementary schools are teaching that now.  So, where's the hard part in making that?  Heck, I could probably make the thing from the claim language alone and I've never been an electrical engineer and can barely solder anything.
 
Well, with perhaps one exception: I'm not sure how I can be distant from a proximal (near) anything.  But, ignoring that detail, I could probably make one of those things.
 
By comparison, helicopters are extremely difficult to build.  Have you ever built one?  I haven't, but I've read a little about it and have seen it done.  It's not quite rocket science, but close.  In some ways, it's more challenging than rocket science.  To think that you can just say "bolt helicopter rotors on a car so that it can fly" and that's enough to send any mechanic out to build one is .. well, misguided to say the least.
 
The bottom line is whether a person of ordinary skill in the relevant technology can actually make and use an article that infringes your claim by reading your specification.  For some inventions, you don't need much in the specification to satisfy that standard.  For other inventions, you need a lot in the specification to satisfy that standard.
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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