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Is it Patentable?
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   Can it be patented
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Robertstacy
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Can it be patented
« on: Nov 29th, 2007, 8:28am »
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My partners and I were in the process of creating a service.  Without getting into details, this service includes having members subscribe, the members receive a membership card with an ID.  Members can present this card to prospective clients to obtain secure information about the member.  
We recently found that someone in California is in the process of launching a similar service.  I see that they have the usual trademarks protecting their logos and branding but can they patent the actual process.  Would we be able to offer this same service under our own naming?
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CriterionD
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Re: Can it be patented
« Reply #1 on: Nov 29th, 2007, 1:28pm »
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Can they patent the process?  Its hypothetically possible, as long as the process is novel and "non obvious" and they are the original inventor.  Could you patent the process?  Again, hypothetically possible.  Might somebody else have patented the process?  Yet again, hypothetically possible.  
 
Could you offer the same service under your own name?  It depends largely on whether they or somebody else has and/or will obtain and/or can obtain patent protection on the process (or parts of it).  
 
Hypothetically there could also be trademark issues depending on your name and its similarity to their name.
 
Basically, without going into detail - which you wouldn't necessarily want to do here - there aren't any really good answers.
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www.criteriondynamics.com
DJoshEsq
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Re: Can it be patented
« Reply #2 on: Nov 29th, 2007, 2:30pm »
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Remember that only the first inventor can obtain patent protection.  If this company (or individuals) invented before you, then you cannot obtain a patent.  
 
If you will be investing a substantial amount of money into this endeavor, I would recommend obtaining a right to use search or an infringement search.
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D. Joshua Smith, Esq.
Registered Patent Attorney
McDonald Hopkins, LLC
Cleveland, OH
216-348-5400
Robertstacy
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Re: Can it be patented
« Reply #3 on: Dec 3rd, 2007, 11:17am »
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How can I go about finding out if this company has obtained patent protection on their process?
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CriterionD
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Re: Can it be patented
« Reply #4 on: Dec 3rd, 2007, 1:36pm »
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on Dec 3rd, 2007, 11:17am, Robertstacy wrote:
How can I go about finding out if this company has obtained patent protection on their process?

 
You want to obtain or conduct a patent search.  You can contract one, or you can conduct one yourself via sites like www.uspto.gov or www.freepatentsonline.com (but conduct a good one, put in the time to learn recommended searching procedures).  It is easy to search for patents assigned to a specific company or applied for by a specific applicant - so thats a recommended first step here if you are initially just interested in whether this other company has applied for a patent.
 
If you have any questions regarding the search process, feel free to contact me via PM or what not (or ask them in the thread if you desire).  Also, note that it can take almost three years at times for a patent app to be published, so it is generally impossible to say with certainty whether this other company has applied for patent protection.
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www.criteriondynamics.com
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