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(Message started by: Veraut on Mar 26th, 2006, 2:34am)

Title: Is it patentable
Post by Veraut on Mar 26th, 2006, 2:34am
Hello !

we developed a product which is on the one hand using a standard GSM-Modem by a well know company and on the other hand we developed a printed circuit board (with standard mp430 texas processor).

well i think the gsm-modem must be patented by the company.
Now we are using this standard modem in combination with our circuit board for specific field. It economically solves a problem for those who work in that field.

1.Question: Might this product (combination) be a new product ? and patentable ?

If somebody designes similar product (with any differnt gsm modem or some other processor/circuit board) will he then infringe "my" patent ?
Or is the patent not bound to the hardware used?

Thanks for your help!

Title: Re: Is it patentable
Post by JimIvey on Mar 26th, 2006, 4:55pm
I've actually done some work in those technical areas, but that experience really isn't needed to answer the question.

Yes, a new and non-obvious combination of known things is patentable.  Of course, combining a modem with a processor is not a new combination, but I suspect you believe your device is combined in some new and potentially non-obvious way and/or configured to do things that no one else does.  Those things, assuming they are in fact new and non-obvious, are patentable.

As for what your patent will cover, that's up to whoever writes and negotiates your claims.  Your patent can cover whatever someone can capture in claim language that doesn't cover anything known (that qualifies as "prior art") or any obvious variation/combination thereof.  That's where a big part of the effort of putting together a strong patent lies.


Title: Re: Is it patentable
Post by RMissimer on Jun 11th, 2006, 11:39am
I am not sure if they got your meaning.

To be patentable there must be utility.  If you take a different modem module, and a different processor than the prior art, and do the same thing,  YOU WILL NOT GET A PATENT.

You get a patent for the utility of the device created not for its component combination itself.  Further, since most component manufacturers provide example circuits, it is hard to create a circuit that is patentable on its own merit.  There must be a problem solved, in a non-obvious way.

Title: Re: Is it patentable
Post by JimIvey on Jun 11th, 2006, 1:48pm
I'd suggest not using "utility" in that way -- it just confuses an entirely different issue in patents.

I used the term "non-obvious" to convey what you're describing.  Yes, it's a loaded term.  Last I checked (many years ago), Chisum devoted over 500 pages to the topic in his treatise.  I wish I could convey the entirety of my 15 years of practice and Gestaultian understanding of what "non-obvious" means in every one-minute post I put in here, but I simply can't.

For what it's worth, despite the fact that most lay people (and many practitioners) won't fully appreciate the true meaning of "non-obvious", I believe my answer was complete and accurate as it was.

If I leave an important part of the answer less than fully explained in lay terms due to practical limitations, I apologize but I really don't have much choice.  The law is very complex.  That's why I don't mind posting answers here as completely as I can with limited facts and time -- to get a really useful answer to just about anything related to a real case is going to require a couple of hours (minimum) of attention by a hired professional.  If any of this were easy, I imagine most people would just handle their own issues themselves with satisfactory results and I'd have to do something else for a living.


Title: Re: Is it patentable
Post by RMissimer on Jun 14th, 2006, 4:06pm
I get you point Jim.  But isn't the point of this site to help someone get through a filing or at least attempt same.  If they had the resources to do this through local legal counsel they would have done it already.

Certainly, they may not be able to do it,  but they atleast want to try.  The practictioners that post here within I assumed wanted to help.

Title: Re: Is it patentable
Post by JimIvey on Jun 14th, 2006, 4:32pm

on 06/14/06 at 16:06:50, RMissimer wrote:
But isn't the point of this site to help someone get through a filing or at least attempt same.

Absolutely not!  Maybe it's time for another disclaimer.  Nothing I post here is legal advice.  I'm not advising anyone regarding their specific facts.  This is merely a place for strictly academic discussion of IP law and perhaps the occasional hypothetical situation for context.  I don't believe this site was ever intended as a surrogate for real legal advice.

As my FAQ ( and my posts here clearly suggest, there is no cheap and easy way to profit from an idea.  

So, what the heck am I doing here, anyway?  Well, here and elsewhere, I see what I consider to be dangerous misconceptions with respect to IP law and patents in particular.  I'm hoping to tell people how it really is before they really screw things up for themself.  Go to some of the inventor-centric places and you'll hear one inventor tell another that they mailed the idea to themself and now they're protected.  Another will say to e-mail it to yourself because the e-mail server will keep a record of it.  How many people here say their attorney filed a provisional and now they're protected?  I've had people ask me if they can get a patent on an idea in which the previous patent had expired and the previous owner didn't "renew" it.  As absurd as some of these misconceptions sound to someone reasonable familiar with patent law, they are downright dangerous if people actually act in accordance with them.  A classic example is the filing of a provisional application the barely describes the basic concept behind an invention and then waiting 364 days, or even longer, to follow up with a real application.  That's dangerous -- if you really need the patent.

I also see a lot of bad patent advice being dispensed by patent practitioners -- although not so much here.  The worst I've seen recently is a provisional application filed by a registered practitioner -- a print out of an e-mailed disclosure from the inventor, including questions about invoicing and services of the practitioner, and an illegible, unintelligible photocopied fax of the drawing(s).  Stuff like that gives me great comfort re my own malpractice liability since the level of ordinary care in the industry seems to be below what my conscience can tolerate, but it makes me sad for the people how pay for that sort of crud.

So, I suppose I'm here to try to offer whatever help I can ethically provide without taking a couple hours to fully understand the specifics of a particular case, and that's often limited to partial answers and correcting misconceptions.

If you want to file your own patent application, at least spend enough money to buy a complete book on the topic.  I'm not going to give any sort of satisfactory explanation of what's "obvious" in a one-minute post.  And, I'd go so far as to suggest that anyone who thinks they can give a satisfactory answer as to what's obvious -- satisfactory in the sense that a lay inventor would know enough to make a good determination of the patentability of their own invention -- in a single post here is someone  who doesn't understand obviousness themself or has one heck of an ego.

The bottom line is that you get what you pay for -- and legal advice is no exception.


Title: Re: Is it patentable
Post by Bill Richards on Jun 15th, 2006, 6:18am
I'd like to add something to Jim's comments.  Even though I'm a practitioner myself, I'm always learning from the more-experienced posters like Jim and Isaac.  In addition, this is a great forum for practitioners to bounce ideas off one another.  Hopefully, I can throw in my $0.02 every once in a while to give back.  Thanks, guys.
And, Jim's right.  So many times we see people out there about to do something detrimental or continuing to do something detrimental and it's nice to see them set straight.  I think, in the long run, it helps our profession to have a happy (not mad at the profession or system), well-informed public.  After all, if an inventor doesn't call us due to mis-perceptions or mis-information, we can't help him.  Then, the whole system suffers.

Title: Re: Is it patentable
Post by RMissimer on Jun 15th, 2006, 12:40pm
My last sentence was "that the practioners here wanted to help.  Your response was absolutely not, yet you went on to indicate that you did want to help,  but not to the extent that you made the designers submittal easier for them.  I am not sure I would have used absolutely.

I too have seen a lot of bad misconceptions regarding Patent, Trademark, and Copyright usage.  At times it kind of reminds me of slap-stick, because it is hard to believe that people can mis the point as bad as they do sometimes.  But calling them on it, doesn't fix anything.

I am a very good engineer, because I am a decent problemsolver.   Catching the slap-stick and commenting on it, isn't solving anything to me.

As an attorney in the state of Wisconsin (once I become one) I am expected to do a certain amount of probono work.  I have scratched my head to try to determine how I was going to do that.  But it seems to me that the Q&A here easily falls within that scope.

NOW, if a site like that was created then would this site eventually die?  If the answer is yes, then the purpose was not as Intellectual as you would hope.

Title: Re: Is it patentable
Post by JimIvey on Jun 15th, 2006, 1:04pm

on 06/15/06 at 12:40:25, RMissimer wrote:
My last sentence was "that the practioners here wanted to help.  Your response was absolutely not, yet you went on to indicate that you did want to help,  but not to the extent that you made the designers submittal easier for them.  I am not sure I would have used absolutely.

Can you read quotations?  Do the quotes appear in boxes like the one immediately above these very words that you're reading?  

My answer of "Absolutely not" was in direct response to your words contained in the quote box directly above the appearance of those very words -- "Absolutely not."  You can match my words to all the other statements you like, but it's not likely to really address what was clearly meant by my post.

One of two things is going on here.  Either you're having trouble following the clear flow of conversation or you're intentionally misconstruing language for the purpose of misleading readers.  I have no kind things to say about either one, although I can find some sympathy for the former.


P.S.  I do pro bono work, but this is not the place for that.

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