Intellectual Property Forums (

(Message started by: chesazc on Nov 26th, 2007, 7:34pm)

Title: Retroactive / Prior Art / Prior Use?
Post by chesazc on Nov 26th, 2007, 7:34pm
15 years ago I had an idea. It involves a method of dealing with digital assets and the general concept of business. (I'm obviously not educated enough in patent law to categorize without giving it away)

I was very young and didn't patent or develop it further than a very very rough/vague prototype and some business cards that hinted at what the business was. Recently technology has caught up with the idea (it was technically not possible at the time on the scale I wanted), and I noticed that several companies are now doing a version of what I had hoped.

I don't see any directly conflicting patents, though there are some priors that describe a rudimentary version of the concept.

Do I have any recourse? Is there a way I can get a patent that would blanket the idea from the time I had started? If so, what is this called and what kind of material would I need to produce?

Thank you.

Title: Re: Retroactive / Prior Art / Prior Use?
Post by Landers on Nov 26th, 2007, 8:31pm
Please don't take any of this as legal advice - you should contact an attorney for advice you can rely on.  What I'm going to say is highly generalized.

First of all, you cannot get a patent that would blanket the idea from the date when you first conceived of the invention.  If you could somehow file a patent application less than one year from the date these products were first sold or first described in a printed publication (ie a patent or published application), then you MIGHT be able to get a patent, but the chances are not good.   You would have to show "diligence" from the time you conceived of the idea to the date you reduced it to practice (usually by filing a patent application.)  Your date of conception would have to be earlier than the earliest date the competition could establish.  You also would have to file less than one year after the other products were first sold or described in a printed publication, and it seems likely that more than a year has already passed.

The problem is that "diligence" is a very difficult thing to establish.  You would have to show that you worked on it steadily, kept notebooks/a journal with dates, etc.  The notebooks would have to be verifiable - usually signed and dated by someone else.  As for working on the project steadily - even brief gaps can cause you to lose your date.

Perhaps your invention has some feature that the other products lack.  You could get a better idea by consulting with a patent attorney.  Best of luck.

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