I had this idea many many years ago and worked with a company on it briefly, but they wanted much more money than I was prepared to front to do any research.

I would like to know who the original inventor is, because I had this idea before the patent's date of issuance!


The inventor listed on that patent is named Aric R. Voorting, but to invalidate it you'd need to prove not only that you came up with it, but that that person actually took it from you, which can be a challenge.

Back in the day, the USPTO worked off of a first-to-invent system. In essence, if you came up with it first, it was yours. Nowadays, however, it's first-to-file. That means that the first person to send in the paperwork is the one to get the patent (in laymen's terms, at least).

As George White has politely pointed out to me (oops!), this is old enough to be under those old rules, and first to invent is the relevant portion here. That means you'll want hard evidence, like timestamps emails or correspondences, etc.. Your best option is to speak with a patent professional--likely attorney--to discuss your options.

But in any event, you'll be facing a financial burden, and it'll be extremely difficult to prove. It's, as anything is, a business decision whether to actually push through and try to get it invalidated. Essentially, you'd likely be calling your own work prior art to the patent, but again, that's probably only worth it if you were intending to make money off of it and this has disrupted those plans.

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    Matthew - "back in the day" was filing any time before mid March last year. This patent is under the "old" first-to-invent law. – George White Nov 14 '14 at 1:02
  • @GeorgeWhite Ah, good point. Thanks. Sorry about that. I'm not so used to thinking about things that are this old (even if, as you say, "this old" really means just a few months). – Matthew Haugen Nov 14 '14 at 1:09
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    Since applications are typically published 18 months from filing, the very first first-to-file publications were published in mid August 2014. – George White Nov 14 '14 at 6:42

A high proportion of the population has at one time seen a new invention and said "hey - I thought of that first". Many famous inventions have been made by two independent groups at about the same time. The next time you get a great idea you can put in the time and money to protect and monetize it.


USPTO has this rule in a patent that whoever filed a patent first(first-to-file basis) with all the requirement met, will have the advantage of getting the patent. And as what others have pointed out, you will have some very difficult time proving that you own the idea.

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