What if someone has a 'workable' idea for an invention that could be developed into a real 'device' or process that solves some important problems or an idea that can be marketed ; and one actually puts this idea in a story, like a science fiction story? What if the person uses pictures and diagrams of his idea and other background information all that is sufficient to make the 'invention' all woven into his story? If he promotes it as part of his story and other readers actually use the idea to make the invention in real life with or without his permission would the author be entitled to any of the profits ( even if he didn't give permission to use the idea)?

2 Answers 2


Any illustrated teaching provided in current patent system will used as prior art and based on this information patent will not get a grant. In US there was system for reduction to practice or working model within 12 months of disclosure patent can be filied. Now said 'someone' can file patent if 12 months are not past. US patent system grants patents to true inventors.

in present question particular case law exist for fictional art named as the donald duck ping pong case which was dealt in danish patent office more on link


No, the author is not entitled to any share of the profits as he /she has not protected his/her idea. Also, if the reader is thinking about getting a patent on that idea, he or she cannot as that idea has already been disclosed along with the story.

  • If one sell a painting to an Art Gallery is the signed painting a 'patented' product in that no else can use it in an unauthorized way to make money for themselves and no one can copy it and make 'unauthorized' profits from this. So can a painting sold to a gallery be considered 'self-patented'?
    – 201044
    Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 6:42
  • If a painting could be considered 'self patented' could a published story also be so considered?
    – 201044
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 17:12

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