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I have read on the poor mans patent, but I am wondering if there is any legal backing for a idea that was written in a document and stored on a local file system. I do realize that this is faulty because the date and what not can be forged on the local file system, but does it merit any sort of legal backing. Are provisionals filed through USPTO the only ones that are recognized?

  • This is a common issue for solo inventors, as the patent process can quickly get expensive. The advantage to provisional applications is that they are not public, so, if you ultimately decide it's worthwhile, you could always file an international (PCT) non-provisional. It's worth mentioning that you could also simply keep re-filing the provisional each year, and only do a nonprovisional if it becomes necessary. Not an optimal solution, but this question relates to the "poor man's" options. – DukeZhou Mar 1 '18 at 17:51
  • @DukeZhou Your comment is worthy of being an answer. – Eric Shain Mar 3 '18 at 8:46
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I am wondering if there is any legal backing for a idea that was written in a document and stored on a local file system

No, especially now that the US is in a first-inventor-to-file regime. Documenting that you conceived of it first did have relevance pre the AIA patent law in 2012. Who was first to conceive is no longer relevant.

The only way your own documentation of your inventive progress can help you is if you told someone about it under a condition of confidentially and they filed, stealing your invention. You could try to use whatever evidence you had to show that they derived it from you.

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    I edited in part of the question because that's what you are answering with no and the answer to the question in the title would be yes ;) it was a little confusing this way – DonQuiKong Feb 28 '18 at 7:33
  • thanks - I was answering the first sentence which was the question "does it merit any legal backing [?]". It did not have proper punctuation but was a question. – George White Feb 28 '18 at 22:00
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    Contrary to the worryingly lax use of terminology on that blog, the UK doesn't have a provisional patent application, and hasn't for some decades. It has only one type of patent application. Because the fees don't have to be paid for the first 12 months, some people insist on calling a patent application filed without fees a "provisional patent application". This is improper, since actually it is searched and examined and can result in a granted patent. – Maca Mar 1 '18 at 2:46
  • Thank you for clarifying - Lax language about patents is dangerous. – George White Mar 1 '18 at 23:30
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Are provisionals filed through USPTO the only ones that are recognized?

In a word, yes. As George White said in his answer, the US and pretty much the rest of the world works on a first to file system. To gain patent protection, you must first file an application with a patent authority. In the US, that is the USPTO.

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