You invented, build, and a product (like a Personal Cooling Unit a devise you wear over your close to keep cool). You have records and receipts of your sales, published pictures, online catalogs, and designs of it open sourced . Can someone put a patent on it and stop you from selling your product?

Simply put, yes.

A little more precisely, there may be existing patents that the product infringes. Either the product as a whole (a personal cooling unit) or parts of the product (like the straps or the cooling mechanism or the power supply) or the way you make the product (for example, a patent on some particular way of assembling the device). The owner of the relevant patent could file a lawsuit and seek to prevent you from selling the product, seek damages from you, or both. Even if no such patent has yet issued, it's possible that someone has applied for a patent already and it will eventually issue.

  • I think the question is asking whether some can patent the idea after it is publicly known and then use it against the original inventor. – Eric Shain Sep 13 at 14:33
  • @EricShain yes if I would have any protection outside of a patent. – Muze Sep 14 at 19:20
  • See this question: patents.stackexchange.com/q/18719/17003 – Eric Shain Sep 14 at 23:17
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    It can get complicated. If YOU disclose your own invention, you may still have a year in which you can apply for a patent (in other words, your own public disclosure might not prevent you from getting a patent) while possibly preventing others from patenting that invention. If someone else disclosed some elements of your invention before you did, then those elements may be prior art and might affect your ability to get a patent. But if someone else FILES for a patent before you make your disclosure, then that filing may trump your disclosure. It can get complicated and fact-specific. – Ben Kleinman Sep 14 at 23:29

Yes, if their application pre-dated your public disclosure. Another possibility is the person's product came after yours but the examiner does not find your device or anything else like it. A patent might be granted. In your defense, if sued for infringement, you would have your documentation that the information was public before the other person's filing date. You win in the end but it might be expensive.

  • So make it public ASAP if you cannot afford a patent. What would be the best way to do that... Facebook? – Muze Sep 14 at 19:19
  • The attribute you are looking for in a good way to put something in the public domain is the likelihood an examiner will come across it. There are sites that charge by the page for you to upload things you want exposed. – George White Sep 15 at 3:52
  • + the date needs to be provable – DonQuiKong Sep 15 at 6:35

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