While in college, I merged two forms of open to the public technology and created a new method for sharing information for a particular use that has not been used before and it's not patented.

I don't know or understand everything about patents, but I purposely didn't want to patent the method because I personally don't believe it should be patented and I want other people to use it as well.

I'm not sure what qualifies as "publicized", but my technology has been shared on numerous websites, youtube videos, etc.

I wanted to find out if it's possible for someone to create a similar concept, try to patent it and then even come after me even if I've been using it years before them?

I wouldn't want a patent troll to come after me when I can't even defend myself because I can't afford a lawyer. I would prefer the technology to be open, forever.

  • How long ago was it made public?
    – Ron J.
    Feb 25, 2014 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


The issue is not publicized but published. Technically anything posted on the internet that is reliably dateable and is an "enabling" discloser is prior art that should keep someone from getting a patent on that subject matter. However, if the patent examiner does not come across it in their search it wouldn't factor in to the prosecution of the patent application. The best way for it to be stumbled across in the examiner's search is for it to be a published patent application. You could write this up as an application and file it with an early publication request. The USPTO fees for this are a small number of hundreds of dollars, and less if you qualify as a micro-entity. Once it is published in a couple of months you can abandon the application. If you like, you can put pointers in the application to the web posting URLs.

If the examiner doesn't see your previous work, someone could get a patent in error and try to stop you or others from practicing it. You can use the information you posted on the web to defend yourself, of course. However, a third party could patent a twist on your idea that was not in any posting or not on any dateable posting and that would be hard to defend against.

Also, without doing a thorough search yourself how do you know you were the first to do this and that no patent currently exists?

  • Thank you for the information and your feedback. I have done thorough research and have yet to see a filing for the method that I have created. I guess I will have to file the patent, so I appreciate your help. Feb 22, 2014 at 0:26

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