I had an idea for an invention. I found nothing similar on uspto.gov. Then I discovered Google Patents. I immediately found that someone from Canada is filing a patent for the same invention on the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO).
The application is active and the most recent payment was a "Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act" paid in Feb of this year with a "due date" coming up.
I then found that they have also filed an international patent.
I am so so so disappointed as I have already put in time and have been excited beyond belief about starting this business. I already have a first draft business plan and a home made prototype not to mention hours of patent search and educating myself. And I thought everything was fine when there was no prior art on uspto.gov (thank goodness for Google Patents)
Do I have any options?
Can I go ahead with the business anyway and hope I am not sued? Scary. How often does this happen successfully/unsucessfully?
If the Canadian guy's patent is rejected, can I try? (His application is badly written, definitely not by an attorney) His "description" is different from my idea but his "claim" is so broad that it encompasses mine easily with no loopholes.
Given where he is in the process, how do I find out if his application is rejected? If it is, I know he has a chance to edit and reapply. But if he drops it, then its public domain right? And no one can patent it?
Any advice appreciated. About anything. Even if you just have part of the answer to my post. I really want to do this business. Please help! sophie