Someone suggested that 'copyright' is a means to protect an invention.
To do this a description, not unlike a patent write up, can be copyrighted protecting it from someone else to file a patent on the subject.

I have my doubts. Just publishing it would also prevent someone else to apply for a patent I would think which would cost next to nothing while the copyright people charge a high fee.

Please advise.


2 Answers 2


Copyright Act of 1976 prevents the unauthorized copying of a work of authorship. However, only the copying of the work is prohibited--anyone may copy the ideas contained within a work.

A patent is a limited duration property right relating to an invention, granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in exchange for public disclosure of the invention.

A copyright protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed.

It may interest you to know that a piece of code that has been written can be copyrighted but not the algorithm and other implementation details; whereas to protect the algorithm and other implementation detail you file for patent.


Copyright is mostly irrelevant. Anything published that explains an invention will prevent anyone who files the next day from getting a patent - if the examiner sees it. Copyrighting does not mean it was necessarily published.

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