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85 votes
6 answers
11k views

How to torpedo a bad patent my former large employer is filing?

I worked for a large software company recently and quit to go work a much better place. I thought I had a clean break, but apparently the company is filing to patent work I did there. The specific ...
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63 votes
10 answers
43k views

Scaling based on pixel density (Microsoft) - Patent Application - PRIOR ART REQUEST

In 2013, this Patent Application has received a final rejection by the US Patent Office. The rejection was based in part on prior art found by Ask Patents community below! The main reference cited by ...
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  • 1,016
53 votes
8 answers
9k views

Can a YouTube video be submitted as prior art?

I'm trying to determine whether there is evidence that definitively confirms that a YouTube video can be submitted as prior art. If there is an example of one being used as the grounds for rejecting ...
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  • 1,179
48 votes
6 answers
3k views

Is it practical for a novice to successfully file a patent without hiring a patent lawyer?

I am an undergraduate student in the US, and have come up with a (hopefully) patentable idea independently of my studies. The upside of that is the university cannot claim any rights to my invention; ...
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  • 580
47 votes
10 answers
6k views

Microsoft have submitted a patent for a whack to silence a phone ringer. How similar does prior art have to be?

Microsoft has filed for a patent on a new technique that allow users of mobile devices to silence them by delivering a firm whack. From The Register: Patent application 20120231838, aka CONTROLLING ...
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39 votes
9 answers
4k views

Prior art for linked list (secondary and tertiary traversal)?

This is the first I've heard of this patent for linked lists and traversals filed in 2002. Note that the claim is not a patent on a linked list itself (discussion on Hacker News), but apparently on a ...
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38 votes
111 answers
15k views

DISSEMINATING MEDIA CONTENT REPRESENTING EPISODES Issued Patent - PRIOR ART REQUEST

This call for prior art is part of EFF's effort to bust a patent being asserted against podcasting. Read more about the initiative here. Help narrow US patent applications before they become patents ...
36 votes
8 answers
3k views

Can a sci-fi technology be submitted as prior art?

In response to a question related to multi-touch user interfaces this answer states: Prior art as published Multi-touch computer pads were used throughout the television show Star Trek: The ...
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35 votes
7 answers
18k views

Are text and images in the patent copyrighted?

Sometimes, during a patent research, I found patents which comprise one or more similar images and/or text paragraphs. Are text and images in the patent copyrighted? Does any 3rd party, other than ...
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34 votes
3 answers
1k views

What is the window for finding prior art on a patent application?

I know that patents are not part of the public purview until months or years after the patent application is filed. Once these patent applications are made public, for how long can I submit prior art (...
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  • 443
33 votes
8 answers
4k views

URL pointing to time of video (Google) - Patent Application - PRIOR ART REQUEST

This Patent Application received a non-final rejection by the US Patent Office that was based in part on Ask Patents contributions! An initial rejection is part of the typical course of a patent ...
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33 votes
13 answers
3k views

Prior art for video games played according to a selected value system such as the claimed "codes of honor"

US patent application 2012/0052930 is titled "System and method for the heros journey mythology code of honor video game engine and heros journey code of honor spy games wherein one must fake the ...
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  • 751
33 votes
5 answers
10k views

How long are patents valid?

As an independent software programmer it is very tricky and time consuming to understand these patents. I would say it is impossible for me. Do software patents have a lifetime? If they do, it would ...
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  • 441
33 votes
4 answers
2k views

What constitutes an original patentable idea in software?

We regularly hear a lot of news about software patents and how certain companies own or are buying gobs of patents in order to stave off potential law suits. What constitutes an original patentable ...
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  • 447
30 votes
13 answers
11k views

Prior art for US patent application 20140196008 'IMMUTABLE OBJECT TYPES'

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2014/0196008.html At least some embodiments described herein relate to a language extension that advances safety in system programming. In accordance with the ...
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  • 301
30 votes
2 answers
6k views

I had invented and published before this patent application - How do I get it invalidated?

In reference to the patent: PCT/GB2014/051152 WO 2014/170646 A1 granted and pending patents: GB1307148.5, GB1500104.3 and GB1500105.0 to What3Words Limited: Here is the screenshot from the video I had ...
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29 votes
8 answers
13k views

Should I patent my idea before posting it on the internet?

Should I patent my idea before posting it on public internet forums? Could someone who sees my post beat me to it?
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29 votes
7 answers
7k views

Is it worth patenting an algorithm if I don't have the money to defend against infringements?

I have some algorithms that I am considering patenting, but I wonder whether I should just trust that rivals won't simply read the patent papers and copy my ideas. While I hope that my inventions ...
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  • 413
27 votes
5 answers
2k views

What can I do about an infringer if I'm a small independent inventor?

I'm a small-scale independent inventor with few resources and have a patent that I believe is being infringed by a large company. I fear that if I approach the company on my own, I will have little ...
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  • 1,096
26 votes
16 answers
6k views

Prior art request for WO2014027990 "Performance tests in a continuous deployment pipeline"

I would like help finding prior art for WO2014027990 A1, please. The patent "Performance tests in a continuous deployment pipeline" by some employees of HP (filed Aug 13 2012, published Feb 20, 2014) ...
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25 votes
7 answers
5k views

Photography lighting (Amazon) - Issued Patent - PRIOR ART REQUEST

sorry to ask this but unless I've missed something fundamental in that massively overly complicated and distracting description of a setup that, with probably small adjustments in lighting positions, ...
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  • 251
25 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can software or a block of code under the GPL or a similar license be patented?

Regarding software, can an application or block of code licensed under the GPL (pre version 3), or a similar license requiring the source to be made available under the terms of the license after ...
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24 votes
8 answers
5k views

How can I perform a global patent search for free?

I'm aware of several resources for searching the national or regional (e.g. EU) patent databases, but have found no tool for searching patents in all (or even several) countries at the same time. Is ...
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  • 1,096
23 votes
2 answers
2k views

Which patents were involved in Apple v. Samsung?

Can someone list which patents Apple sued Samsung over? I believe one of them was rounded corners on a mobile device. I could be wrong though, but if I am correct about that one, then any mobile ...
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  • 239
22 votes
4 answers
9k views

What does "patent pending" mean?

After reading an answer to this question, I realized how often I see the term used in marketing. What kind of security level does a pending patent give you? Why do so many companies use them? And ...
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  • 331
22 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can we not invalidate older patents? - i.e. World Inc vs Blizzard Entertainment

I saw down below where someone was asking how long we have to invalidate or send in a submission of a patent up to 6 months after it is published. Does that mean that 3rd parties can not go back and ...
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  • 423
20 votes
4 answers
811 views

Can a granted patent be deeded to the public?

Please note, I'm not speaking in the context of a land patent, I just could not think of a better word than deed. Let's say that: I have a concrete implementation of something that can be patented I ...
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  • 702
19 votes
4 answers
696 views

Is there a way to achieve protections similar to "Copyleft" under the patent system?

I have heard about "Copyleft" and was wondering if there is an equivalent for works which fall under Patent law rather than Copyright law. Specifically, is there a way I ensure that someone cannot ...
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  • 303
19 votes
4 answers
4k views

Are US software patents enforceable in the UK?

The UK Patent Act 1977 clearly states that It is hereby declared that the following (among other things) are not inventions for the purposes of this Act, that is to say, anything which consists of ....
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18 votes
2 answers
3k views

How to make an invention un-patentable easily?

It appears that the USPTO no longer does defensive publications, but instead you're supposed to abandon a patent application. But that will still incur filing fees, etc. I figure an obscure blog ...
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  • 287
18 votes
1 answer
3k views

What should I do if my name is missing from a patent?

While working for a company, I contributed inventions that eventually became issued patents. While all other members of the team I worked on are named on those patents, my name is missing. What ...
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  • 1,096
18 votes
2 answers
878 views

Is use in foreign countries a bar to patentability?

If an invention is in use in a foreign country, but it is not patented in that country (or any other countries), and it is not the subject of a printed publication anywhere, could that invention be ...
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  • 751
17 votes
18 answers
4k views

CALL FOR PRIOR ART: (Nintendo) Object transparency based on distance in virtual environment

TITLE: Computer-Readable Storage Medium, Information Processing System, And Information Processing Method App Number: 13/028,329 Publication Number: US 2012/0146993 A1 Assignee: Nintendo Co., Ltd. ...
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  • 1,016
17 votes
28 answers
4k views

Relational Database - Using Objects to Access A Relational Database (DataTern) - Issued Patent - PRIOR ART REQUEST

DataTern has Patent No. 5,937,402 on using objects to access a relational database. The patent was issued in 1999, and obviously people were using objects to access databases since the 80's. Basically,...
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  • 171
17 votes
8 answers
8k views

How to get a patent or patent application permalink at the USPTO website?

I'd like to link to certain patents or patent applications filed with the USPTO. Google Patents makes this relatively straightforward, hosting patents & applications at this URL scheme: http:/...
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  • 1,179
17 votes
4 answers
26k views

How do you determine a patent expiration date?

How can I determine the lifetime of a patent? For example, how can I tell when Patent US 7,055,282 B2 expires?
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  • 171
17 votes
3 answers
809 views

Prior art for a simple versioning system on a document database

US Patent Application US20120226658: Data model versioning for document databases Claim #1 describes an extremely simple versioning system for a document database: A method, comprising: ...
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17 votes
1 answer
5k views

Prior art for Apple's Magsafe

Having read through the claims of Magsafe patent #7311526, I am not sure how it differs from previous examples of magnetic power connectors. What exactly is the novelty being claimed in that ...
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  • 271
17 votes
3 answers
777 views

What does the term 'commodity' mean in patent 7,222,078?

Patent 7,222,078 (USPTO) (one of the Lodsys patents), uses the term 'commodity' repeatedly throughout the patent, for example: In an exemplary system, information is received at a central location ...
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17 votes
1 answer
921 views

Prior art for ice cream maker insulated with inflatable cushion

US Patent Application US20120207901: INFLATABLE CUSHION Claim #1 describes an ice cream maker assembly comprising of an inflatable cushion to insulate a an ice cream maker apparatus inside. The rest ...
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16 votes
24 answers
4k views

User Interface - Changing icon appearance based on frequency of use (Samsung) - Patent Application - PRIOR ART REQUEST

AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON DISPLAYING ICONS - This application from Samsung seeks to patent the idea of... changing icon appearance based on their frequency of use! 10 minutes of your time can help narrow ...
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  • 3,085
16 votes
5 answers
2k views

Does looking at prior art searches pose a risk for engineers?

Due to triple damage provisions of patent law, for knowingly violating a patent, many companies bar engineers from visiting the USPTO site or looking at any patents. Do these sites which help with ...
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16 votes
5 answers
1k views

Prior art for using a camera in self-driving cars

Toyota has filed a patent (#20120226392) for a "Driving support apparatus and driving support method". Its main claim: A driving support apparatus that performs a driving support for causing a ...
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  • 264
16 votes
7 answers
3k views

Prior art for a web-based system for commissioning software development

Maybe oDesk or eLance are the prior art, but this patent on providing software development services via a website probably has loads of prior art. US20120240097 A1 — Method of providing ...
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16 votes
4 answers
17k views

Can game mechanics be patented?

There's a board game that I really like called Mystery Mansion. I want to make a similar digital version of the game for various mobile platforms, but I don't want to get sued by Milton Bradley (Now ...
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16 votes
3 answers
1k views

Prior art for "Style and layout caching of web content"

Microsoft's application aims to patent: Methods and systems for style and/or layout caching of Web content are usable to build reusable style caching trees and cacheable layout calculations. Such ...
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  • 261
16 votes
2 answers
877 views

Can the non-obviousness of an invention be challenged if the difference to prior art is only the mathematical-statistical approach?

TL;DR Given a patent application describing a calculation using a maximum likelihood approach, and a piece of prior art that has the same goal but uses Monte Carlo simulation, is this sufficient to ...
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  • 261
15 votes
4 answers
6k views

How can I contact the owner of a patent?

I am looking to contact a person who patented something. I am really interested in the vehicle covering system patent (US8430444) and would like to contact the inventor. Is there any way to get their ...
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15 votes
2 answers
787 views

What are the possible consequences of using software developed outside of the US that infringes a software patent?

Suppose I'm developing a software and I operate in the country that doesn't recognize Software Patents. I make my software available for users in several countries including the United States. What if ...
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15 votes
2 answers
3k views

ONLINE ESCORT SERVICE Patent Application - PRIOR ART REQUEST

This Patent Application received a non-final rejection by the US Patent Office! An initial rejection is part of the typical course of a patent application. Thanks to the YOU, the Ask Patents ...
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  • 3,085

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