12

No, there is no way that is quick and inexpensive. Patents are presumed valid and the least difficult way to try to knock one down is an ex parte reexamination. Anyone can file a request based on submitting published documents and an explanation as to how they apply to which claims, and $6000. The patent office gets 3 months to decide if there is a "...


9

My idea was to create an online system which allows defendants which are accused of patent infringement to find other defendants in the same situation, being sued or threatened to be sued. This would allow several defendants to combine resources and take down some of the patent trolls. Perhaps it could be an addition to this awesome website! Crowdfunding ...


8

There is no requirement for claims Provisional applications are not examined, and therefore have no formality requirements. As long as they are validly filed, it doesn't matter precisely what format they are in. But including claims in a provisional is good One key purpose of a provisional is to for a later non-provisional or Convention application to be ...


7

That's a good question. In general you can use Public PAIR to find out a lot of detailed information about issued patents and pending patent applications. A good example is this is the touch screen patent by Steve Jobs: US7479949. The patent was subject to re-exam and all claims stand rejected in a non-final office action. The '949 patent provides an ...


7

Mobile application or software or the computer program can be protected by copyright law and patent law. Under copyright law, software or the computer program is usually regarded as a "literary work". The unique characteristic of computer programs that differentiate them from other literary works is their dynamic essence, which usually includes algorithms ...


7

The answer to this turns on 35 USC § 102(a), which reads: A person shall be entitled to a patent unless— (1) the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention; or (2) the claimed invention was described in a patent ...


5

The other answers address submitting prior art before the patent is allowed. Additionally, you can submit prior art after the patent issues anytime during the life of the patent. If it is relevant, the patent office will attach the submitted prior art to the official file on the patent. Anyone needing to defend themselves against assertion of the patent ...


5

Design patents protect the "look and feel" of a GUI. You don't have to show copying the way you do with copyright. A design patent is infringed if another GUI would be confused for yours by an ordinary observer. Here is an example from Apple v Samsung The Samsung GUI was found to be "confusingly similar" to Apple's patent even though there were many ...


5

There's very good discussion here: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100315/0058408555.shtml - one of the comments: "Jim Vitek says on his LinkedIn profile that he is one of the named inventors. Yet there's nothing on the PTO search site - I'm a patent practitioner, and I looked. Assuming a provisional was filed in January 2008, and an application ...


5

You might be able to - it depends on what it is being compared to in an obvious analysis. Obviousness isn't pondering "does it seem obvious to me" in general. With some simplification, a patent examiner has to find all of the aspects of your system (that appear in a claim) in one or more published documents. If they find one document/embodiment that has ...


5

One way to form a system claim is by saying it includes hardware and the hardware performs the following steps a), b) and c). The steps then look like the steps in a method claim. So a method claim can usually be turned into a system claim by putting "A system for doing X, the system comprising: a computing system including a processor configured to ...


5

The short answer is that patents have many sections but it is only the claims that draw a line between what is old or abstract or only mathematical and what is considered the protectable invention. I am inserting claim 1 here. A method of updating estimated locations and velocities for a swarm of target objects within a Cardinalized Probability ...


5

We were trained to start by reading claims, but claims are often hard to decipher. So, here's a few tips that may help you. 1 and 2 are the easiest, while 5 is probably the most authoritative. Look at the last 1 or 2 elements in the claim. "Claim 1: Blah ... blah ... blah ... [all very ordinary standard items] WHEREIN [something special, this may be what ...


5

An invention, as long as it is capable of being made or used in an industry, or, in other words has/satisfies “utility”, is considered useful, irrespective of whether the results delivered by it is poor in terms of quality. “Utility” or “Industrial Applicability” is one of the requirements of patentability. While reviewing a patent application, the Examiner ...


5

The US patent statute requires that an invention be "useful." 35 U.S.C. 101. Under the law, an inveention's utility must be "specific, substantial, and credible" and an invention lacking utility cannot be patented. As a matter of practice, the utility doctrine is applied quite differently depending upon the context. For example, the US Patent Office ...


5

In the United States, the system currently works on a first-to-file basis. It used to be first to invent, but that was hard to prove and maintain. Because of that, you'll probably be out of luck if they file a provisional before you, and there will be no way for you to know until your application receives an office action (provisionals are kept secret by ...


5

You have provided very little information about what you your app is doing. But based on what you have provided, I believe it is unlikely that you could receive patent protection. Generally speaking, a patent cannot be used to patent an idea, but rather the concrete manifestation of that idea. Said another way, to be patent eligible, an invention must be ...


5

The standard patent book for startups and entrepreneurs is Patents Demystified. I used this book while getting my own patents and it’s become required reading for any start-ups that I coach or invest in. It’s one of the few patent guides I know of that has detailed insight on how legitimate startups patent their product(s). Unlike most patent guides, it’s ...


5

Why does it puzzle you? If it is not available to the public, it is not prior art. I think relevant US provision is here (MPEP 901.02) https://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/s901.html#ch900_d225b5_2caa7_e7 Notice that it only mentions printed or published provisionals OR provisionals that are publicly available because they ended up to normal filings, ...


5

So here we have a tidy distinction between description and claims. Description You must provide a description sufficiently detailed that the skilled person, reading your description, would understand how to put the invention into practice. You must also disclose the best way of doing it that you know. To this end, it is irrelevant whether the different parts ...


5

In order to obtain a patent, your invention must demonstrate novelty, usefulness, and non-obviousness. Novelty means the invention is new and not known to the public. Useful means there must be some utility. Non-obvious means someone skilled in the field wouldn't find your invention straightforward or within the state-of-the-art. As to your scenario, I'm ...


5

Lets say that someone creates an mobile app (Android/IOS) that is identical in function to a TI-85 calculator... in fact it is a perfect representation of it and identical in function and appearance of the interface (an "emulation") -- the only difference being that the user is interacting with a flat touch screen instead of physical buttons... and that the ...


4

Good Question Gabmon. You asked about quick protection for your app prior to release. My answer here focuses on legal questions. Successful protection of software often relies on both legal rights and practical steps. I lock the door of my house even though the law says I don't need to and someone trespassing could be jailed. In the same way, you may be ...


4

Copyrights protect "expressions" of works of authorship, not ideas or product designs. Your data sheet can be copyright protected, and your user manual, your photos and videos of your great thing also. The name could be protected by trademark. If someone makes the same knife and called it something else and writes their own ads and takes their own pictures ...


4

Using PAIR, as Micah's detailed answer shows, is definitive and by far the best way to look things like this up. Not definitive but easy, if it has what you are looking for, is Google patents. It keeps getting better and as of a few months ago has a "Legal Events" section at the end of some patent documents. In the case of the infamous: Method of swinging ...


4

There is no need to create a prototype before filing a patent. A patent does need to explain invention in enough detail that someone "skilled in the art" can make and use it without "undue experimentation". The patent application also needs to demonstrate that the inventor is in "possession" of the invention, meaning that it is more than an idea or a desired ...


4

It doesn't need to work optimally or even well. The "useful" criteria is used to reject perpetual motion machines and things that claim to cure all sicknesses. In medicine and biology they do want experiments you have carried out to show it does what you say it does. In mechanical or electronic fields it only has to be plausible - they do not have a lab to ...


4

When filing an application, you must complete a declaration, which states: . . . I believe that I am the original inventor or an original joint inventor of a claimed invention in the application. I hereby acknowledge that any willful false statement made in this declaration is punishable under 18 U.S.C. 1001 by fine or imprisonment of not more than five (...


4

Anyone can try to patent everything he wants to without that beeing fraud. After the application comes the examination where claims like these are just getting rejected. If you want to do something against the patent you can however send "prior art", meaning documents proving that these steps were known before the date of the patent to the patent offices. ...


4

I think, very. As noted in the other answer, there is (probably) no legal requirement for claims. However, the whole purpose of the provisional filing is to give you a date for the invention. If you do not write the claims, chances are you will not actually set out the invention, but only one or a few specific implementations. This can get tricky. A ...


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