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This is a great question. First off, patent rights are initially owned by the inventor and are normally only assignable by a written agreement. In tech companies, developers are normally required to sign such a written agreement when they start their jobs. If that didn't happen, then you still co-own the patent rights. If you are a co-owner, one thing ...


27

A patent application can be contested by a third party via prior art submission during a window that usually lasts more than 6 months. That window opens when a patent application is published -- usually 18 months after the application is first filed. The window closes when: a) The inventor receives a Notice of Allowance (NOA) OR If no NOA has been sent, ...


23

First off, just because you think something is "obviously" covered by Prior Art doesn't mean that it really is. It takes years of experience to understand how to read a list of claims and it is possible that the independent claim(s) is written in such a way that it is not covered by the existing art in the field. All that said, you do have a duty to ...


20

Getting a patent is an expensive process that takes several years. If you wait to get a patent first, then it's likely to be old and irrelevant by the time you post it. If you're planning on patenting an idea, it's best to not disclose anything about it in public. Aside from the potential of someone stealing your idea, you risk limiting your ability to ...


19

I can only speak to the United States and actually that is somewhat all that matters as it is very difficult to get software patents in other countries. In the US, 35 U.S.C. 101 states that "Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent ...


16

Patent pending means that a patent has been filed but not issued. Filing a patent is expensive serious business and not a flim flam. The notice is there to put potential infringers on notice, like a no trespassing sign. There isn't any real security in it for the maker because if the patent is rejected it means nothing.


14

Yajoe, this is rich. You have all sorts of options and may already be well on the way, based on what you have provided here. To start, you and your co- inventors and their patent attorneys are all bound by a Duty of Disclosure - basically saying all of you must disclose any information that is "material to patentability." As an inventor you are supposed ...


13

Board game mechanics (the process for playing the game) are patentable. A Google Patent search for "board game" turns up lots of results. So no, just changing the artwork is not enough to avoid infringement if the game mechanics are patented. (See the article Patenting Board Games 101 for more information.) In the legal battle surrounding Scrabble, the ...


12

I've been granted 3 provisional Patents and it cost me an arm and a leg - over $20,000 (this was in 1998 and 1999). Unless you have money to burn I offer my personal advice: Using snail mail I post a letter via registered post to myself with the idea and get people I discuss the idea with to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements. I never open the registered ...


12

There are a few issues hidden in your question. I'm first going to write about whether these postings create prior art. Next, I'll write about whether a suggestion from a third party alters inventorship. Prior art and online postings: Public discussions create create prior art. If done in a public online written forum then the postings will count as "...


12

First, the patent system doesn't care about software licenses. Conversely, copyright doesn't care about patent licenses (it's automatic anyway). The only place where patents and copyright might interact is in licenses, which are contracts which might grant someone additional rights that they would not have given the restrictions imposed by patent and ...


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 "...


11

As John Daniel has commented, they reference those very examples of prior art you cite. Even though there is prior art it doesn't invalidate the patent because Apple have substantially improved on it. The novel parts are: A symmetrical connector that can can be coupled in two or more orientations (claims 1-33) The magnets within a connector are arranged in ...


11

ihtkwot's answer to this question is accurate but it focuses only on the notion of "patentable subject matter." When I consider the patentable subject matter doctrine, I like to imagine a really ingenious idea and then ask whether that is the type of idea that should be amenable to patent protection. Subject matter eligibility is also sometimes about how ...


10

A quick google search for warehouse management systems with logic for tracking expiration dates brought back this system. While it's not a pantry system and is in fact intended for much larger operations, it does track products and locations, includes "Tracking for Expiration Dated Food", and is mobile. I've never used it so I can't attest to the truth in ...


10

As Duckpaddle has said, the mark "patent pending" means that a patent application has been filed but has not yet issued as a patent. The mark generally has no legal effect, except for the provisional rights described in the next paragraph below. In order for the mark to be used properly, however, a patent application must actually have been filed or else a ...


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We wanted to make sure the protocol was as widely deployable as possible. We knew that patents are encumbrances on technology adoption, so of course we didn't want patents at all. Further, we knew the rules of the standards bodies, and that if the protocol ever were to be adopted, patents are just a headache and a barrier. Given these goals - patenting ...


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The question is not "Can I patent it?" (you certainly can), but rather, "Does the license require me to do anything particular with the patent?" The BSD and MIT licenses don't mention patents at all. Therefore, you have no patent related obligations under them. The Apache 2.0 license does include an explicit patent grant. If you contribute any code to ...


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I'll go ahead and address 1) whether you can use other media that describe your invention like a patent, and 2) whether you can use other media to invalidate someone else's patent. Note that the law has changed to first-to-file effective March 16, 2013. Most of the below is a pre-F2F answer. However it is still a good answer for applications filed ...


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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

You should focus more energy on determining market-worthiness of the idea. If the idea doesn't seem like there is much of a margin for profit, then you could consider posting it since it doesn't matter if someone steals it. Alternatively then, you could publish it via a CC license that will limit the terrain of other patentability (due to your public ...


8

In the United States, for any invention you have 1 year to file: 35 U.S.C. 102 Conditions for patentability; novelty and loss of right to patent. A person shall be entitled to a patent unless — (b) the invention was patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country or in public use or on sale in this country, more than ...


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Note that as of March 2013 (for apps filed after then) these rules change in the US; there is still a one-year grace-period -- but only as to your own disclosures. If someone else publishes the concept (or something that would make your invention obvious) before you file then you are (probably) out of luck.


7

Basically patents are territorial grants, that is to say a patent granted in the US is enforceable in the US and cannot be enforced in other countries. To answer your question US entities cannot enforce US software patents or for that matter any US patents in the UK. I am certain about this, but back-up and constructive criticism is welcome.


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An expired patent does not affect your ability to file a patent application, but it certainly could affect your ability to actually get a patent. The information in the expired patent is in the public domain and you are only entitled to receive a patent if your game is "novel and non-obvious" compared to other games that already known. The period of ...


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 ...


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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 ...


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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 ...


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From my experience as a software developer I don't see how something like agile can be patented and if it was patented how that could be enforced. Any money you would make from that would likely be more in the form of selling publications and certifications. So that falls more in the copyright and trademark arenas.


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