Do patents have to be original work? I mean, if I have an idea and I talk about it online (say a forums), and then someone patents the idea a month later, can I sue that person for plagiarism or something?

On top of that question, can Google's indexed search results be presented as evidence that I got to it first?

ADD: if you have an idea within content that is then copyrighted then later on, someone patents it, is that patenting legal?


There is a novelty requirement for US patents. Public disclosure of an invention negates its novelty. 35 USC § 102(a)(1):

A person shall be entitled to a patent unless the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public.

If you disclose your invention, nobody (except you) can patent it.

If the inventor makes a public disclosure of an invention, that inventor can still file for a patent on that invention within one year of their disclosure.


A disclosure made 1 year or less before the effective filing date of a claimed invention shall not be prior art to the claimed invention [...] if the disclosure was made by the inventor [...]

Mere ideas can't be patented nor copyrighted. Patents protect new and useful processes, machines, manufactures, or compositions of matter, not ideas. Copyright protects expression, not ideas.


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