As an experienced guitarist, I have a very simple idea that I believe is worth pursuing - at least as an experiment. In case it is a successful idea, I don't want anyone (including myself) to be able to patent it. I'm retired and I'd rather simply share the idea openly.

For mainly traditional reasons, the strings of almost every type of guitar fan out towards the bridge. I suggest that precisely parallel strings would be an improvement for some styles. In the following question I published my idea.

... I am publishing this idea here. If I have invented the idea of a parallel-stringed guitar, I don't want anyone to patent it (including me). This will stop any particular manufacturer from benefitting over others. I do not want any financial remuneration for myself if this turns out to be a good idea. This would apply to classical, acoustic, and electric guitars.


Is the simple publishing of an idea online, sufficient to stop others patenting the idea?

  • 4
    Prior art should allow a successful challenge to the patent, which is not the same as preventing it in the first place.
    – o.m.
    Dec 30, 2020 at 14:50
  • @o.m. - So, if someone patented it, I could challenge them. Presumably that is a different matter than claiming the patent for myself (which I don't want to do). I wouldn't spend any money on challenging anyone but, if a manufacturer applied for a patent - could I suggest to other manufacturers that they challenged so that they could use the idea? If so, could they? Dec 30, 2020 at 14:54
  • The details depend on the jurisdiction.
    – o.m.
    Dec 30, 2020 at 14:56
  • 1
    A quick Google search on "parallel string guitar" yields a forum question specifically asking about parallel stringing so I kind of doubt the OP's invention is novel anyway.
    – Eric S
    Dec 30, 2020 at 21:19
  • 1
    You might consider posting the idea on priorartarchive.org which is a free service specifically for this purpose. No experience with it, but its is there. On second thought I can't log in so it might be defunct.
    – Eric S
    Jan 2, 2021 at 17:38

1 Answer 1


This has been answered several times on SE patents (called Ask Patents). Yes, publishing an invention theoretically keeps anyone from patenting it in the future. It is theoretical because it only prevents a a patent being issued if the patent examiner finds it in their search. Also the publication must explain the invention to a detailed enough manner. In the U.S. this is expressed as enough detail for someone skilled in the art to make and use the invention.

If it is not found by an examiner it is possible you, or anyone else, to bring it to the attention of an examiner in most jurisdictions. This would require you monitoring patent application publications but doesn't cost much money to do. After a patent is issued your publication can be used to attempt to invalidate it in some jurisdictions and also used an infringement defense in all jurisdictions.

The question on Music SE may not be detailed enough to constitute a publication of an invention. How does it work? You mention Hawaiian guitar - do they do this already, how is your idea different?

One thing to consider is that it might have already been the subject of an application by someone else. It might even be already patented.

  • I found some seemingly prior art to the OP's invention which I added in the comments of the question.
    – Eric S
    Dec 30, 2020 at 21:32
  • I wouldn't monitor patent applications. I keep up-to-date with guitar developments anyway. I would know if a single manufacturer was to make it and claim it as their own. My aim is simply to prevent this over-patenting in general. Dec 30, 2020 at 22:46

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