Questions tagged [patents]

A patent is a right granted by a government entity for [intellectual-property] (IP), which excludes others from using that IP. Use this tag when asking specifically about patentability or patented matters.

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91
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3answers
22k views

If I don't want to patent something, what can I do to ensure the patent office doesn't unintentionally grant the patent to someone else?

Say that I have created a hypothetical new invention. I would like for it to be used by as many people as possible without restrictions, so I deliberately choose not to pursue a patent on it. As ...
47
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6answers
18k views

Can I forbid the government from using my patented invention?

(this is a purely hypothetical situation, for literary research) I've filed a patent on a certain technology for facial recognition/analysis, and as the patent holder I want to use my exclusivity to ...
29
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4answers
6k views

If mathematical equations are not patentable, why are algorithms patentable?

I'm new to the domain of understanding the law behind patenting, and I want to start a company that uses machine learning algorithms. Unfortunately, almost every concept is patented by the top ...
16
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3answers
5k views

Is it illegal to implement a patented algorithm or method and take advantage from it?

I have been working on an SW project that combines image processing and IMU data since 2019. (Mobile platform) Unfortunately, a company got a patent on the same method that I have been working on and ...
16
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5answers
5k views

Could a charity manufacture patented medications for free?

Let's say there is a patented medication that is very effective and very expensive at the pharmacy, say $1,000/dose. But also assume that the medicine only costs $1 to formulate - most of the "cost" ...
12
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2answers
4k views

What if I don't patent my invention?

Say I invent something and choose not to patent it but start producing and selling it, then if somebody else goes and patents my exact design what happens to my rights to sell/produce that product?
11
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3answers
232 views

How much “more” needs to be added to an abstract idea in order to pass the subject matter eligibility test for a patent?

In Mayo v. Prometheous 566 U. S. ____ (2012), the Supreme Court said (regarding 35 U.S.C. §101 subject matter eligibility): a process that focuses upon the use of a natural law [must] also ...
11
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1answer
1k views

Q about consequences of a software license amendment regarding patents: Facebook's open-source “react”

UPDATE 22 Sep, 2017 "Relicensing React, Jest, Flow, and Immutable.js" (MIT license, PATENT file removed) https://code.facebook.com/posts/300798627056246/relicensing-react-jest-flow-and-immutable-js/ ...
10
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1answer
3k views

What is the status of this patent?

Recently I received a warning from someone who seller that says I am infringing on their utility patent. While looking up their patent, I am seeing different information about the status. 1) Source ...
10
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1answer
1k views

Does copyrighted code protect intellectual property rights on novel algorithms it implements?

Imagine you have come up with a novel algorithm to solve a problem, and have implemented it in, e.g., javascript, and have put its src, along with an appropriate copyright, on a publicly available ...
10
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2answers
484 views

Can I work on patent-infringing software in private, then release it when said patent expires?

This is not a scenario I'm actually going through; this is just a thought I had. The situation proposed in this question is entirely hypothetical. Suppose some algorithm -- for this post, let's say ...
9
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1answer
3k views

If one invents a real life portal gun, can Valve sue them for copyright infringement?

I am just curious, whether an owner of an artistic depiction of non-yet-existent device has any rights on that device in case it's actually invented later? Can owner use their rights, if any, to issue ...
7
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2answers
2k views

What to do after an employee leaked our algorithm?

One of my company's internally developed algorithms was published online. It's a complex algorithm that took years to develop, I have a pretty good idea of which employee leaked it based on the team ...
6
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1answer
268 views

Advantage in being first to copyleft a new algorithm?

Say I have created a new (DSP) algorithm. Will I have some advantage if I open source the algorithm under copyleft licence (GPL etc.)? From what I know about licensing this should lock people out from ...
6
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2answers
631 views

Can an unfinished product be patented?

Say two companies are working on some software that does essentially the same thing: Can one of the companies patent the idea before it's finished to prevent the other company from working on it, or ...
6
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3answers
933 views

What is the legality of implementing an unrevealed killswitch in software?

In this hypothetical, the poster describes the following: during employment with his/her employer, the poster invents and patents a method (in his/her free time) that it turns out, is useful for his/...
6
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2answers
577 views

Can you patent a card game?

I have created a card game, the idea is somewhere between poker and slots. I hope to create a website to monetise the game but do not know whether I am able to patent the game in order to stop big ...
6
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1answer
234 views

Why does the US patent law have a section about inventions in outer space?

I came upon a curiously exorbitant statute, Inventions in outer space (35 USC 105). To summarize my question, what was the story and the rationale behind this law? The section reads, in part: Any ...
6
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1answer
2k views

In which sense is software cracking illegal?

I wonder which of the following behaviors are illegal in China: Cracking a software and using it. Cracking a software and distribute it without charging. Cracking a software and reselling the cracked ...
5
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2answers
2k views

If I don't patent my invention, how closely can a competitor copy my product?

Introduction: I had an idea for how to make a certain product much better. I'm currently in the prototyping stage for a product based on that idea. That idea (the solution to the problem of improving ...
5
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3answers
4k views

Is MagSafe patented such that no one else can make magnetic power supplies?

I'm talking about MagSafe, the connector used on some Apple power adapters that pops out of the socket easily, and snaps into place using a magnet, so that both the cable and the socket are unlikely ...
5
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1answer
657 views

Can a company in the US that developed a technology, and kept it secret without patenting it keep other companies from patenting the same technology?

Let's say company A developed a technology, but didn't apply for a patent in the US. Ten years later, Company B applies for a patent for the same technology. Can company A void the patent saying ...
5
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1answer
144 views

What happens if I used an invention for some commercial use after its public disclosure and before it got patented?

In the US, inventors have up to 1 year to file for a patent to the USPTO after an invention has been publicly disclosed, and by default the USPTO takes 1.5 years to publish the patent application ...
4
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2answers
5k views

Can I build something for personal use if it is patented?

Say I like building things and I see an interesting product on the internet. Having seen this, and having the means to build something similar, the interest in the product, and the ability to ...
4
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2answers
178 views

Repatenting a medicine

What does it mean that a drug was "repatented"? From the New York Times: Albuterol, one of the oldest asthma medicines, typically costs $50 to $100 per inhaler in the United States, but it was ...
4
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3answers
194 views

What is the legality of using patented hardware with open-source software?

I'm working with hardware from a company that is very serious about intellectual property protection. There are over 2,000 patents filed on the technology this hardware enables. The hardware is ...
4
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1answer
108 views

Intellectual Property - Philosophy

Can I patent a philosophy? I'm very new to IP law and was disappointed to find out that the US now uses a first to file system like everyone else. Before spending money on legal services, I want to ...
4
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2answers
873 views

Is it legal to use MP3 encoding on my website?

I'm currently developing a website that allows users to record voice notes and upload audio files and then share them to Twitter. I'm currently using the MP3 format, but it is patented. I wanted to ...
4
votes
1answer
123 views

Are technology patents useful?

A friend tells me it's not worth it to get a patent on a web application because they are not useful. Either: the USPTO has stopped granting patents on "process" improvements (i.e. web apps) or ...
4
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2answers
150 views

What protections does Europe provide for US patents (that China doesn't)?

According to a NYtimes article yesterday Xi Jinping had promised that China would protect intellectual property, then he reneged before the trade talks faltered. I am trying to understand the context ...
4
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2answers
163 views

If an inventor were to create a top secret invention, does this person have a legal obligation to keep it secret?

In a scenario in which an inventor was able to invent something that the government would likely classify as 'Top Secret' or even 'Born Secret', and the inventor knows that it will be classified as ...
4
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1answer
905 views

Is it allowed to sell 3D models of existing brands?

Case: I make 3D models for architecture. Now I made a bundle of IKEA furniture to use in my interior scenes. I do this for clients to give them a visual representation of what a room can be. Because ...
4
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2answers
117 views

Afraid of Patent Troll for first app

I am writing my first mobile-app that teaches a foreign language in a "chat-like" manner. Means, the user enters a chat and you learn the language by having a bot sending you individual ...
4
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1answer
357 views

Can I patent my invention which is just an enhancement to an already patented device?

Can I claim patent for my invention which is a little upgraded version of already patented devices. Moreover, I use same patented devices in my invention and add new functionalities to it. Is it worth ...
4
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1answer
126 views

Graduation Project Patent Protection

I am currently doing my graduation project. I am an undergraduate student in a UK university, and invented a new diagnostic device for clinical use. I finished my prototype and it's nearly the end of ...
3
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2answers
296 views

As a startup, Should we avoid using React (reflecting on the BSD + patents license)

Recently, i read the following article : If you’re a startup, you should not use React (reflecting on the BSD + patents license). The example in this article : Fridgebook Inc. For the sake ...
3
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2answers
211 views

This piece of computer science was patented - I thought you can't patent software?

See this document This document described storing a tree data structure as xml for querying and processing. This is trivial computer science. How did this patent get approved?
3
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1answer
97 views

Can a country ban oversea biotechnology research out of an endemic plant that is only found in its territory?

This question was closed on biology.se and I was advised to ask it here. For illustration, say there is a plant that is only found in the Amazon rainforest. New drugs can be potentially invented ...
3
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3answers
336 views

What impact does prior art discovered after (US) patent awarding have on enforceability and even validity of that patent?

If I were to be awarded a utility patent, certificate in the mail and all, and it was later discovered by me or someone else that prior art existed before the time of the initial patent application ...
3
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1answer
1k views

Is there a fair use for patents? Should a patent be licensed at a reasonable rate based on use?

Is there a fair use for patents? If so what would be the fair use? Also should a patent be made available at a fair rate. Can a patent holder block use totally or indirectly by demanding unrealistic ...
3
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1answer
132 views

Is it a personal care or a Company care to correct the list of Authors of a Patent owned by the Company?

My name was missed in several patents issued by a Company with whom I was in the past. I contacted a very experienced Attorney in Employer-Employee Relations for an advice. His belief was that I ...
3
votes
1answer
43 views

What are the advantages of applying for a patent in each major region instead of going through the Patent Cooperation Treaty?

What are the advantages of applying for a patent in each major region instead of going through the Patent Cooperation Treaty? A lot of companies still decide to submit a patent application to each ...
3
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2answers
1k views

Would creating software that functions in a similar way to existing software be illegal?

If I create software that is similar to other software, would I break the law? I mean not exactly the same, there would be many differences; let's say I'm going to create a blog platform, and there ...
3
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4answers
185 views

Why would a company choose to make a “Pledge” or “Covenant not to Sue” instead of simply licensing a patent?

In 2006 Microsoft published their Commitment not to Sue which applied to many patented specifications. In 2014 Tesla made their Patent Pledge, which applies to every patent that Tesla has now or in ...
3
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2answers
179 views

Do I have the right to sell something that has a patent if I started selling before the patent was active?

I currently sell bed bug traps on Amazon. I've been selling them since March 2017. Recently I received a complaint from the rights owner of this patent: https://patents.google.com/patent/...
3
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2answers
216 views

Is a reference made using the word “the” different from a reference made using the word “said”?

In the following sentence: A building with a wall for painting text and drawings, in which said wall is painted with a layer of opaque ink, and in which said wall is painted with a message. the wall ...
3
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1answer
2k views

What happens if open source software infringes existing patent?

What happens if an open source software is released globally and it violates a patent? I found an interesting answer on MetaFilter and would like to know if it is considered to be correct by local ...
3
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1answer
159 views

Can embedded software be patented in the EU?

I know that no software can be patented in Europe. But what if I use software in an electronic board, and introduce that hardware? Can that be patented?
3
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1answer
94 views

Can a professor patent and license a technology if the development used software with non-commerical license?

Suppose a professor or student at a university uses software like Rosetta (a protein folding software) for their research. Rosetta has free academic licenses as well as paid commercial licenses ...
3
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1answer
165 views

What patents do I need to buy or lease to make and sell an electric guitar to the public? [closed]

I want to make and sell my own electric guitars. However, I have not invented the instrument, nor was I the inventor of any of the major advances in the field. However, I have some changes (mostly ...

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