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  1. #1
    stevebo's Avatar
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    question about public domain/info posted on site

    I've got a quick question for you guys.....................If a person comes up with a design, and posts the details on a site such as this, can another individual come behind them and apply for patent protection even though its not their design? (and then sue the inventor for using it?) Or, does publishing the design on the internet prevent that from happening? (prior art?) I was just wondering how that whole thing works? (or maybe thats never been a problem here?) I came up with a little something a few weeks ago----no big deal, but I think its kind of neat-------Id love to sell a few in the future, but would also love to share it with my hammock brothers----------a patent is out of the question---way too expensive for me!--------Im just looking at options, and probably overthinking the whole thing---(Ive always been a "worst case scenario" kind of guy!) Any input/advice would be greatly appreciated!
    “The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.”
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    I am not lawyer, nor would I want to be.

    However, my understanding, is that if it is in the public view (like the open side of Hammock Forums) then nobody other than the one making it public would be able to secure a patent. That said, if there is no patent, there is nothing to prevent a person from using the idea for monetary gain...other than a good upbringing.
    Trust nobody!

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    Hooch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cannibal View Post
    . . . .if there is no patent, there is nothing to prevent a person from using the idea for monetary gain...other than a good upbringing.
    Couldn't have said it better.

    I'm no lawyer, either. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express.
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    MarshLaw303's Avatar
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    be careful if you want to sell it later. i am thinking of the back country boiler here.

    -Tim

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    Senior Member backpackingZombie's Avatar
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    That depends on the country you live in. I think the US is now a "first to patent" country now. In other words: "someone else does a little dance on your face".

    Ugh. I could not be a lawyer.

    And on a related note, i really like the Holiday Inn Express Suites. Very nice. I was in Dallas a month or so ago and got to stay at one. Complementary happy hour
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  6. #6
    New Member storm's Avatar
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    I was investigating getting a patent on an item a few years back. Sent the idea to one of those places that said they help you market your idea. Long story short they wanted a bunch of money up front plus about 90% of any royalties. I declined and they informed me that since I made the idea public they could patent and market it one year later. And a little over a year later a big outdoor chain was selling the product. I don't know that this is the law but this is what I was told.

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    stevebo's Avatar
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    Marshlaw, what was the deal with the back country boiler?---------I never heard the whole story...........
    “The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.”
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    Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either, just leave me alone.
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  8. #8
    Jcavenagh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by storm View Post
    I was investigating getting a patent on an item a few years back. Sent the idea to one of those places that said they help you market your idea. Long story short they wanted a bunch of money up front plus about 90% of any royalties. I declined and they informed me that since I made the idea public they could patent and market it one year later. And a little over a year later a big outdoor chain was selling the product. I don't know that this is the law but this is what I was told.
    Yes. Those places are a ripoff scam. That is why using a patent lawyer is the best route to take. What you divulge to your attorney is privileged and cannot be disclosed to third parties without specific authorization. What you discuss with your lawyer is not, and cannot ever be, considered to constitute information in the public realm.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Timberrr's Avatar
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    I'm also not a lawyer, but don't let that stop me from offering advice...

    There's a old trick known as a "poor man's patent."
    Basically, you make a copy of all the details and drawings and notes and pics of protypes and everything else related to the development of your gizmo, seal them in an envelope and mail it to yourself via USPS registered mail. (Not FedEx). When you get it back in the mail - LEAVE IT SEALED and file it away where you can find it years later. The seal and the cancellation dates "prove" when you had the idea.
    I don't know how well this trick would stand up against a high powered law firm that's defending the dirt bag who got rich on your idea. In short, you pay a lawyer up front to keep you out of trouble, or in the end to get you out of trouble. Or you just give up and give out.

    Good luck! I hope whatever you're up to works out well for you.
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  10. #10
    Needs more Hang time Catavarie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timberrr View Post
    I'm also not a lawyer, but don't let that stop me from offering advice...

    There's a old trick known as a "poor man's patent."
    Basically, you make a copy of all the details and drawings and notes and pics of protypes and everything else related to the development of your gizmo, seal them in an envelope and mail it to yourself via USPS registered mail. (Not FedEx). When you get it back in the mail - LEAVE IT SEALED and file it away where you can find it years later. The seal and the cancellation dates "prove" when you had the idea.
    I don't know how well this trick would stand up against a high powered law firm that's defending the dirt bag who got rich on your idea. In short, you pay a lawyer up front to keep you out of trouble, or in the end to get you out of trouble. Or you just give up and give out.

    Good luck! I hope whatever you're up to works out well for you.
    I can save you the hassle and tell you that this does not hold up in court what so ever. People used the same technique to get basically a free copy-write and tried to take publishers to court when their work was printed without compensation or attribution. The court stated that since it was never registered then the creation date could not be verified.

    Short answer, if you want any say in how the product is eventually used/produced, whether privately or placed in public domain, then talk with a patent lawyer.
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