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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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    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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  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!

  3. #3
    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.
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  4. #4
    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

  5. #5
    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
    When it seems like the night will last forever
    And there's nothing left to do but count the years
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    And stones fall from my eyes instead of tears
    I will walk alone by the black muddy river
    And dream me a dream of my own
    -Jerry

  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.

  7. #7
    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.”
    Harlan Ellison


    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.
    --unknown

  8. #8
    MarshLaw303's Avatar
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    he developed it in public and before he brought it to market there was a 100% copy made by a guy that called him and got all the details from Devin. The end result is 2 products that reach different markets as the BCB weighs 8oz if i remember correct and the copy 13oz so the true BCB is much better for hiking where the copy is ok for paddle trips. The reason it took so long to get made is because of the thin walls on the BCB, the copy just used thicker walls to make it easier to produce so they got it out fast but that's why it is over 1.5x heavier.

    Don't let this happen to you. If you want to sell it hold onto it, if you just enjoy making it and want other people to enjoy it to, share it. If you share it and it does get copied the people who know you created it will spend their dollars on yours and hate on the copy (as was the case for the BCB)

    -Tim

  9. #9
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    i'm not a lawyer, either, but would love to be..but that's not really important here..... if you do not enforce your rights to a product, idea, patent it's the same as giving that right away. it's sad but true...so name the names!

  10. #10
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    Also not a lawyer, but it looks like I am in good company here. My understanding is:

    - Much of the world uses a first to file system, but the US is still a first to conceive the idea holds the rights. Of course you must be able to prove the date the idea was conceived.

    - An idea in the public domain can not be patented. Ironically, publishing the idea to a forum and discussing it and particularly refining it, can make it part of the public domain so even the person who conceived it is unable to patent it.

    - There are different levels of patents. One example is more of a quick patent that allows you protection while you vet the idea and see if it has merit. I believe it costs $100 and gives you a year (I believe) to initiate the full patent filing. That likely explains the case were the competitor waited a year and then began producing the competing product.
    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. - Ben Franklin
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