[Discuss] GE and Quirky partnering

Marketply contact at marketply.org
Fri Apr 19 22:25:53 UTC 2013

Matt, why should we focus so much on the word idea? The article you linked to
seems to use it a bit too loosely in places.

Patents are tightly regulated and if you're too broad describing an invention,
your patent will get rejected. Also the invention must be novel and useful, and
described enough that anyone can recreate it based on your description. An idea
would fail to be descriptive enough; it would be the genesis of a possible
invention but not the actual invention itself.

Let's focus instead on the possibilities for open technology!

The article you linked to says on the second page: "In fact, you can't even
patent your own invention if it has been on the market or discussed in
publications for more than a year"

I'll do more research on part about whether it needs to be discussed in
publication for more than a year, as the way it was explained to me by a couple
of patent attorneys is that publication itself in a popular or visible place is
sufficient. This is how defensive publishing works to prevent others from
patenting something you wish to use but not have to patent it yourself.

Another plus for open hardware is that the process of modeling it and describing
how to recreate it would make it descriptive enough to thwart anyone trying to
patent it. A great strategy would be to get the patent examiners to include the
open hardware database in their search of prior art to invalidate new patents.

This is possible as there has been at least one defensive publishing company
that patent examiners include in their search.

Marino Hernandez
just a founder of Marketply

On April 19, 2013 at 3:58 PM Matt Maier <blueback09 at gmail.com> wrote:

Correct, MERE ideas aren't patentable. The process requires documentation that
proves the idea is actually implementable, preferably by showing that it has
already been implemented.
Also, you're correct that there are a lot of things that cannot get patent

However, once patent protection is granted, it is a legal monopoly on using an
idea. It is best to understand this in contrast to copyright, which is a legal
monopoly on a fixed record. These words that I'm writing are automatically
protected under copyright law. Technically, nobody can reproduce them without my
consent. But the ideas I'm expressing are not protected by copyright, so anyone
is free to express the same ideas if they make a new record. Patent protection,
on the other hand, applies to the idea itself and not to any particular physical
implementation of it. It is entirely possible to violate a patent, even if your
thing doesn't look exactly like the patent diagram, if the patent is written
broadly enough to still cover the idea your thing embodies. The test of whether
or not a patent has been violated hinges on the principle that has been used,
not on the actual thing that used it, as opposed to the test for copyright
violation, which hinges on reproducing a physical record.

This article provides an excellent example. There were tape recorders, and there
were cameras, but they were separate. Combining them into one thing (a
camcorder) was a new idea. That idea got patent protection. Nobody else could
combine a tape recorder and a camera. To get around the patent they had to come
up with a newer idea.

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