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  • If I use a forum member's idea does that wreck my patent?

    Discussion in 'Protecting your designs or inventions' started by AriLiquids, Aug 29, 2013.

    1. AriLiquids

      AriLiquids Member

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      It would seem to me that asking questions on this forum is dangerous for anyone who is patenting their design.

      If a forum member has contributed anything meaningful to the design, can't he bust the patent by showing it was his idea on line?

      There should be a disclaimer that all advice on this forum is public domain or something like that.

      Has this been addressed in the past? Can't find anything about it.
       
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    3. Dana

      Dana Well-Known Member

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      Asking specific questions should be fine, as long as you don't describe the invention online. An invention that has been "published" is not eligible for a patent... not sure if posting in a public forum constitutes "publishing."
       
    4. Patent attorney engineer

      Patent attorney engineer New Member

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      Hi there,

      Yes, posting on line is dangerous for anyone interested in patenting an idea. In fact it is even more dangerous than you suggest.

      As a general rule: to get valid patent protection for an idea, the idea must be kept secret until an initial patent application is filed; i.e. patent rights are lost by posting on line even if no other forum members contribute.

      Once a patent application is filed you can then 'go public' with the idea, e.g. you can post in online forums without losing patent rights.

      The US, Canada and Australia have 12 month grace periods which are exceptions to this general rule. Under these grace periods you can continue pursuing patent protection if your idea is not secret.

      Regards,
       
    5. stewart128

      stewart128 Member

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      Cameronip

      I would just add that the UK / Europe does NOT have such a 12 month grace period, therefore it is imperative that a patent application is filed before attempting to obtain protection here for any invention.
       
    6. MSBT

      MSBT Member

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      In my opinion, it should be possible to crowd-source ideas to improve your invention providing you don't publically disclose the specific details but restrict your request to a general description of the target.

      For instance, if you ask about methods to improve a particular device (e.g. dishwasher) which incorporates a particular mechanism (e.g. heat exchanger) to improve a particular function (e.g. steam condensation) you would have described the general idea without being too specific and could reasonably harvest ideas from the crowd.

      Or you could perform a patent-search yourself, using free-databases, to get an idea of what has already been done and whether there are any gaps to exploit.

      Publishing the answers on an open-forum (such as this one) might be problematic but if the replies are sent directly to you instead of appearing openly, that could be a way around it.

      You should certainly contact a patent-lawyer (in person, where you live) to check before doing anything more.
       
    7. AriLiquids

      AriLiquids Member

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      These answers are extremely professional and very useful. Thank you very much everyone who answered and hats off to the mechanical design forum .com!
       
    8. aaslerecruitment

      aaslerecruitment Member

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      Hi there,

      Yes, posting on line is dangerous for anyone interested in patenting an idea. In fact it is even more dangerous than you suggest.


      Regards,
       
    9. DAlgard

      DAlgard New Member

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      It is important to concern about the protection of designs or invention.I also support other members here for suggesting a good choice.It is advisable not to post the core idea of your invention before patenting it,Yes you may explore it, so that when you publish it you may come up with the new modifications to your ideas but you should patent it at that time only and must contact a patent consultant because they will better assist your work.
       
    10. cam2248

      cam2248 Member

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      Wouldn't you still need to file for a provisional patent to get that grace period?
       
    11. cam2248

      cam2248 Member

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      For what my engineering opinion's worth (not much), it would seem to me that it would be preferable for the inventor if the forum member posted it publically on the forum (provided the inventor did not reveal too many details about his invention) and have it be in the public domain rather than sending a PM. I suppose it wouldn't particularly hurt to get a PM either, unless the sender decided to go and patent "heat exchanger device to improve steam condensation in dishwasher" in which case he could probably sue the dishwasher inventor for stealing his idea. An experienced member replying to this comment would be most appreciated.
       

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