Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 0
I had a great idea this morning, hence the reason I was up writing on this board earlier, so I did a drawing, considered purchasing the products to build a demonstration model, and wrote a description of the item. After this initial set-up I went to the Patent and Trademark website to find that someone patented my idea in January of this year. Bugger!!!

Is the invention being used in commerce? What is it?

I have seen plenty of patents that were not worth the paper they were written on. I make medical headlamps for a living, LED's are the new light source of preference. Someone actually got a patent on a surgical headlight featuring two or more illuminators.

This is the equivalent of patenting the automobile only this time with 2 engines.

If I decided to build such I device, I would just go ahead and do it. I'm willing to bet they would never waste the money on a lawyer to try to make a silly patent stick (escpecially one that didn't require research/development/risk/market exposure to create.

Don't assume you can't do it because some idiot approved a patent. Many times with enough research you can find the idea in use that the person whose job it was to research it didn't find.

A lot of people have the idea that when you think of a good invention a patent is a lottery ticket. Not so, a patent requires use, and enforcement (by the patent holder not the USPTO).

The USPTO knows they are not flawless in researching ideas and the law is even less clear on guiding the attorney who approves/rejects it.

I'm willing to bet 80% of the patents out there are no more an invention than some idiot folding a slice of pizza in half and declaring he invented a Calzone. People have been folding their pizza for generations without claiming they invented something.

The patent holders generaly get the patents by being VERY specific in details in terms of form and function to avoid overlap with other items used in commerce that would be negate the patent.

In my example of the surgical headlight, the patent claims it would be Hot Swapable, this is of little/no benifit to the user and has no impact relating to the patents "claim" of uniquness but it's a feature that they found that would probably not be found on portable surgical headlights in the field in order to make it appear like a new invention.

Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.