Ideas expressed in Forums and implications for Patents

Discussion in 'iPod' started by needthephone, Jun 24, 2006.

  1. needthephone macrumors 6502a

    Apr 4, 2006
    As forums and blogs have saturated the internet people are discussing all sorts of things. It has intersting implications for Intellectual Property as surely any ideas expressed will become public domain.

    On this forum I have seen many ideas on new apple products, ideas for ipods etc etc.

    So how does this effect Patent prior art, what if a great idea in a forum (and I have seen many good ideas here) gets picked up by apple (or whoever) and gets incorporated ino a product and is patented by apple. Or what if there is an idea already under consideration by apple but then somone mentions it in a forum before the patent is filed.

    This must make enforcing a patent quite difficult.
  2. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    The Patent and Copywrite system in the US is FUBAR'd. There's not much that apple can do, and as long as the music and movie industrys keep pushing, there won't be anything that can be done about it, AFAIK.
  3. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Its not enough to have an idea. You also have to describe how to make or practice your idea. Also generally to be prior art the information has to be published in a book, conference proceedings, press release etc. Discussions forums usually don't qualify as published because they are just like 2 people talking face-to-face except x1000.
  4. feelthefire macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006
    If you have an idea, but someone else takes that idea, devises a way to actually produce it, and can write an abstract such that the idea is unique enough to receive a patent in the first place, THAT is when the idea becomes public domain. The whole point of a patent is that exclusive rights to prohibit others from using the idea are granted in exchange for sharing an idea with the public. So, something you said on an internet forum couldn't be patented unless you could also provide a reasonable plan to actually do something with the idea.

    Prior art requires an official document (can be a press release, video footage, etc) of the idea being discussed, but even then, it's not enough to have an idea. You have to have an idea and have a reasonable plan for making it happen to get a patent.

    As far as features for the iPod- they start working on it long before any of us start speculating heavily on what the next iPod will have. It's guaranteed that the feature set for the new iPod has already been decided by now and is simply in the final phases of development at this point.
  5. needthephone thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 4, 2006
    Surely if you talk about an idea to anyone before a patent is granted then you can't get a patent for that idea. I would say that because its in a forum its not published is debateable and even two people talking about an idea would invalidate any future patent (as I mentioned above).

    When you talk to a patent office the first thing they tell you is don't tell ANYONE about the idea.

    It just seems a grey area?
  6. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    i think most companies close their eyes put their fingers in their ears and run away, much like hollywood does, they dare not read a script in case they refuse it and make a film latter with anything remotely similar and then get sued.

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