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All ideals in jeopardy

halfbakery.com is unknowingly shooting itself in the foot
  [vote for,

I like the spirit of what you are doing here at halfbakery.com with the exchange of ideals to further the things that are desired, but you are unknowingly making it impossible for the vast majority of these new ideals to be developed.

Several countries (such as Germany) will not allow a patent if the ideal is published in any form including the internet. Other countries allow a degree of time from the time the ideal has reached the "Public Domain" with the maximum time being 12 months.

This situation does not mean halfbakery.com must stop, but simply restrict access to members who have entered into a non-disclosure agreement. Even so it does make for a high risk situation for investors, because there may be multiple individuals working separately on the same ideal, and only one patent will be awarded. Everyone else will lose their shirt.

Why don't you ask your group of on line users to propose possible ways to solve the problem. There are only two requirements that I know of: 1) anyone involved must sign a non-disclosure agreement (a requirement of patent law in most countries), and 2) there needs to be a way to ensure investor(s) that their group of people are in fact the only people working on a particular ideal.

I know these sound like conflicting requirements with an open forum of public exchange, but I believe the minds of the many can find a solution, and you certainly have some sharp people out there reading your stuff.

I would leave the current stuff out there because if someone wants to develop a solution then they need someway to find out that it has already hit the Public Domain; otherwise, they may very well lose millions of dollars developing an ideal that they can not patent (and they must have a patent to recover their investment expensives).

breeze, Apr 22 2003


       (breeze) Are you a lawyer?.
sufc, Apr 22 2003

       //they must have a patent to recover their investment //
I think your premise is flawed. Plenty of innovative and clever inventions get put into production all the time without patent protection.

       Patents are useful, but not essential. Some companies have been known to deliberately NOT patent key processes, so that they don't get disclosed to their competitors. These are called "trade secrets" and have the advantage over patents of not having a time limit on them.   

       As an example, as of 1994 or so, Microsoft only had about 22 patents and yet they were already a multi-billion dollar company. Did that mean Microsoft had only 22 ideas in its early days? No, it had millions of them already, all protected as trade secrets.   

       If anything the halfbakery is encouraging these ideas to be developed by decreasing the possibility that they might be patented by someone other than the developer.
krelnik, Apr 23 2003

       Also, you don't patent an idea, but the implementation of an idea. Just saying you are working on engineering nuclear powered whales doesn't mean you suddenly have to patent them (or could). Once you suceed in riding your nuclear powered whales around and publish how you did it, THEN you need to patent it within a year.
johnmeacham, Apr 23 2003

       //All ideals in jeopardy//
Who's going to tell Plato? UB, I think it should be you.
Gordon Comstock, Apr 23 2003

       breeze: you're entirely missing the point of the site.   

       I never post anything I believe I could either patent or make work on my own. And I seriously doubt that anyone else does either. If anyone ever makes any money by implementing one of my suggestions, more power to their elbows. (If they do, I would certainly appreciate a free lunch in return, but there is hardly any obligation.)   

       You are also totally overlooking the open source economies. This is open source writ to the world at large.
DrCurry, Apr 23 2003

       I thought that, in lay terms, patents protected an inventor's right to make money from an invention. Thus, by putting an entirely buildable idea up here at the halfbakery, we just put it into the public domain and effectively give away the right to make money from it, e.g. my 'Lift Sticks'. It's still my idea, and no-one can say it was their intellectual property, since it came out of my head. But it isn't worth money to me, so I wouldn't spend money protecting my IP or patenting the invention. As far as I was aware, once an invention is patented, anyone else can make it if they like, since the design is now publicly available knowledge. You just can't make a profit from it (or presumably make it in any large quantity). So even if someone wrote up my Lift Sticks into a patent application (and was successful), I can make a pair for my f-i-l-t-b whenever I want.
badgers, Apr 23 2003

       badgers, you're right, up to the point about anyone being able to practice patented technology. Until a patent expires, the patent holder has the right to prevent others from practicing the patented technology.   

       breeze, you have mis-interpreted the spirit of what we're doing here. Most of us are not trying to actually solve problems, but seeking to entertain one another.   

       Also, breeze, I hope you'll appreciate my pointing out that the correct word is "idea," not "ideal."
beauxeault, Apr 23 2003

       And none more volatile than this one, eh?
DrCurry, Apr 23 2003

       Need a new category:
Anal-Retentive: Stifle your elf
thumbwax, Apr 23 2003

       With -alx Trebek!   

       Final Jeopardy! category is: Patent Law.
RayfordSteele, Apr 24 2003

       // you are unknowingly making it impossible for the vast majority of these new ideals to be developed. //   

       I disagree with your premise. If the purpose of this site was [to] promote the development of any of these silly ideas, you'd have a point. As it is not, you don't.   

       (merci bliss... a-choo!)
waugsqueke, Apr 24 2003

       I'm partial to prepositions, myself.
RayfordSteele, Apr 27 2003

       For a moment there I had visions of my ideals being crushed, my entire value system in shambles, my very essence bereft of guidance. Then I wondered if I had gone through a time-warp and it was April 1 again! At least breeze used an appropriate pseudonym.
Canuck, Apr 27 2003

       I too thought (and was looking forward to) a post on ideals. As it is, see badgers comment for my opinion of this idea or "hb search" copyright schmopyright.
thecat, Jul 05 2003


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