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Private Description

Just like "Prior Art", but not requiring actual public artifacts.
  [vote for,

"-Prior- Private Description" would be a concept in patenting, which would work similar to how "Prior Art" works, making it impossible to patent things that are found to have prior description in reliable record keeping systems, such as e-mail conversations, blockchains, mailing lists, etc.
Mindey, Jul 06 2016

Proof I invented the iPhone iPhone
If it's on the internet, it must be true. [doctorremulac3, Jul 11 2016]


       Uh, this is the same as "prior art" then? Except that you want to include non-public disclosure?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 06 2016

       [MaxwellBuchanan], indeed. What about the current system? If someone unearths an idea from a private mailing list, provably dated before the application for patent, can it be considered Prior Art?..   

       If yes, then "Prior Description" idea is baked.
Mindey, Jul 06 2016

       "Prior Art" is anything that was in the public domain. So, if it was a person-to-person email it doesn't count (as I understand it); if it was posted on a public forum, or graffitied on the wall of a pub in Tanganyika, then it counts.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 06 2016

       I see. Well, then Halfbakery counts, and Prior Description is still something, but probably could be renamed to "Private Description", not to overlap with "Prior Art".
Mindey, Jul 06 2016

       Private Descriptions sounds salacious! Do I have to pay?
bungston, Jul 06 2016

       Shady patents that cover stuff that was already known on newsgroups etc is a valid concern. But newsgroups, email, conversations, etc already count as prior art, unless there's a written agreement establishing confidentiality. So, the real problem is, perhaps, bringing this information to the attention of the people who grant patents. There have been attempts to do this, such as prior art bounty sites and repositories.
the porpoise, Jul 10 2016

       There is no first-to-invent anymore, only first-to-file.   

       Exactly. Although it is worth noting that if there is public disclosure, it will prevent _anyone_ from filing. (One caveat: in the US, I believe there is a "grace period" of 1 year - meaning that if you publicly disclose something, you can still file within within 1 year; however, you can't get an international patent in that way if you've disclosed - just a US one.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 11 2016

       That is incorrect. Canada has a one year grace period. There is nothing in place to keep anyone from the US from patenting any of these publically disclosed inventions during that Canadian grace-period.   

       Bit of a joke really. We just don't understand American humor.   

       Yup. 12 months from publication is the deadline for filing.   

       I think what you're saying is you want to be able to prove you invented something first if a patent comes out and you had previously written about it to a friend or in some other limited distribution. I believe, and I could be wrong, that the basic idea of a patent is that only the inventor has the right to be granted patent rights. Goes to say that, in theory, if you could convince a court that this person didn't come up with the idea first because you wrote about it to your aunt Mabel in a drunken stupor back in 95, and you can get them to believe it, you could overturn the patent holder's rights. (Could be wrong about that, probably am.)   

       But why? You wouldn't be able to get a patent yourself as the overturned patent is now public domain. You'd just get the joy of ruining somebodies dream of being a "custard filled lampshade" mogul.   

       I'm just guessing about the ability to overturn a patent based on proof that it was referred to in hard copy someplace that wasn't available to the general public. That would get into a sticky legal area where it's so hard to prove it might just not be admissible.   

       It is an interesting legal idea though. Proof that you came up with the idea without the looming deadline for filing. I expect it's such a hard thing to prove and would be so ripe for fraud that it's just not practical to even consider.   

       (See link proving I invented the iPhone)
doctorremulac3, Jul 11 2016


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