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The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

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One of ordinary skill in the art can know that something will work
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, April 25 2013 @ 11:28 AM EDT
Someone can explain how a proposed coin sorter or proposed mouse trap works and
we can know that it will work from the provided information though the devices
have never been built.

Men went to the Moon in devices that had never been fully tested. Sure, there
was a chance that the devices included defects, but baring defects, they knew
Eagle would get them to the Sea of Tranquility and back.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Authored by: Doghouse on Thursday, April 25 2013 @ 11:54 AM EDT
"Hasn't been shown to work" does not equal "won't work", nor
does it mean the idea is flawed (let alone useless). Making a valid idea work is
engineering, and dependant on being able to afford the investment of time,
money, materials etc. required. I'm simply pointing out that, framed without
care, a simplistic "use it or lose it" approach could simply deprive
anyone with limited resources of any meaningful rights to their inventions,
directly contrary to the way in which patents are supposed to work. Yes, it
would stop patent trolling - but it would potentially throw the baby out with
the bathwater. There have to be additional tests.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

  • Except. - Authored by: Wol on Thursday, April 25 2013 @ 04:26 PM EDT
    • Except. - Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, April 25 2013 @ 05:33 PM EDT
      • Except. - Authored by: Wol on Friday, April 26 2013 @ 06:10 AM EDT
Authored by: tknarr on Thursday, April 25 2013 @ 08:55 PM EDT

The idea behind patents is to reward people who have actually produced a useful invention with a legal monopoly on that invention. So why should we grant that monopoly to someone who just has an idea but can't actually produce the invention they'd like to have produced? The reduction to practice doesn't have to be a market-ready product, it can be just a proof-of-concept prototype, but IMO if the inventor hasn't done the work needed to make his invention actually work then he should be told to come back once he has.

I recall a comment by an author along those lines. It went something like "So you have this great idea for a story, and you want to outline it to me and I just need to write it up and we'll split the profits 50/50? Such a deal. I come up with a dozen new story ideas a day. Those are easy. Writing the book, that's months of 8-hour days at the keyboard, editing, proofreading, rewriting, more proofreading... it can take me half a year of hard full-time work to turn a story idea into a publishable manuscript. And you seriously want me to do that much of the work and then give you half the profits?". When people talk about wanting a patent on something they haven't reduced to practice, that author's comment springs to mind. It's asking for the reward for all that hard work, without actually having done the hard work. And I think the proper answer should be that author's answer to all those fans who come to her with that kind of deal: "No.".

On commercialization, there are issues there. IMO most of them can be solved by simply saying that "attempt to commercialize" does not require actually selling the product in the market. It requires merely having an invention reduced to practice and reasonable attempts by the inventor to market it in some rational way. It can be shopping the prototype around to companies who might be interested in buying the rights and turning it into a marketable product. The inventor would get paid for his invention, so that attempt alone would qualify. Nobody has to actually buy, it's not fair to the inventor to make the outcome dependent on what someone else does. But at the same time it's not fair to reward an "inventor" for chucking his idea on the shelf and waiting ten years to see what happens, and then swooping in to grab a share of the market someone else created without his involvement.

And yes, that means that sometimes someone's going to lose out because they came up with a brilliant idea that's so far ahead of it's time that it's going to require multiple advances in the state of the art before it could possibly be reduced to practice. That's fine. If the invention's really worth it then even after those advances it's not going to be trivial to produce it and the guy who had the original idea has a head start on everybody else. And if it is trivial to implement once the needed advances are in place, he shouldn't be getting the reward when other people did all the hard work to make it happen.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

  • Useful - Authored by: Ian Al on Friday, April 26 2013 @ 03:04 AM EDT
    • Useful - Authored by: tknarr on Friday, April 26 2013 @ 02:30 PM EDT
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