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Seeking Prior Art Before Filing Patent? 86

An anonymous reader asks: "I had a sort of out-there idea for computer hardware, and wanted to investigate design and manufacture. I figure the first step would be to patent the idea so that I am protected from it being stolen, while I confer with contractors about fabrication and circuit design. Does anyone know of ways to check for prior art, other than hitting up Google for something similar? I believe this idea is unique, but you never know what could have been out there, and I didn't know if there were any good resources on the web. Since the readership seems to be an inventive bunch, I think discussion on this topic may help more people than myself."
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Seeking Prior Art Before Filing Patent?

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  • Dont. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Atlantis-Rising ( 857278 ) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @11:36PM (#15136599) Homepage
    Nobody else does- why seperate yourself from the crowd!?
  • by xanderwilson ( 662093 ) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @11:39PM (#15136607) Homepage
    I'd search gizmodo, engadget, and Boing Boing, as they often post "out there" examples of hardware (I'd imagine you already searched the archive of Slashdot). Also the US Patent office has a search on it and you can search by keywords, like "touch screen," "handlebars," "vibration," and "chocolate" (no, I won't tell you what I'm working on either...).


  • File the patent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SlappyBastard ( 961143 ) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @11:40PM (#15136613) Homepage
    But don't bet on it ever having real value.

    The truth is, even if your patent is approved, the teeth of patent is backed by your ability to take it into court.

    While it is nice to hold it as a property with the possibility of transfering it in the future (to someone who CAN defend it in court), it is not a hands-down defense of your idea.

    Your idea had better be able to make it to market with quality backing by you. If that isn't there, who cares about a patent?

    For the price, if you're sold on the idea, skip the BS and just patent it already.

  • Re:Dont. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @01:28AM (#15136960) Journal
    Don't file the patent?
    Or don't seek prior art?

    If it's the first, then you're entitled to your opinion.
    If it's the second, I've only got two words: Due Diligence.

    Find a patent attorney who's involved in computer technology & hire them to do the search. Getting a patent done is like going to court: sure, you can represent yourself, but it isn't a good idea.

To be is to program.