Posted Mar 29, 2009 22:12 UTC (Sun) by giraffedata
In reply to: Patent browsing
Parent article: An afternoon among the patent lawyers
I think oak's point is that if you want to avoid inadvertently using a patented invention, you also have to know about the things that have already been invented, but not yet had patents issued.
That would entail knowing not only about the filed but not yet granted patents, but also the inventions that haven't even been filed yet (you have a year after invention to do so).
Just like the unfiled inventions, you can't know about the filed but not granted ones either, because an essential part of the system is that patent applications are confidential. That way, until the patent issues -- and forever if it never does issue -- the inventor can still have his monopoly via trade secret.
This is the source of the "submarine patent" controversy. Some inventors deliberately slow down the patent application process to give competitors lots of time to independently invent, and grow a dependency on the invention, and then when the patent finally issues, it's worth a lot more.
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