Patent / Copyright law

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by liveforav, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. liveforav

    liveforav
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    Does anyone know about Patent / Copyright law? I've seen a product which is essentially an existing item thats been repurposed. Basically theres a product out there that has loads of uses, without saying what it is, imagine its a piece of string.. a company already uses this sting in a specific way and charges a packet for it.

    I can source similar string directly for use in the same way as the existing company, if i supply it much cheaper are there any rules i need to follow? Given the product is pretty common and the purpose is the only similarity im not sure what restrictions are in place?

    Using my string example imagine company 'a' uses the string to wrap around a handle of a tool, i'd like to use the same string to do the same thing but can do it for less than half the price
     
  2. Pisto_Grih

    Pisto_Grih
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    paracord?
     
  3. liveforav

    liveforav
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    Nah, not paracord or even rope / string of any kind. Purely an example because string was the first thing that came to mind :)
     
  4. SteveCritten

    SteveCritten
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    Do you know if it is patented? It depends on the wording.
     
  5. Pisto_Grih

    Pisto_Grih
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    I'm not a patent lawyer (or any kind of lawyer, or even that smart) but you would need to assess what exactly the existing producer is doing with the two [seperate] items to create the final item that they sell. If there is a particular process to combine the two that you think is novel and hasn't been done before, then that may be protected. You can't just undercut them using their own process.

    If you can find a way of sourcing the two source items cheaper, then combining them into the product in a novel way, then you should be good to go.

    I would get someone to look into the product to see if there is anything that is protected - it may be that it is not and you are just lucky to have noticed it and can do the same thing cheaper. Ramp up your production to industrial scale and hope that someone with a big factory in China hasn't noticed the same!
     
  6. xox Godders xox

    xox Godders xox
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    I've done a bit of training in IP law but am by no means an expert (it's a very complex area of law).

    As I see it there are a two potential issues, the item itself and the process (i.e. the way in which the item is being used/applied), both of which can be protected. Copyright doesn't sound relevant.

    Although it's "common", use of the product may still be restricted in some way (in which case you'd need to seek a licence from the IP owner). Wouldn't be an issue with string as the design is so old it could no longer be protected but if it's an item that hasn't been around that long (i.e. <25years) then it could be an issue.

    If a process is unique or has an "inventive step" and is not obvious to a large number of people then it could be patented. You say you could do it better but would you be copying any part of the existing process?

    Impossible to say more without knowing the details of the existing and proposed product/application. That's not a hint for you to tell me :D I suggest if you're serious about it you should seek specialist advice.

    The IP office website has some good info:

    Intellectual Property Office - Welcome to the Intellectual Property Office
     
  7. balidey

    balidey
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    If it does have a patent on it, you (or your appointed patent lawyer, NOT a general lawyer) needs to get a look at it and read it very very carefully.
    If there is a patent on it, then it depends how its worded whether you need to worry or not. I have had some very broad dealings with patents at work and who wrote them and how they are worded makes a huge difference.
    Example, my current boss wrote a patent at his old company and when he was there he insisted it protected the product from copying. But when he moved to work for us he then knew how to get round it so we can make a very similar product.

    So its not whether it HAS a patent, its how its worded.

    Which brings me to another point. Lets say you read the patent, you think that you can get round it. If the company with the patent disagrees with you then they can take you to court and a judge will look at the patent document, look at each use of the item and then he decides. Notice that it is the judge (or panel, I can't remember now) and many patents can be open to interpretation. So one person may agree with you, but another judge / panel may not. It all depends how well, or badly or broadly the patent has been written.

    Be prepared for it to get expensive.

    Edit to add: look out for vague words or descriptions. I have seen patents with the word 'large' in them. What defines large? That one had a good friend of mine spending a lot of money on his patent lawyer)
     
  8. Tempest

    Tempest
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    Just don't call it.

    " iCord"

    Else a large fruit based monster may be after you.
     

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