Protection for easy duplication?

brettrbrettr subscriber Posts: 3
edited January 2007 in Protecting Your Ideas
Are there recommendations for protecting something that is easily duplicated?  It isn`t in existance yet. It`s a series of functionalities making up a web based application, which means people can view most of the source code and figure it out.  It will also have a unique layout that I`d like to protect as well.  Any suggestions on what I can best do for at least validly sending, when the time comes, cease and desist letters are appreciated.
Thanks,Brett
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Comments

  • brettrbrettr subscriber Posts: 3
    Here`s a very simple example to illustrate what I`m getting at.  Let`s say I build a web based application that pulls in stock quotes every 5 minutes and displays a detailed graph of that stock for the past 72 hours overlayed with a few of the major indexes.  I have several technical analysis parameters for users.   Everything is setup up in a specific layout with specific colors.
    Someone could come along, view the source code and create their own version.  How much of that can I protect?
    Thanks,Brett
  • brettrbrettr subscriber Posts: 3
    Thanks ElidS.  That`s what I was looking for.  I guess it gets into the look and feel part.  Is there absolutely no protection for that aspect?
    If I did get a patent to protect my code and find there are imitations, how do I know they are  my code or different code?  At what point can you say, "hey, I have to board your ship and search"?
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark subscriber Posts: 103
    If I follow this correctly, I think ElidS is just plain wrong.  Utility patent protection is NOT limited to the particular code employed - but extends to the function of the code.  In other words, different code CAN be infringing depending on the function of that different code.
  • brettrbrettr subscriber Posts: 3
    Google wins a design patent: http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-6143586.html</A>.  The problem is if someone takes your swivel and changes it to a slightly different givel, then moves it down 2 pixels down, the patent protection can`t be enforced, from what I read.
    James, that sounds correct: http://www.bitlaw.com/software-patent/why-patent.html</A>.  So if you can get a design and utility patent for your web application, you are doing fairly well.  Several design patents would be needed to cover different screenshots (states).  Of course, there is the probably of them actually not doing so well in court.  Being practical, do you have the money and time it will take to sit out of work while you defend?
    Doesn`t the utility patent get into protecting at least the "feel" part of the look and feel?  It`s function that is producing the feel part.  There would only be a look if there were no function going on.
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark subscriber Posts: 103
    since design patents protect the ornamental and non-functional aspects of things, they are most useful when a client wants to protect the ornamental and non-functional aspects of something.
  • brettrbrettr subscriber Posts: 3
    That`s why I say combine the two types of patents.  But again, the practical point stands.
  • brettrbrettr subscriber Posts: 3
    Your use of the word "same" is the problem.  They aren`t the same.  Look closely and you`ll see differences in menus, navigation, features, location of ports, layout, colors, various graphics, shapes, methods of powering up/down, etc.
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark subscriber Posts: 103
    brettr is right.  Plus, the patents may cover different subject matter.  Further, some of them may actually infringe each other or there may be licensing agreements that we don`t know about.
  • brettrbrettr subscriber Posts: 3
    ElidS, look at one of my previous post describing an example of how someone can skirt right next to your patent without infringing.  That was an extreme example but to the user that isn`t noticing very subtle details, it all looks the same. Hence your above post. brettr2007-1-17 12:57:57
  • johncjohnc subscriber Posts: 3
    ElidS,Cell phone manufacturers aren`t licensing from ONE source.  They license from each other.  The software running on any given phone mostly likely is composed of several software licensing agreements.  Meaning, parts what you see (software) came from several manufacturers.John
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark subscriber Posts: 103
    All of you fine folks that want to go on thinking that software utility patents can not be infringed by others with a different code are free to do so.  You`ve been told.
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark subscriber Posts: 103
    Yes - the FUNCTIONS of "displaying a result" or "receiving an input value" or "building a database" may be accomplished with a wide variety of of codes and types of codes.
  • patentandtrademarkpatentandtrademark subscriber Posts: 103
    I`m sorry you are confused.  Infringement of the utility patent is based on function - not code.  I`m not sure how else to say that.  It`s what the code does and not what the code is.  I can`t go beyond that without investing some time I need to spend with clients who pay and listen to the advice.
  • brettrbrettr subscriber Posts: 3
    STAC ELECTRONICS, a California corporation, Plaintiff, v. MICROSOFT CORPORATION, a Delaware corporation, Defendant.http://www.vaxxine.com/lawyers/articles/stac.html</A>
    Starting at (24), it gets into the infringement details althought what happens before and leading up to (24) is worth reading. 
    To be clear, Microsoft didn`t completely duplicate Stacker.  Their DoubleSpace product had its own features but also had features (read functions) identical to Stacker.  Although Microsoft wrote their own "unique" source code, "some" of it resulted in providing the exact same functions as Stacker.  That`s utility infringement. 
    Brettbrettr2007-1-20 13:18:39
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