Fusion Message Board

In this space, visitors are invited to post any comments, questions, or skeptical observations about Philo T. Farnsworth's contributions to the field of Nuclear Fusion research.

Subject: Re: Patents
Date: Apr 23, 9:33 am
Poster: Jim Lux

On Apr 23, 9:33 am, Jim Lux wrote:

>I am no lawyer - and do not pretend to be such...
>But, from my understanding, in order for a patent to be enforcable, it must pass the test of "Common Understanding."

In the US, the concept is:
The patent should describe the invention in sufficient detail that a practitioner skilled in the art could duplicate it.

Of course, patent application writers try to create this impression (so the examiner will let it by) while still keeping out some essential details that make it practical. (At least, this is what I was advised when doing my applications, and since the advisors were paying the piper, they got to call the tune, whether I personally agree)

>Too much of what is being patented is based on "common knowlege." I was speculating on the particle beam stuff over 10 years ago...
In patentese, "common knowledge" is called "prior art".

Mere speculation isn't enough to establish prior art. The invention must be "reduced to practice": either by doing it, or by writing an application (the theory behind the latter being that since you have to describe it in enough detail to allow a practitioner... it must be real).

>(We need more people in court explaining what "obvious" is...

It is rumored that the USPTO has said that they don't have enough resources to properly evaluate whether all patents truly are non-obvious (i.e. there isn't "prior art"), particularly in highly technical fields, or ones in which the technical literature is sparse (i.e. commercial software (distinguished from computer science)). Therefore, they tend to issue the patent, and let the issue of invalidity be raised as a defense when the holder goes after someone for infringement.