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Bodie
07-25-2007, 01:26 AM
This might be a silly question, but does anybody happen to know the implications of posting details about a project that may be patentable? In other words, I have a project that I think is really cool and I *might* be able to patent it, so I'm wondering if someone else could see my idea and try to beat me to the patent office. I thought I read somewhere that by making it public, nobody else can patent it because it's public knowledge that they are not the inventor and only the inventor can patent the item.

Forgive me if this is in the wrong place or I sound smug thinking my idea is so cool as to justify a patent. I don't know if it does, but I thought I'd throw the question out here anyway.

Thanks guys!

Alex
07-25-2007, 09:45 AM
I believe if you make an idea public, then yes, I think it would be up for grabs. But that would be a really crappy thing for somebody to do. Depending on the type, patents don't come cheap either though.

If you are certain that the project you built can be marketed into a product and make the person owning it enough profit to pay off the patent fee within the first year or two, then I wouldn't suggest posting about it. Just remember though, most technology is outdated in about a year or two anyways.

food for though:D

- Alex

Bodie
07-25-2007, 10:53 AM
Hmm...I'm torn. I'm really excited about it and want to share, but it seems like recently a lot of my ideas that I jotted down a couple of years ago are starting to pop up and be marketed by other people. Now I'm just paranoid.

It's going to take me 3-4 weeks anyway to finish and polish it up, so I'll see if I can work some of my attorney friends to hook me up with a cheap consult with a patent attorney. :)

Thanks Alex!

Alex
07-25-2007, 11:30 AM
Yeah, I know what you mean! One of the reasons why I decided to go back to school was because I thought how one would go about creating an electric guitar with invisible strings. I'm not talking about that Guitar Hero guitar. I'm talking about an electric guitar that looks and feels just like a real guitar, has all the features of a bad ass electric guitar, but the strings are all removed. The frets would still be there on the neck, but in between would be a light based touch sensor technology, and where you would normally strum, would be replaced by IR sensors of some sort.

This way, the guitar is fully digital and you are free to plug it into your computer and do whatever. My first thought was guitar lessons on a PC, while having the computer understand exactly what note you played and how you played it, but the possibilities for something like this would be endless.

Pretty cool and all, till about a year into school. I opened up a magazine (I believe it was Stuff or Maxim) and found my creation was right before my eyes. All but the IR Sensors for strumming:(

Oh well, life goes on right?


Anyways, good luck on your project, and we hope to see it in our Project Showcase section!!

Alex
09-10-2007, 08:55 AM
We're going to stick this thread to have a place where everyone can post questions they have about the Submit Your Project and WIN Contest. Please do not post general contest questions in your own thread, as they will be moved to this thread. This is so that everyone can learn from each other and their questions:D

Good luck to everyone!

Vaughn
09-10-2007, 02:20 PM
If we enhance previously submitted entries, can they be re-entered in the future?

For example, my Gym project only had a day or two's work in it and in the future, as it becomes more robust, I would like to resubmit it and also put more time into the documentation and possibly release the software for a DIY project.

Now that I know the contest is going to be monthly, I think it would be much better for me to only enter 1 project at a time, but put more effort into each submittion instead of trying to enter as many as possible last time. =) But if someone does enter multiple entries, are they limited to 1 project placing in the top 3?

I thought it was really fun and have posted a message on my board plugging the contest. I will try to do more in the future to drive some traffic.

Thanks,
Vaughn

Vaughn
09-11-2007, 01:17 PM
the patent office has a service for $10 that will allow a demo like these to be submitted quickly and cheaply. It then gives you 1 year to file the official patent.

Now, prototypes and proof of prototypes are the Ace of Spades when it comes to patents. So if you make the idea, someone else goes to patent it, then you follow along a year later with a patent, showing the date of conception and prototype, you can overturn their patent even though they filed sooner. The $10 submittion fixes this by locking in your date a little sooner, but you can win either way.

Personally, I just throw most of my ideas out there. The more places I have videos and writeups, the more places that work is copyrighted and the safer I feel. If the whole world knows I designed it, good luck getting a patent on my ideas... I have proof of conception and functional prototype.

I have a patent and it took 5 MISERABLE years to get it. I had to share it with the company I work for and two managers ever got their name added as inventors. Event with their help and the company lawyers, it was a horrific ordeal and I never want to go through it again unless the is some real big money involved.

Here is the Patent Office's website:
http://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html

Here is an excellent reference site:
http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/en/patents.html

Here is my patent:
http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?u=%2Fnetahtml%2Fsrchnum.htm&Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&r=1&l=50&f=G&d=PALL&s1=6789215.PN.&OS=PN/6789215&RS=PN/6789215

Look at the F'N wording in that thing. These lawyers almost killed me writting that thing. Here is my description: A software inventory system that can automatically update a computer's software by connecting to a central server and pulling the updates to the local computer and installing them with unattended scripts.

Good luck getting that info out of that stupid lawyer jargon.

Vaughn

Matt
09-12-2007, 12:48 PM
For now we are going to say okay to resubmitting, but we are hesitant because this could be abused rather fast. On the other hand, we love the idea of people evolving projects and there were some on the cusp that could jump into the top three.

I think we would limit it to 1 resubmit a month per person and caution people against going nuts about it. A project should have some serious upgrades to it before it's resubmitted.

We want to encourage new projects showing up, not just the same ones being recycled. People should also note that we would probably avoid giving top prizes to the same people every month. We do want to spread the love somewhat. :) But hey, if your projects rock that much, you just might grab more prizes than everyone else. In the end it's all about building a community of people sharing awesome DIY projects.

That leaves the question of how to resubmit. I vote that a new thread needs to be posted and the old one capped off with a link to the new thread. That way people finding the old thread and wanting to comment are directed to the new one posted in the new month.

Alex
09-12-2007, 05:00 PM
I also suggest putting a link to their old project submission thread in their new project submission thread. It should be the very first line of their new project submission thread. This is to politely inform everyone that this is a resubmission project.

The link to the old submission thread is not meant as a "read more about my project here" link. You will still have to follow the documentation guidelines as if you never submitting the project before.

Vaughn
09-13-2007, 11:52 AM
Here is what I am working on with my gun turret for example: 4-cameras, 3 on the base to provide a panoramic view that does not move to help with accurate motion detection and No-Fire zones, the 4th camera is for just looking around and confirming barrel position.

A laser is being added to confirm aiming across the 3 panoramic cams.
A pico-relay is being added to activate the laser.
A keylock is being added to the firing mechanism for safety.
A USB hub is being added to support the 4 cameras.
A speaker and microphone are being added for warning messages and to control/disable the unit by voice.
Of course the software gets a big rewrite for all of this and the software was not even shown last time...

That is about all the plans for the next version. I think that changes the project enough that I would like for the new version to be seen and entered in the contest. Again, just for example, would a list of changes like that be considered drastic enough to qualitfy it for entry again?

I agree that you do not want the same project entered every month untill there are few enough submittions that it wins. But if projects can not be enhanced and resubmitted, then I would never want to enter one until its final revision, which is not so bad either, I guess.

I think entering and losing, but getting feedback on what can be improved and stuff is valuable and when those suggestions are addressed and the project improves, I would like to see them again.

Anyways, I'll flow with whatever you guys decide as you go. I am not after prize money, just enjoying the activities and always looking for motivation to work on these things.

Vaughn

Matt
09-14-2007, 11:31 AM
I totally agree with your thoughts. We decided to allow reposting for all the reasons you mention. The feedback loop is a valuable part of the forums we want to encourage. If a project hasn't won and it has evolved we are all for it being re-shown in all it's new glory.

On a side note: It certainly sounds like you have added a ton to the project and I for one look forward to seeing it again. Have you seen Tim's project that is similar? You two should be corresponding. http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=1124

Thanks for your input and all your cool projects, we love having you here!

Alex
09-14-2007, 05:21 PM
Hey, I have a question. What do all of you think about creating a subforum for this thread inside the Project Showcase forum? I'm thinking that this thread is going to become pretty huge and packed full of different questions, none of which will have their own topic lines, which will obviously mean it'll be difficult for those looking for answers to questions.

Thoughts?

italian_guy299
01-16-2008, 02:54 PM
Does anyone know where we would post our entries? I didn't quite catch that detail.

Thanks,

Joe.

Alex
01-16-2008, 03:19 PM
Did you check out the contest page?

http://www.trossenrobotics.com/contest.aspx

It tells ya in there;)

LinuxGuy
04-02-2008, 01:40 PM
Hmm...I'm torn. I'm really excited about it and want to share, but it seems like recently a lot of my ideas that I jotted down a couple of years ago are starting to pop up and be marketed by other people. Now I'm just paranoid.
I see that happen with my ideas quite often. That includes the ideas I never tell anyone about. In a few months somebody will be doing what I thought of.


It's going to take me 3-4 weeks anyway to finish and polish it up, so I'll see if I can work some of my attorney friends to hook me up with a cheap consult with a patent attorney. :)
Does "cheap" and "patent attorney" belong in the same sentence? Everybody wants their cut if they smell money.

8-Dale

jdolecki
04-03-2008, 02:27 PM
What i try to do if i think i have a great idea is take all my papers to the currency exchange for a few buck you can get them all notorized with the date on them. its cheap insurance if you are going to file for a patent or copyright.

(Did I spell that right?)

pgruenbaum
12-12-2008, 08:15 PM
I have a question: we did a project using a Phidget product that we bought off the Trossen Robotics site. Are we eligible for the contest?

Thanks,
Peter

DresnerRobotics
12-12-2008, 08:49 PM
I have a question: we did a project using a Phidget product that we bought off the Trossen Robotics site. Are we eligible for the contest?

Thanks,
Peter

Absolutely! Pretty much anything techy in any way is eligible. We'd love to hear about and see your project!

sunithaya
12-19-2008, 09:07 AM
Hi Tyberius, I've read a few posts where the person entering a project is informed that he/she is "in". Does that mean that there is an approval needed? I know you have said that anything techy qualifies for entering a project, but do projects still need to be qualified?

On another note, seeing the incredible variety of projects throughout the forum, do you think it is a good idea to break the contest up in a few categories? I know there are some crossovers or projects hard to classify. And of course, if you have more categories you would need more prizes! :veryhappy:

DresnerRobotics
12-19-2008, 09:27 AM
Not really any approval process, you just need to indicate that you would like to enter your project into the contest and Alex will add you to the master list that we keep for each round. Difference being is that some people are just posting projects to show their current progress and want to wait until later to enter them, etc.

All you need to do is PM Alex and link him to your thread, telling him you would like to enter in the contest!

I agree that our contests cover a broad range of fields, but we kind of like it that way. The constants are still in place: Technology, creativity, how well the project is documented (yours for example has amazing documentation), and the overall fun factor. These are usually the main points we use when deciding winners.

Alex
12-19-2008, 03:29 PM
Hi Sunithaya! I've been meaning to reply to your thread to let you know that you've been entered in the contest, but I always like to read everything in the thread before I reply and there's a TON of great content in your thread:) I only made it about half way through cuz I've been doing a lot of off forum work:(

Oh yeah, about attaching images. I know Adrenalynn mentioned the Manage Attachment button to upload pictures from your local machine, but you can also use this feature to attach your flickr images. When you click the Manage Attachment button, there will be six boxes to upload directly from your computer, but then also two boxes below those that are for entering direct URL's to your pictures on image hosting sites such as Flickr. You can upload many more images than the number of boxes provided, you would just have to close and then reopen the Manage Attachment box. If you ever run into any questions like this, just PM me and I'll help ya out:D

sunithaya
12-21-2008, 06:33 PM
Hi Alex,

thanks for entering me into the contest and also for the uploading tips. I got that part down now :-)

sunithaya
12-21-2008, 06:36 PM
Hi Tyberius,
thanks, Alex entered me already.:-) I'm having lots of fun in this forum. There are amazing projects all over the place. Thanks again for making this available and for the encouragement.

CaptKill4Fun
01-14-2009, 08:13 PM
What i try to do if i think i have a great idea is take all my papers to the currency exchange for a few buck you can get them all notorized with the date on them. its cheap insurance if you are going to file for a patent or copyright.




Hi,

Actually, applying for a "Provisional Patent" costs $100 ... and you don't need to get your papers notarized first.

The "Provisional Patent" gives you 1 year to complete your patent on your new product idea, but if you don't complete the patent before the year is over, you lose that initial patenting date ... although if nobody else got a patent, you can still patent your product idea.

Taking papers to a Notary Public for registration certification is a little cheaper than just sending a copy to the Copyright office ($30) and almost as safe as a Copyright ... but that's all you have on those papers is a Copyright ... not a patent nor patent protection.

I've already gone through this a few times before I learned about the Provisional Patent system.

Another note is that if you do send in for your "Provisional Patent" they give you a record number and you can then post "Patent Pending" on all your work and show it off to anybody you want or even enter into contests here. You maintain that patentable protection throughout the "Provisional Patent" period.

C U L8r, OPEC of the West & the R2Pv1 ...

Adrenalynn
01-14-2009, 08:22 PM
Yup. And you don't have to worry about a per-claim charge, as you do with a full patent filing. And your drawings don't have to be super-great.

The patent office does no real review. They stamp it and give you a filing number. You're just trying to protect priority.

Antonb
05-17-2010, 11:12 AM
If something comes out to the public domain is no longer patentable, so make sure before letting everybody know your idea you patent it first!

CaptKill4Fun
05-18-2010, 12:30 PM
Hmm...I'm torn. I'm really excited about it and want to share, but it seems like recently a lot of my ideas that I jotted down a couple of years ago are starting to pop up and be marketed by other people. Now I'm just paranoid.

It's going to take me 3-4 weeks anyway to finish and polish it up, so I'll see if I can work some of my attorney friends to hook me up with a cheap consult with a patent attorney. :)

Thanks Alex!


Hi, a patent costs a fortune and lasts 19 years ... then your patent becomes public domain anyway.

A provisional patent costs $130 and lasts 1 year so you can send your sketches and descriptions along with a credit card to the patent office asking for a provisional patent ... download the form from the USPTO.gov website.

Now you have 1 year to either start making money and complete a patent or see if anybody else wants to buy your thing ... but after 1 year unless you can make improvements and file a 2nd provisional patent you're stuff is again public domain.

:cool:

innerbreed
09-02-2010, 03:49 PM
one quick question:
sorry if this has already been covered...
..but..
how many project entry's can we enter.

DresnerRobotics
09-02-2010, 05:26 PM
As many as you like!

That said, we do rate on quality over quantity. Multiple project postings do not weigh towards a better 'overall' score (such as it did with our tutorial contest), each contest entry will be judged separately.

Matt
09-02-2010, 05:27 PM
You can enter as many as you like. It would be an individuals call whether to use them up in one contest or to save some for the following contests.

DresnerRobotics
09-02-2010, 05:28 PM
You can enter as many as you like. It would be an individuals call whether to use them up in one contest or to save some for the following contests.

Too slow old man.

Hellfire
09-18-2012, 12:09 AM
The question i have, is does the project have to be completed already?
I've just started a project just for the contest, and i just uploaded my first video of it tonight. I went to create robot project and it's asking for "completion" time frames and such.

Matt
09-18-2012, 01:06 PM
Robot projects are never "done" only abandoned :P If a project is still being worked on that is okay, but I would suggest waiting until it is at least mostly finished before submitting to a contest. We will be running contests one after another so if you miss one, just wait for the next one :)

jwatte
09-18-2012, 08:59 PM
There's a new contest? The last contenst I see on the contest page (#9) ended in January 2012.

Matt
09-19-2012, 10:45 AM
Oops! Someone needs to be shot. Sorry about that. Yes, that is the new current contest and it is supposed to say ends Jan 2013! We will fix it right away.

CaptKill4Fun
09-19-2012, 11:23 AM
Hi,

What the real thinking comes down to is: Can you get a patent, then manufacture and sell the item within 5-years to beat everybody else to the marketplace and set a "Brand Name" for your idea. IF NOT ... then just spend $35 to copyright everything to prove you did it first and make the information public so somebody else can manufacture and sell the product and you can embarrass them later for copying your idea ... maybe get a royalty if you're really lucky. Otherwise like most great ideas you can take it to the grave and know you didn't tell anyone else how smart you were.

As for patents ... for about $150 you can write up the entire project and file for a "Provisional Patent" with the US Patent office, but that only protects you for 1-year ... by then you should have a really good patent attorney or a friend or yourself completing a full patent, but those usually cost more than you can expect to earn unless you're going to sell a lot of product ... a whole lot of product.

That's my 2Cents ...

CaptKill4Fun
09-19-2012, 11:47 AM
Hi,

To get back to my birth date the calendar is making me click on a tiny arrow pointing to the left rather than letting me just type in my birthday date ??? I'm going to die of old age here trying to click all those clicks to go back that far in time!

Matt
09-19-2012, 11:54 AM
We will look into the calander tool to see what is up, but it isn't asking for your birthdate, it is asking for the robot birth date.

Gertlex
09-29-2012, 01:38 PM
I'm finding that I can't save any updates to my project entry.... Might this be broken?

kgranat
10-01-2012, 11:30 AM
I think this might be because we added a required 'Synopsis' Field after we launched the Robot Projects page. Can you add some text in there, and see if it will save your other updates? Thanks!

Gertlex
10-01-2012, 11:57 AM
Looks like that worked. Thanks! :)