Am I entitled to a patent if I make my idea open to the public? 6 Answers as of July 25, 2013

Someone I know has invented a new powerful self running engine that does not work on gasoline or electricity. It does not have a patent or patent pending yet. Would that person be wise to make a video claiming himself as the inventor and post it on the You Tube and proclaim its PUBLIC DOMAIN for the entire world?? The whole world would then know he is the original inventor but he would not receive any monetary compensation whatsoever working that way. This leads me to my question. Having done the above what USA patent or patent pending rights if any does the original inventor have after doing the above? Surely anyone who files for a patent exactly like the original inventors device is not the original inventor

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DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
It would not be wise to make and publish a video proclaiming oneself as the inventor if wants to obtain patent rights in the US or internationally. First off, inventing a new engine, shooting a video of the engine running, and posting it on Youtube, may only affect the patentability of the invention if the video or associated text describes the invention in sufficient detail that a person of skill would understand what the invention is or could make the engine. And even if the video shows the invention such sufficient detail, the US (and Canadian) patent rights can still be pursued with a patent application that is filed not more than one year after the video is publicly available.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 7/28/2011
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
None. See 35 USC 102. You loose the right to a patent if it is publicly disclosed and the patent is not filed within 12 months.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 7/28/2011
Michael M. Ahmadshahi
Michael M. Ahmadshahi | Michael M. Ahmadshahi, Ph.D., Esq.
Although not recommended, an inventor can display or otherwise disclose his/her invention to the public and still be able to file a patent application for the invention within 12 months of the public display/disclosure of the invention.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/25/2013
Devon & Associates
Devon & Associates | Marcia A. Devon
If you intend to obtain patent protection, I think it is folly to post a video of the invention and yourself as the inventor of a device, stating it is in the public domain. Unless you are independently wealthy and/or would like to make a gift of your invention to the world, publicly posting it does not make sense. Benjamin Franklin, for example, gave his lightening rod invention as his gift to the world, because he wanted to help people, but he had already made his fortune in printing and he had other patents. Posting your invention on "You Tube" would prevent you from obtaining patent protection in most foreign countries, even without adding that you are placing the invention in the public domain. In the U.S., you might still be able to obtain a patent if you do not donate it to the public domain because U.S. law provides inventors a one-year grace period, from the date of first offer of sale or the date of first public use or disclosure, to file their patent application. I am having difficulty understanding why would you want to donate it the public and then attempt to obtain a patent at the same time. These are mutually exclusive goals. If you are attempting to prevent a third party from claiming they are the owner of the invention because you invented it first, there are better procedures available.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/28/2011
Malhotra Law Firm, PLLC
Malhotra Law Firm, PLLC | Deepak Malhotra
In the U.S., an inventor has one year from the earliest sale, offer for sale, public use, or publication of an invention to file a patent application. After one year, it is no longer possible to obtain a valid U.S. patent for whatever what published. A requirement of obtaining a patent is being an original inventor. Other countries are more strict and require that a patent application be filed before any publication takes place, though there are some exceptions. There are some questions open as to exactly what was published relative to what was invented so your friend should seek competent counsel as soon as possible.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 7/28/2011
    Barton Barton & Plotkin
    Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
    In general, an inventor must file his application for a patent within one year following first publication, offer, or sale of his invention. As long as the inventor can prove the date of invention (whether through laboratory notebooks or a You Tube video), and as long as the patent application is filed within the one year window, no one else can claim to be the inventor (unless someone can show that that he invited the product before the date of invention claimed by this inventor). What matters is the date of the invention.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/27/2011
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