If I were to create the website I wanted, how do I know if I am infringing on another website’s patents/copyrights? 7 Answers as of May 17, 2013

I have an idea for a website but it is something similar to but different than a website already created. Where can I find information stating what they have patented and no one else is able to use?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Microtechnology Law & Analysis | Daniel Flamm
1. Copyright and patent rights protect different things and the knowledge you seek (about infringement) is obtained differently. in each case. 2. As for copyrights, if you haven't copied anything you will not infringe. If you do copy something, it gets a lot more complicated and you should consult an attorney. 3. Regarding copyright, you could be sued even if you haven't copied or done anything wrong. If this happens you should hire an attorney to help you- a skilled attorney should be able to help you win the dispute and may be able to recover your legal costs and damages. 4. Patents protect useful things and methods- in the US, the first party to file a patent application or publish a patentable idea may now obtain a patent that can exclude others from using that which is claimed. To have a very high level of confidence that no patent covers what you are doing, you need to find an an *expired* patent or publication, or other documented public knowledge showing exactly the same thing (e.g. that a patent covering the thing would be invalid). 5. If you don't have any of the above in hand, then you can search through patents and patent applications. This can be difficult and it is easy to miss things. For this reason, you should find a highly skilled technical patent attorney who has significant hands on experience with patent disputes/litigation to help. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, there is always a possibility that something was overlooked- the amount of uncertainty will depend on the skill and scope of the the search. 6. As to your second question: you could search for patent applications and patents in the names of company employees and/or assigned to the company- but this assumes that the idea is protected by patents rather than a copyright or trademark. Besides searching, you could always ask them ;-)).... but doing that has its own drawbacks and/or risks. 7. "Similarity" that you reference can boil down to a legal question... the criteria, and what is protected, are different when it comes to copyright vs. patent protection, and legal knowledge, technical understanding, and experience are generally necessary to tease these things apart. 8. You can find a number of books with titles such as "
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/17/2013
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
You can't possibly find this information on your own. You are working in a complex area involving copyright, patent and trademark issues. You need to retain counsel to conduct a patent and copyright clearance analysis. Because this is a web based application you must request counsel to conduct a global analysis. In addition to reviewing patents and published patent applications, your counsel must review prior art literature. This may involve several languages as US courts honor foreign patents and publications as prior art. You cannot possibly do this without experienced counsel. I represent clients every day who request such services.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/17/2013
Tran & Associates | Bao Tran
You can look at the web site to see if it mentions Patent Pending or Patent Number information. You can also go to the PTO web search facility and enter the name of the company to see if it has applied for patent. Also, you should get patent application as soon as you can to prevent others from copying you. This is important as we move into the First to File era. I would recommend the use of software from PowerPatent.com called ProvisionalBuilder. Software costs $99 so it i very inexpensive yet guides you to prepare a high quality patent application that one year later you can turn to a lawyer to convert into a utility application for you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/17/2013
Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
To check for patents you can perform a search at www.uspto.gov. A company may also have protection under Trade Dress for the look and feel of a web site. Most websites have some similar features, you should make as many differences is appearance, forms and buttons to differentiate your web site.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/17/2013
Webb IP Law Group
Webb IP Law Group | Jason P Webb
There are lots of ways that you can infringe. It all comes down to the specifics of what you copy and how you copy it and what they have protected in what way. You should probably have an attorney review what you have planned so you can get some specific advice.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 5/17/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    A website design is more likely to be protected by copyright because it is an expression of an idea, rather than a useful item or process which is the basis for patent protection. Copyright protection springs forth as soon as an ?Original? The idea is fixed in some sort of permanent medium. So any copying of part or all of an existing website would be an infringement of the owner's rights. However, because of the current state of technology, there are a limited number of ways a website can operate (ie: a front page with links to other pages), only the differing part of a website, that is the layout, colors, content, photos, etc., are eligible to be copyrighted. There is no statutory obligation for a copyright owner to register his/her expression of an idea with the U.S. Copyright Office but it is encouraged. You can start your search there.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 5/17/2013
    Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
    For patent information - visit the Patent Office website - www.uspto.gov - and search for patents and published applications owned by the party that you are aware of. Conduct an "assignee" search. For copyright information - visit the Copyright Office website - www.copyright.gov . To be safe on copyright - create your own original website design, using your own layout, graphics, etc. If you use the works of others - you must have their written permission to put that "work" on your website.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 5/17/2013
Click to View More Answers: