Legal Question in Intellectual Property in California

Patenting an idea

Let's say that I thought of a new way to apply the use of a newly designed bicycle. The bike is a new invention that has a patent pending itself. However, it is still a bike. Let's say, for argument sake, the gear mechanism on the bike is new, unique and different, allowing the rider to peddle less but travel farther. Now let's say that I thought of a cool way to use this type of bike for entertainment and recreation that the manufacturer may have never thought of. Can I patent the idea that I have for the use of said bike? Not the bike itself but the idea on how it could be used.

Asked on 6/13/07, 1:07 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Johm Smith tom's
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Re: Patenting an idea

I'm not a patent attorney but I can tell you that you don't patent idea but rather you have to develop the idea to fit into something that can be patented, like an invention. The idea is your mental image of how to make a better toaster; the invention is something drawn on paper that an engineer can look at an make, if they have the right to make and sell your patented invention. There are business model inventions and other types that may cover a game. We are looking to add a patent attorney member to our association; so feel free to contact me and I'll check who among the patent attorneys I know will give you a reasonably priced consultation. NanceGroup.com

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Answered on 6/13/07, 8:39 am
Michael Cohen Cohen IP Law Group, PC
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Re: Patenting an idea

That is correct. Ideas themselves are not patentable. It must "enable one skilled in the art to reduce it to practice". The idea should be manifested into a software, device, etc, something to make it an actual invention.

Additionally, you may have problems if your patent incorporates another technology that is already patented. If you simply are using some one else's patent for a new application, you could still get sued even if the application is different. Note, that questions of patentability and infringement are very different are require separate analysis.

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Answered on 6/13/07, 2:31 pm

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