Inventions that never were patented


by rytmenpinne
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rytmenpinne
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Apr26-12, 06:00 PM
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I just watched a pro-pantent video lecture and the guy kept going on how about how alot of inventions would never have happened if not for patents. Personally I don't believe that they encourage development, not sure if they inhibit it, that's what I want to find out.. They most likely do concetrate wealth tho, wich infact can have a possitive affect on highcost research.

Anyway, In contrast to the video I'd like to look into to inventions and technologies that never have been patented and what the implications of that fact have been. So.. what inventions(in any field) were never patented?
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TheStatutoryApe
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Apr26-12, 06:07 PM
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I doubt anything of note in recent history was not patented. Even if an inventor wanted their idea to be freely available to anyone they would still have to patent the idea to prevent someone else from doing so. Even Buckminster Fuller patented his work.
Evo
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Apr26-12, 06:28 PM
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Quote Quote by rytmenpinne View Post
I just watched a pro-pantent video lecture and the guy kept going on how about how alot of inventions would never have happened if not for patents. Personally I don't believe that they encourage development, not sure if they inhibit it, that's what I want to find out.. They most likely do concetrate wealth tho, wich infact can have a possitive affect on highcost research.

Anyway, In contrast to the video I'd like to look into to inventions and technologies that never have been patented and what the implications of that fact have been. So.. what inventions(in any field) were never patented?
If they weren't patented, we're not likely to know. Without patent protection your invention won't be your invention very long if it has any worth.

lisab
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Apr26-12, 07:22 PM
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Inventions that never were patented


Quote Quote by rytmenpinne View Post
I just watched a pro-pantent video lecture and the guy kept going on how about how alot of inventions would never have happened if not for patents. Personally I don't believe that they encourage development, not sure if they inhibit it, that's what I want to find out.. They most likely do concetrate wealth tho, wich infact can have a possitive affect on highcost research.

Anyway, In contrast to the video I'd like to look into to inventions and technologies that never have been patented and what the implications of that fact have been. So.. what inventions(in any field) were never patented?
Do you mean things that have been around long before there were patents? Like, the wheel?
Astronuc
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Apr26-12, 07:33 PM
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Weapons, e.g., nuclear weapons, chemical weapons and biological weapons cannot be patented.

There are inventions developed as trade secrets that are not disclosed, and therefore not patented, otherwise they wouldn't be trade secrets.

The objective of the patent is to protect the invention for some period of time such that the inventor may recover the cost of research and development through royalties. Of course, someone could take the invention and develop an improvement outside the scope of the claims and thus not infringe on an existing patent.

Products and processes can be patent provided that they are new, useful and non-obvious.
Drakkith
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Apr26-12, 07:35 PM
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Quote Quote by rytmenpinne View Post
I just watched a pro-pantent video lecture and the guy kept going on how about how alot of inventions would never have happened if not for patents. Personally I don't believe that they encourage development, not sure if they inhibit it, that's what I want to find out.. They most likely do concetrate wealth tho, wich infact can have a possitive affect on highcost research.
What is the incentive for putting the time, money, and effort into developing a new invention? If you don't patent it you will never make any money off of it because anyone can simply take your design and start producing it and selling it. Those with the capability of producing it immediately will jump on it before you ever have a chance.

If I have an idea for an invention I need to have incentive to do so. Not just because I love money and want it, but because money feeds me, clothes me, and provides for my family. Many inventions require lots of money to invent in the first place. Raw materials and components have to be purchased, bills pile up as time passes while you tinker, etc. Without a patent most people would simply dismiss it and keep working because it's a waste of time.
mathwonk
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Apr26-12, 07:36 PM
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I remember Ernie Kovacs had a sign on his office door in his home that said, when lighted: "Not now": I always wanted to patent that but never did. It could work as a professor's office sign too, or a spouse's sign on their door. What do you think?
phyzguy
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Apr26-12, 07:41 PM
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I think one example is the geostationary satellite. This is a very important invention that I think was never patented.
Drakkith
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Apr26-12, 07:47 PM
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Quote Quote by phyzguy View Post
I think one example is the geostationary satellite. This is a very important invention that I think was never patented.
I'm willing to bet the satellites themselves were patented. The position in space that is geosynchronous is not patentable.
vici10
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Apr26-12, 08:26 PM
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Quote Quote by TheStatutoryApe View Post
I doubt anything of note in recent history was not patented. Even if an inventor wanted their idea to be freely available to anyone they would still have to patent the idea to prevent someone else from doing so. Even Buckminster Fuller patented his work.
The first thing that comes to mind is Marie Curie and discovery of radium. It was the decision of af Marie and Pierre Curie not to patent radium isolation process and make it available to everyone in order not hinder scientific progress and its medical applications. From http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_priz...rticles/curie/

In view of the potential for the use of radium in medicine, factories began to be built in the USA for its large-scale production. The question came up of whether or not Marie and Pierre should apply for a patent for the production process. They were both against doing so. Pure research should be carried out for its own sake and must not become mixed up with industry's profit motive. Researchers should be disinterested and make their findings available to everyone. Marie and Pierre were generous in supplying their fellow researchers, Rutherford included, with the preparations they had so laboriously produced. They furnished industry with descriptions of the production process.
Chi Meson
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Apr26-12, 08:41 PM
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Ben Franklin never patented the lightning rod. That's why he died penniless and forgotten!

[no, he didn't]
Ivan Seeking
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Apr26-12, 08:42 PM
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There are times when, in order to protect proprietary information, it is best to not patent a product, or perhaps more commonly, a process. In order to receive a patent one must disclose the information that makes the product or process uniquely valuable. If is it possible to not disclose that information, the proprietary information can sometime be better protected than if a patent was issued. One good example of this is Caddock Electronics, in Oregon, with whom I have visited and discussed this issue directly. At that time, at least, they had never patented one or more of their processes, and no one had ever figured out how they do it [produce certain high-precision resistors]. They had managed to protect this information for something like 25 years - well beyond the duration of patent protection.
http://www.caddock.com/index.html

I think KFCs fried chicken recipe was another example of this.

It is still common to find specialized controllers of various sorts buried in an epoxy to prevent reverse engineering. In order to get to the circuit you have to destroy it. I've used this technique myself. Going back a little further in time, we would often shave the part numbers off of ICs to make them difficult to identify.
zoobyshoe
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Apr26-12, 11:12 PM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
There are times when, in order to protect proprietary information, it is best to not patent a product, or perhaps more commonly, a process. In order to receive a patent one must disclose the information that makes the product or process uniquely valuable. If is it possible to not disclose that information, the proprietary information can sometime be better protected than if a patent was issued. One good example of this is Caddock Electronics, in Oregon, with whom I have visited and discussed this issue directly. At that time, at least, they had never patented one or more of their processes, and no one had ever figured out how they do it [produce certain high-precision resistors]. They had managed to protect this information for something like 25 years - well beyond the duration of patent protection.
http://www.caddock.com/index.html

I think KFCs fried chicken recipe was another example of this.

It is still common to find specialized controllers of various sorts buried in an epoxy to prevent reverse engineering. In order to get to the circuit you have to destroy it. I've used this technique myself. Going back a little further in time, we would often shave the part numbers off of ICs to make them difficult to identify.
Very interesting post. First time I've heard it proposed that protection lies in not patenting a thing, but it makes perfect sense.
phinds
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Apr26-12, 11:21 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
Very interesting post. First time I've heard it proposed that protection lies in not patenting a thing, but it makes perfect sense.
Oh yeah. Things like the formula for coke (classic), just as an example, would be a disaster if patented because the company could then make zero money in China and other countries with little or no patent protection.
TheStatutoryApe
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Apr27-12, 02:33 AM
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Quote Quote by vici10 View Post
The first thing that comes to mind is Marie Curie and discovery of radium. It was the decision of af Marie and Pierre Curie not to patent radium isolation process and make it available to everyone in order not hinder scientific progress and its medical applications. From http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_priz...rticles/curie/
Ah... just did some looking. Patent in other countries tends to be "first to file" and patent in the US was "first to invent" until just recently. I thought it had been "first to file" for some time. Any way, currently if you invent something and wish to make it free for use you will have to patent it to protect the idea from being patented by someone else.
AlephZero
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Apr27-12, 08:24 AM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
Very interesting post. First time I've heard it proposed that protection lies in not patenting a thing, but it makes perfect sense.
It certainly makes sense in high-tech industries where there are a small number of companies and high barriers to entry. In fact patents can be used in reverse. You only patent the stuff that you DO want your competitors to know about - especially if you never got it to work properly and are actually doing something different
nitsuj
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Apr27-12, 08:43 AM
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Quote Quote by Drakkith View Post
What is the incentive for putting the time, money, and effort into developing a new invention? If you don't patent it you will never make any money off of it because anyone can simply take your design and start producing it and selling it. Those with the capability of producing it immediately will jump on it before you ever have a chance.

If I have an idea for an invention I need to have incentive to do so. Not just because I love money and want it, but because money feeds me, clothes me, and provides for my family. Many inventions require lots of money to invent in the first place. Raw materials and components have to be purchased, bills pile up as time passes while you tinker, etc. Without a patent most people would simply dismiss it and keep working because it's a waste of time.
Does this not seem far far from the reality of patents at this time?

Patents feed & cloth you? Hardly.

Incentive? lol, umm yea, unless you're performing return on investment analysis on whether or not to pursue an inclination I don't buy into it. Would you honestly hold back an invention because you couldn't make money off it?

For an individual, with an actual revenue generating invention will be in for a world of hurt if they try to go to market against the powers of corporations. The more valuable the idea, the more pressures one would be under.

This isn't the 1800's, nowa days, companies easily stomp on individual inventors. Most smart inventors know this, and of the power (capital) corporations have, such as IBM, 3M, DuPont. Many many inventors go there to work, the smart ones, who invent for a living.

I'm not suggesting the individual cannot invent & patent something, I am suggesting it is an extreme rarity in these days for an individual inventor to make a living from inventions. Patents are now for the realm of capitalism.

All this is possible because of the points Astronuc mentioned:Of course, someone could take the invention and develop an improvement outside the scope of the claims and thus not infringe on an existing patent.

Not to hard to do, especially for those companies in the business of doing this.

The usefulness of patents for the individual has past. (in some countries, the employee has to sign over patent rights to the company, sometimes it's implied in the employment)


The last comment "Without a patent most people would simply dismiss it and keep working because it's a waste of time." is what a corporation would say, not an individual inventor (Individual - passion is determination; corporation - profit is determination). For an individual, the patent is a reward, not a means to an end like it is for the corporation.
turbo
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Apr27-12, 09:09 AM
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I worked for a veneer mill summers during college, then full-time afterward until they were bought out by a competitor. That mill made lots of stuff, including components for cabinets, but their "pride and joy" was birch marine plywood that comprised the hulls of WWII PT boats, and later, very luxurious powerboats manufactured and sold under the name Bristol Yachts. I worked on perhaps the last of those boats ever made. It was a catamaran with very restricted space in the hull. My father took me to the boat-shop because I was very small and skinny and knew how to solder pipes. Neither he nor the boat-shop supervisor could fit in the tiny space allowed for some of the plumbing, so I was drafted. I was probably 12 or so.

Back on-topic. The brothers that owned that mill never patented the processes, the glues, etc that were critical to the marine plywood production. They invented and built a chain-fed steam press that could be loaded with glued-up sheets of veneer while it was cooking the current batch of plywood, and the previous batch could be unloaded from the discharge side. Nobody could get access to that press-room! The youngest brother held off on selling the mill until he was maybe 10 years past a normal retirement age, because he couldn't bear to have that mill broken up. Finally, he sold to a competitor, that immediately started stripping out all the proprietary (secret) equipment and moving it to their largest mill. It was pretty sad. Those old guys were smart. Keep everything under wraps, and make your competitors try to figure out why you're eating their lunch in the marketplace.


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