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 Cart Before the Horse 
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Joined: 2014-02-23 11:04:46
Posts: 3
Hello everyone. I have no knowledge of patents and would like some feedback on my situation.

I designed and built a product in my machine shop back in early 2008. I immediately posted pictures on a public industry forum that could benefit from such a product and started selling it to it's members. I then started a website with a .com brand name for it and a company brand name that I have never registered.

I've made a living manufacturing and selling this product direct to the consumer world wide ever since, and it is getting well known. It has been very successful with not one return in all these years.

Later in 2008, a large manufacturer in this industry was granted a patent for a similar product, and they started offering it for sale in 2009.

There are differences in our products, while they have similarities.

I'm sure this company knows about my product, as it is a tool that can be used with their product line. My product can be use with any product line in this industry, whereas theirs is limited to their product line.

Where am I in regards to patents? Do I have any protection from what I've done? I wish to go to the next level in manufacturing and sales and grow from here.

Hope I'm making sense here.

Any feedback would be much appreciated.


2014-02-23 11:31:39
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Joined: 2012-06-24 07:31:51
Posts: 33
Hi,

as you did not apply for a patent, they are free to produce their product without your permission.

If you made your invention early 2008 and their patent was granted later in 2008, it seems highly probable that they conceived (and also filed) their invention before you made yours, because patents usually are granted only a few years after filing of the application.

When you read the claims of their patent, do you find at least one claim where all the elements (limitations/features) of that claim are present in your product?
If yes, then you might infringe their patent and you should at least consult a patent attorney or other legal counsel.
You might infringe their patent even if the fatures are not met literally but only with known equivalents.

If your forum name is your real name, I would suggest that you do not post an answer to my question, because one might interpret a "yes, all features are present in my product" as a kind of admittance (yes, sounds paranoid, but that we are :-) ).

Regards,
Gerd


2014-03-04 20:24:41
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Joined: 2014-02-23 11:04:46
Posts: 3
Thanks for the reply Gerd.

I believe we just conceived this product simultaneously. I offered my version on the web market first. They applied for a patent first.

When you read the claims of their patent, do you find at least one claim where all the elements (limitations/features) of that claim are present in your product?

Possibly yes. My version does have some significant improvements and differences.

Their product, is specifically designed to be used and sold for their line of existing products only.

While my product can be used for their line, and it can also be used with every other manufacturer's product line in this industry.

So actually my product compliments their products (patent holder), and I don't believe they would have any interest in producing my product. My main concern would be a third party coming in and trying to produce a cloned version of my product.

Being that all this prior sales history and art is on the market, would someone be able copy my product and take my business?

I have slowly developed a growing known brand name and business name including .com in the industry. I will be applying for trademark (s) as funds allow.

I don't have the money to apply for a patent, which sounds like it's to late anyway.


2014-03-05 10:00:57
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Joined: 2012-06-24 07:31:51
Posts: 33
Hi,

when did you publish (YYYY/MM/DD) and when did they file their application (YYYY/MM/DD) or their priority application?

Regards,
Gerd


2014-03-09 20:23:57
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Joined: 2014-02-23 11:04:46
Posts: 3
At the top of the Patent page it says United States Patent, and gives the date:

August 25, 2009

Then down below the abstract it shows:

Filed:
September 12, 2008

I don't have the exact date I published it in front of me (with pics) at the moment, but it is real close to that September date, if not right before.

He may have seen what I published as he's a sponsor to the very forum I published it at, and then he applied right away.


2014-03-09 21:58:45
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