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July 20, 2023
John Rizvi, Esq.

Is a Poor Man’s Patent Legal for Protecting a Software Invention Idea?

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What is the poor man's patents? Is it still legal? Okay, this, it doesn't directly relate to patents to software patents, but it does. And here's why. Because a lot of people think a poor man's patent is still valid. And this is what happened before 2013. The law was first to invent. So whoever could show and prove that they invented an idea first, was entitled to the patent. and own the idea, as long as they followed up with reducing it to practice and eventually filing an application. And they didn't abandon it. Inventing first was everything in the United States. Now, in 2013, the law changed from a first to file system, sorry, a first to invent system to a first a file system. This is the single biggest change in US patent law in this century. So what does it mean that we're on a first to file system, it means it No, Matt longer matters if you invented first, if somebody else gets the patenting before you. So the poor man's patent, I don't have I was going to look for an envelope. But I don't, I don't have an envelope around. Pretty soon, they might be obsolete as well. But let's pretend this this is an envelope. What the poor man's patent was, is that you would write out your idea, you would stick it inside the envelope, and then on the seal of the envelope, and I'll draw one in so so users can imagine, imagine that this is an envelope, and that's the cover, you put your idea inside, you seal it, and then you sign right over the seal. And I'll show that try to depict it here. So if you can tell, that is me signing over the flap of the envelope. And now on the other side, you would have a postage stamp. And then you would mail this idea to yourself, once you mailed it, the post office, you know those little red squiggly lines they put over it, and then they would have a date like it would be let's use today's date, May 15 2020, the post office would have a date on there. Now what you do now is you save this envelope, you keep it in your under your mattress at home. And then if if anybody ever claims that they came up with the idea, first, you go to court, you bring this envelope. And you You argue that you mailed this to yourself on May 15. And you've never opened it sense. And this signature is proof that it hasn't been opened and they can bring experts on that try to show that it's been opened or not open all of this. But today, none of this matters. This would only matter if being the first to invent me meant something. And before 2013 It did mean something being first to invent was was good. But after 2013 Who cares if you invented first, if you didn't file first. You have no rights. So if you didn't file first, this poor man's patent is going to keep you poor because he had absolutely no rights to it. So maybe that's my view of why it's called the poor man's because not because it's inexpensive. But because it doesn't get you any rights.

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