66

In your case, I have a strong vote "against". Computer-aided schedule making is a problem as old as computers, and one of favored subjects of thesis given out to students to solve. Chances are more than good that there is a prior art on your patent. The target audience, as you say, are students. Piracy is rampart in this customer base, so no matter what -...


60

I am not a lawyer. There's a special word for people who take anonymous legal advice from the Internet - "fool". Do a risk analysis - a) you don't write the software. outcome: Nothing. b) you do write the software. outcome #1: Sony doesn't notice and/or doesn't care. This might be a case of the "shallow pockets" defense - in their eyes you're not ...


34

I am neither a lawyer nor an accountant. What I have done is to register an LLC. You can register an LLC in your state for relatively cheap (hundreds) and you can set it up so that income goes directly to yourself and is taxed as your regular income (it won't be double-taxed like in a normal corp). The LLC will be liable for any suits brought against it, ...


31

While you surely wrote a cool and useful piece of software, this kind of scheduling stuff is just daily work for people who work in areas where time scheduling belongs to their kind software, for example managing software for employees working plans like you have in kitchens, hospitals and many other places. There is similar software for schools to plan ...


22

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. If you are concerned enough, seek professional legal advice. Assuming we are dealing with US law, it would be very difficult for someone to patent it now because the code on GitHub would be prior art. However, someone may have already filed a patent before you first published the work to GitHub. Make sure you keep any notes, ...


17

Power of attorney seems overkill to me. See Wikipedia for more information (thanks @unholysampler). Basically, it can give someone authorisation to act on your behalf in all legal matters. For something to do with patents/copyright you shouldn't need to go this far (IANAL caveat applies), so make sure that, if your employer insists you sign, the scope is ...


14

(It is customary to preface legal advice on the internet with a disclaimer that one is not a lawyer and you should consult a professional. So here it is: I am not a lawyer. You should consult a real lawyer to be sure.) Anybody can bring suit against anyone else, for pretty much anything. Winning such a lawsuit eventually is a different matter, but where the ...


13

I suspect you could not patent this anyhow. Essentially with a patent you need to patent the process or method. In the case of a method of screen-scraping, its been done for years, so there is nothing novel or inventive here. In the case of filtering and selecting (courses, etc) this is essentially a selection and optimisation solution. Again its not novel ...


11

The first part of Section 3 states that all contributors give you, the user, the right to use the software under whatever software patents are in effect, without any further obligations (including license fees). This applies both individually, where the contributor personally owns a software patent, and collectively, where a combination of contributed works ...


10

Patenting will cost a lot of time and money to get it in place. And once you have it in place you must defend it, which also takes a lot of time / money. If you don't have a lot of time/money I think it would be best to release it under some sort of open source license as suggested by Mihai. Do you want to make money of it or just have the fame for it?


10

No, you don't need any licenses for neither of them. Patents for RSA have expired on September 21, 2000. Even before that, it was also released as public domain. Rijndael was submitted to NIST as Federal Information Processing Standard for AES, and is officially declared by authors to be patent free.


10

Release the App. Because you already coded it, the most you can loose (from a lawsuit) is the generated income from the App. Plus they will likely send you a "Cease and Desist" prior to taking any legal action. Basically worst case scenario is: you are back where you started now, with no revenue. (I would doing this before investing any more development ...


8

Having read @akton's answer, it is important to recognize how software patents are playing out at the moment. While it shouldn't happen, a lot of bad software-related patents get issued in the United States. Patents with overly broad or indefinite claims, patents that where there is clear prior art, and patents that are blatantly obvious. The problem is ...


6

I am not a patent lawyer, and if you want to really get to the bottom of this subject, you would probably be better off talking to a lawyer who has a firm understanding of patent law. With that disclaimer out of the way, I am also aware that patent laws differ in different parts of the world. Some nations allow for patents as first to register, while ...


6

I've never heard of a power of attorney being requested. I would insist on running it by a lawyer before signing, to see exactly what it means and allows. If there were any problems with getting legal advice, I'd take it as a sign of bad faith.


5

Start here how to patent You patent in all the countries that you want to stop someone building OR selling your invention, but since the only important country that allows software patents is the USA you can start there. Now the good news - you almost certainly need professional help to write the patent ( figure on $20-50K) then a lawyer to file it ($2-5k) ...


5

Let's assume your program uses something that can be patented. This means you will have to spend quite some time and money to really patent it. Let's assume you successfully patented it and somebody else infringes it (knowingly or not - the latter being more likely, especially in a case like this). Either, they are just some really small company or a ...


5

The courts should never have allowed Apple to sue using that patent, but the simple solution is not to do overscroll anywhere but on iOS. Be creative. Come up with a different way elsewhere. Overscroll isn't the only way of showing that a user has reached the end. On Android 4.0+, they create a glow at the bottom (or top) that grows as the user continues ...


4

Go to this page and they will set you right up: AAC Frequently Asked Questions Who must sign a license? What products are covered by the license? What technologies are covered under the AAC patent licensing program? Are there use fees for AAC? What is the term of the AAC license? I am already a licensee of MPEG-4 AAC and HE ...


4

It's not as simple as people are making it out to be. They would have a hard time patenting your code/ algorithm (even though technically these are not patentable, in fact, abstract methods are patented all the time through the device of using a certain phraseology which is little more than a canned incantation involving the words "in one embodiment...") ...


3

According to German patent law, an method can only be patented if it is new. That means, that it must not be publicly accessible before the patent was applied for. Normally making your algorithm available via GitHub is making it publicly available according to German patent law. However there are edge cases. However German patent law is very much restrictive ...


3

About the best you can do is publish it as widely as possible and hope for the best. There's nothing you can do to prevent somebody from applying for a patent on something that (think they) invented. If you publish the design, the patent office may or may not become aware of it. If they do, and understand its similarity to a later application, they may cite ...


3

License your program under an Open Source license. Either GPL, BSD, Apache, MIT or - why not - a Creative Commons license. Or, try a Beerware license. Some people use WTFPL but I guess this doesn't really apply here. Anyway, patenting software is a gray area. You should contact a lawyer if it is too important.


3

In the US, datasets are not patentable. They are, though, covered by copyright. I believe the extent of such depends on the nature of the collection (is it lists of facts, or lists of data someone created) and what you are doing with it. So you'd want to present your attorney with the exact nature of your data set and have them advise based on that. ...


3

I think you're asking the wrong people. The only valid answer is: ask an attorney. Make sure he knows a thing or two about international IP laws, too - things are different on each side of the Atlantic. And if it comes to it, having a corporation in China or Nigeria or what not with a giant "Sue Me" sign on the front door occasionally helps too.


3

In the worst case, several things can happen: You could be sued, but that is very unlikely as a first step. You can receive a cease and desit letter. At least here in Germany this can be very costly. You have to pay the issuer's attorney's fees which can be a couple thousand euros. I don't know how this works in other countries, but most have a similar ...


3

The situation with software patents is complex, and the laws are arguably broken (and vary from country to country), but the best thing you can do is to follow the same route everybody else does: Don't even try to figure out if you're going to be infringing someone else's patent. You're presumably not an IP lawyer, so you're unqualified to do the required ...


2

Chances are pretty good your solution is a variation of an existing constraint satisfaction approach, search, or scheduling algorithm, so don't get too hung up on patents. If you really think that's worth investigating, talk to a patent attorney for an hour with an expertise in software patents and figure out what he thinks your chances are. But the area ...


2

I understand it's not uncommon to see a clause like that in an NDA. I have seen and signed NDAs like that myself. Here's a link to a short article about ways employers can insure access to intellectual property. It targets employers, not employees.


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