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Discussion in 'Student Research and Publishing' started by ipsychologist, Jun 15, 2008.
Can one patent a theory (or idea)? I did some investigation into patenting and didnt find much on it
I am not a patent attorney, but as I understand it, patenting an idea (theory) isn't really possible - patenting depends on the ability to demonstrate that you thought of an application, design, device first. You enforce patent enfringement by showing that another person has used your design. You cannot provide evidence for either component for a theory.
Though, if you publish it first, you name it after yourself and can call it yours, you just can't make any $$$ off of it.
I understand. You both have a good point.
The theories I can chart out/design but it cant be proven physically. As for an example, Maslow's hierarchy of needs. I suppose something like this is impossible to patent
"That would be like saying "I think I could build something that flies" then trying to claim infringment on someone with more than the idea and actually built an airplane. Till you know how it works, your idea isn't much to patent."
good point Dont want to sue people, though there are some people that do that.
"Though, if you publish it first, you name it after yourself and can call it yours, you just can't make any $$$ off of it."
I do not intend to make $$$ from it, though i would like to receive funds/investments to research it further. Im more than sure that my theory works but i need help in the research. it would be heartbreaking if someone else took the theory and researched themselves.
So simply uploading it to the internet with pictures/images and content will safeguard it from people using my theory to benefit themselves??
You can include your ideas in grant applications and use that to leverage further investigations. Unfortunately, there is always the risk of someone else working on the same idea right now, or someone could have already developed the idea. Euler and Newton fought for a long time over who got credit for calculus.
There is no way I can answer that question, and you would be best served by speaking with an attorney, or talking to your institution's legal advisors.
I can't answer that question. Can we stop here?
Is this what you say to your clients/patients!? Perhaps you should pursue another career...
If you cannot answer the question, do not request to stop it. only participate in discussions/posts if you have something to contribute - not post your inability.
yet again, you have a valid point. Crick and James discovered DNA and they were credited for that, recieved funds for research and helped paved new paths for scientists to understand/help future scientists working with dna. Im not 100% certain that my theory is valid but it is making sense with contributions of the study. Currently, the theory that i have is much like a diagram, but in my mind and in collaboration of others, the theory seems to be taking a 3D-like diagram. not for sure if lawyers know if patening such a theory is possible. If i post the idea(s), others would like to tweak with it. Not to post this idea would be a waste for other scientists/theorists to make further research - much like Crick and James...
DNA is a waste to the blind (emotionally), but my theory is visible to all.
what to do.......
Thank you for your advice, it does point me to a certain direction.
I'm not sure if this is the same in other countries, but according to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, you cannot patent theories.
See "What can you patent?" in: http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/en/wr01094e.html#sec2
In terms of getting your idea "out there", you can try publishing your theory in a journal like Medical Hypotheses:
Hope that helps a bit.
Watson and Crick didn't get a patent for their discovery of the double helix. Neither do most scientists. They publish their theories in journals so that it may advance science. In return they receive credit and notoriety for their discoveries which leads to grants and support. Perhaps what you should do is publish your theory in a peer reviewed journal.
Pinkertinkle = publishing in a medical journal seems like a fantastic idea! I will do just that. As long as its posted somewhere others can work with it.
pbutter = Thank you for the link! That is what I was looking for ! As long as I can get my theory published, then I am happy with that. Therefore a patent isnt neccessary.
Thank you all for your help in this. I surely hope less than 50% will think my theory is strange
You might be able to protect an idea if you copyright the idea in a written article or book, or by way of a contract. Here is a simple to read article ....
Thank you, HCE. That was a useful read. i will look further into it to see how far one could go patenting ideas.