Information Disclosure Statement & Patents

Instructor: David Gloag

David has over 40 years of industry experience in software development and information technology and a bachelor of computer science

In this lesson, we will explain information disclosure statements and patents and how they are used to protect ideas or inventions. At the end, you should have a good understanding of these legal instruments.

Protecting Profit

We live in a world where the pursuit of profit is of major importance. To confirm this, just look around. We sell household items at local department stores, we sell hot dogs at a stand on the street, and we even sell discarded items from our garages. All of these ventures are driven by profit. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. The world runs on commerce. But there is a dark side to it. There are those that would try to profit from what others have toiled over. Because of this, there is a need for protection, a need to tell the world that this idea or invention is exclusively mine. One way we can start that is through an information disclosure statement.

What is an Information Disclosure Statement?

An information disclosure statement or IDS is the form you fill out when you want to apply for a patent. The form is submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as part of the disclosure process. This process identifies all of the relevant information known about the inventor's idea including other existing patents, applications for patents, and related published information. It includes anything that can shed light on the particulars of your idea. Applicants submit this information because they have a legal obligation to the USPTO to bring forward any and all facts related to their application.

What is a Patent?

A patent is a legal document that confirms the exclusivity of an idea or invention. It grants the holder the right to use the idea or invention at their individual discretion, for whatever purpose they see fit. All of this without the fear of duplication or unauthorized use. Similarly, copyrights and trademarks are ways to protect authorship of literature and music, and words, phrases, and symbols respectively.

For example, let's say you have invented the world's most amazing widget, and you patent that invention. The patent would grant you the right to use the widget in any way you like, even for making money. Nobody could flood the market with their own version of your widget or use your widget in their product without your permission because you are protected. If they tried, you could take legal action against them to recover any lost revenue.

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