Q: Is it possible to patent a very specific PROCESS that is part of a public website?

What if a competitor copies my website (same look and feel, 80% same text, and exact same process). He used my work as a template for his.

1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Licensed in New York

A: It is hard to patent a web site under the current case law. You usually need to show that you have invented a way to make web sites work better and that is normally independent of the content of the web site.

Putting that aside for now -- one cannot take something that is already in public use and file a patent for it in the United States. Secondly, a person only gets to patent what that person invents. So any patent granted to a person for an idea that the person stole from someone is invalid. Third, the person would need to submit relevant prior art (information about the web site of yours to the patent office examiner so the examiner can discern what is new). Failure to do so is inequitable conduct and renders the patent unenforceable.

You may want to monitor published patent applications and contact a patent attorney if you see a published application that is trying to patent aspects of your web site. A patent attorney can submit information about your web site to the patent office to help the patent office reject the claims.

I hope that this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.