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.
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
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