Posts from non-engineers?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by hp1729, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. hp1729

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2015
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    I often see posts from people with ideas who obviously are not engineers. Talking to such a person they only have a concept for a product and want to get an idea if it is feasible. It seems in order to get a patent you don't necessarily need a working prototype, just a feasible idea. After the patent you seek funding to develop the idea.
    Does this make sense? If so then non-engineers can't be expected to respond as engineers when they propose a project?
    Are they just not welcome here?
     
  2. GopherT

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    That was true in the recent past, now a working prototype is required. Yes, it makes sense. Otherwise you get people like Steve Jobs who would patent ideas with no idea how to implement it (his name is on the patent). Then he has his purchasing people run all over the world looking for someone to license it so they will develop the idea into a device so he can put it in his computer/iPad, phone.

    I don't understand where you are going with this...

    And that is a really big leap, no matter where you were going with the previous statements.
     
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  3. MrSoftware

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    There's obviously some info missing from your post that leaves me without full context, but I'll try to help with your last question. In my experience, this is how it is everywhere in the tech world, online and offline.

    To over generalize; techie engineering types tend to be self teaching and self motivated and love to help, but lack patience for people who do not make an effort to learn. It's absolutely fine to not understand and questions are welcome, but it may not be well received when the answer to your question would be in the top 5 google results. The more effort you appear to be putting towards finding your answer, the more people will want to help. Also the engineering crowd seems to have a higher than average percentage of people without social graces, so thick skin is required. Don't take anything personally and you'll be fine. :)

    I'll give you an example; at work I'm the fix everything guy. The secretary says her network connection has a problem. I look and it's a funky routing table problem, way past her capabilities and I'm more than happy to help. Later the same secretary tells me she has a VPN problem. The solution is the number 2 result on google, and now I'm annoyed that she didn't take 2 minutes to google for herself before interrupting me. See the difference?

    In short; ask questions, try to learn, have thick skin and you will be fine. :D
     
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  4. wayneh

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    That's exactly how it should be. Suppose pet water fountains don't exist, and you have the idea to develop them. There is nothing whatsoever innovative about the engineering required to implement the idea - it's the idea itself that is innovative and valuable, no matter how hard and elegant was the engineering to implement it.
     
  5. Alec_t

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    Maybe in the US, but not necessarily in other jurisdictions (e.g. UK, Europe).
     
  6. mcgyvr

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    I'm positive the number of "non-engineers" here far outweighs the "Engineers" here..
    But I agree 100% with the comment by MrSoftware.. Very true/fitting

     
  7. GopherT

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    What?

    The old method (no working prototype or physical development work required essential allowed someone to patent "perpetual motion" and then claiming patent rights once someone finally figures out a method.

    Apple patented "a touch screen that allows multiple gestures simultaneously" but had no idea or working concept. It was discussed in the industry for years before it was ultimately available and not at all new in terms of a concept.

    They also patented something like "3-axis / 3D positionable support for a video display with no levers to actuate" with no description how it works. Then a company came along with the perfect 3D hinge locking/unlocking system and the obvious application was monitors. Apple tried to sue.

    My opinion is that ideas that have a solution are patentable. Without a solution, you are trying to patent an unmet need or a problem. Problems and unmet needs are not innovation and they do not promote economic development and encourage advancement of a society which was the whole idea of why the concept of patents were developed - to reward companies who have invested in solutions and technology. Patenting ideas only prevent competitor from working on interesting problems and stifle technology development - essentially a patent troll.
     
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  8. GopherT

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    Especially in the EU, that is why the US had their patent laws rehashed - to get in line with the rest of the world.
    eDIT: works prototype is a bit strong. A design or description must be supplied that that is clear enough that someone practiced in the art can duplicate. So a "working prototype" is not necessary but a novel / innovative solution must exist, not just an idea or identification of a problem.
     
  9. hp1729

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    Where am I going with this?

    People come and post questions and get a thousand word essay on theory and asked engineering questions the person can't possibly respond to. If the person asks a simple question, give them a simple answer. 100 words or less. We are not all engineers or engineering students.
     
  10. hp1729

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    For an instance, the guy who wanted to build a GPS key chain doodad. Obviously not an engineer and not capable of building the microelectronics himself, is he just trying to get an idea on feasibility to apply for a patent then get funding and an engineer to develop it?
     
  11. wayneh

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    I'm not sure what old method you are referring to. Patents used to require a reduction to practice for everything except pharmaceuticals. But the inventor is identified as the person who had the idea - not the guy that figured out how to reduce it practice. If that engineering spawned other creations worthy of patenting, those are handled separately. In fact patents have been lost by including non-inventors and other contributors to the list of inventors.
     
  12. dl324

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    If someone wants to do engineering work without the background, they need to be able to read and understand what they read. If there's something they don't understand, they should ask clarifying questions. If they're not willing to do that, they shouldn't ask the question because they're not up to the task.

    BTW, haven't seen many 1000 word initial responses; any response for that matter.
     
  13. crutschow

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    Another pet peeve of mine is patents issued for obvious advances in technology.
    For example, someone in the early days got a patent for a microprocessor, (putting the cpu, registers i.o., etc. on one chip).
    To me a patent should not have been issued for that since it's a an obvious advance in technology, i.e. when the transistors got small enough to allow all those functions to be put on one practical sized chip, then it would obviously be done, no invention required.

    I also agree that an invention shouldn't be granted unless there is a process/technique available to build it.
    Otherwise I have a (beam-me-up) transporter invention I'd like to patent, along with a warp-drive. :rolleyes:
     
  14. wayneh

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    As far as I know, the requirement for a reduction to practice has not been dropped. It was loosened for pharmaceuticals because of the long development cycles.
     
  15. Alec_t

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    In the UK and European patent systems (at least) a patent is valid only if the invention is novel and non-obvious to those 'skilled in the art', and the disclosure in the patent specification is an enabling one, i.e. such as to enable the invention to be carried out by a suitably skilled person/team. Bear in mind that issued patents only have a presumption of validity: a court would have to decide on actual validity.
     
  16. MrSoftware

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    If you ask an engineer a question, you must expect an engineering answer. Engineers tend to be very detail oriented, so when you ask what appears to the layperson to be a "simple question", engineers tend to jump right past what they perceive to be "obvious" and into the details. I think the disconnect often occurs when the obvious part skipped over by the engineer isn't so obvious to the layperson asking the question, and then both sides get frustrated.

    Can you tell that I frequently referee discussions between engineering and sales at work? ;)

    Long story short; if you want implementation details, ask an engineer. If yow want to know if something is feasible, use the implementation details provided by the engineer to calculate production cost, and ask a sales person in that industry if it will sell for the price that you can provide it. If you think your idea is novel enough to warrant a patent, then a patent attorney or engineer who works with patents could help.
     
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  17. mcgyvr

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    Link to said post?

    Are we at the "allaboutcircuits" is just too darn helpful stage? ;)

    One should expect "circuits" and "engineering" directed discussions..
    This isn't allaboutinventions or allaboutpatents or allaboutcrowdfunding..
     
  18. tcmtech

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    Nov 4, 2013
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    A day in the life of an engineer helping on web forums. This sums it up way to well.

     
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  19. hp1729

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    So is that a vote for :not welcome"?
     
  20. hp1729

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    Ah! There seems to be the solution. Not all engineers are so oriented.
     
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