[aprssig] Need some help searching for a patent...

John Ackermann N8UR jra at febo.com
Tue Feb 15 18:59:06 CST 2005

Darryl Smith wrote:

>A company here in Oz has set up a company called WARPS... Wireless Automated
>Response Positioning System, and has, according to
>http://www.warps.com.au/what_is_warps.pdf got themselves a 'World Wide
>Provisional Patent' for their technology that sounds very much like MIC-E. 
>Does someone want to chase up what they are claiming? Even their business
>name suggests that they are basing their technology on APRS

I'll ask my colleague the patent lawyer for more details tomorrow, but 
I'm pretty sure there is no such thing as a "worldwide provisional 
patent."  Patents are very much a national affair -- you have to apply 
in every country where you want protection (with a semi-exception for 
the European Union and maybe across the British Commonwealth -- not sure 
on that part).

A "provisional patent" isn't a patent at all.  More accurately, you file 
a "provisional patent application."  Doing this has some benefits if you 
can't get the formal application filed and you're about to market the 
product or you don't have the money in hand yet to handle a real 
application.  Mainly, it establishes the "priority date" for your 
invention if someone else comes up with something similar before you get 
your full application filed.  You can file the provisional application 
now and then follow up with the real application up to a year later.  If 
you don't follow up, nothing more will happen.  A provisional patent 
*doesn't* grant any patent rights at all, and will never (by itself) 
turn into an issued patent.

And, "patent pending" merely means you've applied for a patent, not that 
you will actually get one. 

In short, I sense at least a bit of snake oil here.


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