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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

The Question:

“I know someone who has an invention idea that is very good, although I don’t think he’s patented it. The idea is very good, not not the person, it’s just sitting on it. I think he’s drawn designs up and has files on a USB stick but has not patented it. I hate to see his great invention sit and collect dust and I know it’s not the nicest thing to do, but would it be illegal through IP laws, copyright laws to take the invention and bring it to life myself?” 

The Answer:

Oh my gosh, the backstabber! Yep, total backstabber dude. Well, can you really call him a friend? I guess he didn’t say friend, someone… So there’s a fundamental issue here. You’re not the inventor. You actually have to be the inventor to not defraud the patent office when you’re filing an invention. They do make you sign an oath saying you’re the inventor. 

Therefore it’s unacceptable and you’d be defrauding either way if you filed this and signed it as if you had invented it. Shame on you, you’re a fraud. Can’t allow that, don’t do it. There’s even a method for this individual should they see it come to light, whether through a publication or eventually come to grant through a new derivation proceeding. 

They could say “No, you derived it from me and I elected not to get a patent on it for whatever reason, but I can prove that you got this from me and it’s mine now thank you for getting the patent.” So don’t do it for double reasons. It’s a bad one.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at