How do we build robot mowers without infringing?

I will improve a lawn-mowing robot using a different positioning schemes (not GPS.). If I sell a couple of these I assume I'd never get around an
existing patent without at least infringing on some of their rights. Almost everything runs on a microchip these days. I assume if they claim memory and processors to map its way then anyone who uses them stand to violate its patent? How do we go around patents?
Thanks
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You obviously need to put a lot more STUDY into it than you are willing to do.
--

James E. White
Inventor, Marketer, and Author of "Will It Sell? How to Determine If
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I've exhausted my readings and found little info on "design around." I will hire an attorney upon a provisional patent.
Again. How do large companies with groups of engineers design around a patent? In my scenario, if I come up with a fresh idea on the software code, a different hardware rearrangement, and a different electronic rearrangement and hardware rearrangement will I be able to call it a robot mower? How different should it be?

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burt squareman wrote:

No such thing as a provisional patent

Hell you can call "anything" a "robot mower" if "robot mower" has not been trade marked, it has nothing to do with the engineering of the product, on what "you" call it

Large companies will just design around, your design around,, why waste your time ?
Just being "fresh",, and/or different,, does not make you any money, it must be "better", "cheaper", have More sales appeal, More reliable, easier to use, Faster, can't live without,, improvement, that no one can design around, or make it better.
Then you "might" make enough money on it to brake even, if you "know" how to market it
--
Rodney Long,
Inventor of the Long Shot "WIGGLE" rig, SpecTastic Thread
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As usual, Rodney cuts to the chase.

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Unfortunately, on one item Rodney was wrong: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/provapp.htm
However, on everything else he said, he is correct. There is allot more to getting a patent than having a good idea and there is a lot to making money off an idea than just getting a patent. For now, build your idea, get it to work, find out why the dozens of other robot mowers that have been started both commercially and as hobby projects have failed to take the market. Do a REAL patent search (expect to take several days). Find out who the potential manufactures are, figure out WHY they would buy your idea and HOW they would make money (i.e. you need a solid BUSINESS PLAN). THEN AND ONLY THEN start working on a provisional patent AND PAY AN EXPERIENCED PATENT ATTORNEY TO REVIEW IT.
You need to do all of this before looking for angel funding and you don't need a provisional patent until you are looking for funding. No angel will even look at you until you have done all this. You need to show a risking my house and consuming all my free time level of commitment. If you are not up to this, just make one for your own yard and don't worry about infringement.
Paul Pawelski US patents 6,234,758 & 6,119,579 US patent application     20040117095
Wayne Lundberg wrote:

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Paul, I am snipping this to get at the meat of the discussion. The USPTO clearly identifies this as a "Provisional Application For Patent". Thus the wording must be restricted to "Provisional Application". The term "Provisional Patent" is misleading as what you have is only an application.
This leads to using the full acronym, PAP, when referring to a provisional application.
Rusty Mase
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Rusty,
I see what you mean. When I first read the OP I took his meaning to be PAP when he said "provisional patent". Having that mindset, I thought what you were saying that there is no PAP which I knew was incorrect. This is what happens when I try to post something after several days of not getting enough sleep (preparing for a robotics competition). To make matters worse, I then used the same sloppy descriptor that the OP did in my post. You are correct, it is only an application. All it gives is a priority date provided that a full application is filled within one year. No full application, no patent. No patent no patent protection.
Oh, for Mr. White's comment: My two patents and one application I listed in my post were done with the benefit of a major corporation to handle the process (and reap the rewards). I had proven the business case to my employers sufficiently enough for them to make the monetary and manpower commitment to pursue a patent. I have looked at patenting several ideas that I had independent of my job. However I never filled a patent on my own for the very reason I listed in my post; you need to have a risking my house and consuming all my free time level of commitment and I am not willing to make that level of commitment at this time. From the comments in his posting, I suspect that the OP isn't willing to make that level of commitment either.
Paul Pawelski
Rusty Mase wrote:

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This is a "semantic" point that is brought up in alt.inventors occasionally and naming something what it really is makes a big difference. A Provisional Application (for Patent) gives you some protection but it HAS to be followed up with a Application for Patent. Failing that, any protection you though you had disappears.
People who want to pursue the patenting process need to understand all the available US programs; Disclosure Documents, Provisional Applications and Applications for Patent.
Since this thread is cross posted I will stress one other point for comp.robotic.misc group. Patent protection is a difficult topic to master and if you become serious about it then you will need to spend hundreds of hours studying background material and even then it is important to affiliate with a patent professional. That could mean, as you state, hocking your house. Before you hock your house you MUST make sure you have a excellent opportunity to make a return on your investment!
Good luck in your robotics competition.
Rusty Mase
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Not to mention that a patent just gives you the right to go fight with the mega-corp that is infringing on your patent. That is where the killer is for the small guy. I worked for a company that had a nice patent. Cost us about $1 million and a couple of years by the time we were done with patent attorneys and the filing process etc. Then when mega-corp began to infringe, we had to start paying lawyers again and consuming all of our resources fighting. Mega-corp has lots of lawyers on staff, we had to pay for ours out-of-pocket and on contingency. Mega-corp responded to our patent infringement claim with literally a semi-truck full of thousands of patents they had. None of which were even vaguely related, but our lawyers none the less had to sift through all of the "counter claims". It took us another two years just to get through the paperwork and get to patent litigation, but by then we were completely depleted. In the end we won, but we had nothing left and with the contingency deal, the lawyers get paid all of their costs first. I got a call the other day from the guy who owned the company and the patent. He finally got his check from mega-corp. After the lawyers got their chunk, he got a check for $5,487.
From the day we decided to file a patent to the day we got a check, we spent about $5million, it took about 8 years and we got about $5500.
Unless you have some serious resources, don't even bother. Mega-corp can squash you and only the lawyers come out ahead. This has been the tactic used by "that big software company". They let small guys innovate and patent, then they just take the successful technologies. Then when small guy tries to fight they just squash him with lawyers and paperwork until he is drowning and his company fails. Then when the guy is out on the street picking food from the dumpster and living in a cardboard box, they offer him $5500 for the rights to the patent.
If I had my whole life to do over again, I'd be a patent attorney. That's where the $ is. Then I would have been able to retire early and devote all of my time to building robots for fun.
--TE
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On Mon, 08 Nov 2004 15:15:24 GMT, "Thread Ender"

This story echoes everyting Don Lancaster has written about patents on http://tinaja.com , that patents are only profitable for large corporations.

----- http://mindspring.com/~benbradley
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wrote:

spent
Yep,
Old Lancaster had it right from the beginning. In fact I had read his views on the whole patent deal before we went down that road. We even had discussions on the subject, but as inventors and innovators, it's difficult to believe that unless you are big enough, you might as well just give your ideas away. I always thought it was such a pathetic joke and insulting practice fro the mega-corp to give you a framed silver dollar when you come up with some patentable idea for them. But now I can see that if we had gotten $1 for our idea eight years ago, we would be ahead by $4994501.
To totally agree with Lancaster: If you are a small company and you have some innovative idea, manufacture and sell it as quickly as possible, and when the big-slow giant comes along and takes interest, take whatever profits or losses you already have and get out as quickly as possible. Don't waste any of your time, effort or money trying to patent anything. It only feeds the lawyers.
--TE
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Thread Ender wrote:

This is another reason why I license before filing for a patent, it will not be me the big boys are infringing on, it will be my licensees, who can afford to take them on
--
Rodney Long,
Inventor of the Long Shot "WIGGLE" rig, SpecTastic Thread
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I'll second Rodney and Rusty, there is no such thing as a "provisional patent" and to imagine that just by pointing to a web page that explicitly defines a "_Provisional Application_ for Patent" leaves me with serious doubts about whether you really understand patents and patenting at all. I'm afraid to look at your patents because I know the odds are that if I do it will remove all doubt----unfortunately NOT in your favor.
Perhaps you can tell us what your patents protect and make a business case, in a paragraph or two (noting particularly competition and prior art), that will change my mind.
--

James E. White
Inventor, Marketer, and Author of "Will It Sell? How to Determine If
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Catman wrote:

Me wrong ? not me,, I thought I was wrong once, but I ended up being right, so I was wrong just once, and that was thinking I was wrong when I was right.
I'm not wrong, here, there is no such thing as a "provisional patent"
--
Rodney Long,
Inventor of the Long Shot "WIGGLE" rig, SpecTastic Thread
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Now I'm CERTAIN you are BSing us. What are the PATENTS you've read that you need to "design around"? To "design around" simply means that your version of robotic lawnmower does not infringe anyone else's patent.
And, as Rodney has noted there is no such thing as a "provisional patent" I STRONGLY SUGGEST you read word-for-word ALL the pages in the sites of my sig links and LEARN something before you start spending money.
--

James E. White
Inventor, Marketer, and Author of "Will It Sell? How to Determine If
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Hire a patent attorney, smarty.

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Almost
No matter what, if you have an innovation, a new idea, something new that will improve something, why bother with going around somebody's patent if they don't have what you are offering?
Go for broke man! Get out there with your innovation and do something with it.
Wayne
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Everyone is sooooooo negative here.
Build one. You will find that the problems you thought you would have aren't really the hard problems to solve.
If you get a great one to work, sell them to neighbors. If that works, license the technology to someone. But get a lawyer first.
Meanwhile......... Positioning the thing is somewhat hard. Powering it is a little tougher. And keeping costs down is tougher yet. If you build one that will cover ground that is uneven, it will suck power. Cutting grass takes a surprising amount of power. For instance, do a little research and figure out the size of battery pack to run a one horsepower electric motor for an hour. It is shocking. I always thought a neat way to do it would be to have a base station that recharges the batteries that the cutter returns to when battery gets low. Use avalanche digital tracking or gps to return it to home. Sure, throw a solar gizmo on top to help some, but that really doesn't add up to much.
As for mapping the yard, look at how farmers map fields in the midwest. They use GPS.
It would be pretty cool to have a system that "learned" the yard. Then you could "teach" it to find areas that it missed.

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Doug Miller wrote:

Wrong !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm far from negative
I just know that many believe things that are not true,, should I be positive about falsehoods ? should I support someone I know is going the wrong way? Should I tell the inventor with the newest greatest toilet seat lowerer, that they should spend thousands, and waste years trying to make money from it ?
I'm Positive,, someone come here telling about how they are learning their market, how they found out they were going the wrong direction with their first invention, that they found out the market does not want it, but they found out what their market wanted, and are inventing that product, I'll be cheering in their corner, yelling GO! GO! GO!
Many here think that you should be behind everyone's dream here, and how they are going about trying to make it come true, that we should say,, just work hard, and you will make it,, just stick in there, it will happen,, well that is,,,,,,,,,,, """"""BULLSHIT"""""", and if we give them support in them following a hopeless situation we are doing extreme harm to them,, we are not helping them, sure we are being "nice" by doing so,, we don't want hurt their feelings, now do we ? let's instead deserve their chances of ever succeeding.
Perhaps we could direct them, without being so hard on them, SORRY I tried that, and NONE took the gentle advice,, inventors are a stubborn bunch, they are deaf to hearing gentle negatives about their inventions, they are so much in love with their invention,, no little bit of "That baby is really not that good looking" is going to deter them from their total love of the invention, we have to shock them into reality, and many times even that does not work, but it saves me time, I don't waste hours or days trying to help those that all they want to hear is how good their idea is. Time is money,, I don't waste time anymore,, I shoot straight, I shoot fast, and move on, hoping that the next person will want to really succeed,, not just dream
--
Rodney Long,
Inventor of the Long Shot "WIGGLE" rig, SpecTastic Thread
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