How to ensure something is Not Patented ? (remains free/open source)

This question is inspired by the recent post on Whitebox Robotics' patent application:
Say someone wants to publish a method of doing something or diagrams for robot parts, etc., and wants to ensure that it does NOT get patented but instead remains in the open-source community so that everyone has access to it. Is there a legal mechanism for doing that or do we just slap the GNU License (or similar) on it and hope for the best ?
Or do we have to go to the trouble of officially registering it (patent, copyright, etc.) and then just release it to the public domain ?
I'd be interested in any responses to this! Thanks - JCD
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Very easy - just publish the invention and any public forum. Unless a patent application has been filed before ANY public disclosure, the patent app is invalid. I'll leave it up to you to determine what public forum qualifies and how to get published.
Jim
This question is inspired by the recent post on Whitebox Robotics' patent application:
Say someone wants to publish a method of doing something or diagrams for robot parts, etc., and wants to ensure that it does NOT get patented but instead remains in the open-source community so that everyone has access to it. Is there a legal mechanism for doing that or do we just slap the GNU License (or similar) on it and hope for the best ?
Or do we have to go to the trouble of officially registering it (patent, copyright, etc.) and then just release it to the public domain ?
I'd be interested in any responses to this! Thanks - JCD
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Very good to know. Thanks ! JCD
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Jim Hewitt wrote:

To be more precise (IANAL, but this is what I understand), prior public disclosure would make it easier to litigate against a granted patent, but the disclosure itself or its discovery doesn't automatically make the patent invalid. That takes either a court ruling it as invalid, or the USPTO reviewing the patent. The latter is not common. The USPTO does not have a convenient way to object to a patent application, unless you are filing an interference on behalf of your own patent.
As the WB patent is only an application, and an old one, there is no sure indication it will be granted. But since it's there, you'd have only to find an example -- hobby robot or not -- that was basically a desktop PC on wheels (with chassis, removable bays, etc.), and then make sure this fact is widely discussed so as to discourage the thing Padu mentioned. Surely someone built one of these and posted pictures on the Web.
-- Gordon
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You could file a provisional patent application for $100 on the idea and let it expire after one year. It would then be considered prior art.
Danh
On Feb 20, 1:50 pm, "Pogo"

parts, etc., and wants to ensure that it does NOT get patented but instead remains in the open-source community so that everyone has access to it. Is there a legal mechanism for doing that or do we just slap the GNU License (or similar) on it and hope for the best ?

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