patent question

If you can go back in time before the small booths (kiosk) were in the malls all over the US, is there a way to patent that idea so no one can copy it without paying you?

Welcome to the boards, young NEWBIE. Since this is a speculative question, it’s best suited to our IMHO forum.

Are you talking about patenting the booth technology or the business method if doing business based in booths?

Either one might be plausible. In order for an idea to be patented, it must be useful, novel, and non-obvious. I suspect, however, that the idea of doing business on booths would fail the novel and non-obvious requirements.

I think the time travel aspect is ancillary and that there is a factual question here WRT patent procedures.

I’d be surprised if the basic concept of selling stuff out of a small kiosk wasn’t in the public domain by now.

Isn’t it just pushcarts in a mall?

I suppose that’s what the OP’s time travel is supposed to take care of.

The idea of selling things from small stands, carts, booths, or kiosks, in general is probably centuries, if not millennia old, much older than any legal system of patent law.

However, there might be a point at which putting a kiosk in an enclosed shopping mall might have been sufficiently novel and non-obvious, but it seems like a stretch to me. It’s really kind of hard to just guess.

When Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the Temple, they were doing business in kiosks in an enclosed area. There’s 2000 years of prior art, right there.

Well, if we’re really considering the time travel aspects, you’d also have to consider that “business methods” were not considered patentable subject matter until fairly recently. If you went back far enough to avoid any prior art, you’re far enough back to be denied the patent on this basis.

I think he is patenting the the use of the word “kiosk” for a small point of sale booth, which seems to havebecome popular in the 70’s or 80’s.

Wait, you can go back in time and that’s what you’d patent? Booths selling sparkly cell phone covers in a mall?

Why not go back and patent time travel and associated technology?

Because you don’t want to get caught in the massive brawl/firefight in line on the first day the patent office opened?

Darn you, Balance! I thought I’d lost you in 2044.

Patents also only lasted for 17 years after the patent was approved, back in the old days. Patents today last for 20 years after the patent was submitted. So you have only a limited exclusive right to your invention.

Also, a patent only gives you the right to sue people who infringe your patent, no one will help you enforce your patent, you have to do it yourself. So if there are thousands of little vendors all over the country selling stuff from kiosks, the only way to get them to pay you is to sue each one individually. And the most likely result would not be that they’d pay you, more likely they’d just switch to another business model that didn’t infringe your patent.

Also, business method patents are a new innovation, and it would be pretty much impossible to get a business method patent back in the 60s or 70s.

But even so, the idea of a small booth from which to sell items is thousands of years old, and so the idea is unpatentable. You can’t just notice people doing something and run to the patent office and get a patent. If there is prior art, if it can be shown that people were using the idea before you submitted your patent, your patent is invalid. So you can’t patent salad forks even if nobody patented forks before, because patents aren’t the only form of prior art. A magazine article about forks before your patent is enough to invalidate it.

And given that the ruins of Pompeii show food kiosks, I think your idea has already been invented.

Words can’t be patented. It seems you are thinking of trademarks, and it’s doubtful that a word in use since the 17th century could operate as a trademark for its literal meaning.

Which leads to the age old question, if time travel is invented, when was it invented?

You could use the word “Kiosk” as a trademark for your business. That doesn’t mean other people couldn’t use the word as a trademark for their businesses.

For example, “Coca Cola” is a trademark. So is “Pepsi Cola”. Cola is part of the trademark for both products. Anyone can use “Cola” as part of their trademark, but you couldn’t use “Cola” as a trademark and then sue Coke for infringement.

Here’s a Cite for that. :wink:

Yesterday. It will always have been invented yesterday.