Re: Legalities and implementation.

Hey gang… I just had a quick question.

Lets pretend that I design a new type of coffee machine. I want to patent the design of my machine. Now I want to use the arduino as the temp controller and write my own code for operation.

Does anyone have any input of suggestions about this? Like the legalities and what not? Can I patent something that I designed from scratch, that has some variation of an arduino in it and I write my own code?

Thanks in advance.

Should be no problem as long as you write your own code. It’s not like you can’t use a patented alloy metal in your coffee pot that you buy from the supplier.


A patent applies to the concept or idea, not the implementation of the concept. Therefore, in the application you would just talk about the use of a micro controller to control the temperature.
If you make a coffee machine that in it’s self can not be patented only the ideas that go into it. You can however register a design and that is covered by copyright.

I have about five patents my self and two of them are US patents and you don’t have to actually make the device to get it patented. These were financed through the company I work for.

However, be aware that just having a patent only gives you the right to take legal action against anyone infringing it. This means that the big guys spend a lot of time looking at patent applications, looking who holds them and deciding if you are small enough to rip off.


To be clear, only ideas or concepts that are capable of being made or used in some kind of industry are patented. For example, the concept of a time machine would not be patentable unless one could describe some method by which one could be built. But as Mike says, you only have to show it can be built, you don’t have to actually make one.

For some aspect of the coffee machine to be patentable it must have something new and inventive that would not be obvious to people experienced in the design of coffee machines.

You may want to do a google search with the following terms to get an idea of some patents in the example you gave:
temperature controlled coffee maker patent

If you want to get your design instantly copied in “some eastern countries”, getting a patent (which is publicly available) is the way to go…
I know of a few German companies (printing presses / yarn spinning) that don’t file patents for their products anymore. That way they get a head start of about a year before their machines get copied.

And a patent is only as good as your lawyer(s) and thusly the amount of money You have to pay their salary.


I hope you have something genuinely new and useful, which does not qualify for the category “duh!”. I’m thinking about something like amazon’s “one click order” and the likes. I still wonder how these things ever got considered patentable at all. Or GFP glow in the dark mice, Yikes.

I’ve often wondered how much invention never sees the light of day purely because of the enormous amount of time and money needed to defend patents from a world of vultures. It really is a shame that there isn’t an inexpensive way of defending your intellectual property, because the world could have so much to gain if there was.

Like others have mentioned, there’s a big risk that if its a worthwhile invention, then once the application is filed others will steal it.

So it could be advantageous keeping the concept out of the public domain, at least until your sure you can sell plenty in a short space of time to generate the cash you may need to defend your patent.

You can use nondisclosure agreements if there are potential clients you would like to pitch the concept at. Most honest traders are happy to sign them.

In patent law, you are allowed to make disclosures to potential clients to test an inventions market feasibility. The law recognizes that you are an inventor, but perhaps not a marketing genius. I think there is a window after a disclosure is made at which point a provisional specification should be filed. A bit of googling should throw a bit more light on that.

If there are legal matters you are uneasy about then an hour with a patent attorney would be a wise investment… you might as well get used to spending plenty of money anyway because new invention and burning cash have an intrinsic magnetic attraction.

Do we require patents at all? Whatever has been made has been copied… so why take the pain? i heard that chinese companies employ an army of engineers who take apart products they are given and come out with exact replicas… perhaps keeping it open and sharing the development would strengthen the cause that required the invention in the first place… I can have a 100 views (i never have applied for a patent so far… :smiley: )