How do I know if I am infringing on a technology patent?


I want to create an app for the Ipad which uses "videoconferencing" technology, very similar to what skype does.

How do I know if that is patented?

What happens if it IS patent protected and I use the technology anyway. I am a mom and pop app designer with zero budget for this!

Application Legal Patent Apps Voip

asked Jun 15 '11 at 08:45
41 points
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1 Answer


The only way to know is to file for the patent yourself, and even then it's possible that there is a conflicting patent that could be taken to court.

Really, you shouldn't worry too much about it at this stage (NOTE: NOT A LAWYER). If your app is super successful, and you are making a lot of money, the sharks will smell blood in the water. At that point you may be forced to pay a large fee to "license" the patent. Realistically they won't hunt after you until you are worth hunting after, and then they only want what they feel is their share.

Unfortunately this is the reality of the software patent system in the US. If you can code it, money is someone has already has the patent, or something obscure and luckily close enough to sue you anyways.

answered Jun 15 '11 at 11:20
Justin C
838 points
  • @Kekito - agreed, it does not fully prevent a suit, however it provides some deterrent. A patent troll is less likely to take someone with a similar patent to court, just like a burglar would prefer an unlocked door to smashing a window. – Justin C 13 years ago
  • @Kekito - thanks for the clarification. I obviously have no experience in the court. So are you saying that possessing a patent is NO deterrent, or VERY LITTLE deterrent. As I understood it, it was very little but better than nothing. – Justin C 13 years ago
  • @Justin C - IANAL, but I'd say it's about as much as a locked door. If someone really wants to hurt you, they will find a way to do it regardless of the deterrents you have in place. – Shauna 13 years ago

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Application Legal Patent Apps Voip