VIC Clarification on an Existing Patent

Discussion in 'Intellectual Property Law Forum' started by Ben9983, 12 July 2018.

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  1. Ben9983

    Ben9983 Active Member

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    Hi,

    I have a web site and I have noticed another famous site that concerns me as they have a patent which sounds similar to couple of my features.

    First I describe what my site does. It is a note taking system. There are a lot out there. For example, Microsoft's OneNote, Springpad, etc...Now couple of features that have is:
    1. The ability for the user to search for words that could be found in an image that is inserted in a note. If the picture in the note contains the word, then I will present the note to the user.
    2. Use Optical Character Recognition(OCR) to convert pre-printed or handwritten hard copies into a note. The user can upload an image to the site, I will extract the text and allow them to tidy it up and save it as a note.
    I don't see these as innovative or ground breaking IP as these techniques have been existing in a lot of web sites at least for the past decade. However, I came across the following patent:

    US Patent for Custom drawings as content access identifiers Patent (Patent # 9,235,768 issued January 12, 2016) - Justia Patents Search

    Now my web site is accessible throughout the world and of course in Australia.

    Can you please tell me if that patent is describing exactly what I am doing or are they referring to something different altogether? Should I worry about this patent?

    I appreciate your advice.

    Kind Regards,
    Ben.
     
  2. DMLegal

    DMLegal Well-Known Member

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    Sorry Ben but this is way too vague to give any type of opinion. My first question would be was your website live before their patent was issued/granted?
     
  3. Ben9983

    Ben9983 Active Member

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    Thank you so much for your reply. No their patent is older. I have been also searching online. I read a thread that mentioned, someone can infringe a patent if s/he is doing all the steps described in the independent part of the claim. Now if that is true, I have difficulty understanding the first paragraph under the claims section. They seem to be describing a method of capturing a handwritten note via an application. My site uses a third party SaaS to scan and convert a handwritten note to text and allowing the user to categorise it for future retrieval. So not sure if I understand them correctly and also if I am infringing.
     
  4. DMLegal

    DMLegal Well-Known Member

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    Does your website do anything more than OCR?
     
  5. Ben9983

    Ben9983 Active Member

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    Yes. It is for creating/organising notes. Users also can use OCR to convert printed or handwritten notes to a digital note. I have a lot of search filters that allow them to find the notes again and edit or delete them.
     
  6. DMLegal

    DMLegal Well-Known Member

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    Right, so it does OCR and allows a user to filter, search and organise the results? In a nutshell...
     
  7. Ben9983

    Ben9983 Active Member

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    Correct. Also the user can insert pictures into the notes. My system can also index words in pictures that are inserted in the notes.
     
  8. DMLegal

    DMLegal Well-Known Member

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    To actually give informed advice on this would take hours of research, but after a quick look it does look like there might be a clash. I'm not sure if you realise but the company who registered the patent was Evernote, so it is probably more straightforward to ask is your website very similar to Evernote, if so, there's your answer. I can't imagine Evernote will care too much unless you infringe on their trademarks, their patents come second in priority i'd imagine.
     
  9. Ben9983

    Ben9983 Active Member

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    Thank you so much for the reply. Yes, I realised its Evernote. I just looked at their site's screenshots on Google. My site from user interface perspective is different from Evernote. From functionality perspective, both allow users to take notes. But they have a few more features with PDFs, ability to take screenshots via browser plugins, etc...mine is very simple. I probably disable the Handwritten OCR and just leave standard OCR for now. I don't believe I am infringing on their trademarks. I don't use their logos, look and feel or slogans. I agree I don't think a company with over 200 million user base could care about a small web site like mine.
     
  10. DMLegal

    DMLegal Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't bother disabling anything, they will contact you via your domain if they have an issue, until then just keep going. If you do get a cease and desist letter or similar then seek legal advice. I wouldn't disable anything yet.
     
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