Sci-Fi and Patents

Monday Aug 20   11:00 AM to 12:00 PM (1 hour)
Could Dr. McCoy’s Tricorder have been patented by Gene Roddenberry when it appeared in Star Trek? Should a sci-fi author apply for a patent for an item they described, but made by somebody else later? Can an invention described in a sci-fi book keep you from patenting something? What are the panelists' favorite inventions in sci-fi/fantasy that have or haven't been patented in the real world? What has been patented, but only exists in sci-fi? What patented inventions first appeared in sci-fi?

How would a patent system work in the Star Trek world, after a patent is granted? Would Data and other AIs own their inventions? Since there is no money (and no monetary damages) in Star Trek (except for latinum, I guess) what kind of remedies are available for patent infringement in the post-scarcity, Star Trek world? Assuming there is a Federation-wide patent system, how do they harmonize time across planets to decide who filed first? Do they look at stardates?

If you invent time travel, can you patent it? If so, when?
Stanford Law School
Osborne Enterprises
Project Manager

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