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Can I use wordpress as an electronic lab notebook without loosing patent rights?

  1. I want to post private unpublished scientific data that could be used for filing a patent or could constitute a trade secret onto password protected blog posts, as a means of maintianing an online electronic lab notebook. The Terms of Service (http://en.wordpress.com/tos/) states that

    "By making Content available, you represent and warrant that:
    -the downloading, copying and use of the Content will not infringe the proprietary rights, including but not limited to the copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret rights, of any third party;
    -if your employer has rights to intellectual property you create, you have either (i) received permission from your employer to post or make available the Content, including but not limited to any software, or (ii) secured from your employer a waiver as to all rights in or to the Content;"

    and that

    "By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog."

    Does the addition of a password negate this public status of the content indicated by these two statements? Is there a way within the wordpress blog system to not jeopordize the privacy of content?

    The blog I need help with is envirophysics.wordpress.com.

  2. Volunteer do not interpret policy. I tagged this thread for a Staff response. Please subscribe to it so you are notified when they respond.

  3. No, making your blog Private does not negate our terms of service.

    By making Content available, you represent and warrant that:
    -the downloading, copying and use of the Content will not infringe the proprietary rights, including but not limited to the copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret rights, of any third party;
    -if your employer has rights to intellectual property you create, you have either (i) received permission from your employer to post or make available the Content, including but not limited to any software, or (ii) secured from your employer a waiver as to all rights in or to the Content;

    As long as you own the content you're posting, or have the right to post it, you'll be fine here.

    By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog.

    We won't steal your content or republish it externally. I know it sounds a bit ridiculous and scary, but it's key to focus on the fact that we only need "world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish" all of your own personal content (which you do own) "for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog."

    This means we have the right to display your blog content in the WordPress.com Reader, to modify it for our mobile theme for readers on mobile devices, and to send it through Publicize to Facebook, Twitter, etc (if you have enabled it). It does not grant us the right to claim ownership of your content and publish it elsewhere.

  4. That is comforting to hear about the second part, google has the same clause concerning their gmail service, and we were rather perturbed by it. I appreciate the clarification!

    Regarding the first clause I quoted, if I password protect a blog post, and then only give the password to individuals within my lab, then provided there were no security breaches, "downloading, copying and use of the Content" would not infringe on the proprietary rights of our lab, correct? In that case, the only permitted use of the Content would pose no threat to those rights. Is there something that I am missing?

  5. Not necessarily, that applies to the blogger, not the viewer.

    Posting the content is considered "use of the Content" and you warrant that it "will not infringe the proprietary rights, including but not limited to the copyright, patent, trademark or trade secret rights, of any third party, and if your employer has rights to intellectual property you create, you have either received permission from your employer to post or make available the Content, including but not limited to any software, or secured from your employer a waiver as to all rights in or to the Content."

  6. @macmanx - is this sort of where I need to grant WordPress.com the rights to display something world wide for you to display my own content on my own screen? And the world wide relates to I could log in from anywhere and this reduces the contracts from several million (different countries, towns, states, Territory's, etc>)?

  7. No, the terms of service are generalized to the maximum extent of all use cases. We don't provide terms for specific use cases.

    Even if you have a private blog viewed only by a certain few, we need "a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog," because we can never be sure that you won't just make it a public blog some day.

  8. I see, that is a bit different from how I was reading it, thanks for the clarification. So, when I post the Content, I am taking responsibility to ensure that by doing so I do not infringe on the proprietary rights of the lab by allowing un-intended public access to the content?

    This brings me to a somewhat new question, which may be more appropriate for a patent lawyer, but you may know as well: I understand that by US law, you have 1 year from your first "public disclosure" of an idea to file for a patent on the idea. This "public disclosure" can be as simple as explaining the idea to someone that is outside of your company/organization/lab (whatever body would share the intellectual property with you). Would posting an idea on a private wordpress blog be considered a "public disclosure"? I wouldn't think so, provided only individuals within the organization can see it, but I wanted to check that my understanding was correct.

  9. So, when I post the Content, I am taking responsibility to ensure that by doing so I do not infringe on the proprietary rights of the lab by allowing un-intended public access to the content?

    No, you're guaranteeing that you have the right to publish it, public or not.

    I can't comment on the latter part of your question. It's probably better to discuss that with a patent lawyer.

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