Quirky's Intellectual Property Policy

What happens to intellectual property when I submit an idea to Quirky for consideration?

By submitting your idea to Quirky, you grant a license in all IP in the submission to Quirky and the Quirky community of users to consider and comment on your submission within the Quirky platform. If Quirky accepts your submission for further development and possibly eventual commercialization, you assign ownership in all IP in the submission to Quirky.

What if I want my submission back?

If your submission is not accepted by Quirky for further development you may withdraw it from the Quirky platform. If Quirky accepts your submission for further development but does not commercialize a resulting product, subject to certain conditions detailed in the quirky.com Terms of Use, you may acquire the IP in your submission from Quirky.

Why does Quirky need to own all IP in idea submissions accepted for further development? Is this negotiable?

In order to successfully develop and commercialize a product, Quirky must devote significant resources and accept exposure to a multitude of legal risks. Quirky cannot sustain this level of investment and risk taking without having the ability to control the exploitation of IP embodied in its products. In return for ownership of IP in a commercialized product, Quirky pays the contributing user a perpetual royalty commensurate with the degree of contribution. Quirky does not negotiate this arrangement with its community of users.

What if someone steals my idea?

There are several factors that mitigate against copying of product ideas submitted to Quirky. First, as among users, the quirky.com Terms of Use prohibit use of content on quirky.com outside of the Quirky process. Second, in many instances initial idea submissions are too conceptual to be readily converted into a product without significant design and development. Third, in many instances Quirky moves its products from idea to distribution quickly enough to retain a first-mover advantage in the marketplace over any would-be copycats.

What if I have a patent? Will one help my submission get selected by Quirky?

Quirky treats an issued patent or pending patent application relating to idea submissions in the same manner that Quirky treats IP generally relating to idea submissions. An issued patent or pending patent application is not a necessary prerequisite to submitting a product idea to Quirky, nor do such items guarantee submission acceptance, however Quirky does consider this information when reviewing product ideas.

Does Quirky patent its products? How can I find Quirky's patents?

Quirky pursues patent protection for its products when it makes economic sense. Certain Quirky patents can be found by searching www.uspto.gov.

How is Quirky able to patent its products after idea submission and product development have already taken place on quirky.com? Can someone else patent what they see at quirky.com?

It is not possible under the patent law to patent abstract or indefinite ideas, and therefore in many instances an idea submission to Quirky would not be patentable until the idea submission has been more fully developed through the Quirky process, at which point then disclosures on quirky.com would trigger the one year "grace period" during which Quirky would need to pursue patent protection under US patent law. The 2011 amendments to the US Patent Act, a.k.a. the America Invents Act, which move the US to a "first-to-file" jurisdiction, retain the "grace period" for disclosures made by inventors and disclosures derived from disclosures made by inventors. Only an inventor can patent his/her invention, which means that it is not possible under the US patent law (including the 2011 amendments) to patent someone else's invention unless the person seeking patent protection independently invented the same invention.

Who does Quirky name on its patents?

The US patent law requires that Quirky name all inventors on a patent application. An inventor under the patent law is someone who has made an inventive contribution to the invention being patented. Inventors listed on Quirky patents have included Quirky users, Quirky staff and Quirky consultants. In all cases the listed inventors assign ownership of all patent rights to Quirky.

If I withdraw my idea or acquire IP in my submission from Quirky, can I still pursue patent protection if Quirky has not?

Unfortunately there are too many variables in play to answer this question in a definite manner. Generally speaking the answer is: "Possibly, it depends."

What happens to community royalties if Quirky is acquired? What if Quirky goes bankrupt?

An acquirer of Quirky would assume the obligation to pay community royalties. If Quirky were to go bankrupt, the bankruptcy court would administer the application of community royalties to product rights purchased out of bankruptcy.

What steps does Quirky take to mitigate the risk of its products infringing another entity's IP?

Quirky searches for conflicting trademarks and patents at various stages of the product development process for all of its products that go to manufacturing and distribution, and takes prudent steps to reasonably address any risk of infringement.

What can I do if I think someone copied my idea submission or is infringing my IP?

If you think that someone is infringing your copyrights (e.g. using your original images or written expression without authorization), you can submit a DMCA takedown notice to Quirky according to the instructions set forth in the quirky.com Terms of Use. If you think that an idea submission is copying your idea submission, there are two steps you can take to notify Quirky: send an email to similar@quirky.com and/or post a link to your idea submission in the Product Comparison section of the idea submission in question.