I wanted to "Discuss This Patent" but all I'm allowed to do is ask a question. How can I discuss the patent just in itself, instead of having to ask a question? I don't understand why Google provides a button to "discuss" but then only allows me to ask a question instead of being able to post pertinent information about this patent.

Anyway, this pertinent information I'd like to post (i.e., "discuss") is that patent US 5,060,379 was utilized by The Great American Tool Company of Buffalo, NY USA in their Timberline Timberlite product. They refer to it as "Heeley Lock Patent 5,060,379" on their knives.

Thanks for allowing me to "discuss" this patent without having to ask a question about this patent.

  • 1
    What is your interest in this patent? Certainly you must have some questions about it, even if they are general questions. Are you concerned about infringement, licensing, prior art, expiration?
    – Parker
    Jul 21, 2015 at 15:12
  • Thank you for your fast reply. I only wanted to post the info on the firm which was licensed to use the knife patent, The Great American Tool Company, a.k.a. GATCo of Getzville, NY, near Buffalo. For example, DataMP.org posts info on what firm used the patents they detail. I'll post my question on the other site. Jul 21, 2015 at 16:01
  • Discussion on specific license agreements is officially considered off-topic for this community. However, since this is an expired patent, I will raise this issue in Meta and will see if there is any way to accommodate these topics.
    – Parker
    Jul 21, 2015 at 16:23
  • Again, thanks! I hope it makes sense to discuss licensing herein. Frankly, in my research on Western NY manufacturing history, I seldom deal with patents this new; I typically deal with ones 80+ years old. It's hard to find documentation on old patents and manufacturers, so being able to document history on a patent is important, to me. Further, www.DataMP.org only deals with certain patents (e.g., tools, engines, machinery) so there're few areas where patent history can be saved. Google has done a great service with its patent site, and I hope it can be expanded to include history. Thanks! Jul 21, 2015 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


I'm not a representative of Stack Exchange, and this is hearsay from what I know. I can find out more, but I wanted to get you an answer.

This is an unfortunate scenario that I'd love to see righted, but it's difficult right now. I'm not aware of the current situation, but ultimately, several years ago, the USPTO came to Stack Exchange and asked for this site to be created. In a joint venture with Google, SE made the site in the interest of crowd-sourcing the search for prior art on overly broad patents and applications.

In that process, Google installed the button you used on their Google Patents pages with the word "Discuss" on it.

And here we are now.

Yes, that button is labelled poorly. But the general consensus has been that it isn't worth pursuing to make better. I, personally, disagree with this a little. I hate to think well-intentioned people are coming here with the wrong expectations about what this is. But that's what it is: we're a Q&A site with the goal of helping people to understand the patent process, and to find prior art for overly broad patents and applications.

In your particular case, I definitely respect what you're doing: I agree that preserving historical articles like this is of the utmost importance. The issue with using Stack Exchange in this particular way for this, aside from that it's outside of our scope, is that preserved data is only as good as it is findable. And people won't look here. Honestly, I'd suggest finding or creating a relevant Wikipedia article (or equivalent) on either the patent or the knife, and adding the information there. That's a good place for things like this.

We do support some discussions, via our chat feature, but I'm not sure that would serve your purpose with this.

We also support information-preservation through self-answering questions, but unfortunately I'm not sure this is a good candidate, because licensing and production questions are each off-topic for us. So I'd really go the Wikipedia route if I were you.

Sorry for the confusion.

  • 4
    Matthew, you pretty much nailed it. I too do not believe the button is well-suited to generating useful traffic. After suggestions of building a better landing page experience were nixed, I asked to remove the button completely. It was said the button brings in too much traffic... but I don't think any of that traffic is terribly useful. Deep linking into this site from a "discuss this patent" link (without any further context) simply leads to virtually all of those "questions" being closed. It's a bad end-user (and community) experience for all. It's unfortunate, but that's where we're at. Jul 24, 2015 at 16:19
  • @Robert A long shot, but do you think there could ever be a chance of contacting Google to have the text changed? I'm not sure what would be better-suited (especially to avoid production questions, like "ask about this patent" would bring up), but "discuss" is such a blatantly, almost comically for anyone who frequents meta, inaccurate term. I think the only per-patent questions that are really appropriate here are prior art search related ones, but that could be too much of a negative presence (as if every GP page assumed the patent was too broad). Jul 24, 2015 at 22:54
  • 1
    Matthew, But change it to what? One doesn't usually just "contact Google" to change their interface. It would have to be a real game-changer to even ask. But you hit on the main issue — it's hard to envision a 2-3 word button label that would sum up this site without implying that there's something implicitly wrong with every patent it occupies. If we're going to ask for changes (unlikely), it seems like we should be making at least equal efforts to improve the experience on this end. We're not doing that, so "asking Google" isn't a quick workaround to that problem. Jul 24, 2015 at 23:12
  • Thank you for your replies! I guess Google has gotten too big and much too bogged down with red tape. Plus too and also, it likely has management types who protect their turf. That is, they tend to follow the proverbial "not invented here" mentality (pun very-much intended). Jul 25, 2015 at 2:11
  • As a USPTO patent examiner, I reviewed Google Patents for most of the applications under examination. It was part of my pre-allowance search checklist. UNFORTUNATELY, the Examiners are not allowed to post publicly about applications under examination. IF there was any discussion of prior art, or technology related to a patent application, this could be helpful to USPTO examiners. I think this might be why Google & USPTO want to keep the "Discuss" link where it is. Even though it has not been used much. Jun 26, 2020 at 11:07

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