Can anyone patent my idea from my published research paper? I created a new system in the field of AI 3 years ago. It was published at the time by an academic journal. I did not patent the system then and did not patent it after 1 year either.

No, as some of the answers point out, one requirement for a patent is that the described invention is not in the prior art. Because your system was made public over a year ago, it is in the prior art. So, any attempt to patent it now will be unsuccessful. Your research paper will hold up in court if a competitor attempts to patent your system.

However, you will not be able to exclude others from actually using your system because you do not have your own patent. Once an invention is made public the inventor has one year to apply for a patent. After a year, the information is considered to be in the public domain and thus not eligible for patent protection by anyone including the inventor.

If you have made any improvements on your invention that were not included in the research paper, it’s possible you could get a patent on the improvements. An improvement on an invention basically has to be an invention of its own and meet the same requirements as the original patent, though. Anything that could be considered an obvious improvement on the originally described design will not be enough.

A patent can be very a valuable tool for a startup, so I encourage you to look into your eligibility. If you still have any questions and want to chat with an experienced patent attorney, visit LawTrades where we will match you with one for a free consultation to answer your questions. Good luck!