Here is my story. A have a vehicle and found a company that sells a screen that covers some of the air vents. The screens were flimsy, so I decided to see if I could get a stronger more durable screen to cover the air vents. I decided to purchase the metal screen material at Lowes. This worked so well, that some friends asked me to make the same metal screens for them.
I have since been selling these online and they have really done pretty well for my one person fabrication and online business. I took this screen to a retail store and they decided to give it a try and sell in the store. They asked if I had a patent and I told them I bought the screen from Lowes and simply cut it out to fit the vehicle. Now there is a center screen that requires careful procedures to install that I came up with, otherwise the screen doesn't stay installed. The cut of the screen is unique that I've come up with and the procedure for installation is unique.
So my question is, because I bought this metal screen at Lowes does that mean that its in the public domain and public knowledge? Can I patent my unique cut of the publicly purchased metal screen with my unique installation instructions on a vehicle anyone can buy could probably go and buy this same screen? The center screen is different as this took me try and error to figure out how to cut and install. Or am I wasting my time with a patent on all of this?
Thanks for any guidance or advice you can give.