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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2007
    Posts
    347

    Default Has anyone ever applied for a patent?...

    ...for your wonderful invention?

    I have a product I'd like to move forward on and I suspect getting it patented would be an important step. Any advice for a newbie entering into this area?

    First I'll need to get a prototype made though. How do I prevent the company that makes the prototype from stealing my idea?

    I'm going to make millions baby, millions I tell you!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2009
    Posts
    1,944

    Default

    I haven't applied although I have looked into it a bit. I sent out some letters of query to several companies telling them I had an idea. Everyone advised getting a patent before they would even talk to me. It's difficult to do on your own (not impossible though) and I was also advised to get a patent attorney. It's expensive. The first step you can send yourself a certified letter with your sketches and ideas enclosed and keep it sealed. There are some grants out there to help with start up costs (I remember even Walmart had some kind of program).

    Good luck and remember me when you make your millions!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2009
    Posts
    5,710

    Default

    It isn't cheap, and you really do need a patent attorney. Your attorney will file for you, then you have to wait while all the research is done to see if any of the processes or technology you've used in your product have been patented or have had patents filed. Basically it's "first one filed wins", I think, but it can be a long time waiting to find out who was truly first.
    Last edited by Mara; Apr. 3, 2011 at 12:30 PM.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2007
    Posts
    347

    Default

    Ah yes, the lawyers. Hmmm, I wonder if www.legalzoom.com can be any help. Think I'll go there next.

    The registered letter is a good idea, thanks CFFarm!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 15, 2006
    Location
    Eastern WV Panhandle
    Posts
    1,246

    Default

    I have been through the process and have an attorney to help, and you don't necessarily want to file right away. In many ways there are more protections with "patent pending" than a patent, as quite a bit about a pending patent isn't public info, while a patent is.

    Also, have you done a patent search at all on the USPTO web site to see if someone else already has patented the idea?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2009
    Posts
    552

    Default

    There are different types of patents, one is a design patent and one is a utility patent. In my humble opinion a design patent isn't worth much. Just a simple tweak to your great idea and you are bested. Look at the Furminator and all the knockoffs!

    Also, if a big company sees your product and copies it, you will have to defend your patent against someone with big pockets and high paid attorneys. My friend had a patent and defended it and won, but her attorney fees were 100k to prove she was right!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2007
    Posts
    347

    Default

    Gieriscm, thanks for the suggestion to search the USPTO website. I'll do that for sure.

    Howardh, I guess I need to look into the specifications of each type of patent. My plan was to get my product patented and then sell the design to a large company and get royalties. That way the company has to defend the product at that point, not little o' me. I suppose I won't really become a millionare that way but its fun to pretend...



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2008
    Posts
    1,697

    Default

    It can cost some serious money.

    If you have a product that may be "fad-ish" and you can make quick money off of FAST and then get out before the market gets flooded, you're better to do that than to get a patent.

    If it's a product that you REALLY feel will stand the test of time and you can afford to wait,(again, if it's fad-ish you may not be able to...), then apply for a patent. It's a long process and I've known some people who basically lost money the whole time they were waiting, as they could have been selling it themselves.

    A Patent Pending will only protect you so far. Pretty much, all someone else has to do is change your idea a bit and present it in a different way, and there's nothing you can do.

    I'd only Patent if it was BIG.

    A friend designed a new type of drinking cup for fast food outlets. However, he's been in the process of patenting it (in numerous countries), for over 2 years. That's time where he has had to keep a total lock on it, and hasn't been able to pitch it to anyone to see if it's as good as he thinks. He's got tons of money sunk in R&D and hasn't made a dime yet.

    He IS going to make gazillions, so it's worth it to him.

    NJR
    Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behaviour does.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2009
    Location
    Pacific NW
    Posts
    1,856

    Default

    Document document document!!!!

    Here in the US patents go to "first to invent" rather than "first to file" as in the rest of the world. So you need to document the invention timeline, or somewhere down the line you will lose out. I have several patent apps, but for compounds and methods of use, not a device...

    You will need to show 2 things... (1) conception of the invention and (2) reduction to practice of the invention.

    Also, is very expensive and you will need a patent attorney....
    Turn off the computer and go ride!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 18, 2009
    Location
    Pacific NW
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    1,856

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mara View Post
    It isn't cheap, and you really do need a patent attorney. Your attorney will file for you, then you have to wait while all the research is done to see if any of the processes or technology you've used in your product have been patented or have had patents filed. Basically it's "first one filed wins", I think, but it can be a long time waiting to find out who was truly first.
    Only in the rest of the world...

    In the US it is first to invent, so someone can file after you, but prevail in court becasue they invented first.....

    Only in the US though......
    Turn off the computer and go ride!



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
    Location
    Out for Lent
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    34,264

    Default

    Not a patent, but copyrighted software....

    Get an attorney. For the patent process you don't need a prototype.

    Take a lesson from the inventor of the super soaker: the prototype was home made from plumbing materials and a soda bottle!
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.
    GNU Terry Prachett



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