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Posted: 9/5/2004 6:35:55 PM EST
I just thought of new product. So what is the right course of action to get the product made and protected?
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:37:08 PM EST
Tell me what it is and ill see if it meets my approval and then we'll take appropiate actions.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:37:18 PM EST
becareful about what lawyers you talk to, or patened lawyers, some might steal your idea. but either way, get a lawyer.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:37:51 PM EST
If you want to protect it (i.e. patent), my impression is that a patent search is one of the first things you do (to makes sure it is not already patented, or woudl infringe on an existing patent). I know there are patent attorneys that specialise in this stuff - but I think it can get pretty expensive. I believe that filing a patent alone is several hundred dollars - and a search is probably more than that.

Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:39:04 PM EST
Probably the first thing to do is to go to the USPTO website and do a search to see if anything similar has been patented before. If not, file a provisional patent, which gives you a year to work on getting the formal patent filed.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:40:41 PM EST
write the thing down on a letter and have it mailed to yourself, this will keep the idea on your side
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:42:18 PM EST
First off, do a poor man's patent. Write everything down with sketchings, details, etc.

Date the pages and sign them.

Mail them to yourself.

Once you recieve them back make sure to not open them and put them in a safe place.

You might want to mai; yourself two copies.

Now you are free to talking to people..... if they steal it you can prove you had this idea first ( the postmark on the envelope will show this...
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:42:59 PM EST

Originally Posted By twonami:
write the thing down on a letter and have it mailed to yourself, this will keep the idea on your side



This is very clever!
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:43:16 PM EST
tell us first and we will decide if its worthy
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:43:27 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/5/2004 6:43:48 PM EST by 50cal]
Apply to the Patent Office for an application for a patent. At least you will have the paperwork started.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:43:47 PM EST
If you don't have $3000+ to dump into it just to start, you might as well forget it. I have had atleast four ideas go to market already because I don't have the bucks and balls to chase the dream.

You'll get used to dealing with the disappointment of not persuing a great idea. I'm just gonna go get drunk now like the loser that I am. Gee thanks gaspain.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:45:40 PM EST

Originally Posted By twonami:
write the thing down on a letter and have it mailed to yourself, this will keep the idea on your side



Ask a patent lawyer about this. Save your stamps for letters to relatives and bills.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:46:03 PM EST

Originally Posted By twonami:
write the thing down on a letter and have it mailed to yourself, this will keep the idea on your side




URBAN LEGEND!
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:48:16 PM EST

Originally Posted By jblachly:

Originally Posted By twonami:
write the thing down on a letter and have it mailed to yourself, this will keep the idea on your side




URBAN LEGEND!



really!?
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:49:49 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/5/2004 6:51:26 PM EST by ar50troll]

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:

Originally Posted By twonami:
write the thing down on a letter and have it mailed to yourself, this will keep the idea on your side



This is very clever!



You need to do it in triplicate at least. If you have to contest, your gonna have to open the letter then it's spoiled for any future actions.
This is called the poor mans copyright. A lot of bands do this. And frankly it doesn't work.
Go to Inventors Helpline
I have my patent pending through them and they take apercentage when I sell. I am just going to sell my patent outright and not bother to be the one taking it to market.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:52:56 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:54:02 PM EST
I just found out that some countries DON'T recognise the patent process (China for one)....! That means any Chinese person can produce MY product!!! Im screwed.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:55:39 PM EST
Thats true about China, they'll be making knock-offs for way cheaper
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:57:02 PM EST
1) Draw up a quick business plan, including you best guess as to the cost to make and sell your invention, the likely selling price, how many you think you can sell per year and what the product life (in years) is likely to be. This will allow you to get a ballpark figure of the potential income from the idea, assuming it is a success.
2) Get a ballpark estimate for the cost to file the patent; a patent attorney should be able to give you this without you having to disclose too much.
3) Evaluate whether the income from the invention is going to be worth the cost of the patent. More importantly, evaluate critically whether you will have the $$$ to defend any patent in court. This can be hugely expensive, particularly if a big company infringes your patent.

Take it further only if the business model is really interesting. Something that many people don't understand about patents is that the patent office does very little filtering for prior art or technical merit... this is left to your patent attorney and (more often) the courts. Unless you have a pile of cash to defend your patent, its not worth the paper its printed on.

By the way, if you do ultimately decide to file the patent, make sure you patent ALL the ways of achieving what your invention does, not just what you consider to be the "best" way. Otherwise, if your idea takes off, competitors will just find a "next best" way of reverse engineering your invention without violating the papent.

Good luck dude.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 6:59:28 PM EST
First thing you need to know is, except for the name, which you can copyright for free (a registered copyright is more, but while not necessary, helps as an official record), you have jack shit when it comes to protection of your new invention.

Second, a ton of stuff has already been patented. Check the USPTO out to find out if your new baby already has.

Third, remember that if you do want it protected, it costs I believe over $1,500 just to file an application, and a couple years for it to go through. However, if your invention is truly worthwhile, you can easily gain this back by selling the rights to a corporation. Be aware, patents now only last seventeen years, then the product becomes public domain to produce.

Finally, also be aware that your fees will NOT be refunded. It all builds up. I think that the entire cost to gain a patent (not including attorney's fees if you use an attorney, just fees charged by the USPTO) are on the order of three thousand dollars. You can save a lot of that by first hiring an attorney to do a search so you don't waste fifteen hundred to find out your idea is already patented. Also, once you file, the phrase you will become most afraid of is "It would therefore be obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art," now one of the most commonly-used rejections. It means your idea is basic stuff, nothing extraordinary. My father, a patent examiner (waste-water treatment, mainly does valves), uses this on about seven-eighths of the applications he has to review.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 7:00:53 PM EST

Originally Posted By twonami:
write the thing down on a letter and have it mailed to yourself, this will keep the idea on your side


Write and draw it out and get the documents stamped, dated andsigned by a Notary Public. Then do the patent search, lawyer, etc..
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 7:02:18 PM EST

Originally Posted By gaspain:
I just found out that some countries DON'T recognise the patent process (China for one)....! That means any Chinese person can produce MY product!!! Im screwed.



Thats true up to a point. It is possible (though expensive) to file patents overseas. Frankly, though, you have to ask yourself where the market is for the product; if predominantly in the US, then a US patent should be sufficient, as you can sue the importer of the Chinese ripoff. For an AR15/M16 accessory, for example, the US is pretty much the only market of interest - just write off the rest of the World as not worth the bother.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 7:03:25 PM EST

Originally Posted By ar50troll:

Originally Posted By DK-Prof:

Originally Posted By twonami:
write the thing down on a letter and have it mailed to yourself, this will keep the idea on your side



This is very clever!



You need to do it in triplicate at least. If you have to contest, your gonna have to open the letter then it's spoiled for any future actions.
This is called the poor mans copyright. A lot of bands do this. And frankly it doesn't work.


Yeah - I guess it makes more sense from a copyright persepctive, and not so much for any patent issues.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 7:07:54 PM EST
Do you have a working model or just an idea? You can sell a patented working model or even just a patent. You can't sell an idea. Whatever you do, before you tell someone or anyone any details, get them to sign a disclosure form. You might even find some generic forms to download on the internet.

If your no shit serious about this, there is a certain member on this board who has mentioned that he does venture capital investments from time to time.
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 7:26:55 PM EST
No I dont have a working model yet, I just thought of it. However unique it is, it wouldnt take long to get one working.

Awesome replies yet so far, thanks guys!
Link Posted: 9/5/2004 8:41:28 PM EST

Originally Posted By jblachly:

Originally Posted By twonami:
write the thing down on a letter and have it mailed to yourself, this will keep the idea on your side




URBAN LEGEND!



Yep. Mail yourself an empty, unsealed, envelope. Put whatever you want in it after it is postmarked. Seal it. Tada!
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 3:18:49 AM EST
I've been there and done this myself. You will need $20,000 plus for your little project to say nothing of your time. Plan to lose it.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 9:08:47 AM EST
Alot of good replies here. As part of three startup companies, I can tell you that patents are not the ultimate protection. As a matter of fact, unless your patent attorney that draws up the documents is REALLY good, the chances of someone being able to take your idea, improve it slightly, and supercede your patent is a reality.

Now, with that said, patents are a useful tool if you know how to use them. But you're not at that point yet.

First, do not disclose your idea to anyone. As mentioned before, the letter method is useless. A slightly better but also not foolproof method is documenting everything and getting it notarized.

Then build your prototype. This is more to prove to yourself that it works, than anything else. This may not apply to your idea. But with at least one of the things I was invovled with, it looked great on paper, but had some "technical difficulties" in the physical world. Since patents can cost between $20K-$50K, better to find that out early.

Assuming all goes well up to this point, find a patent attorney you TRUST. Ask around. Got buddies with similar inventive genes? Someone knows somebody.

OK, now that was all the easy stuff.

Now you have to decide to either market it or sell it. Finding a buyer is difficult. Finding the capital to start marketing it is also difficult. You will need to draw up a business plan. Get some help, a professional looking prospectus is much mor elikely to get investors reaching for their checkbooks.

How much will it cost to get to market? If you can avoid venture capitalists, you should do so. Remember, they're in it to make money. The couple that I know are snakes. Some are OK guys, but they have the eye on the money ball and act accordingly. Don't give up too much.

I would suggest networking. Have rich uncles or neighbors? Give them your prospectus. Don't try to baffle them with bullshit. Remember, they have money, and are obviously not stupid on how they got it. Don't hide anything from prospective investors. Tell them your marketing plan, etc, and some realistic goals.

Speaking of marketing, that's the hardest part. I've never been good at it. If you have a friend that's a salesman, or know what markets you intend to attack, floating a test balloon is not a bad idea.

One last thing. Only one out of three startups make money, and many less make it past 5 years. My startup is making money, but we're certainly not getting rich. And it was my third one. Go figure.


Link Posted: 9/6/2004 9:11:07 AM EST
Inform Botach right away so that it can already be out of stock.
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 9:21:49 AM EST
What is your idea?

Isn't there some commercial that deals with this? You call them and they send you a packet with the patent and design stuff? Try that
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 9:33:51 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/6/2004 9:36:54 AM EST

Originally Posted By BoB-O:

Originally Posted By jblachly:

Originally Posted By twonami:
write the thing down on a letter and have it mailed to yourself, this will keep the idea on your side




URBAN LEGEND!



Yep. Mail yourself an empty, unsealed, envelope. Put whatever you want in it after it is postmarked. Seal it. Tada!




It's also pretty easy to steam open an envelope.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 11:45:28 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/10/2004 11:49:11 AM EST by Nugz]

Originally Posted By David_Hineline:
Just bring it to market quick in mass quantities, make your money and get out. No patent is going to protect you.



I agree with Hineline on this one. In todays dog eat dog world this seems to be the only way to go. Dont believe me? Turn on your TV late at night and skim through the infomercials. Everybody and their mother is trying to make a buck these days and there are way too many cloned products being advertised. The patent process is a long and tedious one and it can get VERY expensive, really fast. I know of one guy in my area who came up with an idea and has been through the patent process. From what I hear he has spent $250,000+ and his product has yet to hit the market in any major capacity. DISCLAIMER: I HAVE YET TO SEE THIS PRODUCT IN ANY OF THE BIG CHAIN STORES SO I AM ASSUMING, CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG. Here is the real kicker...his product actually works and works WELL.

Here is his product: Toolite Shovel

Pretty slick huh?

I dont personally know the guy but I wish him prosperity. I hope that his patents protect him from the sharks of the industry, but I still think that a massive marketing blitz would have served him well. Then again, what do I know? he
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 11:48:28 AM EST
Darn, I was hoping it was a glow-in-the-dark toilet seat.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 11:50:15 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/10/2004 11:50:45 AM EST by ar50troll]

Originally Posted By GabbasaurusRex:
Darn, I was hoping it was a glow-in-the-dark toilet seat.



Already a few incarnations of that idea



Link Posted: 9/10/2004 12:08:46 PM EST
Not sure, but I may be the only patent lawyer who lurks here. hat
Fast351 and StealthyBlagga are right on. Very expensive, and not for the faint of heart. You can send a letter to yourself if you want (can't hurt), but a patent it ain't. Same thing with the PTO's Document Disclosure program - useless. Over the years I have found it terribly difficult in working with individual inventors, because of questionable ideas and inventorship, lack of funds, unrealistic expectations, and too much hand-holding. So I tend to stick with the corps that have been through this mill before. But, there are many who regularly work with individuals. Whatever you do, DO NOT call the 800-number you saw last night on TV. You have a better chance of recouping your investment by taking it to Vegas. I feel your gas pain, Gaspain.
Link Posted: 9/10/2004 12:11:53 PM EST

Originally Posted By ipguy:
Not sure, but I may be the only patent lawyer who lurks here. That's why I am . . . ipguy (intellectual property guy).

Whatever you do, DO NOT call the 800-number you saw last night on TV. You have a better chance of recouping your investment by taking it to Vegas. I feel your gas pain, Gaspain.



I used inventorshelpline. I am selling my patent outright to a corp. So I dunno where you are coming from. My device is going into every Wal Mart and most grocery stores. My buyer is going to make more than me for sure, but they have to bring it to market. This is a 6 figure patent sale. The device will retail ~$8 per unit. Depending on what he's doing and what his short/long term ambitions are, I CAN GURANTEE inventorshelpline works.
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