Author Topic: Patenting an invention  (Read 3650 times)

Kira

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Patenting an invention
« on: October 01, 2013, 02:35:49 PM »
So I have got what I think is an awesome invention. It is a bike-related accessory that would probably be popular with MMM readers who ride on city streets. =) Ultimately I would like to sell the idea to a bike company, but in the meantime I think using Kickstarter would be a great way to get it out into the public eye and potentially get some bulk orders, which would help me prove the market so I could sell it.

I can make a half decent prototype myself. It is not a particularly complicated idea and I have found some good prototyping companies online that are in my city, so I think I can figure out production. What I'm not sure about is how to go about doing the patent process. I don't want to go really far down this road and spend a lot of money if I can't patent it, since it seems that I won't be able to sell the invention to a big company. I haven't seen any other evidence of a product like this on the market, but I also don't really know what someone else would call this object so that is rather frustrating, and it's not a particularly complicated invention so I would not be surprised if it was already patented.

Has anyone filed for a patent before and would you recommend using a patent attorney or a patent search service?

willn

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Re: Patenting an invention
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 02:46:53 PM »
You could find a patent attorney for a bargain, see where it goes.  Or, just start making it. 

http://www.entrepreneur.com/answer/222315

Kira

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Re: Patenting an invention
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 02:57:40 PM »
You could find a patent attorney for a bargain, see where it goes.  Or, just start making it. 

http://www.entrepreneur.com/answer/222315

That advice is for a website, not an object.. If I want to license it to a big company I am pretty sure they will want to see a patent!

dragoncar

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Re: Patenting an invention
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2013, 03:08:27 PM »
I am a patent lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer and this is not legal advice.

If it were me, I'd search google patents for similar objects.  This will let me know what I'm up against and also give me a sense of what mechanical patents look like.  I would also do a lot of google searching.  If it doesn't look like anyone else has done it before, I'd get a patent it yourself book from the library and file a provisional patent (as low as $65 filing fee).

Then I'd do the prototype under NDA if possible.

Then I'd do the kickstarter and see if my idea is actually a viable product.  If it is, then I'd know how much I could spend on a real patent lawyer to convert the provisional.

That's just me, though... There are of course additional considerations and deadlines no mentioned here, which can be determined through adequate research before starting the process. 

footenote

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Re: Patenting an invention
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2013, 03:54:41 PM »
I am a patent lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer and this is not legal advice.

If it were me, I'd search google patents for similar objects.  This will let me know what I'm up against and also give me a sense of what mechanical patents look like.  I would also do a lot of google searching.  If it doesn't look like anyone else has done it before, I'd get a patent it yourself book from the library and file a provisional patent (as low as $65 filing fee).

Then I'd do the prototype under NDA if possible.

Then I'd do the kickstarter and see if my idea is actually a viable product.  If it is, then I'd know how much I could spend on a real patent lawyer to convert the provisional.

That's just me, though... There are of course additional considerations and deadlines no mentioned here, which can be determined through adequate research before starting the process.
I have a patent and am not a patent lawyer. Like dragoncar's suggestions, mine are not legal advice either.

If you have a little patience you can also search in the USPTO database for pending and issued patents. "Patent It Yourself" is an excellent primer on the process.

Agree with dragoncar that prototype comes first (to see if it really works the way you envision it will). Kickstarter is a great option for further funding.

Good luck and keep us updated!

Kira

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Re: Patenting an invention
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2013, 05:16:09 PM »
I am a patent lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer and this is not legal advice.

If it were me, I'd search google patents for similar objects.  This will let me know what I'm up against and also give me a sense of what mechanical patents look like.  I would also do a lot of google searching.  If it doesn't look like anyone else has done it before, I'd get a patent it yourself book from the library and file a provisional patent (as low as $65 filing fee).

Then I'd do the prototype under NDA if possible.

Then I'd do the kickstarter and see if my idea is actually a viable product.  If it is, then I'd know how much I could spend on a real patent lawyer to convert the provisional.

That's just me, though... There are of course additional considerations and deadlines no mentioned here, which can be determined through adequate research before starting the process.

I had read about provisional patents but had never thought about doing that first and then getting the lawyer later if the Kickstarter works out. That sounds like a great idea!

dragoncar

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Re: Patenting an invention
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2013, 05:22:15 PM »
I am a patent lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer and this is not legal advice.

If it were me, I'd search google patents for similar objects.  This will let me know what I'm up against and also give me a sense of what mechanical patents look like.  I would also do a lot of google searching.  If it doesn't look like anyone else has done it before, I'd get a patent it yourself book from the library and file a provisional patent (as low as $65 filing fee).

Then I'd do the prototype under NDA if possible.

Then I'd do the kickstarter and see if my idea is actually a viable product.  If it is, then I'd know how much I could spend on a real patent lawyer to convert the provisional.

That's just me, though... There are of course additional considerations and deadlines no mentioned here, which can be determined through adequate research before starting the process.

I had read about provisional patents but had never thought about doing that first and then getting the lawyer later if the Kickstarter works out. That sounds like a great idea!

If you get a book, make sure it covers recent changes in the laws (America invents act)

lentilman

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Re: Patenting an invention
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2013, 05:56:47 PM »
The USPTO search is a good place to start. There are other patent (worldwide) databases out there that you would want to consult if it looks like there is an invention to be protected.

If you don't have experience reading patents, take the time to learn how to do it.  For example, starting at the beginning and reading straight through (like a book chapter) is terribly inefficient.

You can also use a patent agent instead of a lawyer.  If you do decide to file a provisional, get some help writing the claims.  Getting the scope right will be important to get good protection and even the choice of individual words can affect what is covered (consisting vs. comprising for example). 

arebelspy

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Re: Patenting an invention
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2013, 12:29:44 AM »
IMO, going the provisional DIY to start (which lets you use the phrase "patent pending") is not a bad route to take, then kick start it and have a lawyer clean it up to submit the actual patent application.

Disclaimer: I have four patents and some more pending, but am not a patent lawyer.  The above is what I did for my first one.
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