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Patents?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ryan Wright, Aug 8, 2002.

  1. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    Hello,

    So, I've got this great idea for a product, and I'm thinking of patenting it. I don't, however, have $10k for an attorney. Does anyone know a cheap way to get something patented?? Can I do my own patent searches, and if so, how? Any other ideas or insight?
     
  2. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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  3. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Ryan, just tell me the idea and I'll run it by one of the patent attorneys here at the office. [​IMG]
     
  4. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    The NOLO book "Patent It Yourself" isn't too bad for a single volume book for laymen. I suggest it as an introduction to my clients. The actual guide for the US is the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP), available free in .pdf format on the PTO's web site. Printed out double-sided it's about 8 inches thick. [​IMG] The current version is 8th Ed. August 2001.
    But advice #1: SHUT UP. Don't talk about your invention to anyone. You may permanently WAIVE any foreign rights if you do so. In the US there's a 1-year grace period after blabbing about your invention in public, but don't push your luck. Discussing any details in a public forum such as this is a very dumb idea. Only discuss your invention with an attorney or agent (protected by attorney-client privilege) or with investors covered by a signed non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Don't talk to MikeK.
    Read patent Rule 56 (37 CFR 1.56) about your duty of disclosure. Don't play hide-the-ball with the USPTO. Many inventors come to grief over this rule.
    You can do patent searches for free at the PTO's web site: www.uspto.gov .
     
  5. Daniel Swartz

    Daniel Swartz Second Unit

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    I personally think Dennis is exagerating the issue of public disclosure a bit. Yes, you can forfeit both domestic and international rights if you discuss your invention in a public forum. However, unless you are presenting to an investor symposium or something similar, VC disclosure does not count as "public" disclosure. You also won't get most investors to sign an NDA. This being said, you still shouldn't talk about your idea with MikeK... [​IMG]
    What I would suggest is that you draft and file a provisional patent application by yourself. This provides you with immediate protection and allows you a year of breathing room to make changes to the application and eventually file a full-blown utility patent. The cost is minimal since you are a small business entity (~$100).
    I would highly recommend that you find an attorney though that specializes in intellectual property concerns of whatever industry you are targetting. Patents basically boil down to claims (the rest is just context). Most laymen won't know how to define the necessary claims for true protection or might overlook an essential claim.
    After all is said and done, if you can barely afford to file a patent, you need to worry about the finances necessary to defend said patent should a conflict arise. IBM generates billions of dollars in revenue from their patents each year and defends them tooth-and-nail. Defending a patent is very expensive and attacking a violator of your patent is equally expensive. Just some food for thought.... Don't be discouraged though. If you're confident in your idea, go for it!
     
  6. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    Hahahaha...i thought the thread title was "Parents". Here I'm reading the posts and couldn't figure out what any of this had to do about Parents....
     
  7. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    Excellent. Thank you all for the links & information. And MikeK, [​IMG] .
    Now, once all is said and done, I'm going to have to market this thing. Any hints on where to go to find investors? I could easily build a prototype in my garage, but it is something that would need to be manufactured professionally on a fairly large scale to be successful.
    Let me phrase this differently: Once you've got the patent and you're sure of the idea, what do you do to get the ball rolling on it?
     
  8. Daniel Swartz

    Daniel Swartz Second Unit

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    If it's non-technology/biotech/life science related, then investors will be scarce. Your best bet will be friends and family. Given the current economic climate, you probably would need a prototype, clients lined up, the patent, a solid business plan (with real field research), and conservative financial projections. Even with all that, you might lost 40%-60% of the company for ~$1 million. Sigh. Welcome to the post-bubble economy...
     
  9. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Don't tell anyone. That was my mistake when I invented the pocket fisherman.

    Curse you, Ronco! CURSE YOU!
     

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