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(Message started by: ValueProducts on Sep 4th, 2005, 6:38am)

Title: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advice...
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 4th, 2005, 6:38am
There seem to be a number of patent professionals--lawyers/agents/whatever else--who post in here. I dunno, maybe that's whose site this is.  They seem to provide good advice within their field--PATENTS--but what I don't see is much information about licensing. In fact, whenever one of these lawyers posts, he/she fails to mention this at all, going instead, right to the "see a patent attorney!" suggestion.

My understanding (I am no expert), is that patenting, while often very useful for SOME products, is a costly ($5,000-10,000) time-consuming (3 years minimum) process that is not necessary for ALL products.

Yes, if you have invented an entirely new way to transfuse blood, or a new material for producing high efficiency solar cells, or a microbe that eats paper waste, you had probably better take the time and expense to get it patented.

If you have invented a new potato peeler, or Christmas light hook, or "majic!" car washing brush, is a patent really the necessary first step?  If new materials are involved, probably. If it's just a unique and new design, is it?

It is often the case (in my inexpert understanding) that such products which have typically short market lives and which are not expensive to manufacture and do not involve new materials may not require patenting so much as LICENSING (to a manufacturer) to be "first to market."  Some products lend themselves to patenting AFTER marketing.

For example, those little car air-fresheners (classic story)?  The SHAPE is actually patented and trademarked. But that is an extreme rarity, and they were first-to-market AND the manufacturer obtained the patent FOR the inventor once the manufacturer (and THEIR lawyers) saw it was a goldmine--and they did this at THEIR expense, not the inventor's.  Oppositely, there is the guy who invented the one-handed socket wrench.  Sears out-and-out stole the idea from him when he took it directly to them.  Took him years to sue and recover (he did, made him rich) but that was a whole new technology, not a gadget.

This is not, of course, to discourage anyone with the auto engine that runs on water getting a patent, but whenever I see patent attorneys and agents insisting that anything you think of needs patenting, I get just a little nervous.

And no, I am not a manufacturer's rep...just a reader.

Mike
Value Products

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by Wiscagent on Sep 4th, 2005, 1:32pm
Mike -

Generally I agree with you.  I'm sitting here watching TV (trying to find out if the Yankees-A's game will be on tonight) and an ad came on for some invention promotion firm.  It was one of these "If I only had a patent!" scams.

I commented to my wife that most people have no idea what a patent does.  Apparently there is a misconception that having a patent somehow ensures business success.

I have seen many postings from patent professionals on this web site that carefully explain that a patent just grants the patentee the right to sue for patent infringement - and collect damages or obtain a court order to cease the infringing activity.  A patent certainly does not ensure business success or even the right to practice an invention.

As you wrote Mike, for many businesses, patent protection has little or no value.  Nevertheless all that having been said, this is the Intellecutual Property Law server.  When someone asks a question on how to obtain a patent I think it is appropriate to answer that question - and often the answer is a straight-forward explanation of the law.  On the other hand, when someone asks about the value of a patent that is a far more difficult question to answer, it often requires a good understanding of the business, market, and technology; so the "Go see a lawyer" response may be entirely appropriate.

Richard Tanzer

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by JimIvey on Sep 5th, 2005, 1:07pm
I posted this to the OP's similar question in another topic.  I thought it'd be good to include here as well.  I've cut out the part about licensor|licensee as I think that point's more clear here.


on 09/05/05 at 11:28:22, JimIvey wrote:
... to get money from others, you would have to have some right to exclude them from using your idea.  As a patent attorney, I naturally lean toward patents as one way to obtain the right to exclude others.  So, your statement appears to be a non sequitur -- akin to saying, "I don't want to the right to exclude others from using my technology; I just want to selectively grant permission to use it."

I suppose you could mean that you want to rely on trade secret protection.  That's possible.

But you should understand the import of Mr. Clark's statement: the value of your permission to use your idea is derived from your power to exclude others from using your idea.  To build that value, you have to think about how you might build that power to exclude.

I hope that's helpful.


Now, having said all that, I understand that some people have success in granting licenses to use unpatented technology.  I believe they rely solely on trade secret protection.  If anyone succeeds in collecting royalties on completely unprotected technology, I'd really like to meet such a person!  That  would certainly poke a hole in the "rational chooser" and/or "perfect knowledge" assumptions of Smith/Friedman and capitalism.

As for how very short term products ever get to market, my understanding is that the idea owner takes it to market themselves (or the idea comes from within the same company anyway).  To get some other company to market your idea and pay you money, look at what you must convince them:  first, I have an idea that's more valuable than anything you can come up with yourself.  Second, I want you to do all market research and refine the idea into something to sell -- refining my vague idea into a product with every detail filled in and an actual product made.  Third, I want you to assume the risk that it won't sell -- sure, I'll lose too, but I'm not going to cover your losses on top of that.  Fourth, if all your hard work and assumed risk pays off, I want you to give the profits to me (or at least a subsantial piece of them).

That's a very hard sell.  Some have made that sale, but I'd say they're few and far between.

Now compare that to the following:  first, I have a US patent that covers a substantial part of your existing business.  Second, if you don't have a legitimate argument that you don't infringe or that all of my claims are invalid, you may have to pay me 3 times the reasonable royalty for my idea that you already use.  Third, there aren't any viable alternatives that don't infringe my patent.  Fourth, I'd like a reasonable royalty now.

The latter is much more persuasive -- and still doesn't work all the time.  I sometimes wish it was as easy as everyone thinks it is -- declare your great idea and collect all the checks.  But that just isn't how it works.  

Regards.

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 6th, 2005, 4:05pm
[quote author=JimIvey

Now, having said all that, I understand that some people have success in granting licenses to use unpatented technology.  I believe they rely solely on trade secret protection.  If anyone succeeds in collecting royalties on completely unprotected technology, I'd really like to meet such a person!  That  would certainly poke a hole in the "rational chooser" and/or "perfect knowledge" assumptions of Smith/Friedman and capitalism.

As for how very short term products ever get to market, my understanding is that the idea owner takes it to market themselves (or the idea comes from within the same company anyway).  To get some other company to market your idea and pay you money, look at what you must convince them:  first, I have an idea that's more valuable than anything you can come up with yourself.  Second, I want you to do all market research and refine the idea into something to sell -- refining my vague idea into a product with every detail filled in and an actual product made.  Third, I want you to assume the risk that it won't sell -- sure, I'll lose too, but I'm not going to cover your losses on top of that.  Fourth, if all your hard work and assumed risk pays off, I want you to give the profits to me (or at least a subsantial piece of them).

That's a very hard sell.  Some have made that sale, but I'd say they're few and far between.

Now compare that to the following:  first, I have a US patent that covers a substantial part of your existing business.  Second, if you don't have a legitimate argument that you don't infringe or that all of my claims are invalid, you may have to pay me 3 times the reasonable royalty for my idea that you already use.  Third, there aren't any viable alternatives that don't infringe my patent.  Fourth, I'd like a reasonable royalty now.

The latter is much more persuasive -- and still doesn't work all the time.  I sometimes wish it was as easy as everyone thinks it is -- declare your great idea and collect all the checks.  But that just isn't how it works.  

Regards.
[/quote]

Jim:

This, if nothing else, shows us why it's very difficult for anyone who may be very expert in his/her own field to put on the hat of another and find it quite as good a fit as his own.  Hence, all those "watch your hat and coat" signs.

America is a consumption-driven place. We love stuff.  Just walk into a Walgreens and look at all the utter CRAP at the cash registers.  Of course, you and I, we NEVER buy this crap, but somebody does, and  somebody else makes money off those sales (this is not Europe).  These somebodies are typically manufacturer's who, just as you know yours, know THEIR bidness.  They see a salable, potentially profitable piece of crap come in through the transom, they might just pick it up. Bill Gates kinda money, it ain't, but it's money. And the companies that make that kinda crap are ALWAYS out looking for MORE crap because they know that Americans like to buy crap and they know what kind of crap they market.

Let's take your steps in MY direction.
1. I come up with an idea for a flatulence-powered cigarette lighter shaped like a pair of butt cheeks.  A sure-fire seller in some markets!
2. I spend 3-5 years and $10,000 getting  a patent for my cigarette lighter.
3. I am fully protected!
4. I sell my lighter to XYZ Crap, Inc. who manufactures it for $.34 in China, and sells it for $2.99 in Walgreen's and maybe a few other purveyors of fine crap (the Holy Grail being WalMart...but let's pace ourselves).
5. I get some up-front money and a 3-8% royalty on every lighter they sell (more likely 5%).
6. They sell, oh, 10,000 of them during the life of the product (maybe a year). I pocket about enough to take a quick trip to Vegas as long as I stick strictly to the one-armed bandits!  
7.  Maybe, 2 years from now, they will re-introduce my lighter and I'll pocket another couple of grand.  Maybe it will become a permanent seller at Walgreen's and every year for the next 25, I'll get a royalty check fully big enough to treat me and 1 of my closest friends to  dinner (with ALL the trimings!) at Mr. Steak!

And just think, NONE of this woulda been possible had I not waited the 3 years (minimum) nor shelled out that $10,000 AND, nobody was able to steal my secret fart technology!

I am golden!

If I think this is good, I am also very stupid.

The point is, more products go to market from Joe and Jane Average by being LICENSED to fine mfg's of crap, than those being patented.  Lots and LOTS of folks think the PATENT is the Holy Grail.  It ain't. Finding someone to BUY your crap off you is the Holy Grail.  A patent does nothing but protect you from others ripping your idea off, as you say it neither guarantees the product is saleable, nor does it conduct market research, etc.  But companies that buy crap off developers DO do all this stuff and may already have some on hand when you come knocking to sell your flatulence lighter.  

Those in here looking for advice on what to do now that they've invented an new ceramic material to coat the space shuttle in, or a machine that turns water into gasoline are probably very well-served by advice to get a patent.  Those who've "invented" a flatulence-powered cigarette lighter are better served by skippint the patenting process and going directly to manufacturers of fine crap.

Mike


Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 6th, 2005, 4:16pm

on 09/05/05 at 13:07:11, JimIvey wrote:
I posted this to the OP's similar question in another topic.  I thought it'd be good to include here as well.  I've cut out the part about licensor|licensee as I think that point's more clear here.

Regards.


What protects the "inventor" in cases such as this (sorry if I am missing this elsewhere; this is not a particularly easily-navigated forum) is the first-to-market rule. Given, you may put your money on the wrong horse in that case (a less dedicated co. that immediately loses its momentum to someone else), but just as none of us get out of this life alive, none of us get through it without risk.  Again.  This is not Europe.

If the geegaw you "invent" is sufficiently marketable (I am talking mass marketing here, not some new scientific or engineering instrument with very limited markets) and the company you went with to market it is sufficient, it will probably be quickly stolen, but you'll be there with the first and the (market-perception) "best."  

Personally, I'd rather take the risk of someone stealing such an "invention" than see it moulderin on a back shelf in my garage while I rack up the mounting bills and grow long of tooth and gray(er) of beard as it wends its way through the patenting process.

Best,
Mike

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by JimIvey on Sep 6th, 2005, 10:45pm

on 09/06/05 at 16:05:13, ValueProducts wrote:
Let's take your steps in MY direction.
1. I come up with an idea for a flatulence-powered cigarette lighter shaped like a pair of butt cheeks.  A sure-fire seller in some markets!
2. I spend 3-5 years and $10,000 getting  a patent for my cigarette lighter.
3. I am fully protected!
4. I sell my lighter to XYZ Crap, Inc. who manufactures it for $.34 in China, and sells it for $2.99 in Walgreen's and maybe a few other purveyors of fine crap (the Holy Grail being WalMart...but let's pace ourselves).
5. I get some up-front money and a 3-8% royalty on every lighter they sell (more likely 5%).
6. They sell, oh, 10,000 of them during the life of the product (maybe a year). I pocket about enough to take a quick trip to Vegas as long as I stick strictly to the one-armed bandits!  
7.  Maybe, 2 years from now, they will re-introduce my lighter and I'll pocket another couple of grand.  Maybe it will become a permanent seller at Walgreen's and every year for the next 25, I'll get a royalty check fully big enough to treat me and 1 of my closest friends to  dinner (with ALL the trimings!) at Mr. Steak!

Okay, let's look at the scenario without a patent.

1. You come up with an idea for a flatulence-powered cigarette lighter shaped like a pair of butt cheeks.  A sure-fire seller in some markets!
2. skipped
3. skipped
4. You show your lighter to XYZ Crap, Inc. who manufactures it for $.34 in China, and sells it for $2.99 in Walgreen's and maybe a few other purveyors of fine crap (the Holy Grail being WalMart...but let's pace ourselves).
5. You get no up-front money and no royalty on every lighter they sell.
6. They sell, oh, 10,000 of them during the life of the product (maybe a year). You pocket ... nothing.
7.  Maybe, 2 years from now, they will re-introduce your lighter and you'll again pocket ... nothing.  Maybe it will become a permanent seller at Walgreen's and every year for the next 25, you'll get ... nothing.

What is a license?  A license literally means permission.  The manufacturer pays you for your permission when they need it.  Why do they need your permission to make your lighter?  

Are patents a panacea?  Of course not!  But not because they're not needed to encourage others to pay royalties.  They're great for that.  What people most often fail at is convincing someone to make and/or sell their farting cigarette lighter.  Most manufacturers wouldn't bother, even if you didn't ask for a royalty.  Your idea has to add value -- enough value to go around, and you have to convince others of that.  That's why patents aren't a panacea.

Take a look at this and tell me if it helps:
http://www.isrlaw.com/inventorFAQ.html

But, hey, don't take my word for it.  Go ahead and talk to companies.  Ask them what sorts of things they'll license and under what conditions.  Not all markets/companies are the same.  Some pay for idea even without patents.  Others don't.  Know your market.

Regards.

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 9th, 2005, 7:47am
[quote author=JimIvey ...5. You get no up-front money and no royalty on every lighter they sell.
6. They sell, oh, 10,000 of them during the life of the product (maybe a year). You pocket ... nothing.
7.  Maybe, 2 years from now, they will re-introduce your lighter and you'll again pocket ... nothing.  Maybe it will become a permanent seller at Walgreen's and every year for the next 25, you'll get ... nothing.

What is a license?  A license literally means permission.  The manufacturer pays you for your permission when they need it.  Why do they need your permission to make your lighter?  

Are patents a panacea?  Of course not!  But not because they're not needed to encourage others to pay royalties.  They're great for that.  What people most often fail at is convincing someone to make and/or sell their farting cigarette lighter.  Most manufacturers wouldn't bother, even if you didn't ask for a royalty.  Your idea has to add value -- enough value to go around, and you have to convince others of that.  That's why patents aren't a panacea.
But, hey, don't take my word for it.  Go ahead and talk to companies.  Ask them what sorts of things they'll license and under what conditions.  Not all markets/companies are the same.  Some pay for idea even without patents.  Others don't.  Know your market.
Regards.[/quote]

Jim,
I think your scenario may be just a tad self-serving.  As an attorney, you surely know what a strawman argument is.

For example, #'s 5, 6 and 7:  I'm not sure why (and you don't explain it) you would sell your product for nothing.  Could you explain how/why that works in a free market capitalist system?

A license means you (inventor--party of the first part in lawyerese?) SELL the "idea" if you will to a legitimate (key term) manufacturer of such items as our flatulence power cigarette lighter (FPCL).

Why do they need your permission?  Simple: you (seller) present the idea (intellectual property) to a legitimate (toldja it was a key term!) manufacturer/marketer of like items, they PAY you for it with some upfront cash and ROYALTIES agreed to through a CONTRACT.  

Again, this does not apply to that water-powered internal combustion engine. Such things DO require patenting. The FPCL will not change the world, and I would be very surprised to find that even .00000000001% of all those who will ever visit this site are inventing the former as opposed to developing the latter.

The mfg'r needs your permission to produce and sell your FPCL for two primary reasons:

1. Because YOU developed it.  Contrary to popular belief (a belief not particularly discouraged by patent attorneys), not every (US/Canada) mfg'r is run by a Simon Legree, sitting in a darkened room twirling his greasy moustaches just waiting to rip off some naive Pollyanna presenting the next FPCL.  They rely on "inventors" who SELL their ideas to them, inventors who sufficiently paper their trails to be sure, which leads us to reason,
B. With apologies, such companies like lawyers even less than the rest of us.  If you maintain a fairly tight record of your invention as being yours, if, after you present it to S. LeGree Corp. they still steal it, you can, even without a patent sue and expect to recover.  Intellectual property, even when not patented, still belongs to someone until they sell it to the "inventor."  

Codicile: the mfg'r may also want to keep you happy because they know that most "inventors" have a slew of ideas for crap like the FPCL drifting around in their heads.  If they screw you on the FPCL, you are (probably) unlikely to present them with your next idea.

You don't "ask" for royalties.  You expect them and in fact, through something called a "contract", demand them. Only a fool would simply send his/her idea off to Mssr Legree without some protection.  Such contracts also give you the right to review the books, etc., to be sure the royalties are forthcoming and accurate. This is all boilerplate stuff widely available that mfg'rs and inventors have been using for decades.  The monstershouting you do here Jim is, again, more than just a tad self-serving.

Finally, yes, you do take some risk in perusing this expedited route rather than patenting first, then attempting to market.  Personally, I think the paired risk of theft vs. marketability of the product sort of cancle each other out (again, when not talking about an earth-shaking invention).  Moreover, what's better, taking that risk or sitting hunched over your invention in paranoid terror until someone else "invents" it, or taking the minimal risk of presenting it to Mssr. LeGree?

And you have yet to tell me: why go to the expense and take the years it takes to get a patent without even an inkling of whether your product will even sell.  Today, with the speed of technological advancement, with many developments, you run the riks of being out-by-time by the time your patent is secured (3-5 years).   Companies that BUY such things every day of the year, will assess FOR you it's marketability, patent it (for themselves, while PAYING you for the license to then sell it) and essentially remove the need for your chasing patents AND engaging in amateur marketing.

I realize you are protecting your own rice bowl here, but I think the pluse/minuses of BOTH sides need to be explored.

Best,
Mike

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by Wiscagent on Sep 9th, 2005, 8:35am
Mike -

You may be confusing copyright, trademark, and trade secret laws with patent laws.  You wrote:

   If you maintain a fairly tight record of your invention
   as being yours, if ... S. LeGree Corp.  [steals] it, you
   can, even without a patent sue and expect to
   recover.  Intellectual property, even when not
   patented, still belongs to [the inventor] until they sell it

If by invention you mean a process, machine, manufactured article, or composition of matter, and you have publicly disclosed your invention, then you are mistaken.  Unlike written works, songs, trade marks, etc., if you do not obtain patent protection for an invention, then you do not inherently have ownership.

In the U.S. and a few other countries there is a one-year window after public disclosure of an invention to apply for a patent.  While it might be a risky strategy, you could try to sell your invention, and if there appears to be interest, apply for a patent not more than 365 days after the first public disclosure.


Richard Tanzer

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by eric stasik on Sep 9th, 2005, 9:54am
ValueProducts,

You've made some valid points here, but I think you are missing the point of this forum. This forum is more about intellectual property law and practice than the business of patents.  

For the most part, patent attorneys are not experts on whether or not an inventor SHOULD obtain a patent. I think most patent attorneys are pretty much up front about this. A patent attorney can offer advice and opinion as to whether or not it is possible to obtain a patent, or what sort of patent protection is possible, but the decision whether or not to seek patent protection must ultimately be made by the the inventor. The job of a patent attorney is to get a high quality, valid, and well-written patent patent issued.

Do most inventors waste their money obtaining a patent? Yes. Do most people who open a restaurant waste their money? Absolutely. Do most people who start any small business waste their money? You bet. It is the nature of business.

I have rarely seen a business idea fail because the inventor invested in obtaining a patent. I've seen lots of inventors who waste their money on patents, but the business usually fails because the business idea or business model is flawed. The money spent on obtaining a patent might speed up the demise of the business, but it is never the cause of failure.

On the other hand, I have many times seen a business fail because the inventor failed to obtain proper patent protection. Very few patents are actually licensed. The vast majority are used to enforce the period of exclusivity during which time a small business has the chance to fail or succeed on its own merits.

You can't blame patent attorneys for the business mistakes made by inventors.

My rice bowl is helping inventors decide whether or not obtaining a patent makes sense. I don't prepare and prosecute applications for patent because that is a different expertise requiring different skills. I have done this in the past, and I try to keep myself abreast of developments in the law, but I focus my efforts on the business aspects of patents and licensing. I have too much respect for the difficult job that patent attorneys and agents do to think I could do it as well on a part-time basis.

Regards,

Eric Stasik

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by JimIvey on Sep 9th, 2005, 12:23pm

on 09/09/05 at 07:47:41, ValueProducts wrote:
... A license means you ... SELL the "idea" if you will ....

Why do they need your permission?  Simple: you (seller) present the idea (intellectual property) ... through a CONTRACT.  

First, an "idea" is not intellectual property.  Proving you invented first is absolutely worthless (unless you also happen to pursue a patent).  Perhaps you've been mailing yourself a lot of invention disclosures -- absolutely worthless.  Search the archives here for "poor man's patent" (or something like that) for more details.

Second, when do they sign the contract, before or after you tell them your idea?  If before, you're talking about a trade secret and that discussion can be held in the Trade Secret forum.  You've also got the problem that most potential licensees really don't like signing NDAs.  If after, you're screwed.  You've got no basis for protection of your "idea" without patent, copyright, trademark, or trade secret protection.  Having an idea first, without more, will get you absolutely nothing.


on 09/09/05 at 07:47:41, ValueProducts wrote:
The mfg'r needs your permission to produce and sell your FPCL for two primary reasons:

1. Because YOU developed it.  

Perhaps voluntarily.  I said that in an earlier post in this thread.  But the law doesn't address what happens when people just get along.

Legally, "Because YOU developed it" doesn't mean squat.


on 09/09/05 at 07:47:41, ValueProducts wrote:
B. With apologies, such companies like lawyers even less than the rest of us.  If you maintain a fairly tight record of your invention as being yours, if, after you present it to S. LeGree Corp. they still steal it, you can, even without a patent sue and expect to recover.  Intellectual property, even when not patented, still belongs to someone until they sell it to the "inventor."  

Now this is a fascinating legal theory.  Please explain under what cause of action you'd sue.  Not a patent, not a trademark, not a copyright, not a trade secret .... an idea!  Go ahead and try that and keep us posted on how that works out for you.


on 09/09/05 at 07:47:41, ValueProducts wrote:
Codicile: the mfg'r may also want to keep you happy because they know that most "inventors" have a slew of ideas for crap like the FPCL drifting around in their heads.  If they screw you on the FPCL, you are (probably) unlikely to present them with your next idea.

I said that, too.  "Know your market."


on 09/09/05 at 07:47:41, ValueProducts wrote:
And you have yet to tell me: why go to the expense and take the years it takes to get a patent without even an inkling of whether your product will even sell.

It's been said here and elsewhere over and over that not all ideas are good candidates for patents.  However, if you're not going to go about bringing your idea to market yourself (by using or forming your own business entity) and instead you hope that someone else will pay you to do that for you, you must have some means of preventing that someone else from cutting you out -- or rely on the kindness and goodness of that someone else.


on 09/09/05 at 07:47:41, ValueProducts wrote:
I realize you are protecting your own rice bowl here, but I think the pluse/minuses of BOTH sides need to be explored.

I'm not protecting anything here other than protecting against the spread of misinformation.  Yes, people can go forward without IP on their ideas.  We just explain the risks of doing so and, alternatively, how to get IP on an idea.

I think the bottom line is this:  you're right in that not all ideas warrant a patent.  However, I think you're mistaken on some fundamental aspects of how to go about commercializing an idea without a patent.  If you think you know how to do it, go for it and let us know how it works out.  If you have questions about how to go about it, ask them and we'll try to help.

Regards.

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 9th, 2005, 1:30pm
Thanks, but I think I will remain optimistic that most manufacturers are not twirling their moustaches in anticipation of ripping off everyone who comes through the door without first wrapping their invention in Kevlar. You continue quibbling over definitions of "idea" and "intellectual property."  I rarely mail myself anything.  I wish I could mail myself to Bermuda.

Patents for truly unique INVENTIONS are a wise idea; for developing new products such as our FPCL, a provisional patent is more than enough as well as some "inventor's log" that keeps track of the steps taken in the development of your products, and perhaps some trademark protections. If you are truly worried, you get two witnesses to sign their understanding of the function of the product  and have their sigs. notorized.  Ironclad protection if you find yourself before the Supremes?  Naw.  But good enough.  

You seem convinced (or vested in maintaining the myth) that industrial crooks are lurking behind every potted geranium. I'm not convinced of that. I would guess they are behind every 120th geranium, so you have to be a little cautious...not paranoid.  Product developers'  protection is the same one writers enjoy. When they send the Great American Novel out to agents and publishers, why don't the agents and publishers just steal it? I think you, as a patent attorney on the hunt for business are playing to a naive fear that many "inventors" tend to have (and to which many forum inquiries play), and that is that everyone is out to steal their prized inventions. Your vitriol is misplaced. I am simply pointing up that MOST products MOST "inventors" come up with are not WORTH bothering to patent.  If your business relies upon volume, more power to you I guess.  Don't mean to step on your professional toes, just to shed a little sensible light.

I am not a lawyer.  I don't even play one on TV.  And you, apparently, know little about sales and marketing. I can't make a legal pleading here, but you (in fine lawerly fashion) are refusing to answer my direct: How, after spending 3- 5 years and at least $10,000 on a patent (and we are not even factoring in his time, travel, and other expenses), will the inventor of the FPCL will recoup that on a product that best case, MIGHT sell a total of 10,000 units over its effective lifespan (3-5 years, maximum) garnering him or her a 3% per-unit royalty--the same deal the "inventor" will get without a patent?

Unless we are simply concerned with vanity, let's see YOU argue the sense of that one to a economics or marketing class.  

I dunno, I'm no expert.  Maybe the large, well-respected, old manufacturing firms greedily snatch up any un-patented idea that comes to them, routinely stealing in this way. My gut tells me this is unlikely.  Unless each of these companies has its own Thomas Alva on staff, and can count on his productivity after poisoning the well that way, it seems  risky way for such manufacturers to conduct bidness. But again, I dunno.  Maybe that's exactly how they do it, and they then pay off reporters and others to keep it from being known.

Since I readily admit my own ignorance, I guess I will go well, ignorantly forward and rather than approaching  every contact in industry as if I am facing a N. Korean borderguard across the DMZ, I'll stick with the old salesman-Vaudvillian's tactic of giving 'em a heck of a show and leaving 'em wantin' more.

Best,
Mike

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 9th, 2005, 1:56pm
Eric:

The debate ongoing with Jim, revolves around patents, not IP law, which I agree seem interchangeable in his perspective: if you want to protect your intellectual property, (the only thing to do is) you get a patent; if you get a patent your IP is protected.

You seem to be arguing against issues not made.  Of course patent attorneys are not experts on whether one SHOULD get a patent, but rather whether you CAN get one. Jim seems of the opinion that anything you come up with SHOULD be patented if it can be. Period.  Good for his business, I am sure.  Nothing wrong with Jim drumming up business, but let's not hang some sort of Crown of Noble Causes on him for it.

I wasn't aware there was some question as to whose decision to patent or not is. Unless the inventor is a minor child or in some other way deemed legally unable to make such decisions for him/herself, of course the decision to patent or not is his.  I don't even believe Jim was saying inventors and product developers should be forced to obtain patents.  My argument is and remains: MOST products do not need, require or warrent a patent. Though you will almost never go wrong with a patent search as long as it only costs a few hundred $$.

An inventor who gets a patent, then starts building the things himself is, just like (I believe the number is) 3-out-of-5 other startups doomed to fail within the first 5 years, regardless of what the patented invention is.  Bill Gates did not "invent" a new operating system so much as he tweaked an existing one and then went to work on the MARKETING.  While it's true he offered a better product, his true genius is in the MARKETING, not the gadgetry.  

Can you show me where I blamed patent attorneys for business mistakes made by inventors?  Of course, Jim would say NOT getting patented IS a business mistake. I would counter that not EVERY new product NEEDS to be encumbered by the time and expense of patenting before it's marketed.

I appreciate the plug for your business (I think you should work on the language a bit--it's confusing--Can you tell us what you DO in 10 words?), and wish you the best in your business.  That doesn't mean I will stop questioning the patent agent/attorney's patent (ahem) assertion that if you develop a product the ONLY way to go is spending 3-5 years and $5,000- $10,000 getting a patent.  While I certainly don't begrudge you all the business you can sweep up, I'm not here to drum up business for you guys.  Unless you want to start paying me, of course.

Best,
Mike

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by JimIvey on Sep 9th, 2005, 5:12pm
This is the last time I'll repeat myself.  I've answered all your questions to date.  If you have more questions, go back and read what I've already written.


on 09/09/05 at 13:30:57, ValueProducts wrote:
...You continue quibbling over definitions of "idea" and "intellectual property."

I'm not quibbling.  Quite simply, "intellectual property" is a property right enforceable in court -- any, not just the Supreme Court.  An "idea" is -- quite simply and clearly -- not.  I have no personal stake in this -- this is the law, pure and simple.  If you think ideas, in and of themselves, ought to be protected, talk to your congressperson and see if they'll work to change the law.


on 09/09/05 at 13:30:57, ValueProducts wrote:
...a provisional patent is more than enough as well as some "inventor's log" ... If you are truly worried, you get two witnesses to sign their understanding of the function of the product  and have their sigs. notorized.  Ironclad protection if you find yourself before the Supremes?  Naw.  But good enough.  

None of that will protect you anywhere.  There's no such thing as a "provisional patent" and proving you invented first is meaningless outside an interference proceeding the in the USPTO.  "Good enough?"  Well, it's not better than nothing at all, but perhaps nothing at all is "good enough" for your purposes.


on 09/09/05 at 13:30:57, ValueProducts wrote:
You seem convinced (or vested in maintaining the myth) that industrial crooks are lurking behind every potted geranium.

I'm convinced or vested in no such myth/belief.  But when you say you're "protected", what exactly do you mean?  And, how many of your cartoonish villians do you need to destroy the economic viability of your business?

In addition, you "guess" at 1 in 120.  How many times have you approached someone about a licensing deal?  What's the size of your sample for your statistical estimate?

Of my clients, I'd say about half a dozen or a little more had tried that route.  I don't think any have succeeded, but one might be getting some traction now.  Just meeting and greeting, I've probably met and spoken face-to-face with about a dozen more.  I think I've met one or two how have had success doing that -- with and without patents (but with no less than a trade secret).

My own very rough estimate is that, out of 100 potential licensees, you'd find at most five and perhaps zero licensees and at least 10 and perhaps as many as 25 of your cartoonish villians.  The vast majority will simply tell you "don't call us; we'll call you."  

A reasonably common question from potential licensees is "what kind of protection can you offer me?  I don't want to pay for this and then find my competitor doing the same thing the next day."  I'd say half or more ask that.  Well, what's your answer?


on 09/09/05 at 13:30:57, ValueProducts wrote:
I am simply pointing up that MOST products MOST "inventors" come up with are not WORTH bothering to patent.  If your business relies upon volume, more power to you I guess. ...

"Your business" as in my business?  Nope.  I don't rely on volume and I'm not even really marketing here.  I can only write 1-2 patent applications per month, and I'm quite backed up at the moment.

And, perhaps this time you'll read this:  not all inventions warrant a patent application.


on 09/09/05 at 13:30:57, ValueProducts wrote:
...How, after spending 3- 5 years and at least $10,000 on a patent ..., will the inventor of the FPCL will recoup that on a product that best case, MIGHT sell a total of 10,000 units over its effective lifespan (3-5 years, maximum) garnering him or her a 3% per-unit royalty--the same deal the "inventor" will get without a patent?

Unless we are simply concerned with vanity, let's see YOU argue the sense of that one to a economics or marketing class.

Vanity is entirely irrelevant (at least it ought to be).  I don't tell people whether to get a patent, only how to.  Whether to get a patent is purely a business decision and not a legal one.  My job is to tell people what sort of legal rights they can acquire, for how much, and with what sort of odds of success.  Whether that is justified by the potential market is entirely a business decision to be made by the client.

Let me say this one more time before forever holding my peace:   not all inventions warrant a patent application.

However, your assumption that the deal isn't at all affected by the presence of a patent is not a fair one.


on 09/09/05 at 13:30:57, ValueProducts wrote:
... I guess I will go well, ignorantly forward and ... stick with the old salesman-Vaudvillian's tactic of giving 'em a heck of a show and leaving 'em wantin' more.

For what it's worth, that's a good approach that most inventors fail at.  However, without more (at least NDAs or a plan to show and tell very little -- focusing on results and not on the hows and whys -- without an NDA), you may be risking more than necessary to get the deal done.

Regards.

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by Isaac Clark on Sep 9th, 2005, 7:40pm

on 09/09/05 at 13:56:55, ValueProducts wrote:
Eric:

The debate ongoing with Jim, revolves around patents, not IP law, which I agree seem interchangeable in his perspective: if you want to protect your intellectual property, (the only thing to do is) you get a patent; if you get a patent your IP is protected.


What type of IP protection are you envisioning using to protect a product when you don't get a patent?   I sometimes find that using terms like IP without being specific impedes communication.  

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by JimIvey on Sep 10th, 2005, 2:36am
Y'know, some business people seem to say "intellectual property" when they really mean "intellectual capital."  Of course, the two are not synonymous.

And, to be clear, IP includes patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and to some degree unfair competition.  As far as I know, those are the only recognized property rights in intangible assets.  In the examples discussed so far, copyrights and trademarks aren't directly applicable for obvious reasons.

Regards.

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by Isaac Clark on Sep 10th, 2005, 8:45am

on 09/10/05 at 02:36:21, JimIvey; wrote:
Y'know, some business people seem to say "intellectual property" when they really mean "intellectual capital."  Of course, the two are not synonymous.

And, to be clear, IP includes patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and to some degree unfair competition.  As far as I know, those are the only recognized property rights in intangible assets.  In the examples discussed so far, copyrights and trademarks aren't directly applicable for obvious reasons.

Regards.


Yes I think the tem "intellectual capital" does a great job of distinguishing between protected and protectable ideas and unprotected ones.   Patents, copyrights, and trademarks are unique exceptions to the principle that competition is an essential part of a free market.   Even trade secrets are not truly an exception  because they are only protected against behavior that is considered unethical anyway.

The copying of unprotected ideas and inventions is not unethical behavior and copyists who indulge in such behavior are not thieves and scoundrels.  Instead they are capitalist serving the role of making sure the public is not price gouged.

That said, I think you're summary about intangible property was a little over zealous.  There are other types of intangible property other than the intellectual property type (for example security interests, stock options, maybe even rights to publicity if we stretch things a bit)

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 11th, 2005, 6:10am

on 09/09/05 at 17:12:27, JimIvey wrote:
This is the last time I'll repeat myself.  I've answered all your questions to date.  If you have more questions, go back and read what I've already written.

I'm not quibbling.  Quite simply, "intellectual property" is a property right enforceable in court -- any, not just the Supreme Court.  An "idea" is -- quite simply and clearly -- not.  I have no personal stake in this -- this is the law, pure and simple.  If you think ideas, in and of themselves, ought to be protected, talk to your congressperson and see if they'll work to change the law.

None of that will protect you anywhere.  There's no such thing as a "provisional patent" and proving you invented first is meaningless outside an interference proceeding the in the USPTO.  "Good enough?"  Well, it's not better than nothing at all, but perhaps nothing at all is "good enough" for your purposes.

I'm convinced or vested in no such myth/belief.  But when you say you're "protected", what exactly do you mean?  And, how many of your cartoonish villians do you need to destroy the economic viability of your business?

In addition, you "guess" at 1 in 120.  How many times have you approached someone about a licensing deal?  What's the size of your sample for your statistical estimate?

Of my clients, I'd say about half a dozen or a little more had tried that route.  I don't think any have succeeded, but one might be getting some traction now.  Just meeting and greeting, I've probably met and spoken face-to-face with about a dozen more.  I think I've met one or two how have had success doing that -- with and without patents (but with no less than a trade secret).

My own very rough estimate is that, out of 100 potential licensees, you'd find at most five and perhaps zero licensees and at least 10 and perhaps as many as 25 of your cartoonish villians.  The vast majority will simply tell you "don't call us; we'll call you."  

A reasonably common question from potential licensees is "what kind of protection can you offer me?  I don't want to pay for this and then find my competitor doing the same thing the next day."  I'd say half or more ask that.  Well, what's your answer?

"Your business" as in my business?  Nope.  I don't rely on volume and I'm not even really marketing here.  I can only write 1-2 patent applications per month, and I'm quite backed up at the moment.

And, perhaps this time you'll read this:  not all inventions warrant a patent application.

Vanity is entirely irrelevant (at least it ought to be).  I don't tell people whether to get a patent, only how to.  Whether to get a patent is purely a business decision and not a legal one.  My job is to tell people what sort of legal rights they can acquire, for how much, and with what sort of odds of success.  Whether that is justified by the potential market is entirely a business decision to be made by the client.

Let me say this one more time before forever holding my peace:   not all inventions warrant a patent application.

However, your assumption that the deal isn't at all affected by the presence of a patent is not a fair one.

For what it's worth, that's a good approach that most inventors fail at.  However, without more (at least NDAs or a plan to show and tell very little -- focusing on results and not on the hows and whys -- without an NDA), you may be risking more than necessary to get the deal done.

Regards.


Jim,
I was under the impression this was a forum open to and in fact inviting lay-public input...

I did not realize it was ONLY for attorneys to bat around arcane legal distinctions.  My bad.

Yes, "good enough," is well, good enough for MY purposes.  My "argument" here is as it has been from the start, unchanged: SOME products NEED patenting.  MOST do not.  Most require only licensing and the "protection" offered by being first to market.

As patent attorney, of COURSE you have a vested interest in promoting the idea that everything from a manual-digital dental hygeine device (toothpick) to that engine that runs on water "needs" patent protection.

If there is no such thing as a "provisional patent" why is obtaining one the first step in the patent process?

I don't recall arguing against trademarking.  

MY "cartoonish" villains are of your making, not mine.  Or are you now denying the patent's protection from such villains?  Who ELSE would you be protecting a product from?  Another basement inventor who is as likely as you to encounter the same roadblocks in the very likely scenario that you are not protecting the next reversible socket wrench?

Indeed, many/most manufacturer's ANY "inventor" with or without a patent is likely to say, "don't call us, we'll call you."  Popeil had exactly this problem.

In an HONEST  (non-lawyer) assessment of your clients' products, how many of them ARE the next one-handed, reversible socket wrench?  50%? 75%? 100%?

Best,
Mike







Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 11th, 2005, 6:21am

on 09/10/05 at 08:45:13, Isaac Clark wrote:
Yes I think the tem "intellectual capital" does a great job of distinguishing between protected and protectable ideas and unprotected ones.   Patents, copyrights, and trademarks are unique exceptions to the principle that competition is an essential part of a free market.   Even trade secrets are not truly an exception  because they are only protected against behavior that is considered unethical anyway.

The copying of unprotected ideas and inventions is not unethical behavior and copyists who indulge in such behavior are not thieves and scoundrels.  Instead they are capitalist serving the role of making sure the public is not price gouged.

That said, I think you're summary about intangible property was a little over zealous.  There are other types of intangible property other than the intellectual property type (for example security interests, stock options, maybe even rights to publicity if we stretch things a bit)


All good points.  

At issue here, however, is not whether in SOME cases patenting is essential, but what OTHER means of protection are available.

Jim, a patent attorney, is vested in promoting patenting as the ONLY means of protections.  And surely a patent is about as ironclad (in No. America, only) as you can get.  And perhaps for Jim's clientelle a patent is not only always necessary but also the best business move.  He perhaps represents those inventing those engines that run on water who therefore not only NEED a patent, but are actually inventing new ideas as opposed to developing new consumer products and whose inventions therefore on a cost-to-return bases warrant the expenditures of time and capital required to obtain a pre-production patent.

Fine.

I maintain (and no, I don't have the stats Jim demands) that MOST "inventors" are actualy product developers, you know, adding a widget or sproket to existing products to enhance them, coming up with new and exciting ways to seal a bag of corn chips, putting thumb holes in paper plates, etc.  Now, to be sure SOME such products are innovative enough to demand patenting. I am reminded of those paper coffee cup sleeves that kept you from burning your fingers.  Brilliant.  And patented, as I recall.  Also now widely copied by about a zillion Chinese and Taiwanese and Malaysian companies and sold with wild abandon across No. America.  Yes, the originator made a fortune.  

But again, I am not necessarily (the point Jim seems determined to ignore) talking about something so startlingly new and innovative that it REQUIRES such ironclad (guffaw!) protection, but rather the geegaw-gadget market.

Jim, would insist on patenting toenail clipping....it's what he does for a living.  I don't expect anything else from him.  But the primary question remains: does EVERYTHING need a patent?

My gut (sorry, no stats issuing forth from those quarters!) tells me no.  

Best,
Mike


Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by Isaac Clark on Sep 11th, 2005, 7:16am
I generally avoid online discussions of this type because they often degenerate into the type of name calling and motive impuning that discredits all of the participants.  This one discussion did not start there, but it seems to be heading there.

I'm going to touch on some of the less heated parts of the discussion as probably my last post to this topic.  

Practitioners avoid using the term "provisional patent" in preference to terms like "provisional application for a patent" because the application actually generates no rights other than a preservation of a priority date for a future patent application.  I think the distinction is important because the purpose and effect of provisional applications is often misunderstood.  In fact some lay critics have accused practitioners of blurring the distinction between provisional applications and patents as a means of parting inventors from their money.

IMO someone attempting to license a product that cannot be protected against competitors faces an uphill battle.  You may be able to solve the problem of having Sears rip you off by using an NDA, but Sears cannot stop Snap On from copying the tool.   Such a situation makes a royalty deal less attractive.  In cases where the details can be kept secret even after the product is public, potential ripoffs by the competition may be less of an issue.

That's not to say that the numbers might not work out so that a company does not care about being copied in the market place as long as it is first to market and can make the initial loot.   You suggested that such a situation occurs some of the time, and in your most recent posts you assert that it is the case most of the time.   Maybe the major point of the disagreement here is about the frequency of which your strategy is usable.


Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by Wiscagent on Sep 11th, 2005, 7:25am
Mike -

Are you perhaps confusing (a) working with a manufacturer to produce a product on a contract basis with (b) licensing your invention to a business?

In scenario (a) - contract manufacturing - you are simply paying for a service.  You and the manufacturer negotiate product specifications, delivery dates, costs, etc.  The manufacturer may provide other services as well.  But the key is that you are taking most of the risk; the manufacturer is getting paid by the piece.  Regarding patents, manufacturer's only concern would be to not infringe a third party's patent.

Scenario (b) - licensing your invention - is a very different situation.  If you approached me with your wonderful idea and offered me a license, one of my first questions would be "What is it that you want me to pay for?  If I sign this contract, what am I getting in return?"  It's not clear to me why I should pay anything unless you have some ability to block me from independently pursuing the idea.  

There are certainly methods of protection other than patents - for example - your idea requires a difficult to obtain material.  Perhaps you have family back in Someplaceinasiastan that can supply the needed quality yak fur.  Without the personal contacts there is no way I can obtain the critical material.  In that case licensing the idea is actually just part of the deal; the other part is a material supply agreement.

A different scenario, related to licensing, is selling your services as a consultant or a regular employee.  If you show me your portfolio of brilliant ideas and offer to come work for me, that might be something I'd consider.

Wishing you success,


Richard Tanzer

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 12th, 2005, 6:10am
Issac,

Wow this thing is annoying.  If you post a "too long" reply, it deletes it.

Yes, Jim does seem to be slipping into a bit of vituperation.  Not sure why that is.

Anyway,  I have no idea of the frequency.  A gut-level (yes, I know how Jim will react to my not paying an attorney to determine this...but attorney's know law, not marketing, is my understanding) tells me that a walk down the low-end consumer products aisle at Wally Mart will show that probably fewer than 20% of the "new" items for sale are patented.  I may not be an attorney, but I can figure out that at least SOME of these were not "invented" by that stable of "inventors" on staff at XYZ Consumer Products, Inc., but came in through their transom, unpatented.

The sticking points (strawmen) Jim seems unable to get around are these: What is being developed and to whom is it being pitched.

What: Again, I am not talking about that engine that runs on water.  For an example of what I AM discussing, visit your local Walgreens (right across from Starbucks, usually) and browse the low-end items for sale around the cash registers.  Some WILL, by the by, be patented/pending.  Most will not.

Who: I am not suggesting anyone take anything they have developed to the Xixang International Corp. in China.  Of COURSE your risk of being taken for a ride rises exponentially the further offshore you get from the US/Canada.  Nor should you peddle it to Vinny, who sells watches out of his trunk down on 3rd and Main.  But you are relatively safe making inquiries to large, establish manufacturer's of such stuff in the US and Canada.  As you point out, we are a litigious society.  Is this a gamble?  Sure, but so is getting out of bed in the morning.  And just about anything worth doing is an uphill climb.  Will SOME products be ripped off?  Yep.  But these are so few and far between, their stories are legends.

I tend to disbelieve the idea that that every inventor clutching a patent in his sweaty hand has been welcomed with open arms--and checkbooks--by every manufacturer he or she has ever approached.  This strikes me as unlikely, and unless the "inventor" is 99.999% certain that his invention is the next pet rock, I am not sure he or she should approach the market with this attitude.  

This is the point Jim seems . . . reluctant to address.  Yes, a patent protects the development from being poached.  He admits that it certainly does not ensure the product's marketplace success.  So, there seem to be risks either way: take it directly to the market, unpatented and live in quaking fear for a few weeks that some huge, established, legitimate firm operates by stealing, or get a $10,000 patent and live on pins and needles for 3-5 years that the product has not already been obsoleted AND that it is something the marketplace once.

Six of one, 30 tons of the other?

Mike

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 12th, 2005, 6:43am

Richard:

Thanks for you input.

I may be confusing lots of thing; I am not confusing those two things.  Some, manufacturers are also marketers of their products.  One way they get such products--other than from contract inventors or their in-house stable of same, is from private, outside contractors.  Now, what you are talking about is semantics: contracting to "invent" is the same as paying me for my invention. Once again, the sticking issues seems to be a misunderstanding of how such companies OBTAIN new products and the misunderstanding of the market I am discussing.  

I am talking about presenting a "new" consumer product to a company that is in the business of either/or mfg'ing AND bringing such products to market, or marketing such products while THEY contract with an actual manufacturer to produce the product.  Frankly, I don't care about the nuts and bolts of the thing's manufacture, once I have sold (licensed) it to someone who is in either/both business.

Your second question seems to be tying patent professionals in here into knots.  What you, as a MANUFACTURER of such products is "buying" is a new product idea.  Ideas are sold all the time...look at books.  While the writer may produce the FIRST unit (prototype), he/she does not (normally) contract with a printer for a million of them, and THEN wheelbarrow them into Knopf to sell.  Ditto music.  P Diddy (or whatever he is called this week) did not start by pressing a million CDs and driving around to music stores with them (yes, this happens, but that's another story).  Or movie scripts. An "idea" for a new product is no different.  The argument that the patent professionals in here seem to be having trouble with is their belief that what is being sold is an already-secured patent on any/all of the literally millions of "new" products that enter the market in the US every year. No wonder it takes 5 years! Um, no.  

Retailers cannot sell a patent on their shelves.  A patent, coming in the door, would certainly comfort them. If it's for a $2.99 item that MIGHT sell 10,000 units over then next 3 years they might wonder at how stupid the inventor is, but they are in the business of selling things, not  worrying over that.

Of course, if one assumes, as does Jim, that every manufacturer/marketer of such products ONLY ever mfgs and markets either patented or stolen-idea products, I guess none of this makes a bit of sense.

I don't subscribe to that dark view.  I am no Pollyanna.  I know theft happens.  But not often.  And frankly, as I am not developing anything that would leave the Simon Lagree-like CEO of any such company drooling on his power tie, I am not convinced I need to be overly paranoid that it will be stolen.  

Might it be?  Sure.  And I might be hit in the head by a falling safe today.  It's a risk some are willing to take.  For me, it would be a far greater risk of time and treasure to spend 5 years and $10,000 getting my idea patented, or even 1 year and $1,200.  And therein lies the "argument." Jim is horrified by the thought of someone by-passing him (yes, yes, we all know Jim is very successful--that's not the point, is it? When people question the value of what I do in "real life" i get all protective of my profession, too! Here, I can be a bit less passionate) and failing to pay a lawyer to get something that may or may not be marketable patented.

If we are honest about it, that's what this comes down to: who is going to make money off the inventor.

Mike



Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by JSonnabend on Sep 12th, 2005, 8:21am

Quote:
If we are honest about it, that's what this comes down to: who is going to make money off the inventor.

No, that's not the inquiry at all.  A good patent attorney will advise clients to maximize the client's protection in a commercially reasonable manner.  By "taking" a client's money to seek commercially reasonable patent protection, a patent attorney actually seeks to enhance the value of an invention, thus potentially putting more money in the inventor's pocket, not less.

Do all patent applications pan out commercially?  The answer to that question is obvious, but like all business decisions, the decision to seek patent protection is merely a balancing of cost, risk and reward.  A patent is not a magical money making machine, and all patent attorneys worth their salt discuss this with clients at the outset.

My only question to Mike is this: you've mentioned "licensing" of non-patented "inventions".  What, precisely, would an inventor be "licensing"?

- Jeff

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 12th, 2005, 1:09pm

on 09/12/05 at 08:21:28, JSonnabend wrote:
No, that's not the inquiry at all.  A good patent attorney will advise clients to maximize the client's protection in a commercially reasonable manner.  By "taking" a client's money to seek commercially reasonable patent protection, a patent attorney actually seeks to enhance the value of an invention, thus potentially putting more money in the inventor's pocket, not less.

Do all patent applications pan out commercially?  The answer to that question is obvious, but like all business decisions, the decision to seek patent protection is merely a balancing of cost, risk and reward.  A patent is not a magical money making machine, and all patent attorneys worth their salt discuss this with clients at the outset.

My only question to Mike is this: you've mentioned "licensing" of non-patented "inventions".  What, precisely, would an inventor be "licensing"?

- Jeff


Indeed.  One would hope so.  But patent attorneys, like real estate attorneys, or corporate attorneys do not ply their trade out of the goodness of their hearts.

And there's nothing wrong with that.  It's what happens in a market economy such as ours. The issue here in that regard is this drumbeat of "you must get a patent!" When an attorney says that, it stops being a "legal" issue and starts being a business issue.  Now of course, any attorney worth his salt will say, "I recommend patenting!"  Which for our purposes and given the vitriol this debate has apparently spawned, amounts to the same thing.

I despite a virtual army of strawmen I've encountered here, I am certainly not arguing that a patent is a magic wand to commercial success.  Quite the opposite. It's clear that MOST patented "inventions" never see production and of those that do (I am sure someone has the actual stats on this) a very small percentage actually make money in any substantial way.  That's probably why MOST successful inventors have dozens if not hundreds of developments under their belts.  

That's not to say the brass ring invention does not appear occasionally, either.  Nor is it to say that there are no doubt hundreds of highly  technical "inventions" ever year that require patenting, especially in medicine, high tech, agriculture, etc.  But I am not developing anything like that.  I am developing new, low-end household consumer products for which a 5 years of my time and $10,000 of my money is laughable in view of the likely returns.  Much of what patent attorney's sell, apparently, appeals more to the inventor's ego than that part of his or her brain that percieves rationally.

Answer (again): you license your invention to a manufacturer.  You are selling them a new(er) product that they agree is likely to sell and make them money. You are SELLING them the idea, one they did not have before you darkened their doorway.  They are professionals in their field and they determine whether such a product will sell and whether they can make a profit on it.  If they answer "yes" to these questions, they BUY the idea off you, which involves the language of "licensing" it, which essentially means you are paid a royalty on each unit.  Pretty simple stuff.  Doesn't require a buncha wherefores and hereinafters.

I have a really difficult time believing this is a foreign concept to so many of you.  It happens all the time.  

Now a question for you: what, exactly, are you "selling" a manufacturer when you have a patent? According to your own argument, a patent does not not guaranteeing commercial success; all you are guaranteeing is that nobody else is also manufacturing the same thing (for a time, anyway--pop into any dollar store and you will find one-handed, reversible socket wrenches being manufactured in China and sold here...but wait!  Doesn't Sears hold a patent on those!?).

So the more pertinent question becomes: what are YOU as a patent attorney selling an inventor like me?

Mike

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by Wiscagent on Sep 12th, 2005, 2:52pm
Mike, to paraphrase part of your latest posting:
         When you license your invention to a manufacturer you are selling
         them a new product that they agree is likely to sell and make them
         money. You are SELLING them the idea, one they did not have before
         they spoke to you.  They BUY the idea off you, which involves the
         language of "licensing" it, which essentially means you are paid a
         royalty on each unit.

Mike, simply because you develop an invention you don’t own it.

If I tell you that I have learned great new a short cut to avoid traffic congestion and offer to reveal my secret for so many $/trip, and you are willing to agree to my terms, that’s great we have a deal.  On the other hand, if you simply choose to follow me home and learn my short cut that way ... well that would just be too bad for me.  Since I can’t own my short cut, if you can learn it out by copying me I’d simply be out of luck.

It is similar with an invention.  If the inventor can persuade a business to license the invention sight unseen great, maybe a licensing deal can be worked out.  More likely however, the business will not be willing to even negotiate without seeing the invention and evaluating it themselves.  

In some cases the inventor can show the business a “black box”.  If it is possible to demonstrate what the invention can do without revealing the secrets, perhaps the business can be persuaded to take a license ... but it’s a tough sell.

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 12th, 2005, 4:53pm
Wiseagent:

Sigh.  

Indeed you may.  And therefore what?

Indeed as well, anyone I show one of my designs to is free to steal it.  Does this mean EVERYONE I show it to will?  You neglected, in this weaksister arguemtn to address my much stronger analogy of the publisher who, is free and able to sack and pillage all who cross their door, yet somehow refrains from doing so.  How do you explain this anomaly in a world of thieves?

Unless I am very much mistaken, anyone you show a patented invention to is free to copy it, too.  Agreed, the holder of the patent is then free to spend the next 8-12 years in court hoping to recover damages for that theft.  I wish him luck, and hope that his $2.99/unit invention ends up being worth the $250,000 he spends recovering its "ownership."

I don't know about other "inventors" but I would not expect anyone to buy a pig in a poke.  I did not say I would.  You did.  I am pretty handy with a hot glue gun, and for anything that I find too daunting, I live in a country that seems bursting at the seams with small prototype production companies of all sorts (I seem to recall using one, in fact.  Perhaps I am mistaken).

But since you broght it up, does obtaining a patent mean you automatically also acquire a warehouse full of your newly-patented apparatus? If so, cool!  But I hope you won't think me rude if I ask around a bit about that before rushing down to my local patent attorney.    

I'm not smart enough to develop black boxes.  All the stuff in my CAD files--and my 3 working prototypes--is childishly simple and completely transparent as to function.  Again, you are arguing agains an assertion that I did not make. I have no great marketing scheme that involves my "hiding" my products' form and function from potential buyers of same.  

You (and Jim) attribute to me things that I have simply not asserted nor that can be rationally derived from what I did say (see above).  I notice that you, like Jim, seem unable to present any terribly persuasive argument against anything I actually say (and in fact simply ignore any inconvenient facts), but are at least comfortable (if not terribly expert at) posing these kinds of strawman arguments. I hope you at least KNOW that that's what you are doing (I am too good at debate and too old, frankly, to waste my time with amateurs).  I don't mind arguing, mind you, but a part of the way I was trained to argue (damn those Jesuits, anyway!) is to identify logical fallacies of this sort, point them up for what they are and handily knock them down, as I have been doing.  I note that Jim became very angry--and went away--when I wasn't willing to argue against his strawmen.

I further notice that while both of you offer business advice--cloaked in lots of caveats about how you are not in fact doing just that--neither of you has yet addressed my economics/marketing 101 question.  Let's give 'er the old college try just one more time: how does an ernest young inventor who spends 5 years and $10,000 getting a patent on his $2.99/unit retail product actually make money on it?  I hope I will not now be treated to a stupefying round of "define that term."  For the sake of brevity and clarity, let's just assume that by "make money on it" I mean make money on it, shall we?

Best,
Mike

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by Jonathan on Sep 12th, 2005, 7:39pm

Mike - What are you trying to prove? It's clear that you question the value of an inventor of moderate means to invest in a patent that probably won't do a darn thing for them in the long run. Several knowledgable people have sincerely tried to answer your questions. Each time, you shoot them down. You are looking for a specific answer to a generic question. How can you expect to ever receive a satisfactory answer?

- Jonathan


Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by Wiscagent on Sep 12th, 2005, 9:05pm
Mike -

Just a couple of comments, and then I'm done with this discussion; because at this point we're just going around in circles.

- You brought up the "analogy of the publisher who, is free and able to sack and pillage all who cross their door, yet somehow refrains from doing so.  How do you explain this anomaly in a world of thieves?" Copyrights apply to most published works; the author need not apply for a copyright in the same sense that an inventor needs to apply for a patent.  So the publisher that sacks and pillages is liable to be sued for copyright infringement.  (I'm not an attorney, but I believe that statement is correct.)

- Mike, as I wrote earlier I agree that for many small inventors patents don't make much sense.  On the other hand, without a patent it is exceedingly difficult to get a business to pay you for the invention.  The alternate path is for the inventor to start up a business and arrange for manufacturing, distribution, advertising, sales, etc.

Wishing you success,

Richard Tanzer

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 13th, 2005, 2:13pm

on 09/12/05 at 21:05:37, Wiscagent wrote:
Mike -

Just a couple of comments, and then I'm done with this discussion; because at this point we're just going around in circles.

- You brought up the "analogy of the publisher who, is free and able to sack and pillage all who cross their door, yet somehow refrains from doing so.  How do you explain this anomaly in a world of thieves?" Copyrights apply to most published works; the author need not apply for a copyright in the same sense that an inventor needs to apply for a patent.  So the publisher that sacks and pillages is liable to be sued for copyright infringement.  (I'm not an attorney, but I believe that statement is correct.)

- Mike, as I wrote earlier I agree that for many small inventors patents don't make much sense.  On the other hand, without a patent it is exceedingly difficult to get a business to pay you for the invention.  The alternate path is for the inventor to start up a business and arrange for manufacturing, distribution, advertising, sales, etc.

Wishing you success,

Richard Tanzer


Richard,

We're not going around in circles, Richard, we are defining terms and establishing a framework of understanding.  You don't like my debating technique because I know too much about debating and you especially don't like my refusal to argue against things I didn't say (strawman arguments).  That's fine, but let's call a spade a spade.

What you now say suggests you may not know as much about copyrights as you do about patents and trademarks. Copyright is applied when the work is being published.  I know a number of writers both novelists and non-fiction, as well as script and playwrites, both professional and striving, and none of them copyright their own works.  They DO send them off to agents and publishers all the time with few of these quaking fears of having their Great American Novel ripped off.

I am not talking (and I thought this was clear) about ripping the cover off Steven King's The Stand, stapling construction paper covers with "The Sit" crayoned in and sending cases off to B&N (analogous to the same issue vis a vis patents).  I am talking about Joe Nobody who sends his Great American Novel to Big Publisher, Inc.  What prevents the rampant theft you assure me occurs is the same thing that prevents MOST people from climbing a fence that's festooned with WARNING DOGS WILL ATTACK signs.  For one, most people the idea of returning their backsides to the maker in roughly the same condition it was recieved. The other (an argument both you and Jim have so far refused to even acknowleged, much less rebut) is that it's hard to stay in business for very long if you treat your suppliers this way. It's like taking this year's corn harvest to the co-op, dumping it and then having the co-op manager tell you "nosir, ain't gonna pay y' fer that corn."  Next year, you are likely to take your corn to the co-op in the next county.

Does such theft happen?  Sure.  And therefore, what?  You suggest the ONLY means of protection is a patent.  You don't address the fact that a patented product is just as much at risk for theft as any other, while intmating that without one, however, you are most certainly going to have your invention stolen...just like all those writers have their works stolen.

A patent may be a nice thing to have in hand when presenting a product to a marketer, but the reality is (and despite what patent professionals "don't" say, chuckle) a patent is not a license to sell; it's hard to sell something new whether you have one or not. The alternate path you suggest is simply another sort of monstershouting intended to scare anyone reading this onto the righteous path of patenthood and is, frankly, beneath discussion.

Has theft happened to inventors.  Yep. Does it happen to EVERY inventor?  I don't know, but it happens to very very few writers. You and Jim are suggesting that theft is so rampant, that ANY new product, whether it will sell of $.89/unit. or $5milllion needs a patent.

I've made this statement again and again, and again and again it has been ignored: in YOUR world (patent representation) and at many levels of innovation patenting for protection is necessary. At many other levels--low cost consumer products, for example--patenting is  a cumbersome, costly and economically impractical route and you and other patent professionals insisting that NO invention should be presented to ANY marketer/mfg'r without a patent in place is at minimum, self-serving.

Best,
Mike

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 13th, 2005, 2:39pm

on 09/12/05 at 19:39:29, Jonathan wrote:
Mike - What are you trying to prove? It's clear that you question the value of an inventor of moderate means to invest in a patent that probably won't do a darn thing for them in the long run. Several knowledgable people have sincerely tried to answer your questions. Each time, you shoot them down. You are looking for a specific answer to a generic question. How can you expect to ever receive a satisfactory answer?

- Jonathan


Jonathan:

I think you may need to re-read some of what I've said and some of what has been said to me.

It is not a matter of "shooting (them) down" it is a matter of expecting honesty. Jim, for example, maintained right up to the point of angry disengagement that ANY and ALL inventions MUST have a patent.  Only just now has Richard, with a very cynical caveat, admitted not ALL inventions will profit from a patent.

I question the value of a patent for modest PRODUCTS, regardless of the develpers' means (and am, frankly weary of repeating that and weary of knocking down strawmen like this).  

Several people knowlegeable in protecting their professional rice bowls have attempted to convince me that an un-patented product is a). Impossible to sell, and b). Doomed to be stolen by the first living creature other than my dog that sees it.  This strikes me as sincere, too--sincerely self-serving.

Frankly, given the army of strawmen I've had to fight my way through, I've pretty much forgotten the original question.  You say I've been given answers, and perhaps, if you are also a patent professional, the drumbeat that "YOU MUST HAVE A PATENT!" and the insistence that every company in existence thrives on theft, both qualify as bona fide answers.  Monstershouting and the purposeful inducement of paranoia fall  far short of that in my view, regardless of the question.

Best,
Mike

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by Jonathan on Sep 13th, 2005, 3:14pm

Sounds good, thanks for elaborating. I understand where you are coming from better now.

thanks,

Jonathan

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by Wiscagent on Sep 13th, 2005, 3:23pm
Mike –

I agree with most of your original post (Sept. 4) except:

   ... products which have typically short market lives and which are
   not expensive to manufacture and do not involve new materials
   may not require patenting so much as LICENSING (to a
   manufacturer) to be "first to market."  

Yesterday I wrote that I was done with this discussion, but I feel obliged to respond to your latest post, wherein you wrote “Only just now has Richard ... admitted not ALL inventions will profit from a patent.”  Actually, on September 4th I wrote:

   Generally I agree with you.  ... I have seen many postings from patent
   professionals on this web site that carefully explain that a patent just
   grants the patentee the right to sue for patent infringement – and
   collect damages or obtain a court order to cease the infringing activity.
   A patent certainly does not ensure business success or even the right
   to practice an invention.  ... For many businesses, patent protection has
   little or no value.  ...

Where I respectfully disagree with you is that you maintain that the small inventor should try to license their invention sans patent.  I believe that licensing (without a patent or patent application) is an extremely unlikely route to success; and the small inventor is generally better off running his own business.  The inventor can either manufacture, market, sell, etc. himself or contract out those functions.

Regards,


Richard Tanzer

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by JimIvey on Sep 13th, 2005, 4:00pm

on 09/13/05 at 14:39:05, ValueProducts wrote:
Jim, for example, maintained right up to the point of angry disengagement that ANY and ALL inventions MUST have a patent.

I have to admit that I'm flattered.  No participation for 3 days and I'm still mentioned in every post.  Since we all know by now that Mike hates what he calls "strawman" arguments (I don't think he's using the term properly, but I'll assume that he is), he wouldn't misrepresent what I've posted.  Accordingly, I feel obliged to correct my previous erroneous post where I urge all people with moderately clever ideas straight to my office with checkbooks in hand.


on 09/06/05 at 22:45:45, JimIvey wrote:
Not all markets/companies are the same.  Some pay for idea even without patents.  Others don't.  Know your market.

Please let me correct myself.  Not all markets/companies require patents before they'll pay for ideas ... oh wait, that's what I said.

Well, to be fair to Mike, I may have given that impression later on -- although it's really hard to post that I "maintained right up to the point of angry disengagement that ANY and ALL inventions MUST have a patent" without losing some credibility seeing as I have this one glaring contradiction to that statement.

Let's move on to my later erroneous statements on the topic....


on 09/09/05 at 17:12:27, JimIvey wrote:
And, perhaps this time you'll read this:  not all inventions warrant a patent application.

I hereby apologize and rescind ... oh wait, I said that not all inventions warrant a patent application.  Why, that seems to be the opposite of what Mike represents as what I've posted.  

Well, since Mike was careful to add emphasis to what he's clearly reading in my posts (note the capitalized words), there must be somewhere in my post where I've contradicted those two previous statements.  

Ah, here it is, later in that very same post:


on 09/09/05 at 17:12:27, JimIvey wrote:
Let me say this one more time before forever holding my peace:   not all inventions warrant a patent application.

Okay, now I give up, how can an honest person of competent reading skills infer that I have "maintained right up to the point of angry disengagement that ANY and ALL inventions MUST have a patent?"

If your goal is to show the world how corrupt the legal profession really is, be my guest and post away.  However, at least try to be honest and maybe make a modest effort at least in getting the facts right.

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 14th, 2005, 8:01am
[quote author=Wiscagent

Where I respectfully disagree with you is that you maintain that the small inventor should try to license their invention sans patent.  I believe that licensing (without a patent or patent application) is an extremely unlikely route to success; and the small inventor is generally better off running his own business.  The inventor can either manufacture, market, sell, etc. himself or contract out those functions.
Regards,
Richard Tanzer[/quote]

Richard,
While I respect your knowledge of your chosen profession, it is clear you may lack a certain understanding of OTHER fields.

Yes, a craft or similar product that can be put together by you and family members while watching Deperate Housewives can be produced and (possibly) sold like this. There are a few other such products like t-shirts and coffee mugs with cute saying on them that you can do in this sort of cottage way.

Setting up a production facility and marketing outside a limited local area is not for most small entrepreneurs.  Unless you have some fairly big $ partners, AND your new product is already a proven seller (say, you've made a few and managed to get orders for more locally, with possible lines further afield).  Of course, selling on the 'Net is a possiblity, but that still means a production facility. If you are making birdhouses, no big deal.  If you need plastic extruding machines, or metal-stamping presses you are talking about capital investments likely to run into the hundreds of thousands.

Most new product developers ARE running their own business.  That IS their business.  Their business is not, running factories and sales forces.

Again, we seem to be missing some definitions here.  I understand the mythology of the "inventor" who comes up with The Idea, gets it patented and then, other than that arduous trip to the bank each month, never lifts his finger again.  Has that happened? Sure.  Rarely.  Most "inventors" are really product developers who come up with dozens if not HUNDREDS of ideas, some of which (hopefully) are practical and saleable.  Some may even warrant patenting.  Most do not.  

Yes. Selling ANYTHING is hard to do, whether you have a patent or not.  Once again: a patent is a form of IP protection, not a ticket to market success.

Best,
Mike  

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by mike on Sep 14th, 2005, 11:23am
Mike,

Whether you have an idea worthy of patent protection or not this forum is a great place to learn about the patenting process.

I hope some day one of your ideas is worthy of such protection. Good luck licensing your other ideas.

Regards,

Mike

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 14th, 2005, 12:36pm
Hmm...flattery does, it seem get you something, anyway.

Jim,
A blow by blow (this forum does not allow book-length postings, so I have to delete your longwinded post to get my own longwinded post in):

1. I'll let you google  "strawman argument."  Never having studied law, myself, I mis-supposed that law students, somewhere along the way learn the rules of logical discourse and that later, in their professional lives engage in same.  I stand corrected. Thank you for that bit of clarification.

2. Of course, we should immediately move on from my accurate inferences.  That is indeed utter anathama to any attorney worth his salt and tends to lead to y'all running away in stark terror.  But at least you came back.

3. Ah...now we are going to get into a bit of begging the question!  I hope you know that's what your're doing, Jim.  I hate debating the inexpert.  You can restate it any way you like, parse the terms and assure us as welll that it all depends upon what one's personal definition of "is" is, but what you said (in layman's terms--I am not an attorney so I like to lay my terms) is that in order for ANY product to SELL, it must first be patented Not, of course, that you were suggesting to anyone with a product to sell that they need a patent saving for the fact that if they want to sell it they need a patent.  I realize as an attorney you are used to  . . . redefining the parameters of meaning on a regular basis, but I'm just a plain-spoken country bumpkin.  I sorta like words what's got defintions we can all agree to.  Up is up, down is down, is is is.

4. I have no problem with the legal profession, Jim, though I did wonder how this ad hominem-tinted guilt-by-association tactic would take to rear its ugly head.  Kudos to you for waiting this long.  Most mercenary attorneys (I do not use that term pejoratively here) START their arguments with this.  This is (sigh) another strawman argument intended to direct attention away from the man behind the curtain (does this really work in court?  Seriously.  I'd like to know).

My argument, as you know (but I'll repeat it for the sake of anyone else reading) is this: you HAVE implied that one MUST have a patent not only for protection but also in order to SELL a new product; this insitence is quite, um, insitent and you have argued repeatedly that attempting to sell an unpatented product is a fool's errand and you have implied that in fact, selling an unpatented product of any kind is a virtual impossibility (which must be why a company that sells to a "large American discount store chain" has asked to see the un-patented prototype of one of my developments with the stated intent of--if they like it--LICENSING its production from me, but yes as of this posting I have not sold it), leaving the reader to infer what he or she will or will not from these words. Indeed, if called to put your hand on the Good Book, you could rightfully deny ever saying that you MUST get patented to sell.  

Disingenous?  Mercenary (pejorative, this time).  Self-serving?  Hmmmm...I'll let the others reading infer for themselves.

(aside): I continue to find it interesting that you continue to avoid my questions about economic feasibility.  Oh, that's right...you're an attorney, not a business advisor!

5. Yes, I do use CAPS for emphisis rather than some, whizbang "bleeding edge" function in here.  Let me clue you in, Jim.  I key at over 85wpm.  I think even faster.  And I'm actually a pretty busy guy.  I dont' have TIME to mess with such nonsense.  But golly, you sure did make me look like a dummy by noting that!

Best,
Mike




Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by JimIvey on Sep 14th, 2005, 2:40pm

on 09/14/05 at 12:36:56, ValueProducts wrote:
...but what you said ... is that in order for ANY product to SELL, it must first be patented

I never said that.  I even went so far to point out where I've said exactly the opposite.  What you hope to gain by repeating such lies over and over is beyond me.  Perhaps someone else here gets your motive.  I surely don't.


on 09/14/05 at 12:36:56, ValueProducts wrote:
you HAVE implied that one MUST have a patent not only for protection but also in order to SELL a new product;

Yet, I'm able to cite and quote where I've explicitly stated the opposite of what I've implied.  Wow!  I must be amazing!  I can say one thing and clearly convince people to believe the opposite!  I should run for public office with this special talent.


on 09/14/05 at 12:36:56, ValueProducts wrote:
Indeed, if called to put your hand on the Good Book, you could rightfully deny ever saying that you MUST get patented to sell.  

Ah, here it is.  I've seen this argument before.  It's not what I'm saying (because I'm saying the exact opposite).  It's what I'm thinking that's the problem.  

I say what I mean and I mean what I say.  As for you on the other hand, I have serious doubts.

I realize this is probably an exercise in futility, but I'll repeat my position one more time.  And, if you hope for a different answer, then I'm probably a mercenary, a liar, and all the evil in the world that really gets under you skin.

Patents are not needed to sell things.  Many things in the world are sold every day without being covered by a single patent.  I never said or implied otherwise.  I think you should seriously doubt the credibility of anyone who suggests otherwise.

If you want someone else to make, use, and/or sell things based on your idea, you generally need something more than the idea itself.  NOTE: For readers hoping to stretch and misinterpret what I post or who have poor reading comprehension skills, I said "generally" meaning that it's not always the case.  Also note that I didn't say that the "something" must be a patent.  

In fact, I've posted before that the "something more" can be a trade secret (ask them to sign an NDA).  That approach has downsides and I've pointed those out numerous times.  Patents also have downsides and I've pointed those out numerous times.  The "something more" can be something other than patents or trade secrets.  The "something more" can be detailed information about manufacturing and/or the market showing value in working together.  The "something more" can be contacts with manufacturers who can make the thing very inexpensively.

For what it's worth, I'm not saying anything that nobody else here is saying.  Others have posted that you're going to have trouble without the "something more."  Why you like to hold me alone up as your own bogeyman is beyond me.

So, what exactly do you want?  It appears that you want to think up clever things and have people pay you money for it.  That's pretty much what everybody and their brother wants to do.  I actually happen to know somebody who does that.

It also appears that you dislike any suggestion that such is a difficult thing to do.  It certainly shows in the nastiness of your posts.

The thing that baffles me the most is what you're doing in these forums at all.  These forums pertain specifically to intellectual property (see? it's right in the title "Intellectual Property Forums").  Yet it's rather clear that you don't want to use any intellectual property (one thing you should take away from this forum is that an idea, without more, is not "intellectual property").  There are plenty of forums discussing how to sell ideas, but this isn't one of them.  

If you have questions about intellectual property, I'd be happy to add whatever assistance I can.  Otherwise, I'll let others try to help you in whatever you're after.  I do wish to express frustration and annoyance at your persistance in being nasty to me directly (I'm referring specifically to such monickers as "mercenary" "disengenuos" and "self-serving").  It's really not necessary.  And it's clearly inaccurate.

And, lastly, I may have to identify lies from time to time.  I understand that most people following along now can see your posts for what they are, but these things stick around in the archives.  So I really can't allow lies to be recorded without some sort of response.

Regards.

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 14th, 2005, 5:11pm

on 09/14/05 at 16:45:30, RogersDA wrote:
Jim,

You can lead an donkey to water, the donkey can drink the water, but at the end of the day the donkey's still an a**.


And if you lead the jackass to the water and turn him around, you find a horse's ass attached.

Hmmm.

Mike

Title: Re: Lots of "Patent Professionals" Advic
Post by ValueProducts on Sep 14th, 2005, 5:30pm

on 09/14/05 at 14:40:44, JimIvey wrote:
I never said that.  I even went so far to point out where I've said exactly the opposite.  What you hope to gain by repeating such lies over and over is beyond me.  Perhaps someone else here gets your motive.  I surely don't.

Yet, I'm able to cite and quote where I've explicitly stated the opposite of what I've implied.  Wow!  I must be amazing!  I can say one thing and clearly convince people to believe the opposite!  I should run for public office with this special talent.

Ah, here it is.  I've seen this argument before.  It's not what I'm saying (because I'm saying the exact opposite).  It's what I'm thinking that's the problem.  

I say what I mean and I mean what I say.  As for you on the other hand, I have serious doubts.

I realize this is probably an exercise in futility, but I'll repeat my position one more time.  And, if you hope for a different answer, then I'm probably a mercenary, a liar, and all the evil in the world that really gets under you skin.

Patents are not needed to sell things.  Many things in the world are sold every day without being covered by a single patent.  I never said or implied otherwise.  I think you should seriously doubt the credibility of anyone who suggests otherwise.

If you want someone else to make, use, and/or sell things based on your idea, you generally need something more than the idea itself.  NOTE: For readers hoping to stretch and misinterpret what I post or who have poor reading comprehension skills, I said "generally" meaning that it's not always the case.  Also note that I didn't say that the "something" must be a patent.  

In fact, I've posted before that the "something more" can be a trade secret (ask them to sign an NDA).  That approach has downsides and I've pointed those out numerous times.  Patents also have downsides and I've pointed those out numerous times.  The "something more" can be something other than patents or trade secrets.  The "something more" can be detailed information about manufacturing and/or the market showing value in working together.  The "something more" can be contacts with manufacturers who can make the thing very inexpensively.

For what it's worth, I'm not saying anything that nobody else here is saying.  Others have posted that you're going to have trouble without the "something more."  Why you like to hold me alone up as your own bogeyman is beyond me.

So, what exactly do you want?  It appears that you want to think up clever things and have people pay you money for it.  That's pretty much what everybody and their brother wants to do.  I actually happen to know somebody who does that.

It also appears that you dislike any suggestion that such is a difficult thing to do.  It certainly shows in the nastiness of your posts.

The thing that baffles me the most is what you're doing in these forums at all.  These forums pertain specifically to intellectual property (see? it's right in the title "Intellectual Property Forums").  Yet it's rather clear that you don't want to use any intellectual property (one thing you should take away from this forum is that an idea, without more, is not "intellectual property").  There are plenty of forums discussing how to sell ideas, but this isn't one of them.  

If you have questions about intellectual property, I'd be happy to add whatever assistance I can.  Otherwise, I'll let others try to help you in whatever you're after.  I do wish to express frustration and annoyance at your persistance in being nasty to me directly (I'm referring specifically to such monickers as "mercenary" "disengenuos" and "self-serving").  It's really not necessary.  And it's clearly inaccurate.

And, lastly, I may have to identify lies from time to time.  I understand that most people following along now can see your posts for what they are, but these things stick around in the archives.  So I really can't allow lies to be recorded without some sort of response.

Regards.


Well, I tried to post a reply to this that was illuminating and cutting...but being as I am unable to make the italics function work--and given that I am a nutjob--it ended up being too long and the superior formating of this forum software was kind enough to delete it.

Suffice it to say it was good...darn good.

Mike



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