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I have an Invention ... Now What?
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   The inventors dream...
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Barc2004
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The inventors dream...
« on: May 30th, 2004, 7:56am »
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Hi all,
 
I was browsing through this site on my way to discovering all i can about patents, it seems the more i find out the less I know, see the deal is I've come up with this awesome idea (cliche i know), but i know this idea will make someone a load of money(at least %20 sole share in a multi billion dollar industry) as i spent around one week researching the idea and the results were awesome, i've also confided in a couple of friends and they seem to think the idea has legs...  As i said, i know the idea will make "SOMEONE" a lot of money, and now i am browsing the web to find out how i can make that "SOMEONE" be me.  I have gotten so far as to conclude i am going to need a patent, and definatly a patent attorney's advice.  So i  was wondering what sort of items would i need to present to a patent attorney to get the ball rolling, my idea is a method and will be hard to make a proto-type of, however i could set it up and get it working but it would mean exposing my idea to another company.  But first i would need to file a specifications application, but first i want to talk to a patent attorney -=sigh=- its a catch 22.  
 
Also what are the chances of someone buying the idea off me, leaving the process of getting it patented up to them...
 
Would appreciate any feed back,
 
Thanks
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Steve O'Donnell
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Re: The inventors dream...
« Reply #1 on: May 30th, 2004, 7:22pm »
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Generally you don't need a prototype before you patent something. It's usually a good idea to make sure that the bugs have been worked out, but unless you're trying to patent a perpetual motion machine or something along that line, a prototype isn't needed to get a patent. A prototype will help the attorney understand just exactly what it is about your "thing" that is patentable.
It's possible to sell an idea and leave it to someone else to patent, but that's fairly rare and in most cases probably not a good idea to try to do. Those that you try to sell it to may just rip you off, especially if they don't think it's patentable or that the chances of you patenting it are low. Additionally, most places won't listen to anything you say or look at what you send them unless you already have a patent. They don't want to be dragged into a lawsuit if they already have something similar brewing and won't want to pay for an idea to try to patent themselves only to find out that it's unpatentable over the prior art or that only a very narrow patent would result.
 Steve
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Barc2004
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Re: The inventors dream...
« Reply #2 on: May 31st, 2004, 4:00am »
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Thanks for the info,
 
So basically to get someone to buy the idea without the patent, you'll still need to prove that the idea is able to get a patent, hence all this research is still needed.
 
Its such a shame its seems like such a good idea but the more i learn about patents, the more it seems like the idea can't be patented, is it possible to patent a method? For example, in relations to the movie theaters industry, (for this example well assume that the idea of drive in movies are unheard of), how would i go about patenting the idea of drive thru movies?, the movies are the same its just the method which people view the movie which is different/unique.  i realise that every situation is different but i think if i had the answer to this i would better understand how patents work.  Or more importantly, are there some idea's that are just not patentable?.
 
Once again any feedback would be welcomed.
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M. Arthur Auslander
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Re: The inventors dream...
« Reply #3 on: May 31st, 2004, 7:13am »
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Dear Barc2004,
 
If you have something good it must kept secret untll is is protected.
 
The biggest problem is there is a $100M a year industry getting patents for inventors where only one in ten thousand get back more than they pay.
 
What is even worse there are some Registered Patent Lawyers will get patents for inventors without considedation of the reality of what the invention is. The one in ten thousand odds could include this practice.
 
That is why I start with a Reality Check® to save time money and worry.
 
 
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M. Arthur Auslander
Auslander & Thomas-Intellectual Property Law
3008 Johnson Ave., New York, NY 10463
7185430266, aus@auslander.com
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JimIvey
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Re: The inventors dream...
« Reply #4 on: May 31st, 2004, 10:30am »
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I'll try to take a stab at answering your question.  I see generally two concerns.  One is how to take an idea to someone with the means to take the idea to market and to have that someone pay you for the idea.  The other is how to get a patent with little more than an idea.
 
How to make money from an idea:  First, the idea has to be one they want to use.  Everyone thinks their idea will "make millions" and maybe yours will.  But your audience may not see it that way.  But that's more marketing and less IP so I'll let someone else give you "selling" tips.  
 
Second, you have to communicate the idea in such a way that they can't use it without paying you.  Having a patent is one such way.  Mr. Auslander alluded to another: trade secrets.  Those are the two big ones.  Copyright is big, too, but depends on the type of information you're trying to protect.  The nice thing about trade secrets is that they can last forever.  The not so nice thing is that they're easy to lose.  The hard part of trade secrets is that it requires the other side to agree to keep your secret secret.  Many companies just won't agree to that.
 
The particular path that makes the most sense for you depends on your idea and the particular industry.  Different industries have different traditions in receiving new ideas from non-employees.
 
How to get a patent:  A patent is basically this: if you can add to the whole of publicly available knowledge, you can prevent others from exploiting that added knowledge for a limited period of time.  So, as a preliminary manner, you have to be able to add to the whole of publicly available knowledge.  It's not enough that no one else has a patent on your idea.  The idea has to be novel and non-obvious in view of the whole of publicly available information.  Of course, that's an over-simplification, but it gets the main idea across.
 
Now, there are a number of ways to get money out of patents.  Some people start with trade secret protection, get a company to license the idea and fund the patent work.  The benefit to the company is usually an exclusive license to the idea -- essentially the benefits of a patented technology without any R&D costs.  Another is to get the patent yourself and wait for others to stumble on to the same idea then sue them for infringement.  Between those two extremes are a variety of other options -- like selling/licensing a patent application or an issued patent.  All of those options involve the other guys adopting your idea -- either by your persuasion or by coming to your conclusions independently.  That's the big risk in all of this -- you get nothing (or close to it) if no one adopts your idea.  The path that has the highest potential return and the highest risk is getting your own patent and suing companies years from now.  The one that has the lowest risk is getting a company to license your idea and fund your patent work.  That's also the hardest to do from what I understand, though some have been quite successful at doing just that.
 
I hope I covered enough to be of some help.
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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