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I have an Invention ... Now What?
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   What do I do first...after the thought?
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   Author  Topic: What do I do first...after the thought?  (Read 2585 times)


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What do I do first...after the thought?
« on: Feb 23rd, 2004, 12:08am »
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Hello.  I have thought of the idea. I have recorded it in my book. I have had a witness sign it.  Now what?  How do I  protect my idea before the patent application and all the technical paperwork is filled out and sent in to the patent office?
Also, I choose  basically to take this idea, patent it, then license it to a company to market and produce, since I am not a wealthy person by any means, and just get a percent of it.  What do you think of that? Is percent better than a buy out? Do you license with more than one company?
Thank you for your time, Momdoc111
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M. Arthur Auslander
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Re: What do I do first...after the thought?
« Reply #1 on: Feb 23rd, 2004, 3:53am »
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Dear Momdoc111,
Unfortunately, just because you have a good idea and just because you may be able to get a patent doen't mean more that you can spend a lot of money.
A fact, there is a $100M a year scam industry getting patents for inventors, only one in 10,000 get back more than they pay.
I cannot tell you whether or not you are going to make money BUT, I can usually warn an inventor when he is on the wrong path and is likely to spend money and not have a CHANCE to make money.
I call this a Reality Check®. Many inventors are afraid to look and would prefer to dream and pay for getting patents, most of which are worthless.
The sad part of the patent business is that even getting a GOOD patent is no assureance of making money. One of my biggest haunts is getting a GOOD patent for a personal friend, showing it to a company on a confidential disclosure and then not being take by the company.  
Then an industry offered a $50,000,00 prize for such invention. The company we showed it to won the prize with a product not as good and which did not infringe the patent.
That does not mean that every patent is going to fail, it means that even with good patents there is still a big risk.
« Last Edit: Feb 23rd, 2004, 4:05am by M. Arthur Auslander » IP Logged

M. Arthur Auslander
Auslander & Thomas-Intellectual Property Law
3008 Johnson Ave., New York, NY 10463
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eric stasik
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director, patent08

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Re: What do I do first...after the thought?
« Reply #2 on: Feb 23rd, 2004, 8:00am »
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Dear Momdoc111,
Mr. Auslander is right, but I am a little skeptical of the value of asking any patent attorney for business advice... it's a little like asking an auto mechanic if he thinks your car could benefit from a tune-up.  
What you need first of all is business advice. The answers you should be asking at this point are:
Is there a potential market for your invention? How big? Which companies would most likely be able to make money from the invention? Would you have to start your own business? etc.  
Essentially you need to find out if there is a reason to suffer the expense of obtaining a patent before suffering the expense of obtaining a patent.  
The catch 22 is how do you find out the answers to these questions without jeopardizing your right to obtain a patent? Disclosing your idea publicly can severly restrict your ability to obtain a patent later. (This is a bigger risk than someone stealing your idea.)  
Now the safest thing to do, of course, is to file an application for patent before you talk with anyone, but if you are unwilling (or unable) to make this investment you have to compromise a little bit.  
Some people try to compensate for not filing an application for patent by using an NDA - a non-disclosure agreement which binds the people you talk with to secrecy. The problem with this is that if you demand that everyone sign a non-disclosure agreement with you before you talk with them, you will find very few people willing to talk with you.  
Don't be overly obsessed with secrecy.  
What you might consider is to discuss your idea with a business person whom you know personally and can trust. See what she thinks. If she is positive to the idea, maybe she can act as intermediary to set up a meeting with others who may be interested in your idea. Start here and see where it goes.  
Document everything you do as well as you can. In the U.S., at least, the constitutional right to a patent is given to the inventor so having a solid paper trail of evidence will go a long way towards preserving your rights.  
Your goal should be to put together a business plan before you start thinking about obtaining a patent.  
Once you are reasonable sure there is a good business case for your idea THEN talk to a patent attorney about obtaining a patent.  
Good Luck!  
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eric stasik

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Deborah Costet
Re: What do I do first...after the thought?
« Reply #3 on: Feb 23rd, 2004, 8:19am »
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Thank you so much.
I feel safe in saying my invention is a toy, and I will market it to the toy companies.
I will not need to open my own business, I want to license it out to a toy company.
I know I have initial money going out for my patent, of course, what I meant was, I do not want    to get molds and produce this item, I want to license it out and let them do all the work and just make a percent or royalty off of it.
Thank you for your advice.
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Senior Member


Posts: 2584
Re: What do I do first...after the thought?
« Reply #4 on: Feb 23rd, 2004, 10:13am »
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Dear Ms. Costet,
The toy industry is a bit of a peculiar one.  I think, in general, they don't require that you have a patent (or application) to present ideas.  I understand that they're reasonably fair in paying licensing fees.  Now, please don't rely on my saying that.  Please verify that I'm right before foregoing patent protection.  This is all rumor.
I recently heard a presentation given by an independent inventor who, among other things, has successfully marketed a toy idea to toy manufacturers.  I'm sure you'd love to hear what he has to say.
His name is Stephen Key.  His web site is:  He seems reasonably accessible.  Try contacting him.
Good luck!
P.S.  A more direct to you original question is my article, "What's the Most Important Thing You Need to Know About Patents." p;artid=3&Itemid=3
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James D. Ivey
Law Offices of James D. Ivey
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