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I have an Invention ... Now What?
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questions
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another question
« on: Jul 6th, 2005, 3:13pm »
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I really dont think my idea itself is patenable but it might be ( im goin to see a lawyer about it) but anyway my idea is a service/(concept) that noone has tryed yet but in my eyes its just about a gaurunteed success.  To put my idea as an example. Its like the founder of online poker.  How would I go about trying to launch such a concept without just giving my idea away because most likely the concept of online poker wasnt patenable(right?).  I can not perform my idea myself because I dont have the knowledge of certain technology to make it happen so I'd have to pitch it to a company but without a patened than most likely I would recieve no money from it so why would i even care to try? help.
 
any advice?
 
 
 
I asked this question in my other thread but why do most investors refuse to sign NDAs? maybe its obvious but... hey.
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Re: another question
« Reply #1 on: Jul 6th, 2005, 5:51pm »
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on Jul 6th, 2005, 3:13pm, questions wrote:
... because most likely the concept of online poker wasnt patenable(right?).  

I haven't looked specifically at poker, but a while ago I did some research in bingo patents.  I don't see any reason why on-line poker couldn't have been patented -- well, more specifically, novel and non-obvious aspects of an on-line implementation of a computerized poker game.  If you're thinking that someone might have tried (say, in the 1990s) to get a patent which claimed "I claim: a computerized game of poker playable over a computer network," you're might be right.  That might have been a stretch.
 
But I wouldn't go so far as to say anything "wasn't patentable" without doing a little bit of research.  Remember, the answer to all your patent questions is "It depends."
 
on Jul 6th, 2005, 3:13pm, questions wrote:
I can not perform my idea myself because I dont have the knowledge of certain technology to make it happen so I'd have to pitch it to a company but without a patened than most likely I would recieve no money from it so why would i even care to try? help.

NDAs aren't entirely out of the question (see below) -- especially with manufacturers who might be open to new ideas.  And, your idea doesn't have to be patented (have an issued patent -- that takes years).  Having a patent application on file before you tell anyone what your idea is prevents such a disclosure from predating your application and ruining any chance you might have had to get a patent.  
 
Okay, I posted this somewhere else a while ago but didn't keep a copy.  Maybe I should add this to my provisional application FAQ as an alternative.  Here goes Jim's alternative to a provisional application:
 
First, let's assume you don't care about protection outside the US, Canada, and Argentina.  So we're going to go ahead and disclose the invention without protection.
 
Go see your patent practitioner of choice.  Hand that person all your evidence of dates of conception, efforts to reduce to practice, attempted/successful prototypes, etc.  The patent practitioner (preferrably an attorney -- for reasons related to credibility with courts; no intended dis of patent agents) will hold on to those and -- if needed -- verify the dates on which they were received.  Personally, I wouldn't charge for that -- it only takes a few date stamps and some space in a drawer.
 
Then go ahead and tell investors about your idea.  Document these discussions.  Try to get them to sign an NDA, but it's okay if they don't.  If they ask about patents, tell them you're working with Mr./Ms. Knowitallaboutpatents and that your patent rights are in tact.  
 
Before the first anniversary of your first disclosure, file your real patent application.  This assumes you've had some success by then -- an investor, some sales, something to indicate that spending money on your patent application is worth the expense and effort.
 
Total cost in the first 11 mos. -> $0.  That's the way our system was intended to be used for people in your situation.
 
What most people do is file some sloppy provisional for a hundred or so (if they do it themselves) or a few thousand (if a patent practitioner does it), but that doesn't do anything unless it meets the requirements of US law.  The provisional might buy you some chance at foreign rights, but not much more.
 
on Jul 6th, 2005, 3:13pm, questions wrote:
I asked this question in my other thread but why do most investors refuse to sign NDAs? maybe its obvious but... hey.

Venture capitalists (VCs) see about 20-30 business plans a day, every day.  They see overlap in many of ideas.  In fact, some have said they've never seen a unique idea (meaning people tend to come up with the same ideas independently).  
 
Even if they fund only 1% of those business plans, that's one multi-million-dollar check each week.  I don't think they're funding that many -- maybe only .1%?  Assuming a 5-6-day workweek, they see 100-180 business plans every week, none of them unique.  Now, imagine they sign NDAs.  That means a couple hundred invitations to sue every week.  They would expect a trade secret law suit for every funded venture.  Who could do business like that?
 
Now, VCs tend to fund companies with pre-existing revenue -- later in the life cycle of a company.  Angels and wealthy individuals typically get involved at the seed stage (pre-prototype -- but not pre-business plan).  From what I understand, smaller investors at earlier stages are more likely to be willing to sign NDAs.  They see fewer business plans and less overlap.  Good ones understand the Catch-22 I described earlier and appreciate the founders having their IP situation under control.
 
I hope that helps.
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