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I have an Invention ... Now What?
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   Typical sequence of events
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Posts: 4
Re: Typical sequence of events
« Reply #5 on: Jul 18th, 2005, 11:28am »
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Thank you all for your comments.  The basic idea that I'm getting from these comments is that a person should be very sure of the ability of an invention to be patentable prior to even entertaining the notion of attempting this.  Because of this the search for "prior art" would seem to be of paramount concern in the intial phase of developing a patent application.   In order to limit the cost of this first phase of developing a patent application I would assume that as thorough a search as possible be performed for "prior art" and that this search would only be a minor fraction of the total cost of this initial phase.  
I guess that what I'm getting at here is whether the up front costs of applying for a patent are actually split at particular decision points, such as that of finding "prior art" , or whether the largest costs of applying are really just accepted as an up front,  lump sum risk.  I'm not much of a gambler and it would be much easier to pay the costs,  if the initial application process had particular points at which it could be terminated,  if the outcome of the entire process was not inspiring more confidence in success as the costs were increasing.  
So, a further question here would be, " Can a rough breakdown be made of that initial $8K - $10K cost in atttorney fees, into steps that would inspire greater confidence in success as the cost goes up ?"
Thanks in advance for any further insight that any of you would be willing to provide.
Michael E.
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Re: Typical sequence of events
« Reply #6 on: Jul 18th, 2005, 12:11pm »
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Searching for prior art: Performing a thorough prior art search and having the cost of that search be a small part/cost of producing the application are kind of at odds with each other. Even when a thorough search is performed, there is always a likelihood that something was missed due to the numerous databases of prior art. I am not saying a prior art search is not without its merits, one just needs to recognize the limitations.
Cutting-off points: I would suggest that you get a recommendation from someone you trust on a patent attorney. Also be sure they are experienced in the particular technology and has been a patent attorney for awhile (at least 5 years, preferably 10+). By doing so, you will have gone a long way to ensure that you will receive a quality work product. I think it is kind of impractical to ask a patent practitioner to divvy up their workflow on what is considered a singular event of writing up a patent application - just my opinion.
You can also certainly impose a fee-cap such that your attny knows to stop work on the application once your upper limit is reached. A fee-cap would also hopefully get the attny to alert you early on if it turns out that the application can't be written for the initial cost estimate.
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