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I have an Invention ... Now What?
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   Product improvement idea Where do I go from here??
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   Author  Topic: Product improvement idea Where do I go from here??  (Read 1384 times)
Bill Richards
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Re: Product improvement idea Where do I go from he
« Reply #5 on: Feb 11th, 2007, 5:06am »
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on Feb 7th, 2007, 12:34pm, The_Improver wrote:
Do I build the prototype?
This is not necessary at this time.  If your application is, as it must be, enabling, a prototype at this stage is not a requirement.  In speaking with potential licensees or investors, it would be a plus, but getting a pending application should be your first priority.  This assumes you've fully "fleshed out" your invention on paper, however.  
Do I file for a U.S. Patent?
Yes, if you feel comfortable with your search.  Especially with independent inventors who are not well-established in the technology, I recommend a search.  For two reasons:  It can save money in the long run if it turns out the invention is already out there, and it can save money in the long run by giving you an idea of the kind of protection you might be able to get, thereby possibly making your prosecution more efficient.  If you've already done a search, you might engage an attorney to do a supplemental search and give you an opinion as to the patentability of your invention.  
Do I file a foreign patent?
You can apply for foreign protection if you feel your product has sufficient market potential in foreign countries.  This generally involves filing under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).  You can do that first and use that route to the US, or you can file US and use that route to the PCT.  There are, however, some 12-month limitations of which you should be aware.  For example, if you file in the US, you have 12 months to file via the PCT for foreign protection.
Should I try to sell the idea to a company?  If so, how can I protect my idea?
It's always a good idea to file an application first.  Even then, you should only do so under a signed confidentiality agreement.
Finally, here's my last bit of advice.  If you want to just dabble in this and make one for yourself and maybe sell some to your friends,you may find the expense of patenting your invention not worth it.  On the other hand, if you truly think this is a great marketing opportunity that can make you some significant money, then treat acquiring a patent that gives you adequate protection with at least as much priority as you would your marketing, advertising, or manufacturing expenses.  It's a cost of doing business.
« Last Edit: Feb 11th, 2007, 5:08am by Bill Richards » IP Logged

William B. Richards, P.E.
The Richards Law Firm
Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
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