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I have an Invention ... Now What?
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   what is the cheapest avenue for a patent?
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   Author  Topic: what is the cheapest avenue for a patent?  (Read 12817 times)
Bill Richards
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Re: what is the cheapest avenue for a patent?
« Reply #5 on: Jul 28th, 2007, 5:56pm »
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You can get a provisional patent for $100. I did it.  Call the USPTO office and ask for the Inventors Assistance office.

Oh, goodness, people!
Let's again make something crystal clear.  THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PROVISIONAL PATENT!  REPEAT AFTER ME, "NO SUCH THING AS A PROVISIONAL PATENT!"  There is, in the US, a provisional patent application (PPA) that, at best, gives one a one-year window to file a non-provisional (real) application.  The $100 is only the filing fee for the PPA.  Without more, the PPA is worthless.
Yeesh!
« Last Edit: Jul 29th, 2007, 6:50am by Bill Richards » IP Logged

William B. Richards, P.E.
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Re: what is the cheapest avenue for a patent?
« Reply #6 on: Jul 30th, 2007, 8:42am »
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Just to echo Bill's thoughts, what kellie did was to spend $100 and probably a few hours on something that has no hope whatsoever of producing enforceable rights -- rights to actually exclude someone from making, using, selling, or importing the invention.
 
Let's review the significance of an "application" (the only thing "provisional" from the PTO).  When you apply for a home loan, do you celebrate?  Most people wait unti the loan is granted.  I applied to Harvard and Yale law schools.  Yeah!  I didn't go to either, but I applied.  Something to brag about or put on a resume?  I've thought about applying for a research grant to determined (once and for all) if loads of money can really make you happy -- $100 million ought to provide a good test.  If I ever do apply, should I run out and buy a huge yacht and a small jet?
 
Once you've got your mind wrapped around the difference between and application and the resulting grant (of whatever), let's consider whether the content of the application influences the likelihood of success of the application, i.e., that the request inherent in the application will be granted.
 
If I re-apply to Harvard law school for their JD program, would it matter if I put in my application that I already have a JD?  Would it matter in a home loan application to note that I don't have a job or don't actually own the home involved?  I think we can accept that the content of the application matters.
 
So, with a provisional (meaning not-complete) application in which the content is whatever flowed extemporaneous from your  fingers in a 10-minute effort, what is the likelihood of any meaningful protection coming from that?  Somewhere between winning the lottery  and getting struck by lightning in the midst of a great white shark attack in Idaho.
 
Regards.
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Re: what is the cheapest avenue for a patent?
« Reply #7 on: Aug 4th, 2007, 1:02am »
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Cheapest path = buy a patent book at the local bookstore, go to the Patent Trademark Office website and look at issued patents, file and pay the fees
 
be prepared to spend lots of time and when the first office action arrives call the examiner and plead pro se
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Bill Richards
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Re: what is the cheapest avenue for a patent?
« Reply #8 on: Aug 4th, 2007, 7:41am »
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Maybe the answer begins with a question.  Why do you want a patent?  Is it to underpin the core of a major business or otherwise protect your livelihood?  If so, a do-it-yourself approach may be a disaster for your fniancial security and the future of your business.  Would you defend yourself at a DUI trial?  What about a felony that could mean long jail time?  My guess is you'd get the best attorney money could buy.
Do you want a patent to add legitimacy to the hobby you're turning into a business but don't care if you make money or not?  Or, do you just want something to frame and hang in your family room next to the trophy for the local softball tournament?  If so, maybe a do-it-yourself philosophy might work.
Oops, one more problem, even with the latter example.  What happens if, as is usually the case, the PTO firmly and repeatedly rejects all your claims?  Then what?  Walk away with nothing?  Proceed pro se to the BAPI?  On to Federal court?
I've never thought of it in exactly these terms, but maybe knowing the reason for wanting a patent is a helpful initial inquiry.
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William B. Richards, P.E.
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Re: what is the cheapest avenue for a patent?
« Reply #9 on: Aug 9th, 2007, 11:31pm »
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People here are overly pessimistic.  First off, a provisional application does not afford exclusionary rights, so your comment about the provisional having “no hope whatsoever of producing enforceable rights” is of course true.  It is the non-provisional claiming the benefit of the provisional that affords exclusionary legal protection, and then only if granted by the PTO.
 
Second, even if the provisional doesn’t satisfy the statutory requirements, you are only losing the priority claim.  You can still file a non-provisional application and swear behind intervening prior art.
 
So yes, IMO if you can’t afford to pay an attorney to file a non-provision application, you should file a provisional application describing your invention with as much detail as possible.  Even if you cannot rely on it for priority purposes, at a minimum, you will have a document that a patent attorney can use to help draft the non-provisional when you can afford it.
 
And don’t spend ten minutes on it.  Spend some time and write a thorough disclosure.  I have seen many provisional applications written by pro se inventors that were excellent.  You as the inventor know your invention best!  
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