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(Message started by: charstarstar on Jun 15th, 2007, 11:44pm)

Title: Is this worth patenting?
Post by charstarstar on Jun 15th, 2007, 11:44pm
I am a college student at a major university. (thus very poor)

Me and some colleagues have developed a unique method for preventing software piracy.

Is this idea worth patenting? I have seen how expensive the prices are for attaining a patent and am hesitant to spend that unless I will get a sizeable return. (5-6+ figures )
Do companies often purchase patents like this or is most of the technology they use developed in house?

Secondly how likely are large-scale corporations to purchase the patent? I am just looking to make some quick money, and am willing to sell it for a moderate amount. I think I can get in the door at major companies (through contacts in the academic sphere)  but what kind of things should one do next? what is the process for selling a technology?
Thanks.


Title: Re: Is this worth patenting?
Post by Wiscagent on Jun 16th, 2007, 11:14am
"I am just looking to make some quick money ..."

Forgetaboutit.

It is unlikely that a business will be interested in purchasing your invention until you have a patent granted.  It would take four or five years (if ever) for your patent to grant.  By then you will have graduated college and learned grammar.

Title: Re: Is this worth patenting?
Post by still_studying on Jun 16th, 2007, 1:48pm
Any company that might buy your antipiracy system/method/invention would have to (1) be large enough to expect a return on investment after spending "5-6+ figures", and (2) believe that your method is so much better than what they already have that it would be capable of providing such a return above and beyond what their current system provides.

If you want that much for it, then rather than selling your invention, you would probably have to form a company to market the technology to multiple clients.

However, something to consider for your future: patents (and to some extent, even patent applications) look good on a resume, even in academia.

So many companies have done so much to try to reduce piracy that you really need to do some digging through existing patents before deciding whether to file an application.  Google has a patent search feature now.  Keep in mind that straightforward combinations of existing ideas are not patentable, and that similar technologies can be cited against your application.

Richard, given that one doesn't have to comprehend simple English words and phrases in order to be a patent practitioner, one can hardly ding a college student over grammar.  ::)  (This sarcasm isn't directed at either of you;  it's regarding another topic that seems to be coming up a lot lately.)

Title: Re: Is this worth patenting?
Post by charstarstar on Jun 16th, 2007, 8:34pm
This is definitely a new idea, I have looked through 10-15 academic papers on the subject... which suprisingly is about how much is written on this field. I've looked at the patents that these papers cite.
Software watermarking is a very new and unexplored field. I've looked at patents from Microsoft as well as popular techniques such as Collenberg-Thomborson algorithm. Our technique is much more secure than any method I have seen so far.
What I want to know is how valuable such a technique really is, do business often buy technologies like this. I am thinking about just filing a provisional patent then marketing it to some companies. Is this a good idea? I simply do not have the resources to shell out $8000 on a patent.

Title: Re: Is this worth patenting?
Post by Wiscagent on Jun 17th, 2007, 10:25am
You certainly can file a provisional patent application.  The filing fee is about $100.  If you were to write the application yourself, the fee and your time would be your entire initial investment.  So from that perspective you would have little to lose.

Unfortunately filing a provisional patent application, by itself, would get you no closer to making money on your invention.  If you are interested in making some money on your idea, then you need to think in terms of starting and operating a business.  A patent application would be an important part, but only a part of a business plan.
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By the way, college student at a major university, I suggest that you work on your sense of humor or at least develop a thicker skin.  If a wise crack about a grammatical error keeps you up at night, you will have many sleepless nights.

Title: Re: Is this worth patenting?
Post by charstarstar on Jun 17th, 2007, 12:13pm
Okay thanks for the help, no offense haha
I didn't take it as a wisecrack, but as some form of insult to my intelligence or something like that... sorry for the misunderstanding.

Title: Re: Is this worth patenting?
Post by biopico on Jun 17th, 2007, 4:37pm
I have seen someone who launched his own software business right after his college and made a fair amount of money for 15 years or so.

I have several patentable subject matters.  Since it costs my money and time to draft applications and to prosecute them, I am abandoning patentable ideas even if I am a patent agent.






Title: Re: Is this worth patenting?
Post by MrSnuggles on Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:39pm
You may consider consulting an attorney and having a search performed.  A search and consultation would probably cost around $500-1k.  But at least you would know how viable your idea was after that.  Then for another $1-2k you could file a provisional application describing your core idea.

Companies would probably not be interested in a provisional filing or a untested concept.  Once you have an issued patent, then your situation will change.  However, even then, unless it is a viable business solution with wide acceptance, a good idea on paper may still be too risky or burdensome to pursue for companies to actually consider purchasing the untested technology.

My practice is in computers including security models.  I've seen a lot of art out there, much more than a dozen research papers.  Do a search at Google (although they don't have published applications, only issued patents), FreePatentsOnline, or the USPTO, you'll find some yourself.

Title: Re: Is this worth patenting?
Post by MrSnuggles on Jun 22nd, 2007, 11:43pm
You may consider consulting an attorney and having a search performed.  A search and consultation would probably cost around $500-1k.  But at least you would know how viable your idea was after that.  Then for another $1-2k you could file a provisional application describing your core idea.

Companies would probably not be interested in a provisional filing or a untested concept.  Once you have an issued patent, then your situation will change.  However, even then, unless it is a viable business solution with wide acceptance, a good idea on paper may still be too risky or burdensome to pursue for companies to actually consider purchasing the untested technology.

My practice is in computers including security models.  I've seen a lot of art out there, much more than a dozen research papers.  Do a search at Google (although they don't have published applications, only issued patents), FreePatentsOnline, or the USPTO, you'll find some yourself.

Title: Re: Is this worth patenting?
Post by JimIvey on Jun 25th, 2007, 4:12pm
I'll chime in late here....

That sort of technology excites investors.  You might consider seeking seed capital to start a company based on that idea.  For what ever reason, big companies are much more willing to buy small companies rather than patents -- paying many times over for the company what they would pay for the patents.  As an example, I hear Google has been quietly buying up small (5-10 employee) software companies.

In addition, I'm sure Microsoft would be willing to take a look.  Before the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill's #1 charity was an anti-software-piracy organization -- what a philanthropist!  We could all learn from that!

Then, there are patent hedge funds out there that typically pay $10k or more for an application and $25k or more for an issued patent if they like the technology -- more, perhaps much more, if the application/patent looks particularly promising.

In short, there are a number of ways to extract money out of patents/applications.  It's all a matter of how much value you think your technology will bring to the marketplace.

Regards.

Title: Re: Is this worth patenting?
Post by Tim Bradley on Jun 28th, 2007, 2:08pm
Before you spend any money on patenting your idea you should search and see what's out there. I believe Macrovision has some patents and/or published applications in this area.

Title: Re: Is this worth patenting?
Post by PaulK on Aug 30th, 2007, 3:16pm
Well, you could also actually write the code/library & make it usable.  Then you could could market the software on the internet to license it to shareware authors & small companies.  File a provisional patent (when the software is ready), and if you make significant sales in the first year you can afford to file the real patent; if you don't, then drop it.

Just one approach...

Title: Re: Is this worth patenting?
Post by JimIvey on Aug 30th, 2007, 9:44pm
Of course, it's worth stating that a provisional patent application ought to be the except rather than the rule and for very specific reasons for people who know what they're doing.

An adequate provisional application costs about the same as a real application and the real application is better in nearly every respect.

Almost every benefit of a sloppy provisional application can be served just as well and for much less money and effort by doing absolutely nothing.

Before you choose a provisional application as your preferred patent strategy, make sure you know what you're doing.  It's hard to change strategy once things are in motion.

Regards.



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