Intellectual Property Forums (http://www.intelproplaw.com/Forum/Forum.cgi)

(Message started by: ChrisK on Jul 18th, 2005, 1:20am)

Title: When do you actually have protection...
Post by ChrisK on Jul 18th, 2005, 1:20am


<<<<"Until your idea is legally protected – by patent or other means – it will be exceedingly difficult to sell.  In order to sell your idea you have to describe it to the potential buyer.  And once you have described it to the potential buyer, the potential buyer no longer has any reason to pay for the idea.

Of course if your idea demonstrates that you have a high level of expertise in a particular field, your potential customer may wish to hire you.  But that goes beyond just selling your idea.

You may wish to consult with a patent agent or a patent attorney to determine if your idea can be patented as an invention.  Alternatively or additionally perhaps you can start your own business, implementing your idea." >>>>>


This was in a post a few threads down I was just wondering about the "In order to sell your idea you have to describe it to the potential buyer.  And once you have described it to the potential buyer, the potential buyer no longer has any reason to pay for the idea."


So does this mean that if I got a good patent lawyer and all that good stuff and than applied for a patent and was in the "waiting process" of seeing if the patent was accepted or whatever the proper term is, that I couldn't pitch the ideas to othe companies without being protected in any way?

So basicly I'd have to wait for the entire patent application process to happen (2 years+?) to be able to pitch the idea without fear of it being stolen?(and even than as mentioned there are possible loopholes).

**Also, assuming that once I have applied for a patent my idea is protected,( assuming it eventually is accepted) what would happen if I have a company is interested in somehow obtaining the idea but than they find out the patent has been "rejected." Could they just use the idea ? someone please explain?
**If its not protected disreguard the question.


Thank you in advance



Title: Re: When do you actually have protection...
Post by Wiscagent on Jul 18th, 2005, 8:58am
I wrote the earlier post; sorry that it wasn’t clear.

Consider this scenario:  You develop an invention, keep good, properly witnessed records, hire a good patent lawyer, apply for a patent, and then you pitch your idea to potential customers while the patent is pending. If potential customers are interested in the invention they have at least two options:

- They may choose to go ahead use your idea with no compensation to you.  If and when the patent issues, and if they are still making, selling, or using the patented “thing” you can negotiate with them or sue.  As an example – I develop a patentable toy, and I have applied for a patent.  I go to a toy company.  They love the idea.  They also know they can get these toys to the market in 2 months, and they estimate the product will be a fad item for one year.  It might be a good business decision for them to simply make and sell the toy for a year and then discontinue the product line.  There would be no need to pay me anything.

- The company may choose to license (or purchase) rights your invention even though the patent has not yet issued.  They would essentially be buying “futures” speculating that the patent will issue.  Additionally with a license you will divulge some technology you have yet not shared them. If the product requires a large investment and is expected to have an extended product life, it could be a good business decision for them to negotiate a license even before the patent issues.

You asked what would happen if a company is interested in somehow obtaining the idea but then they find out the patent has been rejected. Could they just use the idea?”  Probably yes.  Unless you are able to provide some on-going service or something else of value, they would have no motivation to pay you.

Also keep in mind that depending on the nature of your idea, copyright or trade mark protection may be available.  Contact an attorney for advice specific to your situation.


Richard Tanzer

Title: Re: When do you actually have protection...
Post by JimIvey on Jul 18th, 2005, 11:12am
One thing I'd add is that many use trade secret protection to overlap the patent application process -- as a form of interim protection.

At the risk of gross over simplification, you protect your trade secret by keeping it secret, by only telling people about it once they've signed an NDA, for example.

Trade secrets are easy to create and easy to lose.  If someone breaches the NDA, your restitution lies in contract law.  And, there are many pitfalls to collecting on that type of breach.  But at least it's something.

You trade secret protection will expire once your application is published (about 18 mos. from filing).  There are ways to avoid publication, but it requires forgoing protection outside the US.

You can think of  trade secret and patent protection as the left jab and right cross, respectively, of the ol' 1-2 combination.

Regards.

Title: Re: When do you actually have protection...
Post by michael_e on Jul 18th, 2005, 11:48am
Would it be a safe generalization to say that most inventions that have a short term marketability should probably best be marketed rapidly rather than any attempt be made to patent them  ?

Would it likewise be safe to say that any invention that has long term marketability and broad market, (as opposed to a small niche market),  be given as much support as possible in an attempt to patent and then defend that patent  ?

If a patent application is published long before the actual patent is granted, how does one determine the point that it becomes prudent to attempt to market that invention ?

It seems to me, from many of the dicussions on this forum, that in the case of an invention that might have broad market interest and long term usefullness, it may be best to try to market  the invention at the earliest possible date  to some business entity that would benefit the most from it  and would therefore be most likely to protect it and their interest in it.  The BIG question here is at what point is that marketing attempt most likely to succeed ?

Thanks again !


Michael E.



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