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Author Topic: Do I Need to Patent my Invention before Seeking an Engineer?  (Read 3413 times)

entrepersuit

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If i have an invention, do I need to patent the initial concept for the invention, and then seek and engineer to make it a reality? Then when the invention is functional, patent that? My fear is that if i do not protect the initial concept, the engineers may steal the idea? Maybe I'm paranoid but I would like any feedback possible. Thank you.
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evaunit4

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If i have an invention, do I need to patent the initial concept for the invention, and then seek and engineer to make it a reality? Then when the invention is functional, patent that? My fear is that if i do not protect the initial concept, the engineers may steal the idea? Maybe I'm paranoid but I would like any feedback possible. Thank you.

i have the same problem. im going to try rapid prototyping because they said all the parts will be confidential. i'm going to order each part piece by piece rather than buying all together because they may figure out what it is.
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CriterionD

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Two things to say in reply:

1.) You do not need the engineering down before writing the patent app i.e. you do not need to make the concept a reality.  However, you (or whoever is writing your patent) do need to know how the concept will be made a reality.

2.) There is no generally need to worry about an engineering consultant or product design firm stealing your invention.  Most of them should be willing to sign an NDA, anyway.  There is still at least an advantage to filing the patent app as soon as possible though, all else equal.

Ordinary skill

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Why not get a notary to document the conception of the invention?
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vman11

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Would you agree that the tricky part is not necessarily stealing, but, collaboration could lead to elements which get incorporated in claimsets, now the engineer is an inventor, therefore owner ...

Quote
2.) There is no generally need to worry about an engineering consultant or product design firm stealing your invention.  Most of them should be willing to sign an NDA, anyway.  There is still at least an advantage to filing the patent app as soon as possible though, all else equal.
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Wiscagent

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You do not need an actual working model of your invention when you submit the application.  There is a requirement for "reduction to practice".  Reduction to practice can be "actual" (a working model) or "constructive".  Constructive reduction to practice consists of describing the invention in such detail that a person of ordinary skill in the art could make and use the invention.

So if you have a good understanding of how your gadget would work, and you can teach that mythical person of ordinary skill in the art how to make and use the gadget, then yes you can apply for a patent now.  Of course if you wait until you have a working model, then you will be able to describe the gadget in more detail, present more alternatives, and perhaps have a more robust patent application.  Or you can do both, apply now and apply later.

Each time you file a patent application it is going to cost you time and money; so unless you have a lot of time and money, you need to develop a filing strategy.  A patent agent or patent attorney can provide alternative plans, and pros and cons of each; but it is your business decision to make.

About an engineer stealing your invention, it could happen.  Most patent attorneys can draft a contract between you and the engineer that would protect your interests.  You would require a confidentiality (or non-disclosure) agreement, and an agreement that assigns you the rights to any new inventions that are developed as a result of the work the engineer does for you.  Whether it would be difficult to find a qualified engineer willing to sign such agreements, I have no idea.
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Richard Tanzer
Patent Agent
 



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