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Old 12-14-2018, 09:40 PM
brian4d brian4d is offline
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I'm in the process of doing an official patent search and if we're clear want to license the idea. Does anyone have any experience here? Tips, suggestions or otherwise? My idea is for homeowner use and takes care of an ever growing problem. If I get the licensing I'll fill everyone in.
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:54 PM
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My first reputable job out of college was in an intellectual property law firm. Mostly I filed trademark applications with the USPTO and didn't work directly with the patent attorneys, but I did pick up a few things along the way. I mainly recall patents being a very complicated sequence with design patents for processes being less so. If you think there is money to be made with your idea and you want to protect your concept then paying for legal services may be worth a thought. But searching for existing comparable patents is an important step. A pro at an IP law firm will have access to more resources than the average joe for this research, but depending on your idea you may not need them. Good luck and get ready to practice patience.
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Old 12-14-2018, 10:02 PM
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My first reputable job out of college was in an intellectual property law firm. Mostly I filed trademark applications with the USPTO and didn't work directly with the patent attorneys, but I did pick up a few things along the way. I mainly recall patents being a very complicated sequence with design patents for processes being less so. If you think there is money to be made with your idea and you want to protect your concept then paying for legal services may be worth a thought. But searching for existing comparable patents is an important step. A pro at an IP law firm will have access to more resources than the average joe for this research, but depending on your idea you may not need them. Good luck and get ready to practice patience.
Great info, I've already hired a firm for the search. If you don't mind me asking, what do you mean by the patience part? I'm new to this, I just can't get this idea out of my head.

Necessity is the mother of invention, I hope.
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Old 12-14-2018, 10:19 PM
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Old 12-14-2018, 10:55 PM
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By patience I mean it can take a long time from application to final decision on a patent. Don't expect the USPTO to approve your request in short order. But you can still operate and take your concept to market under "patent pending" status while they are processing your application.
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:24 PM
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By patience I mean it can take a long time from application to final decision on a patent. Don't expect the USPTO to approve your request in short order. But you can still operate and take your concept to market under "patent pending" status while they are processing your application.
Got it.
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:25 PM
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Old 12-15-2018, 11:45 AM
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By patience I mean it can take a long time from application to final decision on a patent. Don't expect the USPTO to approve your request in short order. But you can still operate and take your concept to market under "patent pending" status while they are processing your application.
It's an extra step, but you can get a "provisional patent", which makes the "patent pending" thing legit for a year.
Only around $300.
USPTO does NOT do the exhaustive investigation for this, it's simply a way to get your idea on the list, because as I'm sure you're aware, it's all about date of application.
The thinking behind this method is that you can protect your IP, THEN determine if it might be a profitable venture.
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Old 12-15-2018, 01:03 PM
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I have to say that my year of working in IP was incredibly dull, with two exceptions. The best trademark applications I came across:


1. A powder that you add to water to create fake pee as a means to cheat on drug tests called "Urine Luck"
2. A company selling fossilized dinosaur turds called "Endangered Feces"


Jim is right, it's not about who came up with the idea when, it's about who registers it first.
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:17 PM
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I have to say that my year of working in IP was incredibly dull, with two exceptions. The best trademark applications I came across:


1. A powder that you add to water to create fake pee as a means to cheat on drug tests called "Urine Luck"
2. A company selling fossilized dinosaur turds called "Endangered Feces"


Jim is right, it's not about who came up with the idea when, it's about who registers it first.
Ive actually heard of both of those

Patent bar is on my 2019 to do list, just need to find the time to study
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Old 12-15-2018, 09:17 PM
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The high points of prosecuting a patent:



You can do a basic search just using Google (that's where I start); then read everything (patents or otherwise) that it hits. After that, you'll need to find a way to search the patent databases. You can start with the USPTO (for US) and WIPO (for (limited) international). If ANYTHING turns up that's your idea - you're dead in the water. (All of this is FREE. If you can turn something up and end your search, you've saved at least a few hundred, if not thousands of dollars).



You said you hired a firm to do the search, which is a good idea if you've never done any kind of patent (or other literature search); they will have access to global patent databases and the expertise and experience to find prior art. If nothing turns up to block you, then...


Then you have to write your application - I strongly suggest you hire an attorney to do it. There's a specific way to compose it, and there's an art to including the moon and stars to broaden your coverage. If you've never done it, you'll leave a lot of loopholes open. This step will probably be your biggest outlay of cash (I'm going to guess a good round number would be ~$10K - could be more, could be less depending on how complicated your idea is/how crowded the field is). You will need to pay for the lawyer time to educate him on your idea, him to do the search (already paid for if you use the same firm), and then to write it up. Then you'll go back and forth making sure he got your (main) idea covered.



Now you have to file the application. A good first step is to file the US Provisional Application. It's not that expensive, and it gives you a year to file the (final) application. You can then use this time to develop your idea further, and to shop it around to see if there is a buyer. You can add new embodiments and further examples during this one year time to bolster your case/broaden your patent. (If you do talk to people about it after you file (and don't talk to anyone before you do), be sure to have them sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) that prevents them from filing their own patent. You will want to make sure that THEY do not discuss how to improve your idea - because then they become co-inventors.


Since you filed in the US, you will clearly be getting US coverage. The next consideration you will need to think about is global coverage. If you don't want it, just stick with the US. If you do, then things get a bit more complicated (and expensive). No one gets truly global coverage; you will want to get patents in key countries to essentially give you global coverage. What countries you go for depend on the idea.



Since you filed the provisional US application, your priority date is the date of that filing (if you skipped the provisional and went directly to an application that's your priority date). Some countries require that you file directly in their country, so that means you have to file on the date you file in the US (final application).

Most countries, however, belong to the PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) which allows you to file a PCT application (these are the WIPO above) within a year of your priority date (if you did the provisional route, this is usually filed at the same time you filed the final US application). The PCT will assign an "examiner" who will do a search and render an opinion on the patentablity of your application; this is not final, nor appealable. It's just a first pass that other jurisdictions may/may not take into consideration.



30 months after your priority date you will then have to file in individual PCT countries. If that country's official language isn't English, you'll have to pay to have it translated - Chinese will run you about $8-10K; Spanish about $3-4K. And you will likely need representation in those countries - your US attorney will set that up. So the PCT buys you 30 months (to not pay translation and filing fees) and gives you a first pass patentability opinon. It's not a bad deal.



Your patent will publish in the US (and through WIPO) 18 months from the priority date (or 6 mo after filing the final application if you did the provisional and filed the final a year later).


During this time you will likely get a rejection from the US PTO - no one ever gets a patent on the first draft. Then you will have to respond and go back and forth with the examiner to get your claims finalized. That can be quick or it can take months/years.


Same will happen with all the individual countries you've filed in. As you can see, a single application can balloon quickly into many applications around the world.


Once you get a patent granted (in any country) you'll have to pay a patenting fee, and then maintenance fees every few years to keep it active. Patents have a lifetime of 20 years from date of filing (in most countries); the fees increase as the patent gets older.


Overall, a good rule of thumb for "global" coverage over the life of a patent is ~$250-300K. US alone is probably ~1/10 that.



That's the highlights. There are many nuances that are particular to the field you are in, the country(ies) you are going for, etc.
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Old 12-17-2018, 09:04 AM
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All good info, thanks again. Scott you went all out, sounds like you may have some patents. This would most likely be a global product. I'm digging deeper but I think it has the value so I won't need to start my own company to be compensated for the idea like I want. I'll license it and just collect Royalties. It's a pie in the sky now but fun to think about. I have done my own search and can't find anything close. Lawyer will let me know by Wednesday if the search came back clean.
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Old 12-17-2018, 11:22 AM
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Don't bother with the chinese patent; they'll just steal your shit anyways.
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Old 12-17-2018, 11:27 AM
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Don't bother with the chinese patent; they'll just steal your shit anyways.
So I hear.
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Old 12-17-2018, 11:43 AM
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All good info, thanks again. Scott you went all out, sounds like you may have some patents. This would most likely be a global product. I'm digging deeper but I think it has the value so I won't need to start my own company to be compensated for the idea like I want. I'll license it and just collect Royalties. It's a pie in the sky now but fun to think about. I have done my own search and can't find anything close. Lawyer will let me know by Wednesday if the search came back clean.
This is the hardest part that everyone underestimates - actually bringing an idea to market. Even with a Fortune 100 company behind it, it is incredibly difficult, time consuming and costly.

What you may find is that you will be better off getting the patent (or at least the application), and then selling the idea (patent) for a modest sum - don't think you will make millions. That only happens if YOU bring the idea to the market, but that requires significant investment on your part (See: The > $250K for patenting alone), or getting financial backers who will ultimately get a piece.

Good luck!
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:15 PM
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This is the hardest part that everyone underestimates - actually bringing an idea to market. Even with a Fortune 100 company behind it, it is incredibly difficult, time consuming and costly.

What you may find is that you will be better off getting the patent (or at least the application), and then selling the idea (patent) for a modest sum - don't think you will make millions. That only happens if YOU bring the idea to the market, but that requires significant investment on your part (See: The > $250K for patenting alone), or getting financial backers who will ultimately get a piece.

Good luck!
The product would bring on multiple large companies and local government municipalities (for marketing and sales). I'm stoked.
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:55 PM
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The product would bring on multiple large companies and local government municipalities (for marketing and sales). I'm stoked.
Not to be Donny Downer, but just because large companies are interested, doesn't mean YOU will make money.

In R&D, there is often described the "Little r" (idea generation) and "Big D" (aka, r&D) - Big D being the millions you need to spend to bring an idea to market vs the <$1M (little r) to generate the idea. To the company that takes on your idea, they will view it as they are taking the risk, not you.

Expect to see royalties < 10% (make sure you stipulate SALES, not EARNINGS). And that would likely be for an exclusive license (you can't license it to anyone else). A non-exclusive license would be much lower, probably 2-4%. Oh, and remember, you are still paying for the patent fees (annually).

A watch out: If you do give someone an exclusive license, you will want to include a clause that they bring it to market within a certain time frame (say, 5 years) or the license expires. Last thing you want is for someone to get a license and then sit on it, for whatever reason (the guy who liked it leaves the company, takes another role; the company moves in a different direction; they just want to quash it, etc.). Happens all the time.
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Old 12-17-2018, 03:23 PM
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If you don't mind me asking, what do you mean by the patience part?
Never mind, you'll find out as soon as you write your first invention description.
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Old 12-17-2018, 03:27 PM
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Not to be Donny Downer, but just because large companies are interested, doesn't mean YOU will make money.

In R&D, there is often described the "Little r" (idea generation) and "Big D" (aka, r&D) - Big D being the millions you need to spend to bring an idea to market vs the <$1M (little r) to generate the idea. To the company that takes on your idea, they will view it as they are taking the risk, not you.

Expect to see royalties < 10% (make sure you stipulate SALES, not EARNINGS). And that would likely be for an exclusive license (you can't license it to anyone else). A non-exclusive license would be much lower, probably 2-4%. Oh, and remember, you are still paying for the patent fees (annually).

A watch out: If you do give someone an exclusive license, you will want to include a clause that they bring it to market within a certain time frame (say, 5 years) or the license expires. Last thing you want is for someone to get a license and then sit on it, for whatever reason (the guy who liked it leaves the company, takes another role; the company moves in a different direction; they just want to quash it, etc.). Happens all the time.
The last part is sound advice. As far as R&D it's a basic principal, so basic I wouldn't be surprised if a patent already exist. It's the kind of idea that when I mention it here everyone will say, why in the hell didn't I think of that.
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Old 12-17-2018, 03:29 PM
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Never mind, you'll find out as soon as you write your first invention description.
It's a very basic idea. I've already written some descriptions but I'm gearing up for more. Does the attorney not assist with this in some way? Or, do I simply submit it for his review?
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Old 12-17-2018, 03:59 PM
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It's a very basic idea. I've already written some descriptions but I'm gearing up for more. Does the attorney not assist with this in some way? Or, do I simply submit it for his review?
The attorney - or any other near-legal or patent person - can only help you with wording of your description, but he or she does not know what is the essence of your invention and what makes it different from billions of others.
Many of them are fairly pushy - you may find right away that exactly the same thing has already been invented, yet they will keep offering you changes in the description that they think may make it sneak under the radar of the patent office.
By the time you've finished writing the description, you won't recognize it.
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Old 12-17-2018, 04:29 PM
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The attorney - or any other near-legal or patent person - can only help you with wording of your description, but he or she does not know what is the essence of your invention and what makes it different from billions of others.
Many of them are fairly pushy - you may find right away that exactly the same thing has already been invented, yet they will keep offering you changes in the description that they think may make it sneak under the radar of the patent office.
By the time you've finished writing the description, you won't recognize it.
I sure hope not. Should know by Wednesday.
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Old 12-18-2018, 12:59 PM
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It's the kind of idea that when I mention it here everyone will say, why in the hell didn't I think of that.
I already did!
Ha!
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Old 12-18-2018, 04:01 PM
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I already did!
Ha!
I had a patent application once that I thought for sure was a slam dunk. I knew the area inside and out, worked with others who knew it even better than I did - we all thought it was completely novel.

I did a search on USPTO, WIPO and Derwent - found nothing. Got the preliminary examination from WIPO - they found nothing.

Then the International Search Report came out. Another examiner found a British patent from 1966 that had an example (didn't claim my invention, but no matter) that was EXACTLY what I had done....

I spent a year working on that (about half of my time).

Fuuuuuuuuuccccck.

Dude stole my idea before I even had it.
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Old 12-18-2018, 04:50 PM
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Just head back from the lawyer, no such patent or anything close exists, it can be written up 'as is'. I'm in shock right now. I guess all I can do is pay the money for the provisional patent and come on here and have everyone here dog me on the idea of give me virtual hi-5's.
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