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Invention - how to... ?





Helios
Hey,
I came up with a good idea that will definitely save clients lots of time (and money) when waiting for a service in a business place. Could be very profitable for the company which will offer this time-saving service for its clients...
Now the idea is to use available technologies to construct the mechanism I came up with.

Where can I check if the idea is protected?
If it isn't, how can I protect my idea?
medesignz
Hello, I dont know where you should begin, perhaps the patent office.

Is this an actual product or a web based product?
ocalhoun
If your idea is a device or process:

0- Revisit the idea, and make sure that it's a good enough idea to warrant spending a few months and around $1000 to secure.
1- Do not go to 'inventor's help' companies. They often steal your idea, sell it on infomercials, and give you nothing but a few shiny brochures.
2- Search through the patent database yourself (government makes it available online), and check to see that it isn't already in there.
3- File for a provisional patent -- one that is only good for a very limited time, but is quicker and cheaper to get. (You may be able to skip step 3 if you instead use non-disclosure agreements, et cetera, but these can be almost as much a hassle as provisional patents.)
4- Once the provisional patent is granted, try to sell the idea to companies.
5- When a company offers to buy it, unless they offer you an extremely generous amount, only license it; not an exclusive license, not an unlimited license, not a license that allows sub-licensing, and NOT selling the patent itself.
6- When the company pays you, use the money to file for a full patent.
7- Start licensing the patent out to other companies.


If your idea could be called a work of art/literature/software/media/et cetera:
1- Add 'copyright <your name> <date>' to it.
2- If the idea is very valuable, register the copyright with the government.


If your idea is not a discreet media, device, or process:
You have very little protection.
Your best bet to keep people from stealing the idea would be to make everybody you tell about it sign an agreement not to tell anyone else, nor use your idea without your permission.
The weakness of that is it only affects people who sign the form; if somebody manages to find out about the idea without signing your form, he/she is free to copy it.
deanhills
Awesome post Ocalhoun. Wish it could be made into a sticky, maybe in the Projects Forum?

Have you registered a patent yourself? I imagine that survival kit of yours deserves a patent in its own right, or at least some of the equipment in it that you have put together yourself?
the-guide
deanhills wrote:
Awesome post Ocalhoun. Wish it could be made into a sticky, maybe in the Projects Forum?


Agree with "deanhills" this is very useful post. Thanks to "Ocalhoun" for the nice share.

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ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:

Have you registered a patent yourself?

No, the reason I know such things is merely from being well-read.
Reading fiction and --more importantly -- non-fiction as a hobby can be quite useful sometimes.
Quote:
I imagine that survival kit of yours deserves a patent in its own right, or at least some of the equipment in it that you have put together yourself?

Hardly... It certainly isn't the first of its kind, and I don't think any company would buy the patent or a license to it.

Full patents are expensive; if I'm not trying to sell the idea to people who might steal it and use it without permission, I have no reason to go to the considerable expense of filing for one.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Reading fiction and --more importantly -- non-fiction as a hobby can be quite useful sometimes.
I marvel how you find the time to do all of this, including reading fiction as well. I guess there are no Pony books are there ..... Twisted Evil
ocalhoun wrote:
Full patents are expensive; if I'm not trying to sell the idea to people who might steal it and use it without permission, I have no reason to go to the considerable expense of filing for one.
Right. We're lucky. I'm almost certain some of the threads could make good material for a book one day. Do you make copies of posts like that? I.e. do you have a system for organising your posts?
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
I marvel how you find the time to do all of this, including reading fiction as well. I guess there are no Pony books are there ..... Twisted Evil

Being single, with no family around helps ^.^ Lets me set my own priorities.
And as for pony books, no... but I do fancy Mercedes Lakey's Valdemar series, which has much the same feel to it.
Quote:

I.e. do you have a system for organising your posts?

Um, no.
Everything in them came out of my head in the first place, and if I need it again, I can probably just type it out again without needing to refer back (within reason, of course -- not claiming to have a super-memory here).
standready
ocalhoun wrote:
(You may be able to skip step 3 if you instead use non-disclosure agreements, et cetera, but these can be almost as much a hassle as provisional patents.)

Great information, ocalhoun, except for what I quoted above. The reason is most companies insist you sign 'their' non-disclosure agreement which of course favors them and usually not allowing you to shop your invention elsewhere. Also, they can easily violate any agreement then just out 'lawyer' you because they have deep pockets and you don't.
ocalhoun
standready wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
(You may be able to skip step 3 if you instead use non-disclosure agreements, et cetera, but these can be almost as much a hassle as provisional patents.)

The reason is most companies insist you sign 'their' non-disclosure agreement which of course favors them and usually not allowing you to shop your invention elsewhere.

In which case, you have to hope that your invention is tantalizing enough that they will bend the rules and allow you to make your pitch without the agreements, or just skip to going elsewhere.
If they want it bad enough, they'll allow you to show it to them without signing anything.
Quote:
Also, they can easily violate any agreement then just out 'lawyer' you because they have deep pockets and you don't.

Which is part of the reason why non-disclosure agreements can be such an expense and hassle. To get them done right, in a way that is difficult to weasel out of, you'll need to get them written by a competent lawyer.

(Of course, in a society where money=influence, even a full patent won't always protect you, if you don't have the resources to fight back.)



In any case, if you have a truly valuable idea, don't just trust some random guy on the internet; there are lawyers who specialize in patent and copyright law: consult with one of them.
standready
ocalhoun wrote:
(Of course, in a society where money=influence, even a full patent won't always protect you, if you don't have the resources to fight back.)

Semi-agree but you have the government document on your side and the company must try to invalid date it.

ocalhoun wrote:
In any case, if you have a truly valuable idea, don't just trust some random guy on the internet; there are lawyers who specialize in patent and copyright law: consult with one of them.

Agree! That is what I always do. But I do as much legwork (research) myself before hand.
Helios
Thank you everybody, esp. ocalhoun Smile
I'll do more research and see where the idea leads me.
The_unnamed_label
Hello,

Im sure you already found this, as your post isnt so recent... even though as I skimmed over the thread, I keep seeing you guys talking about protecting the idea...
keep in mind the idea itself is free of any protection... so you can only protect the realisation of it... if that makes sense... and it has to be innovative and not pre-existing, in any form of shape, in the worldwide knowledge.
I'm sure you know that already anyway... but you can find all the info here: http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/en/patents/patents.html
the site is the best source you can find in terms of intellectual property, its clear and in different languages too... go for it.
Good luck for your project.
The_unnamed_label
Also, you shall be able to find preexisting inventions... the WIPO has a free database for you to search, using key words... http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/search/en/search.jsf
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