Patenting a novel idea-
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  1. #1
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    Patenting a novel idea

    Not sure if this is the best place to post this, but....

    Let's suppose you had what you thought may be a novel idea, that you considered to be revolutionary and worth pursuing. How would you go about researching whether this idea has already been patented, and what is the most practical way for a person with limited funding to go about applying for a patent?

  2. #2
    Don't Tread on Me
    Reputation: Lopaka's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
    It is called a patent search. It is highly specialized procedure and needs to be true and accurate. It is the heart of the process. Time to pony up some cash for a patent attorney.
    Consciousness, that annoying time between bike rides.

  3. #3
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    Oct 2013
    Also, donít do a patent search yourself. If it can be shown that you were aware of a related patent, you can be liable for substantially higher damages if you lose a patent suit. Look up treble damages for willful infringement.
    And yes, if youíre serious, hire a lawyer.

  4. #4
    No known cure
    Reputation: Vader's Avatar
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    Feb 2004
    Pay a patent attorney to do a search. If it comes up clean, file for a provisional patent and shop the idea around.

    I've been buried in attorney fees and cried uncle protecting medical device patents I've held from multinational medical corporations. The bike world is a much smaller arena.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  5. #5
    pvd is offline
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    I've been through this in the past. If you don't see any way of selling it for much more than a patent process costs, just forget about it. Chances are that it's not really that novel or revolutionary IRL. If it is, you'll see the sales.

  6. #6
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    Here's my thoughts.

    Do your own research first.

    Does something exist? Is your idea suitably different
    Is it patentable?

    Can you make money from it? Do some maths.

    Can you fund it? a patent will cost approx $6-10K
    That means you need to clear about $40-50K of sales just to cover the cost of the patent.

    Make some prototypes.
    Does it work?
    Is it actually revolutionary?
    Get some prototypes out to freinds/relatives or a test group people you trust to test it.
    What do they think? Listen to their suggestions.

    Note:- You cannot start selling the product before requesting a patent. Your patent will be declined.

    Also do you have a route to market? A manufacturing solution? A channel to commercialise the product? In many ways the inventing and prototyping the item is the easy part. Commercialising the product can take significantly more time and money.

    Side note. Often times its the brand and not the technology that is the more important ip that you need to protect.

  7. #7
    Professional Crastinator
    Reputation: Fleas's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    ^^^this is not the only source, but it is a quick way to find an existing idea

    Ideas are easy.

    Building it is harder.

    Selling it is harder still.

    Then, oftentimes, you have to protect it anyway.

    Try to build a test sample. It may open your eyes to why it hasn't been done yet.

    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2013
    go to a bank

    bank gives you money*
    *with convincing argument

    money buys you patent

    patent makes you rich*

    pay off bank
    "Put your seatbelt back on or get out and sit in the middle of that circle of death." - Johnny Scoot

  9. #9
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    Jun 2014
    Most patent attorneys are not competent patent searchers. A patent attorney can guide a competent searcher to do a decent search. It's still not and never will be perfect.

    Also, it's not just patents that keep you from getting a patent, it's just about anything documentable (usually documents) that shows public use or sale or publication of an invention sufficiently similar to yours more than one year prior to your patent application date.

    Your own work can make your invention unpatentable if it is shown, sold, or publicized more than a year before your patent application filing date.

    The cost to do a patent search professionally is about $1500-2000.

    If you want to do it yourself, you can just plug descriptive words into a patent search engine such as google patents, freepatentsonline, or what-have-you. That is a very hit or miss proposition.

  10. #10
    would rather be ruined
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    Jun 2007
    do you have enough money to defend the patent if someone decides to infringe it? Believe me some companies will take a targeted and calculated approach to taking an idea then just paying a few quid at the end to settle in court or destroy you in litigation.

  11. #11
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    My son and I had about 3k in legal fees last year in patent searching for a commercial gym idea. Turns out IBM (yep, that IBM) patented damn near the exact same thing 18 months ago. My lawyer told us we could swap a couple of small things to possibly get around their patent if we wanted to proceed but if we marketed the product and they came after us it would probably get very expensive very quickly. I figure IBM has A LOT more money then I do, we dropped the idea.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pvd View Post
    I've been through this in the past. If you don't see any way of selling it for much more than a patent process costs, just forget about it. Chances are that it's not really that novel or revolutionary IRL. If it is, you'll see the sales.
    Peter's right.

    Been there too. Here you've got to choose. Either you "pass" or if you insist, calculate the cost to see if your idea is profitable.
    On the other hand there's nothing wrong on having the patent for personal reasons...

    Good luck!

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