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Does anyone here have a patent? Answered

So i've had an idea...and everyone i've talked to loves it. So I want to see about getting a patent for it, but have no idea about getting a patent. I think i remember someone here is a patent attorney? Are there any age requirements? Fees? What do i need to do? Thanks


..Would it be a good idea to make in ongoing instructable with the quest of producing my idea? Or would people yell at me for it not being a real instructable?


11 years ago

Check out the info from Nolo. They sell books to explain legal stuff like this and walk you through the process. Your library might also have some of them.

Nolo press reccommendation seconded. I read one of their software-related books (which in some senses is more complicated than a physical invention) many years ago and found it generally helpful (and well written, too.)

If you didn't see the other threads related to patents and such... FYI - you can publish you work without harming your patent ability status. This gives you a claim to prior works BUT it puts an expiration date on patent ability - once published, you have 12 months to apply for a patent. Fees: Yes What you need to do: A lot, you'll want an attorney for guidance ;)

OH, another benefit to publishing is that it opens it up to the community. We're a much bigger force when it comes to finding previous works ;)

Well what I want to do would really require specialty equipment..not a diy project. What kind of fees are there? Once i publish it, does that mean I have a year till someone else can patent it? Because this is something id really like to pursue..seeing as I could especially use one.

> Once i publish it, does that mean I have a year till someone else can patent it? Once you publish it, ONLY YOU CAN PATENT IT, up to a year later. A big benefit of publishing is that it is prior art for anyone who tries to patent anything similar, so it protects you from anyone else patenting the same idea. I like to believe that US industry is basically moral (at least where only moderate sums of money are involved), and it's unlikely that someone will take your published idea and produce it for their own profit without some sort of arrangement with you, the inventor. But you don't have protection from "independently invented" from publishing...

What does "But you don't have protection from "independently invented" from publishing..." mean?

If you and someone else both invent something independently, and both of you try to patent it, whoever submits the patent earliest gets all the rights and the person who submitted second gets zilch (assuming both patents are otherwise ok.) If you publish, and the other guy submits his patent AFTER you publish, his patent should get rejected, but there is nothing that stops him from manufacturing his gadget. It becomes a race to see who can manufacture and sell best. This isn't necessarily bad; look at how many companies successfully sell nearly identical tripods, cameras, etc, but it could pretty much ruin your possibilities of selling your idea to someone (why should we pay you license fees when X is already selling the same thing and we can just copy that?")
On the other hand, the other guy can't complain that you're infringing on his patent either.

So, if i put it up, anyone can do it, but if I do patent it within the year, do they have to stop making it?


Reply 11 years ago

I'd meant everyone Weissensteinburg had talked to and loved it, and 'publish' to include as an Instructable for example. What would happen to his patent if someone else posts it first? (I have memories of some bitterness surrounding a 'hijacked' collaboration...) L

I've only told a few close family and friends, no one else. It's not really something i could make into an instructable, unless I made it into an on going journal of my quest to making it.

It's probably not going to be worth your while, but telling people about your idea before publishing it is generally not a good idea. (I saw a lecture from patent officers some years ago)

That's true in the UK, but in the US you've got a year after initial publication to file a provisional patent. See some of the patent law and IP posts linked here.

What is it generally about?


11 years ago

I just got a "notice of acceptance" for my 4th patent application, which is supposed to mean that it will be a real patent soon. It's almost exactly 5 years after the patent application was filed, and the idea (about how to implement a web server type application, including tcp/ip, on very small microcontrollers) is essentially obsolete, as "very small" (or "very cheap", anyway) has become rather a lot larger in those five years. I wish I had just gone ahead and published something 5 years ago...

Did you use an attorney? How much were the fees you encountered...not including an attorney, if applicable.

Oh yes. This was via work, and they hired some very good attorneys in order to help build up our patent portfolio. I hate to think what it actually cost the company ("bonuses" of several thousand $ are involved too, at appropriate benchmark points. In return, it's the company that actually owns the patent.) If you'd like, I can send you the actual text submitted for one of the less-embarrassing patents so you can get a feel for what it's supposed to look like. I suppose I could even turn it into an instructable... Alas, all my patents are for more-or-less vague concepts that haven't been implemented. If you're paying your own way, I've got serious reservations about how useful an actual patent might be. You can find lots of text on assorted reasons why all over the net, of course. Hmm. Has anyone succeeded in licensing an idea to a manufacturer/etc and gotten royalties or other monetary returns from an idea that was published but NOT patented? The theory is that a patent gives you a bargaining chip with someone in a position to actually produce a a product, but I don't know that it's actually necessary (or sufficient.) Some companies and many schools (colleges) have very carefully spelled out patent policies that work out pretty well for everyone...

(By "very good attorneys", I mean (in this case) lawyers with enough technical background to turn a technical description of a technical thing into patent legalese without having to have it explained to them in excruciating detail. Some of the lawyers I talked to could easily have been engineers, customer-service types, or technical writers, while the stereotype for lawyers is that they're pretty much clueless jerks except for "the law.")

wow... the only reason i want a patent is because I really feel it is something that some big businesses would pay for..

Okay, do I actually have to have one made? ..because i don't have access to all of what is needed.

I don't think so, just says a complete description is needed. Which means you'd have to know how the thing will work or have someone else who knows enough stuff (and is trustworthy) to help you write out the designs.

Yeah, its really a simple thing...im surprised no one has thought of it sooner. I'm going to call up my doctor i think, and make sure it would work.

I too have an idea(s), but am too lazy to bother with it (besides it would probably be a flop :P ). So here it is: The Brush Mouth Guard (I have no idea how to word it). Basically, it's a double sided mouth guard with bristles (like a tooth brush) all along the insides. I was even thinking of placing some kind of paste dispensing unit in it that would release small amounts when you "chomped" down on it. You would be able to fit it to your mouth by boiling it (just as if it was a basic guard) and therefore have a better fit for your teeth. All you'd have to do if you were in a rush, is place the unit in your mouth, chomp down to release some paste and "chew" on the device and occasionally move your jaws slightly side to side and forwards/backwards. This would enable the unit to reach all the areas all at once while allowing you to get ready/dressed. Then once you were finished, just rinse it off.

Theres isnt anything as far as I could tell from the google patents search...does that mean, if i post it here, ill have one year of safety to act on it?

I personally don't have a patent, nor have any experience, but I did some research and here's what I came up with:

How to Patent
General Information Concerning Patents

In the "General Information" under "What Can Be Patented", it states:
"A patent cannot be obtained upon a mere idea or suggestion. The patent is granted upon the new machine, manufacture, etc., as has been said, and not upon the idea or suggestion of the new machine. A complete description of the actual machine or other subject matter for which a patent is sought is required."

Therefore, I'd suggest going over all the details of your idea and writing them all down in an orderly fashion along with drawings of how the "idea" would fit together. An example can be found for your viewing pleasure (found from KipKay's site): http://www.google.com/patents/

Just click one of the images on the home page to view the details that the inventors put into the patents (even if they were flops).

Hope this helps.