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  • How to protect your idea??

    Discussion in 'Protecting your designs or inventions' started by cyberking, Aug 4, 2009.

    1. callyrobson

      callyrobson New Member

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      A great post Tom. Anyone with a new technology would be wise to read and re-read it :)

      It all boils down to whether the inventor is prepared to think beyond simply getting a patent to protect their idea, and on to how to turn their idea into a commercial success.

      I'd also recommend anyone try the free and subsidized services of the British Library Business & IP Centre http://www.bl.uk/bipc/ in Central London to do plenty of research before spending a penny. Both into the Intellectual Property aspects of their idea, AND the possible routes to market. They'll show you how to do your own initial patent searches, and they offer a search service that is cheaper than commercial practices.

      As a solo inventor risking your own money, it's especially important to have a plan BEFORE you patent, for how you'll get your idea to market, and exactly who you will sell it to. Plus what makes your idea so uniquely compelling better than what's already out there - not in your mind, but to the end user AND the distributors/retailers.

      Patenting is daunting but it pays big time if you get it, and the rest of product commercialization process, right.

      Regards, Cally
      http://www.ShesIngenious.org
       
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    3. emstampa

      emstampa Member

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      Pretty late replying here, but I have heard of the postage concept before. It is the simplest form of patenting, however it also holds the least weight IMHO. The industry standard is to have anyone who you come in contact with, sign a non-disclosure agreement or confidentiality agreement. A patent attorney can really help you word your patent so that it provides you the most protection. By that I mean, you are not limiting your patent to certain specifics and also getting around infringing on others. Once that is all said and done, it is also a good idea to get a prototype. A prototype further proves you came up with your idea, but also will come in handy when going to manufacturing or meeting up at the round table with the big Fortune 500c companies looking to buy the rights to your idea. If you need a quote for your idea, shoot me an email at [email protected] and I can send you some more info on prototyping.
       
    4. GPIprototype

      GPIprototype Member

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      Also pretty late in replying and Andrew has many good points.

      I wrote a blog on patents, you can protect yourself very easy without even purchasing a patent. If you designed and created the part and or assembly, save all your drawings make sure they all have dates on them do a certified mail and send a copy of them that are notarized to yourself and file that away. Although you are not saved by patent laws you are by copyright laws. The problem is there can be a small iteration that can make their assembly different than yours, if you are doing an assembly rather than a part.

      Get some investors, if your idea is that strong it will be easy to find investors. There are many investors you can find, if you are lucky and sign a good NDA with a prototype firm you may be able to use them as an investor (they produce the prototype for free for a small fee as an investor if they feel you have the right product). You can also make your own NDA and hire an attorney to look it over about $300.

      Good luck in your venture.

      Tim Ruffner
       
    5. Camid

      Camid Well-Known Member

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      Some really good advice here.

      The "have you got a patent?" question is important if you plan on selling the idea. Not so much if you plan to DIY.

      I think you have to be very careful in what and when you patent really. Often it is very easy to fall for the idea that a Patent will give you credibility, protection and basically sell your idea for you. One question to ask is, having spent a lot of money on protecting your idea, how might you defend it? (with no money left)

      The other question is - do I have enough many to develop the idea after I patent it? I am sure Dyson did a lot of hard prototyping work BEFORE he went to the expense of taking out worldwide patents. Having got a product you are sure about the patent becomes much better and more enforceable - better value all round (as callyrobson says). I would always suggest that you use NDAs and get the thing designed and prototyped first. There is little point getting a patent for something that is not workable (it has happened many times). And patent attorneys can not advise you on how to make the thing work....

      (Also note that Dyson only started suing once the 'major corporations' had spotted he was doing well - plenty of time to build up a war chest. Major corporations are a lot slower then you.)

      All work we do is conducted with NDAs. Never had a problem with manufacturers in the UK and China (though I am sure there are some to avoid).

      Having said all this I do agree with Tom_F - a good list. A patent search is wise....
      Check out IDEAS21 (www.ideas21.co.uk) they host free advice days in London.
      Good luck with your idea cyberking.

      PS. in the 14+ years I have never come across a case of a patent infringement (nor my old boss - 35+ years in product development) Maybe we just lead sheltered lives :)
       
    6. Camid

      Camid Well-Known Member

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    7. creativebarcode

      creativebarcode New Member

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      Under the current IPR system 'ideas' cannot be protected. 3D concepts can only be protected under a 'patent' ; and 2D visual elements and names can be protected under 'trademarks'; copyright and design registration.

      However, early stage concepts and fully detailed propositions themselves fall under non protection of ideas - regardless of whether they are unarticulated by the man in the street or articulated by professional Originators such as designers.

      Distinction and differentiation is needed between articulated and non articulated - and an ethics based system to enable the 1000's of innovative ideas produced by fully qualified and naturally talented professiona that are not subject to patent protection; as well as those that are or could become subject of patent protection needs to become an industry standard if innovation is to truly open up; and concept theft eradicated.

      This is the basis upon which www.creativebarcode.com was launched (15th September 2010) Check it out and please feel welcome to post feedback and questions here. :)
       
    8. pcdcox

      pcdcox Member

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      If you were in Ireland you could take out a short term patent(10 years) for 60 Euro.
      If you are in the Uk then there must be something similar.
      You should apply to the patents office for a guide to applying for a patent.
      There will be sample applications available for you to examine and copy.
      It is based in legal jargon but as you are educated to university level this should not be a problem for you.

      When you have received an acknowlegement of your application you will have a number and a PRIORITY date and this establishes when you applied and gives you protection.

      You must follow up within 12 months for patents in other juristictions or you lose the protection of your PRIORITY date.

      When applying for the patent you should cover every possible method of use or design. Otherwise it will be easy to make improvements on your design or idea just as your friend Dyson did.
       
    9. stewart128

      stewart128 Member

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      I came across this post quite late in the day but thought I should comment on it for those who are interested.

      I am a Chartered Patent Attorney and just wanted to point out that some of the advice above is very good (such as Tom_F's) but some of it is very bad and, if followed, could cause you to kiss goodbye to any rights to stop someone copying your ideas. You really need to speak to a Patent Attorney for some advice if you are serious about preventing copying. In short, by far the best way of doing this is by filing a patent application covering the idea. As has been discussed above, you do also need some money to do this, but there are various other costs incurred along the way too so if you don't have any money to spend on protecting the idea, you are very unlikely to be in a position to take it to market anyway.

      There are a lot of misconceptions about enforcing patents. There is no denying that the procedure for enforceing a patent is extremely expensive and frought with uncertainites; HOWEVER, in the 10 years or so I have been in the profession I'd guess that less than 1% of applications I have handled come to that. Far more common is that parties come to some (often very inexpensive) settlement before they are anywhere near Court. Such a settlement is only possible when it can be based on the tangible protection afforded by the patent.

      It is also worth mentioning that most patent attorneys will offer up to an hour of free advice.
      Having said all that, if you really don't think you have the funds or are likely to have the funds required, one option may be to consider seeking support from the University - although this could cause some ownership complications.
       
    10. ShoN

      ShoN Active Member

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      in any way. For copying or project modification there are enough one or several types of images of your idea
       

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