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Old 06-04-2010, 07:44 AM
 
512 posts, read 685,736 times
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hi,
can someone who's gone through the process, shed some light on the path to making an idea for a product, a reality?

I would greatly appreciate it.
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Old 06-05-2010, 02:50 AM
 
3,460 posts, read 2,565,391 times
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The first thing you should do is a patent search to make sure it hasn't already been patented. Google has a nice tool for it, but you have to remember that they save all your searches and they could decide to sell your search terms to the highest bidder.

Next, unless you're absolutely sure you're onto something BIG, don't bother with a patent right away. Get a nondisclosure agreement from everybody involved and have a prototype made to make sure it works. Another consideration on patents is the financial aspect of it. Sadly, many great inventions just aren't profitable enough to warrant spending $10K or more on a patent. To make the decision, you have to know how much it will cost to manufacture, how much it will retail for, how many units/month you can sell, whether you can afford (potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars) to defend your patent, AND how much margin your distributors will need to make it worth their while. Even if your idea isn't worth patenting it may still be worth making, but you'll need to count on a short product life cycle to get your money back before other people copy your idea.

Having a prototype also helps a lot when you're trying to sell your idea to marketing people because most salespeople have a hard time visualizing what you're trying to tell them. In my experience, most of them need a shiny trinket to get their interest.
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:19 PM
 
8,535 posts, read 9,836,271 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpie1234 View Post
hi,
can someone who's gone through the process, shed some light on the path to making an idea for a product, a reality?

I would greatly appreciate it.
I don't know where you are but if you are close to Houston, Rice University has a patent library that you can use for free to research your idea..

It's not easy either...... I've done it...
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:58 PM
 
2,009 posts, read 5,366,117 times
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go to United States Patent and Trademark Office and run your own searches after reading about the relevant process. If you are capable of running the searches yourself then by all means try to find similar product patents you can leverage text from in writing your own. If you don't feel confident doing any of this then just identify a Patent Attorney locally and work with them on getting your patent written up and filed appropriately. The process is not complicated but you do want to have it written up in the best possible way to protect your product.
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:07 PM
 
2,009 posts, read 5,366,117 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sterlinggirl View Post
Next, unless you're absolutely sure you're onto something BIG, don't bother with a patent right away.
Not to say that your advice above is universally bad.. but in my case it most certainly was. If you can get your patent/afford an attorney to do a search for you (or if you can conduct your own), do it right away. Waiting until some mysterious time later on is a poor idea if there's "any" chance someone is going to learn of your product.

Granted I was burned and in my situation it was a trademark situation, but I feel like you all might want to hear from one person who learned and ended up having to ante up thousands of dollars to rectify a situation which was completely preventable with some money spent up front.
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:38 AM
 
1,249 posts, read 2,749,653 times
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I am a registered patent agent and sterlinggirl's advice is pretty good. When I first started off I would tell everyone to patent as much as they could as quickly as they could. Even if it meant shelling out $10k in legal fees.

Then, I got my MBA and created my own company and realized this was not good advice. Patent decisions need to take into consideration business, technical, and legal issues. So you want to make sure there is a good market out there and enough demand for your product before you spend money on a patent. Also, remember patents may not be the best way to go. If your idea is something that is hard to reverse engineer or a formula you can keep private even after you make you product (ie: coke) then you would be better off keeping it as a trade secret.

If you decide to patent:
Remember we have a "first to invent" patent system in the United States (although this might change shortly). The best advice I have is to keep detailed records of your invention process, use pen and write it down in a bound notebook (like a lab notebook you had in school), have people witness it every week by signing their name and dating. - This establishes your date of invention and can be used in court if someone beats you to the patent office.

Next, search google.com and google.com/patents and really spend a few hours to make sure nobody else had thought of your idea. Only doing a search from the USPTO will miss a bunch of stuff. The patent office will search lots of different places to make sure your idea has not been invented before. If it still looks like your idea is new and different from anything else out there, then,

work on your prototype and business plan. Do not tell anyone about your idea unless you have them sign a Non Disclosure Agreement. Once you are positive that your idea can work technically and that you can make money from it or get investors to pay for it, at that point you should look into either writing and filing the patent yourself or hiring an attorney to do it.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:39 PM
 
10,099 posts, read 11,320,669 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpie1234 View Post
hi,
can someone who's gone through the process, shed some light on the path to making an idea for a product, a reality?

I would greatly appreciate it.
Contact a patent attorney.
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:20 AM
 
1 posts, read 5,106 times
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I am currently working with inventworldwide.com .. Has anyone used this company>??
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:55 PM
 
1,475 posts, read 1,226,332 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpie1234 View Post
can someone who's gone through the process, shed some light on the path to making an idea for a product, a reality?
First consider how much money the idea can make. Then consider how hard it is to bring it to market. Then consider the upfront costs to making and selling it. It may not be worth patenting. It may not be worth anything.

One approach many people don't think of is to make and sell for a short-term profit. So, if the item can be made cheap and brought to market quick for little money. Then make it, hammer the market, grab a bunch of profits and move on. You won't need a patent for that. But, one important thing is, make sure you don't infringe on an existing patent.
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Old 12-17-2012, 12:33 PM
 
2,074 posts, read 1,502,079 times
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Also, consider the following: If you walk into WalMart and see a product that infringes your patent, what are you going to do about it? Sue the rascals? Not a chance, unless you want to bankrupt yourself with legal fees.
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