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  • Ideas worthy of a patent?

    Fertile minds around here. Who has had an idea, but lacked the 25 grand up front, or simply not motivated by dreaming of what could be? Tell us about it.

  • #2
    I spent 12G on a patent,
    then never used it.


    -D
    DZER

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    • #3
      I'm on 18 patents so far, some are just mine, some are with companies I've invented products for and made the prototypes of. My latest personal one was $15,000 for the patent, I've got about $30,000 in the project so far. It's slowly starting to return some investment. I have other inventions that were never patented, because it wasn't worth the cash outlay, but have made thousands off of them over the years in a niche market. In 2025 it will be the 30th year for a line of products that I'm still making money with. I don't talk about them on here to honor George's no selling policy.
      Kansas City area

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      • #4
        Had an idea for a Pez pill dispenser for seniors, but forgot about it till now.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Stu View Post
          Had an idea for a Pez pill dispenser for seniors, but forgot about it till now.
          For memory pills?

          Comment


          • #6
            The self propelled grain augers I’ve built are still not commercial available that I’m aware of.The first one was in 1990 and has several unique features some safety oriented,I kicked some idea’s around but cost & components would put them north of $150,000 so marketing would be a issue.Never attempted to patent any of it as each unique feature would be a separate patent is how I understood it.

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            • #7
              A patent theoretically prevents others from making money with your idea. It is your responsibility to find those violating your patent and suing them to either stop or to pay you for a license to use the intellectual property. There are many, many companies, and even entire countries, that bet you don’t have the resources to defend your patent.

              Because of this, the “modern” approach is to keep the intellectual property (IP) secret (even provisional patents are public), and hit the market hard to establish a name but always anticipating that if the idea is hot others will have knock offs on the market within months. Prosecuting the knock offs is prohinitively expensive, so the original manufacturer is reduced to a smaller “niche” market interested in the original product, typically at a higher price and quality.

              Remember Bill Gates’ promise…Write any software you want. If it’s any good we’ll duplicate and own it.

              I have a dozen or so patents, all paid through employers, Every one of them has been violated, but none of the patent owners has prosecuted them. In fact, most have simply dropped the patent maintenance (it takes money to hold a patent, more with each year) at the first sign that others were interested in stealing the IP.
              SE MI, USA

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              • #8
                Nothing new so far, was always told by the one company I retired from, ‘your ideas are why you were hired, and any ideas you may come up with we get first right of ownership per signature’. Did get accelerated more than once in salary brackets.

                Have wondered often was not there a fellow on here who had arrived at a kit for rebuilding rollers for golf course mowers which was the ‘cat’s meow’? I hope he got rich and recognized.

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                • #9
                  No patents under my own ownership....I know better.

                  One a former employer owns, it's expired now, but we made a lot of product using it. Could have had some more, but the company was not very interested in patents at the time. We just made cool products and from time to time jawboned any imitators out of copying, when talking to them at trade shows. Much cheaper, and sold just as well.

                  Patents are an excuse for a lawsuit. He says "it's been done before, look here", you say "that's not what we are doing, here are the differences". It costs a couple million to defend, or attack, a patent, at least it did back about 20 years. Probably more than that now. If you are not making more than that from the patent, it s not worth much more than a Lawyer's Letter to defend it.

                  What you WANT, is a copyright. Defending those for most things (other than software) is usually dead easy, and you can get triple damages plus lawyer' fees and court costs from the infringers if you sue and win.

                  I understand that "design patents" are almost as good as copyrights, but have no experience to go on for them.
                  CNC machines only go through the motions.

                  Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                  Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                  Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                  I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                  Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

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                  • #10
                    And that is EXACTLY why I have never applied for a patent. I may be able to come up with the 10 to 15 K$ to get the patent, but the lawyers will eat you alive if you defend it. And, it is any good, China and others WILL COPY IT.

                    When I get an idea I try other paths to get some money from it. This is why I have written articles for George's magazines and others. Small payment there, but I can count on it. I am presently working on an electronic project that I will write a DIY article on. I have several more articles in the background. I get ideas all the time: many are even good ones.

                    Ideas that may be patent worthy?

                    My QC Tool Post: It was published in the Feb-Mar 2010 Machinist's Workshop. It has a unique COMBINATION of ideas that make it a better design than some others. Good tool post? Among the best, at least IMHO. Patent worthy? I don't know. Nothing really new in it: just a unique combination of features.

                    LCD Display for PIC Style Processors: It uses only one output pin of the processor, most others use two or more. But it is an extension of a popular idea so the question of a patent is just that, questionable. Perhaps with a good patent lawyer/law firm who can write a good claim to being unique. Biggest problem would be it would need to sell for well under $10, probably under $5. Profit will probably be just a few cents each. And even then, the Chinese will quickly copy it and eat your lunch and dinner too. So even with a patent you will need to sell millions of them just to get the cost of the patent back. Even just making and selling them in the US without a patent would be a real challenge.

                    20 Segment LED Audio Level Meter: Most LED audio level meters are either 10 segments which is too few for accurately setting an audio level or a totally overkill, totally for professional use only, 100 segments which costs many hundreds of dollars. My 20 segment audio level meter design provides +/- 0.5db around the zero point for accurate settings when a reference tone is provided (as in a professional environment) and has a scale that covers levels between +3db and -45db in twenty steps for audio that does not have such a reference. This allows more accurate setting of audio levels with all types of audio. It has provision for adjusting the input level as needed (at least -20dbm to +30dbm) and can be set for peak, standard IRE, or other response characteristics. It has a balanced line input for professional use and the input impedance is 10K which can be changed to any lower value via a single resistor. It uses standard ICs, no customs. The design is inexpensive enough for most consumer uses and has sufficient accuracy for many professional uses. It's unique feature is the exact choice of standard ICs which allows the needed scale: 20 segment with a wide range and high accuracy near the zero point. Patent worthy? Again, I don't know. Just a unique combination of parts (ICs).

                    Any takers on financing any of them?

                    ......... <crickets> ........

                    I thought not. I certainty can't.



                    Originally posted by Doozer View Post
                    I spent 12G on a patent,
                    then never used it.


                    -D
                    Paul A.
                    SE Texas

                    And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                    You will find that it has discrete steps.

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                    • #11
                      There are law firms that specialize in going after patent holders. They scour the world looking for people/companies that actually have a product with a patent on the market. They then sue the patent holder which then has to defend their patent at huge costs to the patent holder. They are the worst scum of the earth. This is a huge simplification of the process but anyone who has had to defend a patent will know what I mean. This is totally different from patent infringement.
                      Location: The Black Forest in Germany

                      How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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                      • #12
                        They sue the patent holders? You can't infringe on your own patent, so what is the basis of the law suit? Restraint of trade? Law firms don't manufacture or sell things so they have no basis for that - at least I would think. Prior art? Wouldn't they need to show something concrete?

                        So what?



                        Originally posted by Black Forest View Post
                        There are law firms that specialize in going after patent holders. They scour the world looking for people/companies that actually have a product with a patent on the market. They then sue the patent holder which then has to defend their patent at huge costs to the patent holder. They are the worst scum of the earth. This is a huge simplification of the process but anyone who has had to defend a patent will know what I mean. This is totally different from patent infringement.
                        Paul A.
                        SE Texas

                        And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                        You will find that it has discrete steps.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Paul Alciatore View Post
                          They sue the patent holders? You can't infringe on your own patent, so what is the basis of the law suit? Restraint of trade? Law firms don't manufacture or sell things so they have no basis for that - at least I would think. Prior art? Wouldn't they need to show something concrete?

                          So what?




                          They search for patents that are close to each other and then contact the oldest patent owner/company and convince them that the other patent is actually infringing on the oldest patent holder. They then get paid to go after the newer patent holder. The law firm is doing the scouting for infringement not the older patent holder.
                          Location: The Black Forest in Germany

                          How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DrMike View Post
                            A patent theoretically prevents others from making money with your idea. It is your responsibility to find those violating your patent and suing them to either stop or to pay you for a license to use the intellectual property. There are many, many companies, and even entire countries, that bet you don’t have the resources to defend your patent.
                            So true! A few years ago I was approached by a large fishing tackle company to design and prototype a new reel for them. We couldn't agree on the terms so we parted ways. A year or so later they came out with a reel that was strikingly close to one of my earlier designs. So much so that I first found out about it by the public on FB. I sent them a letter and they openly admitted to coping my work, however completely "unintentional". I replied with idle threats but I don't have the money to defend my work even if I did have a design patent.
                            Ontario, Canada

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                            • #15
                              FYI I had or have a book called "Will it Sell" designed for reading by the folks who Think they may have an idea. You can also search the patent office for prior art on your own. You can also file a Provisional Patent that will allow you to explore buyers of your idea, with some protection.

                              Yes I did all that and my two Provisional Patents expired with No buyers... boo who.

                              Will It Sell? How to Determine If Your Invention Is Profitably Marketable (Before Wasting Money on a Patent): White, James E.: 9780967649405: Amazon.com: Books
                              Last edited by wmgeorge; 08-08-2022, 09:18 AM.
                              Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician

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