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OT - Anyone HSM'er ever patent?

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  • OT - Anyone HSM'er ever patent?

    I see lots of widgets being made for various stuff, I was wondering if any of you Home Shop Machinists have ever applied for or obtained a patent for one of your original gizmo's.

    I built a prototype that is both useful and unique, and I am considering trying for a patent. Although it's not a full on patent search, I have done patent searches myself for hours on end and I think my prototype has at least a good chance of not infringing on any other patents.

    Anyone been through this process? What can I expect?

  • #2
    You can expect to have several stumbling blocks.....

    it is actually good to have a decent patent lawyer, if only to get the routine stuff dealt with, like proper patent drawing style/conventions, etc. They know the drill, and will ensure it is dealt with.

    Do NOT expect them to understand your idea, YOU will have to handle much of that part, but they WILL make sure that the process is followed properly, the documents are in order, and the various legalities are punctiliously followed (if they are any good as patent lawyers).

    I have been through it twice with a large St Louis law firm, both times when with a prior employer. Both patents issued. One was mine, one was another that was "wished on" me since I was dealing with one already.

    The USPTO initially told us that the idea was unpatentable, but we were able to show them that ours was different from the things they came up with that appeared superficially similar. This despite the patent attorney looking glum and figuring we were sunk.... Which is why I say the attorney won't, and doesn't really have to, thoroughly understand your idea, and that YOU will have to handle that part.

    Going through an attorney is a hands-on process, and the more work YOU do, the cheaper it is, and the better it will turn out, in general. Too many people 'turn it over to" the attorney, which does NOT work.

    Remember, the "claims" are the meat of the issue. Make sure tehy ar written so as to

    1) cover as much as possible.

    2) will still cover what you need even if some are thrown out, which is likely.

    Generally, you must put all the claims in to start with, because there are only certain circumstances under which you can add "new matter". Claims count as "new matter" if you want to add any later.
    Last edited by J Tiers; 04-21-2011, 12:25 AM.
    1601

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

    Comment


    • #3
      One patent. One trademark.
      I don't know what level of knowledge you have but here is what I know.
      I think you should get a patent lawyer for the legal part.

      Patents only allow you to protect your idea from infringement by lawyers suing.

      You need to pay patent upkeep fee's at intervals and the patent will eventually expire in @17 yrs here in the US.

      The biggest and hardest question you MUST ask yourself, how much money will you make? Be brutally honest with yourself. Having a patent is ONLY the first step. There are a lot of good creative ideas that will make money but may not justify the expense of a patent.

      People who are knowledgeable and savvy about this stuff can tell you a lot. FIND one and go talk to him or her. Protect yourself with proper paperwork before exposing your idea. Also once you have your idea in physical form the clock starts ticking as to how soon you must file.

      I cannot stress enough the idea of talking with someone who knows his/her stuff in the industry or field your product would be used and about patents and business.

      I have heard more than once you can make money with an idea and without a patent. Remember, A patent doesn't prevent someone from copying your idea, it just allows you to sue. Google the interval windshield wiper, the jet ski, or Memmelson and bar codes to get a feel for what can happen.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, I have already noticed that I need an attorney, after reading many, many patents I have noticed that they all have a legal-ish ring to them. I can handle all the claims, drawings, specs, and the prototypes, but I don't speak lawyer-nese.

        Comment


        • #5
          Oh, yes.... on the subject of what it DOES for you, I;d rather have a copyright than three patents.........

          You have a chance of actually being able to afford to sue a copyright infringer.......... I know people who have done it and won.

          But a patent case was quoted to us at $2 million, win or lose, by our lawyers, who said we had a very very good case, but that unless we were prepared to spend that much, we should stay out, which we did.
          1601

          Keep eye on ball.
          Hashim Khan

          Comment


          • #6
            I have a patent. The patent is the easy part, just costs money. The hard part is making money off the patent. I heard from one source that only about 10% of ideas which are "patentable" are "marketable". Then only a percent of those that are "marketable" have enough $$$ behind them to successfully bring them to market.
            Video meliora proboque deteriora sequor

            www.garagegunsmithing.com

            Comment


            • #7
              The difficult part of getting a patent is wording the claims to maneuver around all the existing art to prove your idea is truly unique. It's an interesting exercise, but don't bother unless you're absolutely certain you can follow through with the development and marketing of the idea.

              I've got a patent for a fuel-saving modification for carburetors. I'd like to say the oil companies bought it to bury it, but my patent was rendered useless by the introduction of fuel injection shortly after my patent was issued.

              Spending good money on that patent was one of the few mistakes I made when I was young. I wish.
              Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.

              Comment


              • #8
                The patent is the easy part. Defending the patent will be a nightmare and take a lot of money. Millions of dollars is not unrealistic and you will have to either defend your patent or go after infringers.
                How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Have you concidered just selling your idea to a manufacturer?...... unless what you invent is "the next big thing" it is a lot of work for little return, and as already said, unless you can afford to defend, possibly internationally there is no guarentee you will ever make anything off it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have taken out 3 patents for lighting.

                    2 of them are now in mass production in Germany & sold all over the world. Am I rich ......NO.
                    I had to walk away with nothing (after spending £1000's "protecting the ideas") because although I had an 'open & shut case' I couldn't stump up £500,000 to sue a mutimillion £ company.

                    I was told the case would take 3-5 yrs, ironically the company would be using some of the profit from my idea to bankrupt me.

                    Save your self grief & cash, go ahead & make & sell it, quickly.
                    If it's a good money maker the big boys will take it anyway but no need to spend your cash telling them early.

                    Am I bitter & twisted about it all???............ bloody right I am , but life moves on & at least I don't have to work to my dying day unlike most of the worlds population.

                    john
                    John

                    I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure , but I'm not a complete idiot - some bits are still missing

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You should read the history of James Dyson and his vacuum cleaners.

                      He nearly bankrupted himself..just maintaining patents..even before the well documented fight with Hoover..

                      Rob

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As soon as you take the patent out, your ideas, drawings etc ..are online for everyone to see and copy ..and people will get it into production sooner than you can.

                        The chinese dont give a hoot about patents .. they will use your ideas quicker than you can .

                        there are loads of patent websites sharing your ideas ..

                        Dont waste your money ..

                        all the best.markj

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          +1 on not wasting your money.
                          I hold 3 patents
                          Limb Traction Apparatus: #4966167
                          Torn Cartilage Suture: #4750492
                          Surgical cutting instrument with plurality of openings
                          #5,084,052

                          The thing most people don't realize is that a patent is only worth what one is willing to spend to protect it. The patent office only lists your patent. They do NOTHING to protect it. Any company or individual, with means, can take or infringe on you patent with impunity.

                          One of the start-ups I was involved in was involved in was lost because a much larger, well known, company came to town with a plane load of lawyers and legally stole our patents, manufacturing processes and documentation, within 48 hours, through legal maneuvering. We immediately sold our technology to a larger company who spent 10 years and multi-millions of dollars to defend the technology. The end result was that our technology never made it to market, nobody made any money from it and the public never benefited from our planed product.

                          If you do get a patent, sell it to someone else as soon as you can and let them battle to protect it. 8^)

                          Randy
                          Last edited by randyjaco; 04-21-2011, 09:21 AM.
                          Do yourself a favor and see if your TV carrier has America One News Network (AONN). 208 on Uverse. It is good old fashion news, unlike the networks, with no hype, bias or other BS.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Currently have one in the works via the company, which happens to be one of the world's largest corporations. We have an entire legal dept for patents alone, and after speaking with one of lawyers I realize that patents are simply a conversation piece for publicity, nothing really useful.

                            Some disturbing facts that one of the lawyers told me:

                            ~60% of the patents that get through the patent office arent legally binding bc its simply a matter of not being able to find the similar, already existing patent which has precedence.

                            <1% of patents are worth going to court over due to the massive costs involved.

                            In Smokey Yunick's autobiography he claimed he filed for something like 80 patents in his lifetime, of which he was able to get about about 15, and made money off of 2.

                            Im just happy knowing something I have done will outlive me in the form of useful technology.
                            "I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              many of the anecdotes here support my view that the patent system is highly abused and antiquated, a mess where he with biggest legal budget wins. A travesty given it was intended to advance innovation through sharing ideas and protecting the inventors. However all the posts seem to be in the context of patents as a method to stop, or not, others from copying etc

                              There is another key reason for getting a patent and that is to demonstrate to your customers/channel that you have the freedom to operate. If your invention is OEM going into someone else's product/assembly or even if you expect to get it on the shelves of retailers, all those channels will want to know that after deciding to take on your product that they're not going to go through the cost/disruption of having a patent suite/your bankruptcy/injunction etc. Middle managers lose their jobs if production is changed to incorporate your product then production is halted or retails merchandise and generate sales demand then the supply is stopped....so a patent helps demonstrate that no one can stop you from making/selling it - it is important to them.

                              If you want to get a patent, start reading. There's tons to learn beyond forum snippets....if you're really serious, start learning about provisional patents; cost next to nothing, gives one years protection and lets you use 'pat pending' as you expose the idea to market to gauge commercialization potential

                              The other to consider is a patent is but one form of IP - being first and building a strong brand in a niche can be as/more lucrative.
                              .

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