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Any patent attornies?


J. Dan

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I have what I think is a good idea for a keyboard product, but I currently don't have the time and resources to develop it. However I was thinking it might not be a bad idea to patent it. There are 2 different types of patents I was thinking and was not sure what all would be required for each:

1). A patent on the concept (nothing like it exists currently)

2) a patent on the actual design including electrical/mechanical details.

 

Seems if I could obtain #1, then #2 wouldn't matter....anybody care to weigh pros/cons of each? #2 seems it may require at least some prototyping first to prove out my design.

 

I am an engineer and perfectly capable of generating AutoCAD drawings and schematics. Howeve, i don't know what's required for a patent. How do patent attornies get paid, and what should I look for? Im guessing stay away from these outfits on TV that advertise patenting your invention? Any advice would be appreciated.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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You can't patent a concept. The phrase you'll most commonly hear is "you can't patent an idea, only an expression of an idea."

 

The two types of patent are a design patent (what it looks like) and a utility patent (typically a method and apparatus for doing something). Both types cover a specific, tangible entity, not a concept or idea.

 

When people talk about patents they usually mean utility patents. In a utility patent you must disclose complete detail of all the inner workings of your invention - enough detail that a person having ordinary skill in the art could make the thing being patented. In practical terms, just making drawings is not enough. You're going to need a working prototype or something pretty close to one to get any real traction.

 

Successful application and granting ("prosecution") of a patent costs many thousands of dollars. Successful defense of a patent against infringement can cost hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of dollars. It's a rich man's game. Even if the USPTO issues your patent - a process that takes about 3 to 5 years - the only right it affords you is the right to sue somebody who infringes it, and that is an insanely expensive process. Therefore, if you don't have hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars at your disposal, the patent will be of limited use to you.

 

Sorry if I'm crushing any dreams here, but this is the sad reality of the patent world these days. (Spouse is a patent attorney, brother is a patent agent, in my dotcom days I was an inventor on three patent applications, one of which issued).

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No problem, I kind of expected as much. My long term thought was that the only way to get a product off the ground and take advantage if economies of scale to make it affordable would be with significant investment. I was thinking if I could secure ownership of the idea, that it would allow me protection to provide enough market research and prototype development to shop it to an existing manufacturer with more resources.

 

It's sort of the quintessential issue. Low quantity would be expensive to produce, and the up front cost for tooling and equipment is just prohibitively expensive for somebody without some sort of infrastructure in place. Even having an injection molder produce cheap plastic parts requires an upfront investment in tooling to the tune of $25k or more.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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You can't patent a concept. The phrase you'll most commonly hear is "you can't patent an idea, only an expression of an idea."

 

The two types of patent are a design patent (what it looks like) and a utility patent (typically a method and apparatus for doing something). Both types cover a specific, tangible entity, not a concept or idea.

 

When people talk about patents they usually mean utility patents. In a utility patent you must disclose complete detail of all the inner workings of your invention - enough detail that a person having ordinary skill in the art could make the thing being patented. In practical terms, just making drawings is not enough. You're going to need a working prototype or something pretty close to one to get any real traction.

 

Successful application and granting ("prosecution") of a patent costs many thousands of dollars. Successful defense of a patent against infringement can cost hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of dollars. It's a rich man's game. Even if the USPTO issues your patent - a process that takes about 3 to 5 years - the only right it affords you is the right to sue somebody who infringes it, and that is an insanely expensive process. Therefore, if you don't have hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars at your disposal, the patent will be of limited use to you.

 

Sorry if I'm crushing any dreams here, but this is the sad reality of the patent world these days. (Spouse is a patent attorney, brother is a patent agent, in my dotcom days I was an inventor on three patent applications, one of which issued).

OBD. That was an excellent, concise description of the process. Particularly this bit> "the only right it affords you is the right to sue somebody who infringes it, and that is an insanely expensive process." And this shouldn't be a dream-killer, but hopefully will prevent the OP and others from having blanket faith in the USPTO as some sort of panacea providing iron clad protection of IP.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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