Patent an idea and find investors.

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realmad
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Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by realmad » Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:16 pm

Hello,

I have an idea for a product. How can I find information on how to patent it and also find investors for developing the product.

Like any forums or sites that I can post my idea for investors. I am also for information on how to get access to resources like scientific minds for consultation.

Thank you,

sport
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by sport » Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:18 pm

Don't share your idea with anyone unless you have non-disclosure agreement in place. So, I would be very careful about posting anything on-line

Topic Author
realmad
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by realmad » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:15 pm

Thank you. How do you recommend I go about building the product and finding investors and resources. If I patent it first would it be safer?

Thanks,

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willthrill81
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by willthrill81 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:16 pm

realmad wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:15 pm
Thank you. How do you recommend I go about building the product and finding investors and resources. If I patent it first would it be safer?

Thanks,
It's probably best to patent it as soon as possible. The U.S. Patent and Trademark office handles such matters and has a lot of information on their website regarding the application process.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

venus_06
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by venus_06 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:24 pm

Patent prosecution is quite expensive and for an individual that can be a very costly upfront investment. If you have plans to form a startup company (based on your idea which you plan to patent), many local law firms will do the work pro bono with payment written in once you raise certain amount of capital. Many universities have incubator programs and resources for this, but not sure how you would get involved if you're not affiliated though. And yes, agree with the above that you should not disclose to anyone without an NDA in place.

Dottie57
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:49 pm

realmad wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:16 pm
Hello,

I have an idea for a product. How can I find information on how to patent it and also find investors for developing the product.

Like any forums or sites that I can post my idea for investors. I am also for information on how to get access to resources like scientific minds for consultation.

Thank you,
FYI, I don’t think you can patent an idea. You can patent a specific implantation of the idea.

InvisibleAerobar
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by InvisibleAerobar » Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:03 pm

venus_06 wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:24 pm
Patent prosecution is quite expensive and for an individual that can be a very costly upfront investment. If you have plans to form a startup company (based on your idea which you plan to patent), many local law firms will do the work pro bono with payment written in once you raise certain amount of capital. Many universities have incubator programs and resources for this, but not sure how you would get involved if you're not affiliated though. And yes, agree with the above that you should not disclose to anyone without an NDA in place.
and we haven't started discussing costs of protecting one's patent from infringement. if one choose not to or does not have the wherewithal to defend against infringement, then all that effort and money put into obtaining the patent is mostly for naught. Same goes for if one can't actually sell products based on the patent. Unfortunately, the learning curve is quite steep for garage inventors.

Starfish
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by Starfish » Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:14 pm

Filing a patent is about 30-50k.

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StevieG72
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by StevieG72 » Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:15 pm

Steer clear of the commercials you see on TV.

They will tell you that your idea is a goldmine and milk every penny they can get out of you!

A friend of mine got caught up in one of these with any idea his wife had. Luckily he only lost about $1,000. He came to his senses before round two which was aboit $8,000.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

lawman3966
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by lawman3966 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:42 am

Retired patent attorney here.
This is a big and complex topic and difficult to fully address in this context. I will address some of the statements above, refer you to some resources, and add a few observations.
I agree with avoiding the invention promotion firms. They lead people on with misleading and unrealistic expectations, and likely charge much more than their services are worth.

I disagree with statement that filing an application will cost $30-50K. The cost of getting an application will depend heavily on the complexity of your invention, and which firm you select.
I have gotten applications on file for $4K and others for closer to $15K. I can't recall one costing more than that. Prosecuting the application (i.e. arguing with the patent office over which of your claims can be part of an issued patent) can cost as much as the initial filing.

Some helpful resources for getting started are listed here.
The book "Patent it Yourself" by David Pressman is a good resource. The book is worth getting even if you don't try to draft the documents by yourself.
The patent office web site www.uspto.gov is loaded with valuable information on every aspect of the patent filing, search, and examination processes.
There is a forum at www.intelproplaw.com where you can ask in-depth questions about every aspect of IP law.

I offer a word of caution here. Designing, legally protecting, making, and selling a new product can be a long and demanding process. Getting a patent is but one small piece of a large and complicated puzzle. In addition to accessing the patent law resources listed above, you may wish to learn about product promotion and licensing.

Companies promising a shortcut to addressing the above challenges in some sort of package deal will only take your money and leave you with little to show for it.

david
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by david » Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:18 am

realmad wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:16 pm
Hello,

I have an idea for a product. How can I find information on how to patent it and also find investors for developing the product.

Like any forums or sites that I can post my idea for investors. I am also for information on how to get access to resources like scientific minds for consultation.

Thank you,
1- patenting is expensive and time consuming. Unless you want really expensive wall art, have a business plan before doing anything. Doesn't have to be formal, but you need next steps. Thinking about investors is a good start, but, what's the bigger plan?

2- use the services of a professional. You have no clue what you're doing. It will likely be worthless if you DIY without a bunch of reading and sone help. That said there are steps you can take to make it better and easier.

3- I'm a patent attorney. I'm not interested in your business (I'm at a big firm and we're setup for mostly larger clients). But, if you PM me, I wouldn't mind discussing the patenting process, likely costs, and how you can get the most out of a patent professional.

I agree with what lawman3966 said. But, patent costs can vary widely based on a number of factors but mostly how drawn out the process takes (a factor of broad claims, the art, and the examiner). The more rounds with the patent office the longer and more expensive it is. Foreign filing is also very expensive as costs multiply.
Last edited by david on Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

boomer_techie
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by boomer_techie » Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:49 am

david wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:18 am
1- patenting is expensive and time consuming. Unless you want really expensive wall art, have a business plan before doing anything. Doesn't have to be formal, but you need next steps. Thinking about investors is a good start, but, what's the bigger plan?
What are you going to when someone starts infringing upon the patent? What if that someone has lots of money? It may be very expensive, and thus infeasible for you to fight them.

What if that infringer is from China? Sending a container of product every week. Each under a different brand or company name.

Tracker968
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by Tracker968 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:43 pm

You might want to consider filing a provisional patent. This is simple, easy and inexpensive to do. I think it still costs $65.00. I have seen provisional patents that consist of a 1 page description of the invention plus a hand drawn sketch. It gives you 1 year to decide what to do next. At 1 year you could then file a full patent application, or refile another provisional to gain another year. The whole idea is to give you time to determine if you can line up investors, make a business out of your idea, etc.

btenny
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by btenny » Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:51 pm

Create a "poor mans patent" by writing the product description and taking pictures of what you have built (a paper/cardboard prototype) and the drawings that describe the item. Show this paper to a trusted friend and get him/her to sign each page. Then sign each page yourself. Then put all this paper into a mail envelope and seal it up and take it to the post office and send it registered mail with signature service on both ends to your house or your lawyer. Then when the package comes do not open it but put it away in a safe place. You now have written proof of the concept and the date you did the work and a government witness of the date.

But you have to proceed to build a working prototype to make the patent valid. Then when you have that prototype you have to lockup that item in same way. So a second mail package needs to be created shipped that contains the prototype and the date it was built and who did the work. You have to do this design lockup before you disclose the product to the public to keep your rights protected.

I am not a patent attorney but just an old timer with a few patents. So proceed with caution.

Good Luck

Bruce T
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by Bruce T » Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:59 pm

btenny wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:51 pm
Create a "poor mans patent" by writing the product description and taking pictures of what you have built (a paper/cardboard prototype) and the drawings that describe the item. Show this paper to a trusted friend and get him/her to sign each page. Then sign each page yourself. Then put all this paper into a mail envelope and seal it up and take it to the post office and send it registered mail with signature service on both ends to your house or your lawyer. ...

Good Luck
The above process may have been more useful in the "first to invent" days ... the transition of the US system to "first inventor to file" (effective 2013 and forward) may effect the efficacy of that approach ... anyway - perhaps all the more reason to get legal support.

riverguy
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by riverguy » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:05 pm

btenny wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:51 pm
Create a "poor mans patent" by writing the product description and taking pictures of what you have built (a paper/cardboard prototype) and the drawings that describe the item. Show this paper to a trusted friend and get him/her to sign each page. Then sign each page yourself. Then put all this paper into a mail envelope and seal it up and take it to the post office and send it registered mail with signature service on both ends to your house or your lawyer. Then when the package comes do not open it but put it away in a safe place. You now have written proof of the concept and the date you did the work and a government witness of the date.

But you have to proceed to build a working prototype to make the patent valid. Then when you have that prototype you have to lockup that item in same way. So a second mail package needs to be created shipped that contains the prototype and the date it was built and who did the work. You have to do this design lockup before you disclose the product to the public to keep your rights protected.

I am not a patent attorney but just an old timer with a few patents. So proceed with caution.

Good Luck
Yea...this won't work. The US is no longer first to invent but first to file. Rightfully so, you shouldn't be able to come up with an idea today and then claim patent for the idea several years down the road if the public has not been put on notice about the idea.

This is the exact same concept as recording documents in your county. Your deed sitting in your sock drawer (invention in a box) should carry zero weight if I don't know about it and go buy the house (invent the same product) that you supposedly own but were too lazy to record the deed. Now if you have documented public disclosure of the idea/product and then someone else patents it, you have a legitimate claim.

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Ron Swanson
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by Ron Swanson » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:18 pm

Keep in mind that by patenting something, you are essentially telling the world exactly what your invention is and how it works. There is no reason someone cannot take your patent, reverse engineer it, and change the product just enough so that it does not infringe the original patent.

Also keep in mind that a patent in the US is not valid in all countries, only in those covered by the Patent Cooperation Treaty (I believe).

These aren't reason not to get a patent, just things to weigh against the cost. The United States Trademark and Patent Office has a database of all patents that may be helpful to you.

Ron

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:20 pm

You get patent.
You manufacture thing with the patented idea.
Microsoft decides to manufacture the same thing.
You sue Microsoft for infringement.
Microsoft has more lawyers than all the stars in the sky. You lose. And now you owe lawyers at $500 an hour to the point you realized it's hopeless.

I have 2 patents. I honestly feel that almost all patents in the last 50 years are stupid.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

hicabob
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by hicabob » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:27 pm

Nolo books "Patent it yourself" is packed with good info
https://www.amazon.com/Patent-Yourself- ... way&sr=8-1

smitcat
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by smitcat » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:30 pm

-A patent in and of itself has no value.
-A prototype has no value.
-Finding funding for these 'products' without demonstrable sales is near impossible
-Getting to demonstrable sales takes a whole lot of funds.

FWIW - I am listed on 5-6 patents with my past company (cannot quite remember) and have been involved in 4 'private' patents that have attempted to raise funds for production.

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Tyler9000
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by Tyler9000 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:53 pm

I work in product development and have quite a few patents to my name. In my experience, patents are useful in order to keep competition away from your successful business for a period of time in order to recoup your development costs to get there. But the idea that they're useful for owning an idea before it has been developed into a viable product is highly overrated, as you probably don't yet understand all of the design problems that the patent will need to address to be worth anything. Personally, I would recommend bootstrapping your idea in private to prove that it truly has the potential to be practical, profitable, and unique before wasting money on IP protection.

sport
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by sport » Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:23 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:20 pm
You get patent.
You manufacture thing with the patented idea.
Microsoft decides to manufacture the same thing.
You sue Microsoft for infringement.
Microsoft has more lawyers than all the stars in the sky. You lose. And now you owe lawyers at $500 an hour to the point you realized it's hopeless.
For this reason, it may be better to sell your idea to a company large enough to defend it. I would think that the same patent attorney you would use to file for a patent could represent you and help you find a large corporate sponsor for your idea. The terms of the sale could include ongoing royalties, or an outright sale, depending on the value of the idea and the preferences of both parties.

I once read about a man who invented a common automotive device. The story was that some auto companies infringed on his idea and he spent the rest of his life fighting them. Even though he won some of those battles, the legal fighting became an obsession and ruined his life.

smitcat
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by smitcat » Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:36 pm

realmad wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:15 pm
Thank you. How do you recommend I go about building the product and finding investors and resources. If I patent it first would it be safer?

Thanks,
You will be surprised at how hard it is to get funding and how much you need to protect your idea, with that said...
resources:
- SBDC
- SCORE
- Local college class on Sm Bus Dev
- local class on bus startup thru unemployment dept
Funding be very careful here)
- Local angel groups
- local small bus financing companies
- Conventions on Bus startups (there are many)
I would stay far away from the funding folks unless/until you get some coaching from the resources above.

MedSaver
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by MedSaver » Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:52 pm

You can try a patent marketing group like Lambert&Lambert. You don't even need the patent approved or pending to submit it to them (although that might help). Costs $200 to submit an idea and they will provide you some sort of marketing report on the viability of your proposal. If they decide to market you, they take a cut of your profits and in turn they do everything on the back end as far as getting the patents, etc. I have heard they only take on very good ideas so you might get a report that is rather...deflating.

smitcat
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by smitcat » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:03 pm

smitcat wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:36 pm
realmad wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:15 pm
Thank you. How do you recommend I go about building the product and finding investors and resources. If I patent it first would it be safer?

Thanks,
You will be surprised at how hard it is to get funding and how much you need to protect your idea, with that said...
resources:
- SBDC
- SCORE
- Local college class on Sm Bus Dev
- local class on bus startup thru unemployment dept
Funding be very careful here)
- Local angel groups
- local small bus financing companies
- Conventions on Bus startups (there are many)
I would stay far away from the funding folks unless/until you get some coaching from the resources above.
Forgot to ask - have you searched google patents for overlapping intellectual property?

Oakwood42
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by Oakwood42 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:59 pm

lawman3966 wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:42 am
Retired patent attorney here.
This is a big and complex topic and difficult to fully address in this context. I will address some of the statements above, refer you to some resources, and add a few observations.
I agree with avoiding the invention promotion firms. They lead people on with misleading and unrealistic expectations, and likely charge much more than their services are worth.

I disagree with statement that filing an application will cost $30-50K. The cost of getting an application will depend heavily on the complexity of your invention, and which firm you select.
I have gotten applications on file for $4K and others for closer to $15K. I can't recall one costing more than that. Prosecuting the application (i.e. arguing with the patent office over which of your claims can be part of an issued patent) can cost as much as the initial filing.

Some helpful resources for getting started are listed here.
The book "Patent it Yourself" by David Pressman is a good resource. The book is worth getting even if you don't try to draft the documents by yourself.
The patent office web site www.uspto.gov is loaded with valuable information on every aspect of the patent filing, search, and examination processes.
There is a forum at www.intelproplaw.com where you can ask in-depth questions about every aspect of IP law.

I offer a word of caution here. Designing, legally protecting, making, and selling a new product can be a long and demanding process. Getting a patent is but one small piece of a large and complicated puzzle. In addition to accessing the patent law resources listed above, you may wish to learn about product promotion and licensing.

Companies promising a shortcut to addressing the above challenges in some sort of package deal will only take your money and leave you with little to show for it.
+1

Topic Author
realmad
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by realmad » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:22 pm

I am so glad I posted this. It helped me avoid starting on wrong foot. I am going to put my time & energy into developing prototype first.

Thanks every one for the help with resources, and suggestions. I hope the thread would be helpful to others in the same situation.

Thanks again.

Cycle
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by Cycle » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:33 pm

I have a dozen or so patents (thru megacorp)

First figure out if there is a market, even if it's nitch that's fine. Find out the needs of those users (research other product complaints /reviews).

Brainstorm some ideas. Edison used to drift off to sleep with ball bearings in hand to tap into his diffuse thinking mode. The ball bearings would drop to the floor and wake him up, allowing him to jot down his ideas.

Search existing patents. Read the referenced patents.

You probably already found your idea previously disclosed at this point. If not, file a provisional based on your brainstorm (a few hours work).

Prototype your idea and get feedback from users.

If everything looks good draft the utility patent yourself and then take it to a patent attorney to review it before you file.
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way

randomguy
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by randomguy » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:54 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:20 pm
You get patent.
You manufacture thing with the patented idea.
Microsoft decides to manufacture the same thing.
You sue Microsoft for infringement.
Microsoft has more lawyers than all the stars in the sky. You lose. And now you owe lawyers at $500 an hour to the point you realized it's hopeless.

I have 2 patents. I honestly feel that almost all patents in the last 50 years are stupid.
Microsoft, apple and Google have paid out billions for patent infringent. I am willing to bet in 99% of the cases that they had no idea that they were infringing on someone's patents.

Now they tend to get sued by patent trolls that are in the business of doing this. They accumulate thousands patents and hope 1 is valuable. The odds of your random patent being valuable are incredibly small.

Beehave
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by Beehave » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:26 pm

Ten patents here for 2 megacorps. I'll echo every "it's a jungle out there" comment appearing above about the patent process and trying to start a business. The one thing I think I can add that is not obvious about the topic is that the claims section of the patent is the most critical part of the patent application, and that whoever writes the thing up should really know what they are doing in that portion.

In my patent applications, the professionals would let me do the drafts of the sections for the prior art and the new art sections. Sometimes I participated in the search for prior art that might overlap, or helped respond to the patent examiner's questions. But they did not let me anywhere near the writing of the claims section. They read my descriptions of the new art and its relationship to the prior art and interviewed me carefully. But then they wrote the claims section and showed me the final draft of the whole thing for any discussion/editing before filing.

Making money off a patent is a process involving many slippery steps. I wish you good luck, and strongly suggest keeping the day job if and while you choose to work on this.

KlangFool
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by KlangFool » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:10 pm

OP,

1) I have many patents in my names.

2) I was a product manager. Aka, folks that took an idea, develop the product and market it.

My suggestions:

A) File a patent application. It will take many years before the patent will be granted. But, if your idea is worth something, you want to protect it.

B) Hire a patent attorney to help you to file the patent. They could do the search for you and confirm that it can be patented.

C) The following is the organization that you may join. Please note that it is technology focused. You will find startup and real product manager in the meeting.

http://www.productcamp.org/

KlangFool

knightrider
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Re: Patent an idea and find investors.

Post by knightrider » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:54 am

In my experience, 99% of a product success is in execution, not the idea. Talk is cheap and we all have ideas.. Creating something that people will actually pay for is a whole different story.. When people talk about filing patents for their idea I think they watch too much TV. In Hollywood, it's all about the great idea that nobody thought of.. Reality is the opposite..

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