Do the initial search yourself.
In our modern
competitive world, it is difficult to come up with a brand new idea. If you think
you have a new idea, search for it on the Internet. You may find that someone
else has thought of it. If this is the case stop right here. You have done
yourself a service by avoiding the legal cost of pursuing an idea that you
cannot protect. If your idea appears to be new, ask a professional to repeat
the search. A good search is insurance against wasting time and money on an
idea that already exists.
No prototype is necessary
determined that the idea has business potential and is new. It is therefore
urgent that you protect it before someone else files for patent before
you. You do not need to build a
prototype to file for a patent.
Write up your invention clearly before
presenting it to a patent attorney or a patent agent.
minimize your cost by minimizing the labor of your attorney or agent. Write
a description, with drawings if possible, of your invention as clearly as you
can before meeting with a potential legal representative. He will likely have
to rewrite your description in accordance with USPTO rules, but at least he
will have a good starting point. He will appreciate the clarity of your
description and may quote you a lower rate accordingly.
Shop around before you pick a legal
prospective attorneys and agents if they are familiar with the technology of
your invention, how many years they have been in the business and where they
are located. Rely on word of mouth to pick your legal representative.
Avoid big law firms.
large law firms have high expenses and charge more than an attorney or agent
who has a lower overhead.
Be wary of promotional companies.
As mentioned in
a previous newsletter many inventors have been scammed by promotional
companies. If you want to utilize a promotional company try to get a personal
referral. Otherwise, if you have the time and inclination do the promotion
Ask for a fixed flat rate.
pricing between potential attorneys or agents, you should request a fixed flat
rate. Beware of basement prices especially if they are quoted by Internet legal
mills. Often, patents written by such entities are of poor quality and may
later lead to difficulties in obtaining or enforcing the patent.
minimize your upfront cost, apply first for a provisional application.
application allows you to protect your invention at a lower upfront cost than a
non-provisional application. It lasts only one year during which you can use
the term “patent pending.” However, a provisional is not examined by the patent
office and is not proof that your invention is really new. Before the year is
over you must file a non-provisional to keep the early filing date of the
provisional. A reputable attorney or agent will use the work already performed
on a well written provisional to draft the non-provisional and may reduce his
File the non-provisional after confirmation
of potential success.
As soon as
your provisional is filed, work in earnest on your invention. Your goal is to
evaluate the market and determine before the year is over if you should go
ahead with the non-provisional or if you should give up the idea.
month we’ll discuss another topic. Stay tuned. For archived newsletters and a
lot of information for the small inventor go to: www.patentsandventures.com.
If you have any question you can contact me at (858)259-2226
or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This newsletter should not be
construed as being legal advice. ©2014 by George Levy