Any Inventors? What inventing company did you use for patent?

Any SDMB inventors out there? I’ve been toying with several neat little gizmo’s for a few years now, and would love to patent one of them…Are there reputable inventor sites I can go to for honest advice…no fee etc…etc…

Thanks all

Up front disclosure: I am a patent lawyer by credentials, but I don’t represent private individuals, so take this how you will.

Be careful when using companies that will get you patents for your invention. I’ve heard stories where a company will claim to patent your invention for some thing like $500 but what they got you was a design patent, which covers only the look of the product. Those are pretty easy to file - it’s really just a matter of paperwork. (If you have an invention that does something - process, method - you want a utility patent.)

I would recommend talking to a local patent lawyer or a patent agent. They will often do an initial consultation for free and tell you what their fees and the filing fees (set by USPTO) will run. Some of your solo practitioners will file a patent for a flat fee, so ask for that. If it’s something complicated like electronics, I’d suggest looking for someone with that background.

PS: The USPTO has a wonderful site filled with useful information.

IIRC the costs of a patent from application through final granting were approximately $5K. My friend and I went through an attorney in Phila who specializes in that field.

If the cost is prohibitive to you personally, but you believe in the idea, and have friends who share your zeal, consider forming an S corporation, in which monies are pooled by investors, each of whom then has a percentage stake in the corporation, based upon their $ contribution. Profits or losses are distributed amongst the members along the same percentile basis each year.

Talk to a lawyer and accountant, as I am neither-just telling you how we did it-we have 3 patents to date, so we’re used to the drill.

Good luck. :smiley:

That is a very good idea to visit with a lawyer…I am unconcerned about the initial cost of the Utility patent I would seek…what I am worried about and would welcome some help with, is that my idea is just that, and Idea. I have no idea how to make it, but I know in theory, and from some aggressive research that it would be a welcome invention. I just don’t know the process to go about making, and producing the item I have in mind. It would certainly be a utility patent. Eseentially, it would be an enhancement to something that already exists. Any help with this end of the Q would be welcomed.

All the more reason to see a patent attorney. For your mousetrap to be patentable, it must show a significant improvement, innovation, or alteration from all other existing mousetraps. This includes other mousetraps that you may have already patented. A patent attorney performs a search for “similar art” and helps determine if your innovation is significantly different to warrant going through the entire process.

Without knowing the specifics of your widget, production may or may not be an issue. Example: presuming you have a target market for your widget, once the patent is secured, you can either personally produce and sell your widget, or license production and use rights to someone else for a fee, perhaps with reserved rights of your own for production and disitribution to others.

One final thought-depending upon your employment situation, your employer may attempt to claim ownership. I’ve worked for a few outfits who had me sign agreements regarding product development, whether or not it was on their time. My Dad developed two innovations which were specific to his employer/industry, and they worked out a deal that the company underwrote all costs of patent application, initial tooling and production in exchange for the rights to use it themselves without royalty. Dad was free to market the product to other similar companies as he chose-a true win-win.

Feel free to email me privately if you’d like further dialog. Good luck.