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  • #995487
    DerWahn
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    Hi,

    So, I have come up with an invention. I’ve made a prototype and tested it. I’m happy with it and am ready to move forward.

    What should my first step be?

    From what I’ve read I think it would be wise to file a provisional patent application. This will give me 12 months to do proper market research to determine commercial viability, and maybe even try to market the product, and will let me get it out there and get feedback etc at the very least.

    So should my first move be to visit a patent attorney?

    If so, what do I need to come armed with, so to speak? I have zero experience with this kind of thing and admittedly I do find it a little daunting. Do I need to write and bring my own product description for the patent? Or do they do all that for you or at least have connections to help you get it done? It may sound silly, but Im not really sure how to describe my invention. I looked up somewhat similar patents and the way the items are worded in a technical manner are beyond my ability to reproduce. The importance of properly describing your invention is not lost on me so I dont want to take any chances.

    If I was to go to a patent attorney today I could bring technical drawings, 3D computer models, and pictures of the prototype. But thats it. Perhaps setting aside the technical written description, what else if anything will I need to know/bring to such an appointment?

    Also, Ive read that it is wise to include variations of your design, even if theyre not optimal to help protect against knock offs where they change one small thing to get around a patent. So does this mean I need to include technical drawings and technical written descriptions of ALL of the variations as a whole? ie, if one version added a lip on one part, do you have to do full drawings and descriptions of the part from all aspects including the small change, or can you just essentially describe and draw the smaller area of change?

    Also, when addressing these variations, how much change constitutes enough difference? Where is the line? For example, if I had a 45 degree angle to one part of the design, would changing it to a 40 degree angle be different enough to get around a patent? Or, is it a subjective thing that can be argued…hence why patent lawyers exist?

    Do I need to get an NDA/Confidentiality Agreement drawn up for use when contacting possible manufacturers etc? If so, the pattent attorney can do this? How useful is a NDA when dealing with international manufacturers such as in China? Would an NDA with a chinese manufacturer be enforceable?

    And lastly just a few basic questions that might just require ballpark figures: how long does it take to file a provisional pattent application? How much are attorney fees? How much does it cost in total to file a provisional patent application in the manner Im considering? Are we talking $500 or like $2,000?

    Im aware I could just go to a patent attorney for a short consultation to get this advice, but I’d rather go when Im as prepared as possible as to cut down on the work they have to do and subsequently the fees I have to pay so I figure it cant hurt to ask here before I go. Sorry if I asked any silly questions…but I got to learn somehow.

    Thanks in advance for your advice :)

    #1202161
    Johny
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    You will get all sorts of suggestions about having your product patented etc and overall that is probably the way to proceed. But in your thinking during this process here are a couple of things you should consider from someone who isn’t leally qualified but had some experience of the practical side of getting a product manufactured.

    1. Noone will be interested in copying your product until/unless it becomes successful. There is no point in them going to the cost of doing so otherwise.

    2. Having a product registered is only the start of the process. In the event someone copies your product you then have to enforce your rights. This is a timely and expensive business. Noone can tell you for sure to what extent variations will be enforceable or not and the world is littered with similar products to ones that have been patented.

    3. If you are dealing with a product that will be made in China, you need to be conscious that they have a different way in which precedent applies. First to register as opposed to other juristrictions which can be first to use.

    How useful is a NDA when dealing with international manufacturers such as in China? Would an NDA with a chinese manufacturer be enforceable?

    It is only really useful in such that it is a deterrent which is a whole other matter than enforcement. Get an honest manufacturer and they will protect your interest, get a dishonest manufacturer and they won’t care, having signed an NDA or not. To have any chance it also needs to be done in Chinese as that would be the juristiction where it would be heard, that also adds to the confusion and costs of how effective they will be.

    Can’t offer you specifics about the costs and requirements of gaining the patent, but hope the above at least provides some food for thought.

    #1202162
    Warren Cottis
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    Hello

    This is why you would NOT go to a Patent Lawyer and part with a Pile of Money right now… “This will give me 12 months to do proper market research to determine commercial viability”

    If you want some Token Protection Comfort then lodge one yourself for I think $120 and write as much description as you want.

    For no money you can look ASAP at the Google Adwords Planning Tool and see how many people are looking for your Invention as a Solution to a Problem they know they have

    #1202163
    Rohan@TD
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    Hi [USER=87051]@DerWahn[/USER] and welcome to the forums,

    What should my first step be?

    The majority of your post obviously focused on seeking a patent to protect your invention and the associated costs vary significantly when working with patent attorneys. To a degree, I agree with the advice above, particularly Johny’s comment on the requirement for you to enforce your position as the patent holder. I also agree with Warren, however paying a few dollars for some peace of mind may be a smart move.

    However, before you approach manufacturers you should broadly identify, consider and plan your full supply chain, approach to market and other key business fundamentals. The reason being you need to talk in terms of production numbers, regularity of production runs etc., to get the best deal with your manufacturer. You also want to ensure you’ve created an item which will sell (e.g. through market research) and the other areas of your business are efficient (e.g. warehousing and logistics). You may have already done this, but it’s not outlined above.

    #1202164
    MyGreatIdea
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    Others have given good advice regarding your next steps, so I’ll focus on your question re the patent costs.

    If you decide to proceed with the full patent process, including US and EU protection, be prepared to pay $50K+ over the next five years. The filing fees are generally more than the patent attorney’s fees for each lodgement stage. There are also annual renewal fees that are payable even while you’re actually IN the process and they continue for the life of the patent.

    Ask your patent attorney for a full costing, showing breakup over a 5-10 year timeline.

    Wendy :)

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