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Provisional Application for Patents, Utility Patents, Design Patents

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Hi all,

I have brainstormed a few ideas that at least I thought were novel enough that they might (heavy emphasis on the might part) warrant a patent.

Some of my prospective ideas are shooting related. Some are not.

Is it even worthwhile to patent anything any more...considering how the internet/email/digital photography makes it so easy to copy...err...steal other people's ideas?

And realistically, my ideas for products aren't going to make me the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

My other internet browser tab is open to legalzoom.com right now:


would I just be throwing money away applying for a provisional patent?

What say you?

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If it's not worth it to you to consult a qualified patent attorney, then you probably don't want to know what a patent costs.

Is it even worthwhile to patent anything any more...considering how the internet/email/digital photography makes it so easy to copy...err...steal other people's ideas?

Patents do not protect ideas. In fact, it's a a common myth that an idea can have patent protection.

There is a member on here (I forgot his username) who is actually a practicing patent attorney. He might have some advice for you (if he's willing).

It is probably even more important that you seek qualified counsel for this particular type of advice over nearly any other possible legal issue. The reason is that the breadth and duration of your patent's protection (and thus a substantial amount of its value) is a direct result of the patent drafter's work. That is why firms pay huge salaries to people qualified to practice in this area, and why retaining qualified counsel is essential.

Everything has definitely not been invented, so it is certainly worth patenting some things. Is your invention worth patenting? There's perhaps nobody on Earth who could answer that question. And even if it is, it may not be possible to patent it.

Sorry for the vague non-answer, but the answer to any good legal question is often "it depends," because the law doesn't really give an answer to much of anything, only arguments.

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I have heard that the money involved in getting a patent may not be so much in the patent itself but rather in getting the patent search done, first.

I have heard one friend tell me it was $20,000 to get a patent on his idea/invention. When he was approached by a major manufacturer who was interested in his product, they told him that his patent paperwork/description was so poorly or weakly written, that they could steal his idea, start cranking out basically an identical product (which would probably be made in China...low-balling any of his manufacturing expenses if he made them here in the States) , and if he ever fought it or tried to fight it legally, he would get buried both in legal rigamorale and legal bills, and still stood a good chance of losing.


Another friend got a patent, but I am thinking that any manufacturers are hesitant to jump on board and buy the rights (or license the rights from him), and start production because they would just rather wait him out until his patent expires. which is unfortunate because his product is a gadget meant to strengthen the legs of disabled/handicapped children, so that hopefully, one day they can walk and get around on their own.

anywhoo...that's how those two stories were relayed to me....supposedly...

Yes, I would have to second your idea that getting sound legal advice would be....errr...should be... the better course of action to pursue, instead of asking for input on a gun forum.

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For the same reason Chills outlines, before I'd spend a dime on a patent application, I'd consider the bottom line.

1) How many of these items are liable to sell in the first 6 months after release?

2) How many after the first six months of release?

3) How much can I make being first out the gate?

4) If this is truly a unique product/application, how much could I expect to make over 20 years?

In most cases, your money is better spent making sure your product is as perfect as can be, and made is sufficient numbers and at a price point that ensures you will flood the market quickly.

I've watched a few friends develop, manufacture, then refine thier product only to have the knock offs in the hands of customers before they could see a real profit.

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Also consider that there is no point in having a patent (outside of a cool document you can hang on your wall) if you can't afford to defend it. Let's say you come up with a cool gizmo and patent it. If you can sell that patent to some big firm, then great. But if you are going to keep it and market the gizmo yourself then you have to be willing to go to court to sue anyone who makes something that you believe has infringed on that patent.

I'm not saying don't do it. But unless you think you can sell the rights or can actually develop something you can take to market, then look at the long term economics.

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