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SkepticJ
2011-Nov-17, 05:26 PM
Just a few minutes ago I had an idea for an invention. Usually my inventions are things that won't be manufacturable for decades to centuries, but this one could be made now. I know it would work, it's so simple.

There'd be a market for it, too. Not a big market--actually a pretty dang small market--I think, but there is a need for this idea.

Getting a patent isn't cheap, though.

Advice on what I can do?

Strange
2011-Nov-17, 05:39 PM
Actually getting a patent isn't too expensive. It is patent attorneys that cost money :)

You can do it yourself and there may be help available for that.

The difficulty is that there are quite strict rules about the format and wording of patents. You could find yourself with something that could be easily challenged as invalid.

Is there a society of inventors or something who could advise. Or you could call the USPTO (if in the US) and ask to speak to a patent examiner. You might be lucky and get someone helpful who is willing to give advise. I think some people submit patents that aren't well worded or structured and rely on the feedback from the examiners to work out how to improve it. There is a limit to this; they can decide to stop re-examining it after a while. Also, if you change it too much then they may reject it as now being too different from the original idea - at which point you need to file a new application. If the process has taken more than 12 months this may be rejected because of your own prior art! (Been there, done that.) There is also something in US patent law that the changes you make during the applciation process can be used later to judge what your intent was ("why did you word it that way if that is not what you meant" - even if you changed it later).

Not that I know anything :whistle:

Strange
2011-Nov-17, 05:43 PM
The other thing: is patenting the right way to prtoect it? If it is software then you can't anyway. If it is a device incorporating software then you (probably) can. Could it be protected by copyright or trademark - e.g. if it has to have a specific shape in order to function.

You could start by searching the USPTO (or wherever) database to see if anything similar exists. You could start here: http://www.google.com/patents

SkepticJ
2011-Nov-17, 05:48 PM
It's an electro-mechanical device. Wouldn't necessarily need computer control, but could use it.

korjik
2011-Nov-17, 06:07 PM
What's the idea?

:D

Seems like you need to figure out the cost to produce, and the likely revenue, to see whether it is worth the effort.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Nov-17, 06:19 PM
If it is software then you can't anyway.
I think IBM would disagree, it's been my impression for decades that every time someone at IBM wrote more than 6 lines of code, they'd bring out their patent lawyers to patent it.

BioSci
2011-Nov-17, 07:19 PM
I think IBM would disagree, it's been my impression for decades that every time someone at IBM wrote more than 6 lines of code, they'd bring out their patent lawyers to patent it.

Yes, a smart patent lawyer can rewrite patent claims to change a non-patentable subject like "software" into a US patentable subject matter -- software+hardware interface...

for the OP, a patent is not required to sell or market an invention - it just allows one to stop others from doing the same.
Such monopoly marketing power can then help provide an economic incentive to develop and market the invention (assuming such a commercial market exists or can be created).

Gillianren
2011-Nov-17, 07:34 PM
My ren faire boss has actually had to fight someone's patent. The "prior art" he was able to bring up was several thousand years old.

Extravoice
2011-Nov-17, 09:00 PM
What's the idea?

For those unaware, public disclosure before filing for a patent is a bad thing if you want to retain your rights.
(I assume that's why there was a bit grin at the end of the post.)

Strange
2011-Nov-17, 10:02 PM
For those unaware, public disclosure before filing for a patent is a bad thing if you want to retain your rights.

It's bad in the US but it is fatal (1) in the UK where even telling a friend before filing invalidates your patent. In general you shouldn't tell anyone without an NDA.

(1) to the patent!

profloater
2011-Nov-17, 10:25 PM
I have written many patents for clients. The advice pack from the british patent office is very helpful with a complete specimen patent. I cannot speak for other countries and you should patent in your own country first. However I also found that any reputable patent lawyer or agent will write your first patent for free if you agree to give them the follow up work. The follow up work is not for amateurs. Approach one or two patent lawyers they are easy to find. Whether a patent willactually protect you is another matter, they are not as good as they used to be. I advise a first step. Write out your ideas carefully, do not publish here or anywhere. post yourself the written draft, registered, and then do not open the envelope. Courts will accept that cheap protection as proof of date. Writing your own patent , following the guidelines which are free to obtain is excellent procedure for clarifying yur thoughts. Remember the patent is for the central new idea just one invention per patent. Hope that helps.

SkepticJ
2011-Nov-17, 10:56 PM
Seems like you need to figure out the cost to produce, and the likely revenue, to see whether it is worth the effort.

Well, it's not something I can produce myself. Not even a prototype. It's beyond my skills and available equipment to build.

To people who have the skills and equipment, it wouldn't be too difficult to make a prototype.

Best I can do is create the patent's images, and write the pages. I've read patents before, they're pretty anal retentive with the language.

As to how much it would cost to manufacture, it would depend upon how large the iteration of the idea is. Different sizes would have different application, but would all do the same thing.

I honestly don't know how large the market would be for something like it.

Strange
2011-Nov-17, 11:20 PM
Best I can do is create the patent's images, and write the pages. I've read patents before, they're pretty anal retentive with the language.

If you are going to do this ...

Remember that the patent only protects what is described in the patent. In fact, only what is specified in the claims but the description will be used to interpret the claims in case of a dispute. So keep the description as generic as possible. However, you will need to provide enough detail to make the patent valid (i.e. it has to have enough information to allow someone else to make the thing). So you need to describe the specific case as an example: "in one embodiment of the X there is a steel blade which ... the blade could be replaced by ... other suitable materials could be used" is the sort of wording you see. The idea is to stop someone making a trivial change to structure or material and getting round the patent.

The claims generally start as general as possible and then narrow it down by adding features:
Claim 1: a device for opening bottles
Claim 2: the device from claim 1 where a screw is used
Claim 3: ... where the screw is solar powered
etc.

This structure gives you the broadest possible cover but provides protection for more narrowly specified devices in case the PTO or another company challenges one or more early claims.

It is worth putting something together and filing it as that will give you a priority date for the patent. You can also file a replacement patent later that claims the priority date from the first (at least for common material - the rules on this vary in different jurisdictions).

Nowhere Man
2011-Nov-18, 01:39 AM
My ren faire boss has actually had to fight someone's patent. The "prior art" he was able to bring up was several thousand years old.
The wheel? ;)

Fred

Ara Pacis
2011-Nov-18, 07:15 AM
Have you searched patent records to see if someone had already invented it or of there is prior art on the design? If you want to make money and it's fairly simple, you might want to just take it to market as fast as possible and ignore patents. Others may steal the design anyways, so you save yourself some money getting a patent and defending the patent. When it comes to novelties people often hit the market ASAP and then get out ASAP.

Gillianren
2011-Nov-18, 07:44 AM
The wheel? ;)

From the same part of the world, actually. The little metal thingies in the guy's beard in this picture.

http://www.melina-design.com/images/Assir_babylon/mesopotamia_3.jpg

profloater
2011-Nov-18, 11:57 AM
I don't want to be boring but writing a patent is also a justification in itself if you fancy yourself as an inventor rather like writing a poem to clarify your thoughts and feelings. You have to write clearly what your inventive step is. That will be your claim one and it is not easy. The patent need not be in obscure language indeed clear English is really encouraged despite what you see in some patents. As for making money it is hard, and if you need others to actually make a prototype, others to invest in it in design, production, marketing mentioned in increasing cash commitment, you cannot expect to hang on to much just for having the idea even if it's a corker. Edison famously said invention is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration and it's true so if yours is the 1% you won't get rich easily. However I would encourage you to get some free guidance notes from your patent office and have a go, it can be really satisfying to get a good version of your idea onto paper. Sorry if that is boring advice.

Strange
2011-Nov-18, 12:15 PM
Well, it's not something I can produce myself. Not even a prototype. It's beyond my skills and available equipment to build.

To people who have the skills and equipment, it wouldn't be too difficult to make a prototype.

Given this, you may want to get the patent (filed at least, but you are not protected until it is granted) and then try licensing the idea to a company or companies who might want to make it.

Jeff Root
2011-Nov-19, 04:01 PM
It's bad in the US but it is fatal (1) in the UK where even
telling a friend before filing invalidates your patent. In
general you shouldn't tell anyone without an NDA.

(1) to the patent!
That doesn't make any sense. Even if it's true.

I was just getting ready to ask if it would be useful to have
someone witness his invention. I did that once for Robert
Forward. He had recorded some ideas for a tether design
in his journal, and asked me and another person who also
happened to be there to read it and sign it. I wrote down
a brief description of the design so that I would have an
independent record of what I witnessed.

I also, many years before that, had someone witness a
design of my own in exactly the same way. It wasn't a
patentable design, though, and an actual patent attorney
later suggested that it might be better to have someone
more familiar with that specific kind of design to do the
witnessing. I think he also suggested having more than
one witness, as was the case with Forward.

I know nothing about getting patents, but I'd be interested
in helping to evaluate and develop the idea.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jeff Root
2011-Nov-19, 04:28 PM
I was also just about to ask if getting a patent was mainly a step
toward selling your idea to someone who can manufacture it, when
Strange said *that*, too.

So -- how does getting a patent figure into selling the idea? What
are the big steps in selling an idea to a manufacturer? What needs
to be avoided?

Say I have an idea for an electric screwdriver control switch.
It turns on when you press the bit down on the screw, and stops
when you stop pressing. Who would I try to sell that to and how
would I go about it? (Assuming that this is similar enough to
SkepticJ's idea that it will be helpful to him.)

Oh -- I want to sell the idea so that it will be manufactured, not so
that the company I sell it to can prevent anyone from competing
with them.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Strange
2011-Nov-19, 06:17 PM
The idea of a patent is that gives you a monopoly to manufacture, sell and use(1) the invention for a limited period in a particular territory (so you need to apply for a patent in every country you want protection in). Having got a patent you can do various things:

1. Manufacture a product based on the invention yourself and stop your competitors from producing the same thing. (2)

2. License another company or companies to manufacture the invention and they pay you a royalty on their sales. You might want to also produce your own version of the product. You might do this based on market segment or territory, for example. In SkepticJ's case, it may be that the different sizes he mentions might appeal to different manufacturers selling to different types of customers.

3. Sell the patent outright for a lump sum. You then have no further rights (3), responsibilities or control over the use of the invention.

Option 3 is generally considered a bad idea because, if the idea is hugely successful, you might have sold the patent for a few thousand dollars when you could have been getting royalties of millions per year. On the other hand, if you own the patent, you are responsible for defending it - which can be expensive and time consuming. If you sell the patent it is no longer your problem.

One thing you cannot do is just sit on the patent and hope it will be valuable one day. Well, you can but if you have not made any effort to exploit the patent in a reasonable time (usually considered a year or two) then other people can demand a license and a court may grant them much more favourable terms than you would have wished.

As far as disclosure before filing a patent, in Europe any public disclosure of the invention removes your right to a patent. That includes telling a mate down the pub, writing an article about it or selling the product. If you want to get someone else involved (to review the idea or discuss marketing it, for example) then you would need to make sure there was an NDA (4) in place first.

I understand the US is slightly more flexible. I believe you have 12 months after any public disclosure before you file a patent. Although it is still generally considered to be a good idea to only discuss it under an NDA.

Obviously there is no problem discussing the idea with a patent attorney because attorney-client privilege protects the idea.

I think the rules differ between the US and Europe because the US has a "first to invent" rule; i.e. if there is a dispute where two people claim to have invented something then it is the one who can show he invented it first who gets the patent rights even if he filed his patent later than the other person (there may be time limits on that, IANAL, etc.).

In Europe, the rule is "first to file". So if two people invent something and one is quicker to get her patent in, she gets the rights.


(1) Obviously end-users are normally granted a right to use products embodying the invention!
(2) Where "same" is as defined by the patent.
(3) Unless you negotiate a license back in order to manufacture your own product
(4) Non Disclosure Agreement; basically a contract that says that if the other party discloses your confidential information you can claim damages.

Gillianren
2011-Nov-19, 06:53 PM
My understanding is that the US is currently shifting toward "first to file." Whether this is a good idea or not, I leave to the experts.

Strange
2011-Nov-19, 07:10 PM
I wouldn't be surprised if some of my information, particularly wrt the USA, is out of date. I am no longer involved in patent work. I did see something about Europe reconsidering the position on software patents the other day (whether this is a good idea or not, I leave to those with an opinion :)).

ravens_cry
2011-Nov-19, 08:30 PM
From the same part of the world, actually. The little metal thingies in the guy's beard in this picture.

http://www.melina-design.com/images/Assir_babylon/mesopotamia_3.jpg
What are those anyway? Some kind of beard clip, like a hair clip but for facial hair?

Strange
2011-Nov-19, 08:33 PM
What are those anyway? Some kind of beard clip, like a hair clip but for facial hair?

You don't wear one?

PraedSt
2011-Nov-19, 08:38 PM
I advise a first step. Write out your ideas carefully, do not publish here or anywhere. post yourself the written draft, registered, and then do not open the envelope. Courts will accept that cheap protection as proof of date. It's nice to know this actually works and isn't just a myth.

Strange
2011-Nov-19, 09:09 PM
It's nice to know this actually works and isn't just a myth.

Actually, I was going to ask profloater if this works or was just a myth :)

My understanding is that it is of no value (you would be better off using a notary). But IANAL...

Strange
2011-Nov-19, 09:12 PM
It seems that it is accepted, to some extent.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poor_man%27s_copyright
http://www.copyrightauthority.com/poor-mans-copyright/

I'm not sure of its value for patenting, though.

Gillianren
2011-Nov-19, 09:49 PM
What are those anyway? Some kind of beard clip, like a hair clip but for facial hair?

Actually, they're little twists of wire. Think the beads that Johnny Depp wears as Captain Jack Sparrow. (I've often thought we should send him a couple.) They were used in beards as well as hair, and they were used by both men and women. Ancient Assyrian conspicuous consumption.

PraedSt
2011-Nov-19, 09:58 PM
It seems that it is accepted, to some extent.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poor_man%27s_copyright
http://www.copyrightauthority.com/poor-mans-copyright/

I'm not sure of its value for patenting, though.Yeah, those articles don't seem too keen on the idea.

SkepticJ
2011-Nov-19, 11:55 PM
Given this, you may want to get the patent (filed at least, but you are not protected until it is granted) and then try licensing the idea to a company or companies who might want to make it.

That's what I was thinking. I don't want to start a company for something which could very well not support me.

I did think of a problem with the device, though. Or rather with manufacturing it with current technology. It's still possible, but it would entail quite a lot of work by hand using specialized tools.

Does a patent have to cost money? I would like credit for the idea, even if I'll see no money out of it. I see it getting a lot more use in the future when it's easy to manufacture and performs in the role I originally conceived (it started out as an SF idea).

Example, Wil McCarthy's patent (http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6978070.PN.&OS=PN/6978070&RS=PN/6978070).

His patent will probably expire years, maybe decades, before it's possible to manufacture his invention on a commercial level. Right now, I'm not sure if it could be made even in a lab. Someday, though, it'll be big.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Nov-20, 12:40 AM
A way to get credit for the idea if you aren't interested in money (note that you have to be really sure about that bit before going this way) is to publish the idea as widely as possible, essentially sticking the idea in the public domain from the start.

This is not an act that can be undone.

swampyankee
2011-Nov-20, 01:53 AM
For those unaware, public disclosure before filing for a patent is a bad thing if you want to retain your rights.
(I assume that's why there was a bit grin at the end of the post.)

It's a bad idea anyplace. One of my former coworkers had the job of passing on patents (all employees signed an agreement to offer the rights to any patents to the company. The company sometimes didn't acquire them -- like the time an employee submitted a patentable idea for a Christmas tree stand -- but they would, nonetheless, help with the preliminary applications). Anyhow, there was an article (I think it was in the company newsletter) where they reported on a company employee who had developed an algorithm (patentable) for lip-reading. The publication immediately made it impossible to apply for patents in, among other countries, Germany.

Strange
2011-Nov-20, 10:06 AM
Does a patent have to cost money? I would like credit for the idea, even if I'll see no money out of it. I see it getting a lot more use in the future when it's easy to manufacture and performs in the role I originally conceived (it started out as an SF idea).

The minimum cost is the filing fees. I think the USPTO has different rates for "small entities (how tall did you say you were :)) and big companies. It may be a couple of hundred dollars but I don't really know.

One strategy we have used in the past is to file a basic patent (possibly without even using an attorney) just to get the idea on record. This would prevent another company filing a patent for the same idea and stopping us from using it. This has the advantage that you are recording it in a place where any future patent searches will do it.

If you proceed with the patent there are fees (not huge) at each stage, e.g. to have to patent office do a search and and examination report, etc. If you don't do any of these you obviously wont get the patent but the application will still be there with your name on. You might need to check the rules on when they publish patents (I'm sure there is a small publication fee as well) and whether you have to have gone through at least some of these stages.

But it would give you a (relatively) cheap way of having you name irrevocably and formally associated with the idea.

Van Rijn
2011-Nov-20, 10:50 AM
Anyhow, there was an article (I think it was in the company newsletter) where they reported on a company employee who had developed an algorithm (patentable) for lip-reading.

Oh, great, we really are going to get HAL one of these days.

SkepticJ
2012-Feb-09, 03:04 AM
New invention idea--I'm on a role this year, apparently. Again, it's quite simple once one thinks of it. Again, I know it would work. I've got a technical drawing of the mechanism partially done, because it looks fancier than a pencil sketch. Plus the precision of the drawing proved to me that there wouldn't be any interference in the moving parts.

It's very much inspired by prior art, and that's the problem. One of the components, which is what sparked the idea for my invention and is one of the keys to its operation, is a recently patented mechanism which won't enter the public domain until the 2020s.

Ideas?

profloater
2012-Feb-09, 09:18 AM
same advice as before. In patents the sausage machine argument applies. If a meat grinder exists and a sausage stuffer exists you cannot patent just putting the two together to make sausages. However if time goes by you can argue that if it was so obvious why didn't anyone do it? Weak argument though. The registered envelope really does work for proving a date and does not spoil your patent because there is no publication. Like I said before, find a patent lawyer and probably you will get first patent free if you agree to give them the rest of the work, then assuming you can't afford the fees, sell the idea (with the patent attached). And also as said before the process of writing a patent really helps sort out your ideas and is worth the effort if you want to be an inventor. Did you get the advice pack from your patent office?

Strange
2012-Feb-09, 10:50 AM
There needs to be an "inventive step". If you are just putting existing parts together in an obvious way (the way they were intended to be used) then you don't have much chance. Of a patent at least. If you wanted to produce a product you would still have first mover advantage. You can still license the idea to someone else to manufacture even if you don't have a patent. You just don't have the protection against a third party taking the idea. But if yours is better made, better supported and better marketed (or, alternatively, cheaper than anyone else can make it) then you can still gain market share.

If you are putting the parts together in a non-obvious way then you may be able to get a patent. ("Obvious" is rather subjective of course.)

jokergirl
2012-Feb-09, 11:30 AM
I have a problem at work right now.
A patent request of ours is being rejected in the US citing a prior patent. The problem is, reading this patent right now, that said patent is too broad and should in my opinion never have been accepted - it basically claims to patent any sensor fusion - that is, the use of one sensor to correct another sensor - in any (wheeled, but translating it to seagoing and/or flying vehicles isn't too big of an inventive step) vehicle.

Anyone here know what you do about this? The patent is fairly new, but I am quite certain that prior art exists, e.g. in the Apollo capsules for gyro correction...

;)

HenrikOlsen
2012-Feb-09, 04:43 PM
There needs to be an "inventive step". If you are just putting existing parts together in an obvious way (the way they were intended to be used) then you don't have much chance.
Unless you're patenting software, then it doesn't matter if it's the solution any half-competent programmer would come up with if asked to solve the problem.

Strange
2012-Feb-09, 04:48 PM
Unless you're patenting software, then it doesn't matter if it's the solution any half-competent programmer would come up with if asked to solve the problem.

One of my most frustrating experiences was getting a (truly novel) hardware patent rejected because it used a state machine and, according to the examiner, "a finite state machine can be implemented in software" and therefore it wasn't novel.

profloater
2012-Feb-09, 05:27 PM
I have a problem at work right now.
A patent request of ours is being rejected in the US citing a prior patent. The problem is, reading this patent right now, that said patent is too broad and should in my opinion never have been accepted - it basically claims to patent any sensor fusion - that is, the use of one sensor to correct another sensor - in any (wheeled, but translating it to seagoing and/or flying vehicles isn't too big of an inventive step) vehicle.

Anyone here know what you do about this? The patent is fairly new, but I am quite certain that prior art exists, e.g. in the Apollo capsules for gyro correction...

;)This is a common problem because nowadays patents are often granted with minimal review and they leave it to others to challenge when a claim is too broad or even wrong. That is why patents get so expensive because lawyers can escalate the problem on both sides. If the prior art is too broad you can complain and challenge it with a suitable bunch of prior, prior art to show that some situations were already covered. It is an uphill struggle. At least recent patents can be searched online, but older ones are still relevant. The use of one sensor to correct another is of course an old problem in safety critical systems and some of the prior art will definitely be old and thus harder to find. The wheeled vehicle narrowing might be because this "sensor fusion" is old hat in aircraft systems. Getting a patent struck down is a long process.

jokergirl
2012-Feb-09, 05:59 PM
That still doesn't stop the patent from blocking ours, which has to do with sea-going vessels... sigh.

profloater
2012-Feb-09, 10:57 PM
I should not get into details but using one sensor to monitor or correct another does not sound very original; maybe you could refine your actual idea to be more specific about the invention so that in effect your later claims (around claim 10 in my experience) become claim one. ?

SkepticJ
2012-Feb-09, 11:05 PM
If you are putting the parts together in a non-obvious way then you may be able to get a patent. ("Obvious" is rather subjective of course.)

I am. I also designed a novel part that is integral to its operation.

Cool. I might very well pursue this.

jokergirl
2012-Feb-10, 09:38 AM
I should not get into details but using one sensor to monitor or correct another does not sound very original; maybe you could refine your actual idea to be more specific about the invention so that in effect your later claims (around claim 10 in my experience) become claim one. ?

The thing is that our method/algorithm is actually a very specific one; it is the other patent (this one (http://www.google.com/patents/US7158866)) that is very general, basically blocking any patent that speaks about using one sensor to correct another by its phrasing.
It was filed 2001 so it really shouldn't have been accepted.

DonM435
2012-Feb-10, 02:13 PM
Yeah, those articles don't seem too keen on the idea.

That's rather sad. Here's a good use for the much-maligned postal service, and it doesn't work.

profloater
2012-Feb-10, 05:32 PM
Actually, I was going to ask profloater if this works or was just a myth :)

My understanding is that it is of no value (you would be better off using a notary). But IANAL...You would always be better off getting proof of date using a notary and a second best would be witness signatures. Registered mail would not normally accept an unsealed envelope (first example defeating the poor mans copyright) and a dated witness signature would obviously help. In relation to Patents the filing is the best date but that also sets the clock running. Dated Lab notes have also been used in prior art contests. There are several levels of protection where proof of date is useful and aften the most powerful is passing off legislation where a production design is copied. I have seen a big case or infringement settled on a set of drawings that was dated and sealed to the court's satisfaction showing that the originator did design and then produce in that case a telephone.

profloater
2012-Feb-10, 06:20 PM
Generally speaking a patent must be both novel and useful. Usually there is a problem that must be overcome, necessity being the mother of invention. It should be possible to decribe exactly the problem and exactly the inventive step which makes a solution possible. View of the prior art makes it possible to home in on the core idea before finalising the claims. Of course the prior art may well make it obvious "to one skilled in the art" how to solve the current problem. In which case no patent.

DonM435
2012-Feb-17, 01:51 PM
You would always be better off getting proof of date using a notary and a second best would be witness signatures. Registered mail would not normally accept an unsealed envelope (first example defeating the poor mans copyright) and a dated witness signature would obviously help. In relation to Patents the filing is the best date but that also sets the clock running. Dated Lab notes have also been used in prior art contests. There are several levels of protection where proof of date is useful and aften the most powerful is passing off legislation where a production design is copied. I have seen a big case or infringement settled on a set of drawings that was dated and sealed to the court's satisfaction showing that the originator did design and then produce in that case a telephone.

It seems that would be a useful service that the Post Office could perform to raise operating funds. For a nominal fee (or maybe a phenominal one), they could offer to seal an approved envelope tightly and date-stamp the seal, and let you keep it, for what that's worth.

Strange
2012-Feb-17, 02:06 PM
Notaries might object. How much would a notary charge for doing this, I wonder?

Gillianren
2012-Feb-17, 07:10 PM
I can get things notarized for free through my credit union. Someone there has her notary's license or whatever you call it, presumably paid for by the company, and you get get a certain number of free notarizations per month for being a member.

DonM435
2012-Feb-18, 03:15 PM
My late aunt-in-law was a notary, and refused to charge family members. You can't beat free.

DoggerDan
2012-Feb-23, 09:16 AM
Notaries might object. How much would a notary charge for doing this, I wonder?

What? Objecting?

Strange
2012-Feb-23, 09:49 AM
What? Objecting?

Oh, I see the ambiguity. How much would a notary charge for signing and dating a sealed envelope and/or (more usefully) the document within it?

SeanF
2012-Feb-23, 03:00 PM
Oh, I see the ambiguity. How much would a notary charge for signing and dating a sealed envelope and/or (more usefully) the document within it?
If you've got a notary to sign and date the document, why bother sealing it in an envelope afterwards? For the purposes of this discussion, anyway, that would seem redundant.

My boss is a notary public, and my wife's best friend is one, as well. We had to have quite a few documents notarized for our adoptions, and we didn't pay for a single one. I'm not sure how much they would charge, normally.

Strange
2012-Feb-23, 03:26 PM
If you've got a notary to sign and date the document, why bother sealing it in an envelope afterwards? For the purposes of this discussion, anyway, that would seem redundant.

It is redundant. I was just starting from the suggestion that the Post Office could offer a service to date-stamp an envelope. But then why not just get them to date-stamp the document? But as they don't offer this service, why not just go to a notary? I don't really know why the poor old Post Office was dragged into it!

DoggerDan
2012-Feb-23, 09:43 PM
Oh, I see the ambiguity. How much would a notary charge for signing and dating a sealed envelope and/or (more usefully) the document within it?

As my bank provides the service, I haven't used a separate notary for a long time. Last time was selling a house around 1993. The notary charged $12.

profloater
2012-Feb-24, 09:03 AM
How long before a dated tweet will suffice?

SkepticJ
2012-Feb-24, 11:47 PM
The minimum cost is the filing fees. I think the USPTO has different rates for "small entities (how tall did you say you were :)) and big companies. It may be a couple of hundred dollars but I don't really know.

One strategy we have used in the past is to file a basic patent (possibly without even using an attorney) just to get the idea on record. This would prevent another company filing a patent for the same idea and stopping us from using it. This has the advantage that you are recording it in a place where any future patent searches will do it.

If you proceed with the patent there are fees (not huge) at each stage, e.g. to have to patent office do a search and and examination report, etc. If you don't do any of these you obviously wont get the patent but the application will still be there with your name on. You might need to check the rules on when they publish patents (I'm sure there is a small publication fee as well) and whether you have to have gone through at least some of these stages.

But it would give you a (relatively) cheap way of having you name irrevocably and formally associated with the idea.

Doesn't the actual patent have to be filed within a year of the provisional patent, or the idea enters public domain?

It's so maddening. I've gotten a hold of a patent attorney, and it's breathtakingly expensive. At an absolute minimum the attorney fee would be $4,000; $1,100 to do a prior-art search, $500 to file with the USPTO, and another $1,100 to the USPTO to get the patent printed, etc., if it is accepted.

SkepticJ
2012-Feb-24, 11:54 PM
What about e-mailing the invention to myself? The description, drawings, and all.

I couldn't forge time-stamps on my e-mail.

profloater
2012-Feb-25, 09:20 AM
what happens if you change the date on your computer? However there could be an internet service with a coded guaranteed date stamp. Does that in effect exist already?

profloater
2012-Feb-25, 09:24 AM
Doesn't the actual patent have to be filed within a year of the provisional patent, or the idea enters public domain?

It's so maddening. I've gotten a hold of a patent attorney, and it's breathtakingly expensive. At an absolute minimum the attorney fee would be $4,000; $1,100 to do a prior-art search, $500 to file with the USPTO, and another $1,100 to the USPTO to get the patent printed, etc., if it is accepted.wow definitely worth checking the actual fees and doing it yourself just for the satisfaction . the UK guide to how to patent is very easy to understand and free to download.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Feb-25, 04:49 PM
What about e-mailing the invention to myself? The description, drawings, and all.

I couldn't forge time-stamps on my e-mail.
I could. Everything about an email can be trivially forged, and it'll be impossible for you to prove that you can't.

SkepticJ
2012-Feb-25, 11:35 PM
wow definitely worth checking the actual fees and doing it yourself just for the satisfaction . the UK guide to how to patent is very easy to understand and free to download.

I'm actually not confident that I could just write it myself anymore. From my reading around, if one wants to have a patent that is actually good for something--can survive lawyers*--then unless one is skilled in technical writing (I am not) and the KY slipperyness of lawyers, it's not a good idea to do it oneself.

If all I wanted to do is say, "Hey, I thought of this first," I could just release the idea out onto the net for free. I want to sell the patent to a company.

*No wonder lawyers are considered to be in a nadir-profession. They created their own niche, like ticks we can't do without.

profloater
2012-Feb-26, 11:49 AM
There is still hope I think. I would use a template typical patent, (the UK notes describe a trailer,) and substitute your idea sentence by sentence. Put everything in that you think is part of your idea because you cannot add information afterwards. Do not prepare any claims. You can add claims later within a time period and you can get professional halp to write those if you have some commercial interest. File your application without claims to get your date of application. If all your ideas are there a professional can write the all important claims in the right order. Once you have your filing date (no paid searches yet) take your idea to the companies you have in mind or publish or whatever, your date is fixed. You must complete the process within a year (please check that for USA). If you get some interest insist on payment to get the patent finished professionally giving the company an option to proceed at an agreed future date. That way if they back out after your patent is completed you own it to sell again. If they proceed you will get some kind of payment but don't be greedy, if a company has to invest to make your idea reality, they expect the major share of the rewards.