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Discussion Starter #1
Without divulging too much, a deputy sheriff and myself have designed and made prototypes for what we think is a pretty cool device. All who have seen it have remarked that we need to get a patent. We have searched for a few days online and not been able to find another item close to it.
Is it worth the time and effort much less the money to pursue a patent?
 

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I had a great idea for NY compliant magazines. When I looked into patent law, I found out that its almost impossible to do without a lawyer that specializes in that stuff. You have to present x many hours of research showing you arent copying anyone else, patent searches, more forms....I decided that for the niche market Id be selling to, it just wasnt worth paying several thousand dollars in legal fees. There are a few 'do it yourself' kits available, but I dont trust them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
We foresee this having the potential of being quite popular due to ease of use, affordability, ease of production, and they should fill a universal need. The product is not gun related, but is security related.
 

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I have a bunch (paid for by somebody else) and wrote a few myself (only recommended after a lot of experience with patents)

Patents are like locks on the door-- good at keeping more-or-less honest people and companies honest. I'd invest in an hour with an IP attorney and see what they have to say. If they are any good they should be able to give you a decent estimate of what could be covered and what it would cost. Avoid anybody that advertises patents on TV like the plague.

At a guess, it's probably ~$20K ante for the patent and 5x that to prosecute these days. If you plan to sell the idea rather than manufacture it, there are some less-expensive ways (provisional patents and whatnot) to test the waters, but they contain risks as well.
 

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I'm on four patents with a few others, all related to my work. A lawyer is a must, and there are companies that specialize in technical patent research and submission.

When my company's leadership thinks an idea has patent potential, our internal lawyers start the process by having us capture all our design notes, etc. You should do the same. Having a dated, paper trail for the development is a must. Do it now if you haven't started one already. In my case, the IP we create is most times captured automatically through a formal document release process. Your case is different. I've heard of people mailing themselves dated copies of their IP, via registered mail and then safely storing the upopened envelope.

Good Luck with your idea,
E
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes, I've kept all of even the little scratch papers that we doodled on and a hand drawn paper template. I'm going to print the computer designs through each improvement. Don't know if there is anything to this, but I wanted to save everything just in case.
 

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I have one patent with another on the way. You have to have an attorney that specilizes in patents, and one that is worth his salt, in order to get it filed and accepted the first time. It took me around six months just to get it filed but it went through the first time. It takes a couple of years to actually get it back in hand, but you can go into production with your "patent pending". Mine has worked out well so far:lol:
 

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patent

I've got one Patent. Learn from my experience: Use a GOOD Patent Attorney. The first one I used, frankly sucked. He knew so little about the invention that I had to make him rewrite the whole application.$$$ wasted. I ended up taking him off the job, and found a good NY Attorney. They kicked some ass, re wrote things /fought some points with USPTO and got most of it pushed through.
Reading around, most inventors will say that a solid marketing plan outweighs(outearns) just a good patent.
First to market at the right price makes more $ than just owning a Patent.
Keep at it and good luck !
DanG
Inventor of the "Kidevac" child rescue device, which may one day make it to market...
 

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Consider gathering up your notes, photos, so-forth and making copies. Put it into an envelope. Mail to yourself, and request a nice, clean, hand cancel stamp.

Once it shows up, don't open the envelope. Stick it in a nice safe spot.

If you get into a dispute down the road, the tiebreaker goes to the one who can prove that they came up with the idea first. Admitting your little federally date-stamped time capsule as evidence is a strong position.
 

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First thing to do is get everyone you speak to about this (besides those who designed the item) to sign a "Disclosure Statement" so they do not run off with your ideas!!!! This also includes any attorney you may hire. Ask me how I know this. Been there and done that, just don't have the T-shirt to prove it. :)
CaptMax
 

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FWIW, the mailing-it-to-yourself trick has very little value anymore. USPTO is 'first to file' now, rather than 'first to invent' like it used to be.
 
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