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Anyone ever patented a tool?

Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
1,246
I am developing a tool that from my web searching does not yet exist. If anyone has ever filed a patent I would be curious to hear about the process and cost's involved. I would be using a patent attorney from a law firm that I have used many times before.

I have heard the cost's can vary from $1500 and on up. This tool is very simple so producing a mechanical drawing should not cost too much. This tool has some serious potential and if I do not patent it I would forever regret it. The question is can I afford to?
 
I will do it but the cost may delay when I do it. My aspirations are usually bigger then my bank account.:D
 
a guy i worked with has the patten on a staple set. Its like a nail set but since construction is done so much with staple guns these days he did pretty good! Cost him about 5 grand and he has yet to get it marketed.
 
A patent can cost several thousand and up, depending on several things. Go on the US Patent Office website and check out the procedure.This is a good place to start http://www.uspto.gov/main/patents.htm . You may or may not want to hire a patent attorney.That will depend on how much research and all is required. Your telling the patent office that nothing like it exists won't do.I have been involved in creating tools that were patented, and a jewelery clasp. The clasp cost about $9000 to get patented, and has not yet gone into production. We have a manufacturer that is interested, but these things take a long time. From the beginning to making any money can be 5 to 10 years often. Sometimes the only way to get it made is to set up manufacturing yourself. That can cost from a couple thousand for a very small scale home shop to millions to set up a very small factory.
The questions to ask are:
What will it cost to patent?
What will it cost to manufacture (start up costs, material per unit, etc.)?
How many units will I reasonably sell in ten years?
Will it create repeat buyers (a big plus if the item is a consumable)?
What profit will I make from each unit?

If the last three will add up to more than the first two then you have an idea if proceeding is practical.
The other option is to get with a patent developer and get a percentage of the eventual return. If they want you to pay them any amount up front, they are not who you want.Before proceeding to this step do the things required to protect your intellectual property from unscrupulous developers.Before giving any details about the item, throughly check out the patent development firm.
I hope this pans out for you. Remember, someone invented the can opener - 2 cents to make...200 million sold at $1 each.Also, the simpler the invention, the more likely it will sell.
Good Luck.
Stacy
 
tells us what it is and what its used for then we will tell you if its worth your money. Just kidding
 
Thanks for the feedback. I do not know anyone in my circle of friends or family that has done a patent before so it's all new to me. Considering the cost and red tape involved I always wonder how many cool things never got to see the light of day.
 
a guy i worked with has the patten on a staple set. Its like a nail set but since construction is done so much with staple guns these days he did pretty good! Cost him about 5 grand and he has yet to get it marketed.

Day late and a dollar short again. I've been meaning to make a flat tipped set for staples ever since I started working at the cabinet shop last year :grumpy: Course I never would have thought to try and patent it :rolleyes:
 
Years ago I had a friend of a friend contact me about a patent he wanted to get. He wouldn't say what it was at all,just that it would make him rich. He said it would sell millions of units annually,and would be very welcome to the market. It would be sold everywhere,supermarkets, 7-11, hardware stores,etc.Cost to manufacture was about $1, sale price $5. Sounded good, but he still wouldn't say what it was. I gave him all the information and he started on his path to fame and fortune. After spending about $3000, he found out that it was available at all the places he said it would be already, and had been for years. His idea was a disposable charcoal grill - use it and trash it when the coals are out.I would have told him that it was not new or original if he had asked. Unfortunately, the patent researcher didn't tell him for free.He did the research and presented the bad news after a retainer and fee agreement was signed.You may not want to put it out on the forums, but I would suggest you check with people in whatever industry it applies to and see if they have seen similar tools.blgood's friend is a good example of a new concept. The nail set is not unique, but a staple set is. Changing a tool a small amount won't pass either. It really has to be unique or a major improvement.
Get busy, document your idea, do some research, and talk to a professional. Good luck.
Stacy

BTW ,there is no charge for this consultation, but 1% of the first years profits would be nice.
 
3% (or 1 in thirty people) that patent their ideas get filthy, stinking rich. Which is a lot better odds than the lottery!:)
 
I have something like 16 patents and something like 7 others pending. The last few patents I've filed for myself. I recommend the book "Patent it Yourself" It can tell you all you need to do it on your own. Not that it's easy, but it can be done.

Bladsmth says it well. A patent certainly doesn't mean you are going to be rich. Try to think in terms of a manufacturer and what it could do for their bottom line. Patents cost a lot and are worthless unless you fight to protect them. At a place where I used to work, the rule was: if it's not worth $100,000 fighting it in court, we wouldn't get the patent.
 
3% (or 1 in thirty people) that patent their ideas get filthy, stinking rich. Which is a lot better odds than the lottery!:)

You wish. :(
These 3% are lucky chaps who recover money they spent on patent.

I've been in new product development for a couple of years and I can tell you that chances of getting rich for a small guy are really slim.
Even if idea is great usually (read 99% of time) any company with good patent lawyers will work around the patent easily. It's really matter if some company wants this idea.
If you want to sue them you need to prepare about $500.000 to make it as far as court or settlement. This seems to be average in California now as far as I know. No lawyer will take a patent infringement case on contingency basis, they want hourly fees.
You can file a Provisional Application for Patent. It gives you a 1 year of Patent Pending Status and cheap. In a year you'll probably know if it's worth going any further.
 
Is this a truly original idea or are there companies out there that you could see selling this tool.

The reason I ask is, if it is truly original idea, you are going to have to design, patent, develop, manufacture, and market this product. You are basically going to have to start a company from scratch around this product.

If this is something you can see someone else’s company selling for you then you can design and copy write the material then bring it to industry. You have companies sign a non-discloser agreement stating that they will not produce this product unless they decide to enter a contract with you. If they like the idea, have them spend the money on patenting it.

There is also something called a provisional patent that gives you more protections and is much less expensive than a full blown patent. It is for a shorter period of time, I do not know how long. This is what I would get and then get someone else to buy it.

I am not a lawyer. You might want to get one if you are serious about this. One you can trust.
 
A provisional patent is simply a "free" year that you can send in the application in rough form without it having to be formalized. The drawings or claims don't have to be perfect. It allows you to use the words "Patent Pending" legally as soon as you send it in. It gives you no legal rights at all. As a matter of fact, having a patent pending means nothing other than you are giving notice that you will be able to make companies stop copying your product once the patent issues. The larger companies might not deem it prudent to spend a lot of tooling dollars on something that they will have to stop making in a couple years. Others will risk it. After all, it's then up to you, not the patent office, to make infringers stop. The provisional patent is simply a foolproof way of providing a firm date of the invention. The patent office doesn't even look at it unless there's a problem down the road. The "real" application has to be done within a year of that. The claims and drawings have to be the real deal, and are very tough to do to their satisfaction.
 
Thanks agian for the info guys. I will be contacting an attorney but I do not have the bucks to get very serious about it right now. I doubt it will take the blacksmithing world by storm and I may just end up making some and seeing what sort of market there is for it.

I have no illusions about becomming wealthy from it. It is just a very unusual idea that I wanted to officially claim as mine. Who knows I may just toss it out on the forums for the benefit of my knife forging brothers as my way of contributing something to the craft.
 
If you are simply looking for the words Patent Pending, you might look into a design patent, which covers how a thing looks, not how it works. They simply consist of a drawing, and are a lot cheaper than regular patents to get. I've done a couple of those myself. The hardest part is getting the drawings correct with proper hatch marks, shadowing, line weighting, etc. They are pretty picky about how it needs to be drawn.
 
Thanks agian for the info guys. I will be contacting an attorney but I do not have the bucks to get very serious about it right now. I doubt it will take the blacksmithing world by storm and I may just end up making some and seeing what sort of market there is for it.

I have no illusions about becomming wealthy from it. It is just a very unusual idea that I wanted to officially claim as mine. Who knows I may just toss it out on the forums for the benefit of my knife forging brothers as my way of contributing something to the craft.

btboone is right about the provisinal patent:thumbup:
It replaces the old 'mail-it-to-yourself' routine and provides a type of 'protection' for a year that is really only relevant in that it establishes an earlier date for your filing, but the 'real' protection comes from the full utility patent. It also essentially adds another year to the 20 years for a measly $100.
If you just want bragging rights to having invented the thing first, you could just file a provisional patent application for $100 and let the year expire at which time the idea (at least the part of it that is actually novel and not covered by either a previous or existing patent) becomes public domain. I think they publish provisional patent applications every so often too.

Still, the only way you're going to ever know (at least to a pretty high degree of certainly) if your idea is truly novel is to have a professional patent search done. A good one will cost between $300 and $600, or there abouts. Simply doing an internet search or clicking around on the USPO website isn't enough, though still a good place to start.
 
A provisional patent is simply a "free" year that you can send in the application in rough form without it having to be formalized. The drawings or claims don't have to be perfect. It allows you to use the words "Patent Pending" legally as soon as you send it in. It gives you no legal rights at all. As a matter of fact, having a patent pending means nothing other than you are giving notice that you will be able to make companies stop copying your product once the patent issues. The larger companies might not deem it prudent to spend a lot of tooling dollars on something that they will have to stop making in a couple years. Others will risk it. After all, it's then up to you, not the patent office, to make infringers stop. The provisional patent is simply a foolproof way of providing a firm date of the invention. The patent office doesn't even look at it unless there's a problem down the road. The "real" application has to be done within a year of that. The claims and drawings have to be the real deal, and are very tough to do to their satisfaction.

I would suggest a patent search. This is about 1500.00 to start with.
A provisional patent is a good idea after the patent search.... Then you will have time to shop the idea to see if it is viable. Make sure to get a non disclosure and other documents before you let other see the idea.
 
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