Please read this!

Jul 2, 1999

Hello everyone,
I just got through reading Snickrsnee's post "folders VS fixed blades; a question of strength. When all of a sudden it hit me like a freight train, an idea flew into my head that I honestly think will revolutionize the folding knife industry. I came up with a lock design that will make a folder 100% as strong as a fixed blade, even under lateral stress. My question is how can I make money off of this design and how can I be recognized as the one who designed it.(a little fame never hurt anyone
) Can I sell the design to a company? How can I go about this. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks.


Louis Buccellato

[This message has been edited by TheMartialWay (edited 24 August 1999).]

You're too late, I already patented the design

"A knifeless man is a lifeless man"
-Nordic proverb

TMW, even if you found a flaw in your design, it's possible that it could still be stronger than conventional folders. Don't give up. A little tinkering could make a huge difference. Most modern inventions have sprung from tinkering with a proven design or coming up with a new idea and working from that springboard.

I'd give your design a name and, if you're serious about it, patent it. Copyright the name, etc. That way, you're pretty much covered. And even if another company would want to purchase your design, you know it's yours.

Good luck!
The Axis Lock wasn't perfected all at once or in a day. Work with your design, work out the bugs and be careful who you share your design with until you get some copyright or patent protection. Lotsa Luck GI!

If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.

I'm glad my thread inspired someone.

Yes, designing locks that are head and shoulders above what's allready been done/available is not easy.

I've been trying for a while and keep finding someone who beat me by litteraly a century. Not for lack of imagination.

Anyway, refine, don't abandon. Rocketships didn't work too well when they first came out either.
If you've really got the juice, here's the drill:

When you patent something, you publically file a document called a "disclosure". It's not called a disclosure for no reason. You have to disclose your idea. In fact, a patent disclosure document begins with the phrase "This patent teaches a method/mechanism/formula/algorithm/etc. for..." Your public disclosure teaches the whole world your new lock mechanism and teaches it at a level and in such detail that any reasonably skilled knifesmith could reproduce your lock. In exchange for teaching the world your new invention, which is in the public's interrest because it promotes the progress of science and technology in general, the public, through its agent, the Federal Patents and Trademarks Office, gives you the exclusive right to use that invention for profit for seventeen years. It's a trade.

On something like the lock of a knife, it's a good trade. If you don't disclose your invention in a patent and claim your seventeen years, everyone's going to take your products apart and figure it out anyway and then you won't have any legal recourse. Why not teach them in exchange for seventeen years?

But, you must be very careful about how you disclose your invention before you apply for the patent. In Europe (and if this thing really is good, you're gonna want a European patent in addition to a US patent), if you disclose publically at all before filing for a patent, then you loose your right to file for a patent.

Until you file for your patents, you must handle your invention as a "trade secret", even if you think it's flawed or still needs additional development. As soon as you realize that you have something that could be valuable, you have to handle it and act as if it is valuable.

On any drawings you make, write the phrase "Unpublished Trade Secret. Property of Louis Buccellato, Monroe, NY, USA." and then sign and date it. Also similarly mark any models you make. Any drawing or models you want to discard should not be casually thrown in the general trash, but should be torn to bits or shreded.

And, you must strictly limit who you show it too. Basically, it has to be on a "need to know" basis. If you show a friend saying "Hey, look at this cool lock mechanism I invented", and your only reason for showing this person was to show off your work, then you've made a disclosure. That's what showing off is. And, that's now how a reasonable person would treat a truly valuable secret.

On the other hand, if your friend is a machinist and you're asking him to evaluate your design, that's a different matter. Even then, you should make ever person to whom you show your work sign an agreement that says "I understand that on Mr. Buccellato is going to show me a knife-related design that he has developed. I understand that this design is unpublished, undisclosed, and a trade secret. I agree not to disclose or to copy this design in any way."

This kind of behavior will actually gain you and your design legal protection under the trade secrets law. This protection is actually stricter in some ways than a patent.

"So," you may ask, "if something can be protected as a trade secret, why would anyone patent anything?" Because trade secret protection ends the moment you disclose your invention to the public. Certainly, selling one of your new knives would be disclosing it. Trade secrets law protects inventions before they're disclosed and it can also be used to protect manufacturing processes, formulas, etc., which are not, themselves, sold or otherwise disclosed to the public. But, when you're ready to sell to the public, you'll need a patent or two or three.

Get a qualified patent lawyer. This will cost money. But, if your lock is as good as you say, it'll be money well spent. The difference between a patent that is easily side-stepped, a patent that is unenforceable, and a patent that's iron-clad (or solid gold depending on how you look at it), is often just the choice of a few words. You need someone who knows what they're doing.

After you've got your patent, make up a few models. If you can't do this yourself, have a local machine shop do it. What you're selling here is your lock, so the blade doesn't matter. Have a local machine shop cut a piece of aluminum stock into the general shape of a blade. It doesn't have to be sharpened or polished or anything, so you don't need a knife maker here. You need a machinist who can make the parts for you and assemble your model. Remember, looks aren't important here. Skip the Mother of Pearl handles. Model the lock because that's what you're selling. You might even try to make a functional piece with cut-away parts to clearly explain your new lock.

Take your designs, your patent, and your models to the big makers, Benchmade, for example. Pick two or three. Send them a copy of your patent and a couple of non-detailed pictures of your models. Write a letter saying, "I would like to visit you in your offices at my own expense sometime in the coming month to show you my models and discuss a possible license agreement. Please contact me to arrange a mutually convenient appointment." By this time, you should already have a lawyer retained. He'll advise you on the rest of the details.

As for getting your name on it, everything is negotiable.

Thank you all for the great info. If I ever work out the bugs, the nfo you have given will help. Thanks again.
One other question, does anyone know if those inventech patent places you see on TV are any good?


Louis Buccellato

[This message has been edited by TheMartialWay (edited 25 August 1999).]
No. Stay away from those places. As the old saying goes, "They make it up in volume." They use bottom-of-the-barrel attorneys. Most of the work is actually done by people who have no professional qualifications at all. They just boiler-plate your stuff together from standard forms. Good patent attorneys are not that expensive. Furthermore, patent attorneys don't tend to have that sort of lawyerly sleezeness about them.

If you need to find one in your area, look in your phonebook under "Engineers". Find an ad for an independent consulting engineer. Write a nice letter asking him to suggest a good patent attorney. Include a self-addressed-stamped envelope, etc., These guys always know good patent attorneys and they're generally happy to refer.

You can do a bit of research yourself. Check out This is a great site for scientists, engineers, and would-be inventors of all types. It's also a great site for knife collectors since many knives are patented and this site can help you research your knives. (For example, if you want to know how old a knife is, finding a patent on it might help determine that.)