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Old Dec 3, 2012, 06:45 PM   #1
eric/
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Patent experience?

Does anybody here have experience with patents?

I have an idea for a process/system idea that I would like to patent, is that possible/doable?

I'm completely unfamiliar with what can be patented and how.

Also, how "technical" does a process patent have to be?
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 06:51 PM   #2
balamw
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I've got a fair amount of experience with the patent system.

Patents don't have to be technical. e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_exercising_a_cat

EDIT: Getting a patent all thr way through the process will typically be a 2-3 year process that will typically cost you as much as a small car. $10s of K.

What is your goal with this? Do you want to start your own business? Sell/license the idea? ...

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Old Dec 3, 2012, 06:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balamw View Post
I've got a fair amount of experience with the patent system.

Patents don't have to be technical. e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_exercising_a_cat

B
That's great. Well if you don't mind answering some questions I would appreciate it.

I'm on http://www.uspto.gov/patents/resourc...es/utility.jsp trying to obtain information.

My patent idea is essentially a type of automated distribution system. I don't want to be too specific if I can help it.

So would I basically have to come up with a CAD type of drawing of the system and delivery mechanism and a technical report for how it functions?

Probably sell or license.

I know it'll take time, I am worried about the cost though.

Last edited by eric/; Dec 3, 2012 at 07:04 PM.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 07:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric/ View Post
My patent idea is essentially a type of automated distribution system. I don't want to be too specific if I can help it.

So would I basically have to come up with a CAD type of drawing of the system and delivery mechanism and a technical report for how it functions?
Please don't be specific. To anyone, but particularly in public as this can scuttle your ability to get a patent. If you need to be specific, e.g. with a patent attorney, make sure you sign a non-disclosure agreement first.

The language used in patents is quite different from that used in most technical reports, which is why most will use a patent attorney to translate from layman to patentese.

Be as general as you can in abstracting your process/apparatus as much as you can. Unlike a technical paper, too much detail can also scuttle your patent if your claims are too narrow (include too many limitations) it becomes easy for someone else to work around it. A too detailed CAD drawing can also reveal details of your idea that may not be essential to this current application that you may not want to reveal so be careful.

I'd recommend considering a provisional patent application http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provisional_application which can be cheap-ish (<$500) in the US and picking up this book http://www.nolo.com/products/patent-...rself-pat.html or something like it at your local library. The provisional application is just a placeholder for the real thing and provides nothing but protection for the invention date.

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Old Dec 3, 2012, 07:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balamw View Post
Please don't be specific. To anyone, but particularly in public as this can scuttle your ability to get a patent. If you need to be specific, e.g. with a patent attorney, make sure you sign a non-disclosure agreement first.

The language used in patents is quite different from that used in most technical reports, which is why most will use a patent attorney to translate from layman to patentese.

Be as general as you can in abstracting your process/apparatus as much as you can. Unlike a technical paper, too much detail can also scuttle your patent if your claims are too narrow (include too many limitations) it becomes easy for someone else to work around it. A too detailed CAD drawing can also reveal details of your idea that may not be essential to this current application that you may not want to reveal so be careful.

I'd recommend considering a provisional patent application http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provisional_application which can be cheap-ish (<$500) in the US and picking up this book http://www.nolo.com/products/patent-...rself-pat.html or something like it at your local library. The provisional application is just a placeholder for the real thing and provides nothing but protection for the invention date.

B
Ok cool that'll be a lot of help. I'm just a little worried about getting started on this if my idea is something you can't patent. It's definitely something of utility, but I always associate patents with like, oh we invented this iPad and stuff like that.

----------

Idk. I found a copy of that book online and it always mentions things like "testing" your idea and such. It's not something I can really go out and test. Without giving anything away, it's a distribution system. After reading idk if it's something that would be obvious to somebody in the field, either.

That's what I'm worried about.

Hmmm.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 08:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric/ View Post
I'm just a little worried about getting started on this if my idea is something you can't patent. It's definitely something of utility, but I always associate patents with like, oh we invented this iPad and stuff like that.
You can pretty much get a patent to cover any "new, useful, and non-obvious process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter." The value of the patent will depend on the value of what it gives the owner the right to exclude others from doing. The patent does NOT give you the right to make use or sell your own invention. You may still be reliant on patents owned by others to do that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eric/ View Post
It's not something I can really go out and test. Without giving anything away, it's a distribution system. After reading idk if it's something that would be obvious to somebody in the field, either.
You want it to be non-obvious, but the purpose of the patent is to teach others how to use your idea. Check out patents.google.com and look for related patents. Does anyone have similar patents? How is your idea different? ...

As far as testing goes you don't need to completely implement it and provide a working model to the USPTO anymore, but you do need to continue to try and "reduce it to practice." i.e. keep working on it.

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Old Dec 3, 2012, 09:55 PM   #7
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Great, thanks for the advice.
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