I have... An idea!

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by PowerFullMac, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. PowerFullMac macrumors 601

    PowerFullMac

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    #1
    I have a great idea which I think I could sell to a big company.

    Thing is, how do I go about pantents, copyright etc?

    How would I go about selling the idea? I want to patent it then sell all rights to Nokia or another phone company, but I have no idea how I would go about it?

    How much would I ask for it?

    Business people, help me!
     
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

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    #2
    never hurts to keep a design journal that is dated with 3rd party signoffs
     
  3. teflon macrumors 6502a

    teflon

    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    #3
    Are you by yourself or do you have a partner? It may help to have a partner who knows more about business, particularly the mobile phone industry in your case to help you out. You would have to share the profit, but the better deal that you can get out of it may be worth it in the end. If you can, try to talk to people familiar with the business to determine the usability and value of your idea. Don't go spend money filing a patent that no one wants.

    Either way, you would need a patent lawyer. So for a place to start you can go talk to a patent lawyer, see her/his opinions and go from there.

    Good luck!
     
  4. PowerFullMac thread starter macrumors 601

    PowerFullMac

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    #4
    Thanks for the advice!

    No, I dont have a partener, and I dont know anyone with experience in the phone industry.

    How much am I looking at spending on a patent?

    I am going to talk to the head of Business Studies at my school about it at break, its the most I can do ATM.

    Luckily, I know someone who works in a law firm, so she could help me with my idea.
     
  5. a456 macrumors 6502a

    a456

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    #5
    It is all very well establishing patents, but unless you have the money to support any legal challenges then they are close to worthless. Get something working, build a business, don't just hope to sell an idea sketched on a piece of paper to big money players. They have people approach them everyday with ideas.
     
  6. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #6
    The very first thing to do if you are serious is to describe whatever it is in a letter to yourself and send it to yourself through the postal system. This at least establishes a date for you, and is the most basic form of copyright protection for the cost of a stamp.
     
  7. Macjames macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 12, 2007
    Location:
    Yorkshire, England
    #7
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A102 Safari/419.3)

    Have you actually checked out any rival ideas? Just put it into google and see what comes up, sometimes you will be suprised of how many people have had the same idea!
     
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #8
    I hate tech patents, and have nothing good to say about your aim.

    Lets say you patent the idea. Without a tech company who is willing to work with you on your patented idea, all you've done is create another patent on an idea. You can't bring it to market, or develop a prototype, which means your idea is just a piece of paper. Patents aren't about holding ideas and stifling innovation. If you aren't a tech company, and you can't find a company to work with you on the idea, then it's impossible for you to bring this product to market, right? You can't even design a prototype to show companies what is possible, they're you're stifling innovation.

    What are you going to do if no company wants to work with you? Are you going to sue any company that incorporates this idea in a new product and tries to bring it to market? You hold a patent that is impossible for you to implement! What's even worse is when the idea is evolutionary rather than "revolutionary", and a company unknowingly applies "your idea" to a new mobile phone product. If they didn't intentionally use your idea, and you sue them or ask them to compensate you, then you're just as bad as any patent-holding company who thinks of ideas, get patents, and sit on them, waiting to sue a company in 5-10 years.


    Besides, even if a company KNOWINGLY uses your idea after discussing it with you, but doesn't pay you for it, you couldn't afford to sue the company because you have no money to take them to court.
     
  9. teflon macrumors 6502a

    teflon

    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    #9
    Acquiring a patent is a very expensive and lengthy process. Your lawyer friend would be fine for pointing you in the right direction, but unless he/she is a patent lawyer you need to find one to help you draft your patent application. The cost of acquiring and maintaining a patent differs vastly. The country that you live in, the complexity of your invention, the cost of your lawyer and the size of the company that you sell it to are all factors. It's hard to estimate a number, but I would save at least $5000 in the bank before even trying to get a patent. A stable job would also be recommended, because $5000 is just a starting point and you need to pay the maintenance fees later on.
    And before you hire a lawyer and start to draft and the whole shebang, do a patent search first to make sure your invention is indeed unique and there are no previous patents that are close to yours.
     
  10. Macjames macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    Yorkshire, England
    #10
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A102 Safari/419.3)

    also in most cases the actual idea cannot be protected ( I.e a games console ) but it is how you achieve that original idea ( I.e the consoles firmware and software) that you need to protect.
     
  11. OscarTheGrouch macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Location:
    G' Vegas South Carolina
    #11
    that reminds me i need to work on my full size baby swing idea...
     
  12. Melrose Suspended

    Melrose

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    #12
    Actually, this is a common misconception. Mailing yourself a letter in which you dictate your idea will not hold any water legally and will not even be considered if any case went to court.

    As many have posted already, you need to establish your patent using the legal methods for doing so. Technically, you own a copyright or trademark on any idea you come up with, and do not need to register it as such (with a trademark you at least have to provide some sort of proof that you intend to register the trademark, you needn't register it immediately).

    In re what everyone else said, talk to a lawyer.
     
  13. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #13
    http://www.bl.uk/collections/patents/biblio.html

    Start from e.g.:
    The practical guide to patents, trademarks, designs. Shaw, L.
    Birmingham: Bilgrey Samson, 1996.
    A brief guide to the protection of intellectual property for the inventor wishing to exploit an idea.
    STB Location: (B) BF 48

    Don't get too hung up on the idea itself though. These days if you're going to pair with a major corporate's innovation arm, it's you that you're selling, not the precise minutiae of your ideas. However if you're thinking about striking out on your own then it is definitely worth covering yourself comprehensively.
     
  14. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #14
    I am not talking about a patent, merely about establishing priority. For a patent, yes, you will need professional advice.
     
  15. PowerFullMac thread starter macrumors 601

    PowerFullMac

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    #15
    I am in the UK, so I will do some research into patent law here.

    I think what Abstract said is a good point, but the only problem is that you wont know if the company will use it or not until you ask them and unless you patent it first they are just going to go ahead and do it themselves without me getting anything.

    EDIT: Getting a patent here costs about £200 according to the official government patent site.
     
  16. Melrose Suspended

    Melrose

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    Dec 12, 2007
    #16
    Right Skunk - I'm not saying you were originally implying that self-mailing your idea would qualify as a patent, only that doing so will not legally establish a time-frame proving you came up with it first; eg: The date on the postage stamp won't prove anything in court.
     
  17. gregdrummeraz macrumors 6502

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    Glendale, az
  18. PowerFullMac thread starter macrumors 601

    PowerFullMac

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    #18
    The fund towards my DeLorean. (Its a car)
     
  19. teflon macrumors 6502a

    teflon

    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    #19
    That is the fee you pay for filing a patent. The patent search fees, patent lawyer fees, and maintenance fees afterwards are much higher. The patent granting process can take up to 3 years, and patent applications/drawings would have to be amended, which means you have to keep paying your lawyer even after filing the initial application. And this is if everything goes smoothly and the court grants you the patent and no one disputes it. If someone who has a similar patent wants to challenge yours, things could get very complicated.

    I think if you're confident in your idea and confident in its ability to eventually bear fruit then don't let this intimidating process stop you. However, prepare yourself for a lengthy process, and I would recommend securing a job beforehand so you have a steady stream of income to pay for all the costs.
     
  20. PowerFullMac thread starter macrumors 601

    PowerFullMac

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    #20
    The application is just £30, the £200 includes the search and everything else.

    Link.

    Yeah, 3 years is a lot, but it uses fairly simple tech, its the way its being used thats the best part, so it shouldn't take long to check the patent, right? Also I think if someone had patented and started using that already, we would know about it. Honestly, this is a big idea.

    I told it to the head of Business Studies at my school today and he told me its a very good idea and it could easily take off if I put effort into it, plus I already have a potential investor!
     
  21. teflon macrumors 6502a

    teflon

    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    #21
    That is the fee you pay the government to do the search. However, you are recommended to do a search yourself before even filing the application because your idea could have already been patented. This way, you won't have to pay the patent lawyer to draft the application, do the patent drawings then find out that your idea has already been patented.
    Just because an idea has been patented does not mean it has been used. For whatever reason, the inventor could just decide to sit on it instead of selling, or the idea did not make into a commercial product. You'll be surprised at the amount of unused patents around. Just look at all the patents that MR has on its front page in the last couple years that Apple filed. Many of those did not make into their products at all. Secondly, IIRC patent information doesn't even get released from the court until 18 months after the initial filing or something, so for all you know your idea could be in the process of granting.
     
  22. NSNick macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2008
    Location:
    Washington D.C.
    #22
    You don't need a patent lawyer to draft a patent application. You need a patent agent.
     

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