Monday, September 22, 2014

Have a product idea?

The patent process is not easy, but it is possible to file a Patent Pending for you idea on your own. The fees are reasonable, and instructions are available at the US Patent Office Site, and yes you can even ask questions.
A few years ago I had a suitcase idea and every time we traveled I wished I could use the idea my husband had drawn up on paper. After inquiries to attorneys and get rich quick on your idea sites,  I decided to do it on my own. Asked friends and relatives and found some sites that offered advice, ultimately it came down to us going into the US Patent Office site-not as scary as you might think.
A year ago we did a Patent Pending with the guidance of someone who had done one before and shared expertise without charging us. We did all the work ourselves: typed the idea, made drawings, and explain the product — even gave examples and provided info on how ours differed from existing products. Filed the Provisional Patent, and this year I started to call companies that manufacture similar products and might be interested in our idea, being careful not to give it away.
A year later we have a company that requested documents and is now reviewing our invention but we need to file an extension, because a Patent Pending is only good, for 12 months, so I am back at the US Patent Office site.
It all sounds terribly time-consuming, but not if you take it in steps, and consider using what I called the SCM, swiss-cheese method that I taught at work. Take the project in chunks of tasks and time, and you might end up with a profitable product.
Here are some sites I found interested as I went back into the US Patent site: the AIA Roadshow starting in September-October 2014 http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/roadshow.jspAmerica Invents Act Your guide to the law


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