You Want To Be An Inventor
We receive many requests from inventors to help them promote their inventions. I am sorry to say that there are not enough hours in a day to do justice to such requests.
InventorEd focuses on inventor-ENTREPRENEURS, with the emphasis on the entrepreneur part. We are interested in the inventors who want to make money, inventors who are contributing to society by creating jobs.
While we do not have time to personally help each inventor we have created an inventor discussion group which has over three-hundred members where you can get advice. Unlike some other groups, this group has been carefully screened to make sure that sharks are not working the list. Inventors-L
First - a WARNING: If you saw a slick TV or heard a radio ad offering to evaluate your invention, odds are it is a SCAM. The Federal Trade Commission has been busting these frauds right and left, but these companies change their names almost as often as honest people change their underwear. To learn more about this problem see: www.InventorEd.org/caution/ . If you have already been taken by one of these outfits see: www.InventorEd.org/scam/.
This web site, http://www.InventorEd.org now represents over 14,000 hours of effort. Much of what I and other inventors have learned about inventing and marketing is available on the InventorEd web site or on other sites to which we have linked.
And most important, all aspiring inventors benefit from interacting with other inventors. Many areas have inventor self help groups. Most of these groups meet once a month for several hours and have speakers which teach aspiring inventors about the invention process. InventorEd has the most comprehensive list of inventor groups at http://www.InventorEd.org/InvAssociationsList/.
Information about Internet forums which help inventors are on our web page at: http://www.InventorEd.org/forums/ The best forum is for new inventors is Inventors-L, join it and ask your questions. Take the time to review InventorEd-L's Old Archives. and our Current Archives. You must be subscribed to Inventors-L to be able to visit the current archives.
If you are interested in breaking news about the invention business join our news feed at InventorEdNews.
Another caution, not all persons on discussion groups are reputable. So always check our Caution List www.InventorEd.org/caution/list/ and similar lists before hiring anyone.
Also, the lowest cost or no cost offers can be much more expensive than you think. One example being complaints about an InventNet person who tries to get inventors to make him a co-inventor. Did you know that a co-inventor or co-owner can sell your invention and not pay you a dime? Read about the liabilities at http://www.InventorEd.org/coinvention/.
tmany years The best inventor magazine is Inventors Digest, see http://www.inventorsdigest.com/ but they were sold and the new owners are taking advertising from known invention promotion frauds. So today you need to exercise great caution when dealing with people who advertise in Inventors Digest. I have seen ads by vendors in the publication who are at best worthless, and at worst crooks. Inventor's Digest has apparently embraced some very bad apples.
There are a number of good
books which contain valuable information. It is
best for new inventors to read and digest those books.
I suggest that all inventors read "Patent it
Yourself" by David Pressman
The founder of InventorEd has also written a number of articles which give advice and references to other useful books. See: http://www.rjriley.com/about-rjriley/index.html#Sel-Art.
The cost range to file a domestic (I.e. US only) patent is $3000 to $20,000, with the average cost being about $7500. To file world-wide the mean cost is about $150,000. No money, see www.InventorEd.org/nomoney/ and www.InventorEd.org/funding/.
While it is possible to file your own patent in the United States, there is a fair probability that your patent will not be as strong - or maybe even worthless - if you draft it yourself. If you simply cannot afford to hire a professional to file the patent then the self drafted patent is probably better than nothing. Deciding to write a patent yourself, either alone of with a patent professional's help (Attorney or Agent?), is a cost benefit decision. For many people the $3,000 to $20,000 cost to have an attorney or agent file and prosecute the patent is simply out of reach. For them the choice is between having no patent and a patent which may not be as strong as one done by a professional. Warning - drafting your own patent is a great deal of work and the process is fraught with pitfalls.
I have discussed the issue of claim wording and the fact that one cannot do it right without a thorough understanding of all precedent with Professor Irving Kayton and other experts. If someone decides to write their own patent it would be wise to seek professional advice on claims wording. Mr. Pressman offers such advice, and he often answers questions on Inventors-L for no additional compensation other than the price of the book. Please buy or borrow the book and read it several times. Please, only ask Mr. Pressman questions which are not addressed in the book!
But regardless of weather
or not someone is going to do their own patent the book
"Patent it Yourself" by David Pressman
The first step in determining whether or not a specific invention is worth pursuing is by searching for prior art. There are two types of prior art, issued patents and non-patent prior art. A patent search at the USPTO only reveals patent prior art. It is more difficult to uncover non-patent art.
Start by scouring catalogs, Internet, and any other sources you can think of looking for any product that is similar to your idea. If the idea survives that search the next stage is to review both popular magazines and trade magazines for things that may predate your invention (Newspaper, Media, Magazine, & Trade Journal Links). The next step is to look for products similar to your invention in industry indexes at your public library. Examples of indexes are the Thomas Register and the Harris Directory.
If your idea has survived all these steps you need to learn about the patent classification system and search for patents that may be similar to your idea on line at the PTO's web based patent database http://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html or physically search at a Patent Depository Library. One advantage of using a patent depository library is that the staff can help you learn the system.
If your idea has survived all this it is now time to hand all the relevant information you have discovered to a professional patent searcher. I strongly recommend that you not make major decisions about your invention until after the professional search is done. Unless you invest serious time in learning the system you will not be anywhere near as effective as a professional searcher.
I recommend Glen Kotapish IdeationHQ, LLC / PlanetPatent.Com & Ron Brown at Patent Search International to do the search. They charge $250-$500 for a search and an opinion. Invention promoters charge from $750 to $1500 for the same thing, and their work is less then stellar.
When dealing with any attorney the inventor needs to get firm quotations in writing before they start prosecution. Conversely, it is important that inventors promptly pay legitimate debts.
A normal search will cost between $250 and $500, depending on the complexity of the search. A comprehensive world wide search of patents and other literature could cost $1000 to $5000. It is especially important that independent inventors have the most comprehensive search done which they can afford.
If all goes well and you still think your idea is patentable you need to start evaluating the market. You can do this by talking to people in the industry where your idea would sell, but without revealing the actual idea. Then you should look into getting an evaluation from one of the reputable services such as WIN Innovation Institute, and Wisconsin Innovation Service Center (WISC). The cost of this type of evaluation should not exceed $700.
The next step is to file for the patent (more on the patent process at www.InventorEd.org/patent/, followed by marketing. Be sure to read "Patent Search Tools" before picking your patent practitioner.
A local Chamber of Commerce can also be an excellent source of help and contacts. Use this link to find a chamber near you.
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