Greetings all! I’m an inventor and forum newbie. I joined here in hopes of some friendly advice on what direction to go with a current invention. The object of the invention is a device primarily designed to fill a need for law enforcement and military purposes. In spite of this fact, numerous civilian markets exist for the machine.
Early in the process, I had an initial consultation with an intellectual property attorney. Instead of going the route of a Provisional Patent, I decided to conserve the legal fees and go forward with the design development process on my own. I have carefully documented the design progression including prototype building and testing. This includes a log book with witness signed and dated entries. A working prototype has been assembled from the components machined from my drawings and spec’s. I have tested the prototype and it works as intended and exceeds all expectations. At this stage, I am ready to go forward with filing patent documents. I should note that it has taken me over two years and over $100k to get to this stage... not to mention hundreds of hours.
I have drafted most of the disclosure requirements necessary for a US Utility Patent Application. This includes extensive research on Prior Art; an Abstract; a Summary; Detailed Descriptions of the First Embodiment (as well as additional embodiments); Claims; Figures and Drawings as well as other related materials. In spite of the work done, I recognize that I’m not an intellectual property attorney and a mistake on this application can jeopardize or at the very least weaken the patent.
Which brings us to my dilemma - I’m lost as where to proceed. If I want the patent application completed by an intellectual property attorney, I’ll have to solicit an investor. I have spent nearly all of my retirement savings on getting to this step. On top of that, in all honesty, I’m really not interested in trying to build a company around this device. This, despite the fact that the market for this device is enormous. Simply put, I recognize that my forte is as a concept guy, not a business owner. I have been a company president and in spite of my successes, was largely unhappy.
I suppose that broadly speaking, my options are to either sell the patent rights or license the manufacturing of the product. My questions are:
· Should I go back and file a Provisional Patent to protect the invention before disclosing proprietary information to potential venture capital investors, manufacturers or even potential end-users?
· Any thoughts on how to identify potential venture capital investors?
· I understand that many manufacturers will not sign NDA’s. How do I protect my backside?
Thanks so much for reading my post! I look forward to any advice you have to offer.
We sign NDA's all the time. Personally I think that DNA's and patents are things promoted by the companies that are trying to sell patent and NDA services for a living.
As a manufacturer, I really am not interested in stealing your idea. I make things for a living that other people invent. I would not be in business today if I stole other peoples ideas.
Finding an investor is hard. Money is tight and even the big companies are holding back on new projects. I have a plastic injection molding company and we make a living taking small projects and getting them started with plastic product.
You need to have a prototype made - you will need it to find an investor, or even more importantly to make sure your concept is sound. Quit worrying about the patent and get a product in hand that you can show and demonstrate.
I currently work with a company that does equipment for law enforcement and times are tough in their business too. Budget cuts have made them cut down on their toys quite a bit. If you can market it as a money saving tool - you will do much better.
---Scott at - Premier Plastic Molding & Tooling Inc.