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Inventor seeking advice...

    • 1 posts
    December 9, 2011 7:03 AM EST

    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.

     

    Regards,

    TXInventor

    • 4 posts
    December 20, 2011 3:29 AM EST
    File a provisional application. Come up with a name for the invention . Check to see if the name is available for Trademark.
    Grab the domain names for the name as well. Do an electronic prototype of the concept and visit some small
    town Sheriff departments and see if they have interest . Those people are less likely to steal. Make sure your Electronic Prototype has your
    Provisional App number on it.

    If you get some interest you can get testimonials from some law enforcement people you can use on your website
    that you made for free at webs.com

    The provisional gives you a year so do a little work on the marketing aspect. There are a
    bazillion little towns and major cities where they may just want to purchase the device.

    In the 1 year maybe an existing law enforcement related company that sells other devices will want to join forces
    with you under a shared agreement. If the device shows that much promise there will be
    interest by U.S. law enforcement and around the world .A large entity can easily work your device into their already existing
    offerings.

    A good electronic prototype with a brochure explaining shown to the right one by one
    not mass mail will generate valuable feedback and possibly orders.

    Regards
    Louis
    AdvanceTo Corporation
    • 4 posts
    January 31, 2012 3:40 AM EST

    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.