Preliminary Checks For Inventors:

  • Inventors sometimes think they will be able to sell their idea to a manufacturing company for royalties. Manufacturers don’t buy ideas. Many do, however, enter into licensing agreements for inventions that are already researched, developed and protected (most insist on strong protection before they will consider your idea. Strong protection is equally important if you want to create your own business around your invention).
  • Consider marketability.
  • How much will it cost for the inventor to develop the idea? To estimate the cost, look at factors such as the complexity of developing the idea into a product. Are you willing to develop the prototype and do the research yourself? Are you willing to invest the time it takes for a nonprofessional to learn about and apply for protection (patent, trademark, copyright)? A DIYer could come out with a figure under $5000, or even well under $5000 with a big investment of time. The patent is likely to be the most expensive part of the invention process. However, the patent process is a slow one and payments are spaced at intervals.
  • Check to make sure your invention isn’t already out there. Pre-patent search, you can go to stores or try to buy the product online. Search Ebay, amazon and do google searches for every term or phrase relevant to your invention idea.
  • Go to United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Disclosure Document program. This is the first step in documenting and dating your ownership of an idea, and it only costs $10.00 to file. See: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Document Disclosure Program

Check out inventor’s resources (these resources may be able to provide information and referrals that will save you time and money when it comes to finding the right people to help you, from prototype designers to patent search firms or attorneys).

Consult with Patent Lawyer

Patent Search. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office offers the 7 Step Patent Search Strategy: 7 Step Strategy. Also, this office offers a tutorial: Patent Search Tutorial. Google Patents offers another way to search: Go through Google Patents and find any matching or related patents to inventor’s idea. If it’s an old patent — I believe more than 18 years- that hasn’t been developed, it may be possible to use this patent. Money saver if you want professional help: Use a patent search firm rather than a patent attorney (could save $500 or more). You can conduct the search yourself, but you’re taking a risk. You could be wasting filing fees if your patent is rejected because it’s too similar to an existing patent.

  • Once the patent search has been completed and you find there are no similar patents, you can either consult with a patent attorney, who may charge somewhere in the range of $3500- $5000 to file a utility patent for you, or you can do the paperwork yourself.Once you have a patent pending, you are free to market your product.
  • Have you established a name, and a trademark?
  • Is your product something you can be making and selling while you work towards licensing? If you have the funds to front this kind of activity, then you will be establishing the fact that there is a market for your product (which will increase your chances of licensing to a manufacturer) while you replenish your funds.
  • You may find that your idea is not patentable. Some ideas are in the public domain, which means they have had previous patent protection that has expired or they have been offered for sale in the marketplace. In either of these circumstances, your idea is not patentable. If your idea is too similar to something that is currently protected by a patent, it is not patentable.

Check out funding possibilities.

  • Are there any federal grants?
  • State opportunities?
  • Local foundations or associations?
  • If a company or individual steps forward with funding, check them out to make sure they’re safe. Here are resources for this purpose: Don’t get scammed

Once you receive a Notice of Allowance (meaning the patent will be awarded) you can license your patent and your trademark to a manufacturer for royalties. At this point, the licensee may take all responsibility for the patents and trademark. Licensees may pay all issue fees and maintenance fees over the years, though the patents and trademark may still belong to you. A good agreement would give a nice advance payment against future royalties plus an annual guaranteed amount of royalty.Preliminary Checks:

  • Inventors sometimes think they will be able to sell their idea to a manufacturing company for royalties. Manufacturers don’t buy ideas. Many do, however, enter into licensing agreements for inventions that are already researched, developed and protected (most insist on strong protection before they will consider your idea. Strong protection is equally important if you want to create your own business around your invention).
  • Consider marketability. If you want to proceed with
  • How much will it cost for the inventor to develop the idea? To estimate the cost, look at factors such as the complexity of developing the idea into a product. Are you willing to develop the prototype and do the research yourself? Are you willing to invest the time it takes for a nonprofessional to learn about and apply for protection (patent, trademark, copyright)? A DIYer could come out with a figure under $5000, or even well under $5000 with a big investment of time. The patent is likely to be the most expensive part of the invention process. However, the patent process is a slow one and payments are spaced at intervals.
  • Check to make sure your invention isn’t already out there. Pre-patent search, you can go to stores or try to buy the product online. Search Ebay, amazon and do google searches for every term or phrase relevant to your invention idea.
  • Go to United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Disclosure Document program. This is the first step in documenting and dating your ownership of an idea, and it only costs $10.00 to file. See: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Document Disclosure Program

Check out inventor’s resources (these resources may be able to provide information and referrals that will save you time and money when it comes to finding the right people to help you, from prototype designers to patent search firms or attorneys).

Consult with Patent Lawyer

Patent Search. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office offers the 7 Step Patent Search Strategy: 7 Step Strategy. Also, this office offers a tutorial: Patent Search Tutorial. Google Patents offers another way to search: Go through Google Patents and find any matching or related patents to inventor’s idea. If it’s an old patent — I believe more than 18 years- that hasn’t been developed, it may be possible to use this patent. Money saver if you want professional help: Use a patent search firm rather than a patent attorney (could save $500 or more). You can conduct the search yourself, but you’re taking a risk. You could be wasting filing fees if your patent is rejected because it’s too similar to an existing patent.

  • Once the patent search has been completed and you find there are no similar patents, you can either consult with a patent attorney, who may charge somewhere in the range of $3500- $5000 to file a utility patent for you, or you can do the paperwork yourself.Once you have a patent pending, you are free to market your product.
  • Have you established a name, and a trademark?
  • Is your product something you can be making and selling while you work towards licensing? If you have the funds to front this kind of activity, then you will be establishing the fact that there is a market for your product (which will increase your chances of licensing to a manufacturer) while you replenish your funds.
  • You may find that your idea is not patentable. Some ideas are in the public domain, which means they have had previous patent protection that has expired or they have been offered for sale in the marketplace. In either of these circumstances, your idea is not patentable. If your idea is too similar to something that is currently protected by a patent, it is not patentable.

Check out funding possibilities.

  • Are there any federal grants?
  • State opportunities?
  • Local foundations or associations?
  • If a company or individual steps forward with funding, check them out to make sure they’re safe. Here are resources for this purpose: Don’t get scammed

Once you receive a Notice of Allowance (meaning the patent will be awarded) you can license your patent and your trademark to a manufacturer for royalties. At this point, the licensee may take all responsibility for the patents and trademark. Licensees may pay all issue fees and maintenance fees over the years, though the patents and trademark may still belong to you. A good agreement would give a nice advance payment against future royalties plus an annual guaranteed amount of royalty.