Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual Property Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer
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First, you need to be cognizant that in fact your idea may already exist as a patent. So step one should be to research your tweak with the USPTO and try and find patents that may have been registered. See here for help on how to search the USPTO database
Second, when you finish with your research and find that in fact there are no patent similar to the tweak you have in mind you then can proceed to approach the manufacturers. This will not be each because they are generally very wary of getting the public involved with the development of their intellectual property. I know it may seem counter intuitive but they are concerned that if you give them an idea that you will claim to own the idea when it is possible that they have already been working on a similar idea internally.
So the the degree possible if you are able to arrange meetings with manufacturers who must disclose your idea subject to a signed Non-Disclosure Agreement (also called an NDA) which would ensure your rights
Third, the best choice of the lot (and more expensive one) is to register your own patent for the tweak and then sell / license the patent to manufacturers. Realistically this is the preferred way to do what you have in mind and one that the manufacturers would also feel comfortable since they will be assured that you have rights to the idea by virtue of you holding a patent.
In conclusion, you can approach marketers or design engineers but I would do it only subject to an NDA. However the best choice would be patent it yourself and then sell / license it.
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Ok, interesting about the company's wariness...but I have heard the patent process is difficult. Especially when the tweaking is so utterly simple... a matter of shape, angle and size differences only to the parts... How easy/hard would it be to have a patent attorney do this research and patenting for me? How would I find someone on shoreline CT?
and how expensive to have an attorney do it?
This is frustrating. Imagine "Biz" if let's say all the hammers in the world were 5" long and you knew if they were 6" longer they'd work better, but no one in the world seems to have caught onto this?? Its not a hammer but you get what I'm saying. If the manufacturers knew what their buyers wanted they'd have done this long ago.
I hear your frustration. But put yourself in the point of view of a company who already has a good business going and now they are asked to change the design and the person suggesting the change cannot substantiate their legal rights to the proposed changes. Legally speaking (believe it or not) this is actually fairly risk.
The cost to patent something is generally around 10k. It is a hefty amount! One idea is to find an investor who would invest in the patenting process in exchange for a %
also consider shows like shark tank maybe you can pitch the idea there?
so do patent attorneys do this, possibly to be compensated by part ownership of the idea?
sometimes they do. you would have to kiss several frogs to find a princess so to speak
i.e. you'll need to interview a bunch of attorneys to find the one...
good luck with your idea!
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thank you very much, I will
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