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Roger, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
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Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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I have an invention that Ive been working on. I have variations

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I have an invention that I've been working on. I have variations of the design and concept, with different working principles. Can I file these under one patent; or do I have to file an individual patent for each variation?

Roger : Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm an Intellectual Property litigation attorney. Thanks for your question. I'll be glad to assist.
Roger : Generally, if all of the functions perform together for one purpose, then one patent can be filed. But, if there are different applications or separate functions independent from one another, you may need more than one.
Customer: Mine is physical training device, that has multiple training functions. A multi training device.
Roger : Ok. But, it's all one unit, right?
Roger : If you have different items that perform certain functions independent of the others, then you'd likely need a patent for each.
Customer: Yes. One of them is. One of them is a multi training device, that can perform different functions. But the main purpose of this particular increase punching power. The function and it's operating principle facilitate that; but the designs I have are variations of that original. And that's what I want to know, if I can file the variations of that working function and principle, under one patent
Roger : You're likely going to need a separate patent for each variation of the function.
Customer: ok, I thought I might, but just had to make sure.
Customer: I'm thinking of doing a provisional patent; if I do, how long does that last?
Roger : A provisional application for patent lasts 12 months from its filing date. The USPTO will not grant extensions for any reason after that.
Customer: I'm thinking of licensing my invention, but having a provisional patent to protect it, and refile before the expiration date. That way if a company is interested it's protected, also if they want to market it, they can help with the full cost of the long term patent.
Roger : Yes, that's what most inventors do. If you have someone who wants to produce the product, they can assist with the costs of the patents.
Customer: My plan on the business side of things is to approach the companies relating to the field, and working out a deal that helps them as well as me. I would want enough upfront, not millions, but enough to keep me on board with a percentage of what sells. I would give the opportunity to let it sell. If it doesn't then they haven't gone to deep with it.
Customer: But at least I get something out of it
Roger : That's all negotiable. You'll just have to work with the companies to see what type of deal you can make.
Customer: I think that May inventors spend to much time and money perfecting and working their prototype, when all a company needs to see is the principle in action and the benefits they will get
Customer: My concern would be that certain companies may find a round about way of copying my idea. Like companies do when they produce knockoffs of a product.
Roger : You can prevent that by having anyone you pitch the idea to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
Roger : There are several options online, so you can likely find one there.
Customer: Ok. What about when I file my patent, again my concern would be if they found a roundabout way of creating their own version.
Roger : You have protection under your nondisclosure agreement and the provisional patents.
Customer: Ok. One final question; I have another design, it's a variation and in many ways an improvement of an existing product currently on the market. What steps can I take to take this further?
Roger : You can file an improvement patent and add to an already-existing product. Here's a good link you can read about this:
Customer: Would that be considered an infringement?
Roger : Not if you file an improvement patent.
Customer: Would I be better off approaching the original designer and work out a deal, since they have the funds and a existing market to work off?
Roger : That could be better in the sense that if they like your design/improvement, then they could pay you for it.
Customer: Since they have already have the ad campaigns, notoriety and have spent time creating a following, the product improvement would do better.
Customer: And that works for everyone.
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