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Advice on improving an existing invention/patent.

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CX

posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 11:12 AM
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Hopefully this is an ok place to post this, if not please move it to it's rightfull place.

I'm after advice on an idea i have, but you'll have to excuse me for not wanting to share too much info.

Does anyone here have experience or know anything about the legality of improving or "adding to" an existing invention?

My enquiry is basicaly this. There is a device on the market at the moment, IT related, a great concept which has attracted much interest. However i have an idea how to make it a whole lot better, an idea which would mean it would not only be easier and quicker to use, but make it a lot more mobile too.

Now i have very little if any IT experience, or more to the point, experience or knowledge of how these things are built, but i'd imagine all that would be needed for my improvement would be to install one more component and some reprogramming. (Again, sorry for the minimal info).

I'm wondering if it is legal to add to an existing concept, and can you patent the "improvement"?

Stupid example i know based around an old joke, apparently the Scots invented many things, including the toilet seat. It was an Englishman who invented the hole it in though! Crap joke i know, but could the Englishman patent the improvement.....the hole idea?

I'm not sure if it would be possible (and easier) to just approach the company who already makes this device, and somehow offer a deal which would incorporate them using my idea on thier product? I have'nt the funding, knowhow or fascilities to produce a product like this myself. It would definately sell more for them, but i don't want to just give an idea away if that makes sense.

Can you trust these companies that offer patent advice? Whats to stop them using your idea as soon as it leaves your lips?

Any help would be most appreciated. This is purely at the "Thats a great idea" stage at the moment, but i guess all great inventions started somewhere!

CX.

PS: Many apologies to the Scot's on the forum for the crap joke, my dad's a glasweigan and i know how lovely the people are up there, but i also know how quick the Scot's are to issue a "Glasgee fatwa" on the English!




posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 12:52 PM
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Whithout knowing what you idea is its very hard to say, it may be possible that you could patent your idea on its own. It all depends on wether or not your addition is something you invented yourself, or simply anotehr electrical component (or whatever your thinking) that can be added to the design.

For example. If you had just invented the lightbulb and on the market their was a 'torch' which used a battery to make a sparka and light a candle, you could get a patent for your lightbulb, so i now belongs to you. If you then don't have the money you could go to the makers of the'torch'and say to them you have a thing called a lightbulb, and agree to split the profits.

My final idea would be get a loan, if this idea is as red hot as you obviously believe then an investor would probably jump at the chance, providing the invention you are adding to isnt already patented (im not sure again because of minimal details but you did suggest you could in theory do it if you had the funds)

What would i do? i would get in contact with the company and ask if they wanted to talk

P.S. about the toilet seat, in my opinion it would be possible because it serves a totaly different purpose, if your invention is like that then i would say get it patented and then approach the company

P.P.S IM FROM SCOTLAND ASWELL

just tought i should let you know that too


CX

posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 01:09 PM
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Originally posted by manta

P.P.S IM FROM SCOTLAND ASWELL

just tought i should let you know that too



Lol see...all that good advice and it was from a Scot. Told you they were lovely people! (Lives to see another day!
)

Thanks for the reply manta, it brought up a couple of very good points to think about.

My idea is not an invention as such, it is the addition of something that is already out there and definately patented, and the other change to the product would be something the manufacturers could do via reprogramming. So in effect i have invented nothing, but have a good idea how to make this an even beter product.

So i guess it's a question of whether i can patent an idea, rather than an actual invention?

A good idea talking to the company, i'd obviously have to get some sort of legal advice prior to a chat like that, or at least before any ideas were shared.

Thanks again for your help, much appreciated.

CX.



posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 04:46 PM
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i will post more tomorrow as i think i have something that may help you out but i need to get to sleep for work tomorrow morning, if i forget to post pm me.

if you could just clarify one thing, is the first change a physical change to the makeup of the device with an already patented product, or a change to the product your idea will improve with a product you have invented/ had an idea of how to make?



posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 04:54 PM
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First I would try to build a prototype, assuming that it is cost-effective to do so. Don't go out and spend like $10000, but if you can do it cheaply and know how, it might be a good idea to see if the idea actually works, first.

If it does work, you might be able to talk to a local patent lawyer or maybe even the original inventor themselves to see what kind of legalities are involved, and whether the original inventor is amenable to the improvement.

Whether it is legal to improve it (without permission; if you had permission it's all good) would depend on whether the improvement is enough to constitute a 'new idea' or not. For example, you cannot patent the Lazy Boy chair because it is too similar to an ordinary chair. If you invented an antigravity chair, that would likely be different enough that you could patent it :p

From what I've read, patent laws can be rather complicated, and seem to be somewhat subjective, since it can sometimes be difficult to determine if you have 'stolen' the work of the original inventor or not.


CX

posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 05:18 PM
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Originally posted by manta

if you could just clarify one thing, is the first change a physical change to the makeup of the device with an already patented product


Exactly this. As i read these threads i can slowly see my hope being disintergrated bit by bit lol
I thought of a great way to improve an already good product, but thats it. So i'm wondering whether or not i can profit from improving something.

If i made my own, new and improved version, it would indeed be copying a previous design to a point, but then i'd add and adapt to improve the product. Is this allowed or do i then end up paying the original product designer a fee to use and improve his idea? Really sorry about the very sketchy and clueless questions, but you know when you have a great idea and you just can't get it across!!!


When some new company brings out a new computer, but add a new bit to it, do they get hit hard for copying the original concept of a computer?

Thanks for any advice though.

CX.



posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 06:30 PM
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Originally posted by CX
When some new company brings out a new computer, but add a new bit to it, do they get hit hard for copying the original concept of a computer?


Maybe.

If (for example) I was the first person to develop a sound card for the Macintosh, I could offer that independantly as an "add-on." If I offered replacement chips for the boards, well... that might be problemeatical (the product might not actually work with the boards.)

Some adaptations could be infringements -- but that depends on the company. Some companies are REAL snarky about their trademarks.



posted on Oct, 17 2006 @ 08:05 PM
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just copyright it and then go to the company and make an offer etc... it's all bussiness and if you copyright it the company can't just take the idea...



posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 07:17 AM
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I thought of a great way to improve an already good product, but thats it. So i'm wondering whether or not i can profit from improving something.


You could if you play it right, just depends how much you want from it, and ofcourse how good the adaptation is.

Getting a patent isn't as easy as it appears, you have to do alot of work making sure that it doesn't conflic with other patents etc...

From what you are saying i would say that you need to get some advice more specific to your product.

What i would do is go to the company and ask what would they give for a device that can do x,y,z. Making a mockup using their product is probably illegal and you already stated you dont have the skills or money, so why not go to them with the idea and get it out their. Make sure you have it all thought out in your head what your going to say as to not give away your idea and see what they say.



posted on Oct, 18 2006 @ 08:13 AM
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I would say that you have to initially define your idea down on paper. Define the additional components of your idea and create a document defining only the addition and the benefits of.

Then get yourself covered by a non disclosure agreement.

Once you are at this stage, approach the owner of the original patent you are looking to "IMPROVE" with a licensing deal.

In a licensing deal you would gain a % of total gross revenue generated by future sales.

You don't even need investment other than to create a successful demonstration to pitch to the owner of the original IP.

If your pitch is successful you may be able to work directly with the original IP owner to create a working proto type.

If they give the go ahead but won't invest then you have to come up with finance to create a proto type.

But make sure everyone you talk to about the IDEA is signed to a NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement).

Get the NDA legally drawn or you could find yourself loosing £££

If you need further assistance u2u me.

All the best,

NeoN HaZe.


[edit on 18-10-2006 by Neon Haze]



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