reply to post by pityocamptes
I just recently went through the "To patent, or not to patent." question. Bottom line: Is it an absolute game changer that everyone, and his 3
legged dog could easily copy, and make million$ at. In other words have you developed cold fusion using only popsicle sticks, and old gum wrappers? If
not, don't bother. I am assuming you are applying for a patent in the US. If not I may be wrong, but I think patent laws are at least similar in other
countries. A patent is only good for 20 years. This begins at the time you are granted your provisional. So if it takes you 19 years, and six months,
and $100K to get the patent you are protected for 6 months, and it goes retro for the last 19 years, and 6 months that everyone, and their 3 legged
dog have been, up til then, legally copying you, because you have to disclose your design to the patent office, and that info is public. After the 20
years from original granting of provisional is up anyone, and there 3 legged dog can now legally copy you, and they have very detailed plans for doing
What does a patent really get you? If you find, and prove(it is your responsibility, and liability.) that someone is directly, and exactly copying
you. You can hire a lawyer, spend hundreds of hours, and thousands of dollars suing them, and you will PROBABLY win, unless they have better lawyers,
and more money than you. Patent lawyers make WAY, WAY, WAY... more money than inventors. There are no patent cops out there. It is your responsibility
to search out people copying you, and do something about it. If they are from another country then you're still screwed. They just can't legally sell
in your country(IF, big IF you catch them.), but you have to find them, and then hire an international lawyer to settle things. Now we're talking
tens, or hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect your invention. Also in international law you have a greater chance of losing even if you do have
a valid patent, and they are infringing, just because international politics is now involved. So unless your invention is potentially worth at least
hundreds of millions, or billions of dollars, a patent has very little bang for the buck.
You would be much better off being the first, and staying the best maker of invention "X." Let others copy if they can, but always be a little
better, a little faster, a little more desirable etc... Playing the patent game can seriously swallow all of your development money, and even if you
get a patent you may not be able to give your product a starting chance because the lawyers got fat off your work, and left you with nothing, but a
YAY! I have a patent on a gizmo I can't afford to build, market, or improve.
Also if $600 is a bit pricey for you, you absolutely cannot afford a patent. A friend of mine was an electronics engineer for Hughes for 20 years. He
got a patent for a crosswind control system for aircraft safety. Cost $240,000, and took 3 years(this was quick, and relatively cheap, he had help).
When it went to market he sold zero of them. The airline industry's response? "That's why we pay insurance." The invention cost less than half a fuel
up, and would save lives, but the airline industry is not concerned with your safety, only THEIR liability. Also his patent expired in 2006. Guess
what is on a lot of the new aircraft built after 2006? A crosswind control system!!! I'm sure it was just coincidence though.
13-10-2011 by Binder because: ETA: last paragraph.