PATENT BASICSA Patent is the right to stop others from making, using, selling or importing your invention.
A Patent is not the right to make or use your invention.
In general most patents are issued within about 30 to 36 months from the date of filing.
Mistakes with the initial application are difficult and expensive to correct.
Typical simple inventions have the following approximate average costs.
Costs to Prepare, File and
Correspond With The Patent Office Can Vary Widely Depending On the
Level of Complexity of Your Invention.
- Preparing and Filing Application: $3,000 - $5,000
- Corresponding with Patent Office: $1,800
- Patent Issuance Fees: $1,000
- Maintenance Fees: $500, $1000, $2000 Due at 3 ½, 7 ½ & 11 ½ Years after patent is issued. These
are required to keep your patent in force.
If you only want a
US patent and are willing to forever give up all foreign rights, you
can file your patent application up to 1 year after you first publicly
disclose your idea or after you first sell your idea. This does not
mean that you should wait until one year passes before you contact a
patent attorney. You should contact a patent attorney as soon as
you know you want to file a patent application.
Is your patent really worth anything?
Sunday, November 01, 1998
THE AWFUL TRUTH ABOUT PATENTS - INFORMATION YOU SHOULD HAVE.
by Dr. Vernon Brabham
The patent system, as it applies to individuals, has gotten
completely out of hand. Most product creators tend to put a false
importance and status to the power of the 'almighty patent'. Due to
this myopic perception people are wasting money at the rate of well
over $100 million a year.
Patents are overvalued in our minds because we have been brought up
to feel that a patent gives a special prestige, an Edison-like aura.
In the U.S. there are 3067 patent agents and 13,991 patent
attorneys. Patent attorneys were expected in 1994 to make at least $1.8
billion in fees. This makes them among the highest paid attorneys.
In 1993 the Patent & Trade Office had 5,119 full-time employees.
The 1994 budget for this office was 485.4 million dollars. They also
handle trademarks but it can be safely assumed that most of the budget
was directed to patents.
The PO reveals that they issued 88,793 patents in 1987 but only 8%
would ever go into production commercially and only 5% would ever earn
money for the inventor. Although these figures were from a decade ago
these percentages would hold true for most any year.
It certainly seems obvious who makes money from patents. Those who
are unquestionably making money on the patenting process, without risk,
are the patent attorneys, patent agents, the employees of the PO and
related people such as patent searchers, etc. It is therefore in these
peoples' interest to perpetuate the myths so long connected with
Myth 1: Getting a patent means that the inventor is
going to make money. Nothing could be further from the truth! You can
get a U.S. patent even if your invention is short on technical merit,
compared to prior art, and more expensive to manufacture than prior
art. This means that getting a patent is not proof that your idea has
commercial value. In short, the PO just doesn't care and, in most
cases, your attorney doesn't either; after all, his primary function is
to get you a patent, not to give you business advice.
WHY THEN do so many people apply for a patent?
It is because they have been uninformed as to the value of having a
patent. They will spend between $9,000 and $15,000 and a minimum of two
years to get that piece of paper. It might give a degree of status to
say, "I have a patent" but is it worth that much time and money for
something to frame and hang on the wall? I don't think so.
Myth 2: A patent gives you protection. This is simply not so.
The PO does not stop someone from infringing on your idea. No...it
is up to you to stop the infringer and you do this by taking him to
court if, after you warn him, he persists in infringing. This will
probably cost you $50,000 and may take years. Meanwhile he is still
infringing and is still in business making and selling copies of your
product. So if you do not have the business acumen and a hefty chunk of
money to sue someone why get a patent at all?
Myth 3: The Patent Office guarantees the validity
of a patent. Again not so. The patent you get may not stand up in court
for a variety of reasons. Of all the patent claims brought before the
court 80% are overturned or held invalid!
Get your product to market fast!!
Experts say that only 1% of the products on the market today are
patented so there are a lot of people who don't think a patent is that
important. These experts usually agree that being first on the market
brings considerable advantages.
If your product sells, you still have a year to apply for a patent.
If it doesn't sell, think of the money you saved! The ultimate goal of
having an idea for a new product is to make money and if getting a
patent is the proper tool to achieve that goal then go for it but don't
do it just because someone says you should. If getting a patent is not
the proper tool then spend that money and time getting your product out
there fast, first and profitably!
Andy Gibbs (Chairman and CEO of PatentCafe)
Getting a commercial perspective on your invention.
Your Patent Is Worthless.
That's right - ain't worth a
dime. You might be shocked, as are most inventors, to learn that the
value of your newly issued patent, in my opinion, is ZERO.
Oh, I can see it now --
inventors all over the country telling me that I'm full of it, and that
their patent will revolutionize the way things have been done for
decades - and how their invention will sell 'like hotcakes'.
Sorry folks -- I've heard your
story a thousand times -- even told it meself a time or two regarding
my own patents. Your patent has no more commercial value, in and of
itself, than a newborn baby has value as a future Gold Medal Olympian.
What's more upsetting is my
estimation that only 3 to 5 out of 100 inventors who read this will
ever succeed in commercializing their patent. And one out of five will
dismiss it as an article written by a screwball editor who just doesn't
'understand how good my invention is'.
Only 3 to 5 will take the time
to understand that everything they have done so far in developing their
patent is only 10% of what needs to be done - the other 90% of the
effort and hard work begin right here.
Only 1 in 5 will really begin
to question the value of their patent - looking at it from the Buyer /
Licensee viewpoint -- and they will have a good chance of success. They
will learn that the 'Key To Profits' is ....
The successful inventor will spend more time and effort finding out how their invention will deliver profits to others, rather than letting their ego get carried away in calculating how much profit their invention will bring too them.
In other words, unless the
inventor knows how their product will ultimately be distributed in the
commercial marketplace, and unless they understand the profit margins
and mark-ups that each of the manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors,
sales representatives and retailers COMMAND, and unless they use this
information in formulating a cost, pricing and profit plan for each
link in the chain between the manufacturer and ultimate buyer, it is
almost a foregone conclusion that the profits of one link in the chain
are going to be overlooked.
And if that link doesn't make
any money from handling your product, guess what? -- Yep - the sales
chain stops right there. Of course, the commercial success of your
patent stops there too.Here is how to get your patent
out of the 'me-me-me' stage, and into the 'you-you-you' profit focus
that will carry your idea to profits.
Review the 5 points that I call:
Gibbs' Theory of Distribution Channel Driven Patent Value
#1 The sales and distribution channel through which the
inventor's product will flow to the ultimate buyer is the most critical
determinate of the success or failure of his/her intellectual property.
#2 If a new invention fails to provide significant financial
gain and revenue opportunity to every link in the distribution channel,
it WILL FAIL to become a commercial success.
#3 Inventors must develop commercialization plans that
clearly present quantifiable income opportunity of the channel whether
the inventor plans to license or manufacture the patented product.
#4 Only after it is shown that a new invention can deliver financial gain