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Author: Subject: Anyone know much about patent law?
russbost

posted on 18/2/20 at 11:02 AM Reply With Quote
Anyone know much about patent law?

As per the title. I have a unique product, it's basically a special type of nut which would be used all over the world in both domestic & commercial installations - there is nothing like it in existence at the moment, but there is a specific reason for it's use & a reason why the existing nuts wouldn't be used in that instance

However, I believe applying for a patent is hugely expensive & I am sorely tempted to go down the route of simply getting these made & then offering them for sale.

If I do so, could someone else then apply for a patent & steal the idea, or, assuming I can prove I used the concept first, would I still be the only person that could patent it, & if so, can you patent something after others have already started copying it

Grateful for any legal knowledge on this!





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JAG

posted on 18/2/20 at 11:23 AM Reply With Quote
quote:

If I do so, could someone else then apply for a patent & steal the idea, or, assuming I can prove I used the concept first, would I still be the only person that could patent it, & if so, can you patent something after others have already started copying it



I have applied for a Patent in the past and had some advice from our Legal team on this subject.

Once you have made some parts and sold them the design is known as 'Prior Art' and no-one can patent it UNLESS they improve or modify your design. The expensive part of the Patent Application process is the search for 'Prior Art' and then the wording of the Patent to protect the general principle without being so prescriptive as to allow others to make a minor modification to your design and thereby get around your Patent.

I don't know whether you can still Patent after you've started selling it and others have started copying.





Justin


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russbost

posted on 18/2/20 at 11:34 AM Reply With Quote
JAG - you mention you've applied for a patent in the past, what sort of cost were involved?





Furore Formula Car - the only two seater modern Formula Car lookalike. I no longer run Furore Products or Furore Cars Ltd, but would still highly recommend them for Acewell dashes, projector headlights, dominator headlights, indicators, mirrors etc, best prices in the UK! Take a look at http://www.furoreproducts.co.uk/ or find more parts on Ebay, user names furoreltd & furoreproducts, discounts available for LCB users.
Don't forget Stainless Steel Braided brake hoses, made to your exact requirements in any of around 16 colours. http://shop.ebay.co.uk/furoreproducts/m.html?_dmd=1&_ipg=50&_sop=12&_rdc=1

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JAG

posted on 18/2/20 at 11:44 AM Reply With Quote
quote:

what sort of cost were involved?



I have no idea - Sorry.

I work for a large Automotive manufacturer and they pay for that sort of stuff





Justin


Who is this super hero? Sarge? ...No.
Rosemary, the telephone operator? ...No.
Penry, the mild-mannered janitor? ...Could be!

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gremlin1234

posted on 18/2/20 at 12:01 PM Reply With Quote
I dont think you can patent something, after it has been released, or indeed shown publicly.

a quick search found that there are a few patent librarys around the country, and the one in cambridge offers a free half hour 1:1 enquiry service

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-patlib-network/uk-patlib-contact-information#cambridge-patent-library-business-and-ip-centre

much more info at
https://www.gov.uk/patent-your-invention/apply-for-a-patent

edit, and british library provide many (downloadable) guides
https://www.bl.uk/business-and-ip-centre/industry-guides

[Edited on 18/2/20 by gremlin1234]

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Naffa

posted on 18/2/20 at 12:09 PM Reply With Quote
I’m not sure on the costs either (I have a couple of software related ones that were filed by my previous employer). The patent process is lengthy and ultimately you have to consider whether once the patent has been granted would you then legally pursue anyone who infringes the patent (more cost and time).
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Bluemoon

posted on 18/2/20 at 12:12 PM Reply With Quote
You can also look at design rights, much easier to get but less protection.

"However, I believe applying for a patent is hugely expensive & I am sorely tempted to go down the route of simply getting these made & then offering them for sale.

If I do so, could someone else then apply for a patent & steal the idea, or, assuming I can prove I used the concept first, would I still be the only person that could patent it, & if so, can you patent something after oth"ers have already started copying it""


If you disclose the idea publicly or to anyone else with out an NDA, you will not in principle be able to apply for a patent.

Patents are expensive, and also of limited value unless you can defend them. Big players have big pockets and lawers.

Sometimes publicly releasing something is not a bad idea as no one can then patient the idea. it comes down to the business case...


[Edited on 18/2/20 by Bluemoon]

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russbost

posted on 18/2/20 at 12:25 PM Reply With Quote
Hmm, rather suspected this would be the case, all about as clear as mud. I'd already had a look at the government site, but it actually tells you very little. The basic concept of what I'm looking at does appear to have been used previously, though, so far as I can establish with searches (am I using the right search terms???) there is no existing patent.
I'm confident that the particular use I'm thinking of it for it most definitely hasn't been used as otherwise I'd be able to find one for sale somewhere, which I can't!

I guess if I start doing it unless it's hugely popular or I make it stupidly expensive (which I wouldn't) then there's not much mileage in someone copying it. If it's hugely popular then I guess I'd be a happy bunny anyway

If you put "patent applied for" on the packaging & you've not done so, can you be sued?





Furore Formula Car - the only two seater modern Formula Car lookalike. I no longer run Furore Products or Furore Cars Ltd, but would still highly recommend them for Acewell dashes, projector headlights, dominator headlights, indicators, mirrors etc, best prices in the UK! Take a look at http://www.furoreproducts.co.uk/ or find more parts on Ebay, user names furoreltd & furoreproducts, discounts available for LCB users.
Don't forget Stainless Steel Braided brake hoses, made to your exact requirements in any of around 16 colours. http://shop.ebay.co.uk/furoreproducts/m.html?_dmd=1&_ipg=50&_sop=12&_rdc=1

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Mr Whippy

posted on 18/2/20 at 12:30 PM Reply With Quote
Good on you, it will be interesting to see what you have come up with when you can tell us.

I've "invented" quite a few things in the past only to then find I was not even remotely the first one... (still have a couple crackers but no inclination to do anything about them...yet). A special kind of nut...hmm there are already are a lot of those, how do you know it's not been done before??

I think the first thing to do is contact a genuine and well known patent office who can verify that your product is indeed unique and can then advise on the correct process.

How you then protect that from the Chinese is the next question...

(note that is not a slur on the Chinese even if they do blatantly copy everyone's ideas...)

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Bluemoon

posted on 18/2/20 at 12:33 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mr Whippy
Good on you, it will be interesting to see what you have come up with when you can tell us.

I've "invented" quite a few things in the past only to then find I was not even remotely the first one... (still have a couple crackers but no inclination to do anything about them...yet). A special kind of nut...hmm there are already are a lot of those, how do you know it's not been done before??

I think the first thing to do is contact a genuine and well known patent office who can verify that your product is indeed unique and can then advise on the correct process.

How you then protect that from the Chinese is the next question...

(note that is not a slur on the Chinese even if they do blatantly copy everyone's ideas...)


And there's the rub once an idea is out there if it's valuable the design is generally tweaked enough in Chinese factory that the patient is circumvented....

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peter030371

posted on 18/2/20 at 02:24 PM Reply With Quote
Patents are expensive to get and expensive to defend. You can get insurance to pay for the defense but guess what....that is expensive.

I have my name on a couple of patents but the client did all the work and paid for it as he has a patent department (big blue chip company) so no idea what it cost them other than 'expensive'. Their department also has the skills/staff/expertise (and budget) to follow up and defend any breaches of the patents if they wanted to.

In order to get a patent you must prove it has not been done before (as already said, this is the expensive bit). Even after all this effort you may get your patent only to have it taken away if someone later proves they have done it before. They only need to have sold one to prove it is Prior Art.

If you start selling them before applying for a patent you will not be able to apply later.

China will copy any good idea regardless of a patent as you will never get anywhere trying to bring a patent breach case against a Chinese company.

Are patents worth it? Will you make (not turnover) £1m in the first 12-18 months? If not forget about the patent, its not worth the hassle or effort IMHO The same amount of effort put into making and marketing your first few batches will bring in more rewards than a patent protection can ever offer. If your idea takes off then often China is slow to catch up anyway by which time you are 'well known' and the 'go to place' for the product.

I have seen products sold with 'patent pending' on them when quite clearly they have not bothered to do any such thing....I suspect all that would ever happen to a small company/ sole trader is you would have to remove the wording if found out

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PorkChop

posted on 18/2/20 at 03:35 PM Reply With Quote
ANY public disclosure will render it prior art (even just mentioning it a conversation counts). I have a patent or three at different stages of application.

If you do want to look at it further, you need to look at the prior art (not just whether it's on sale or not). Espacenet is a good place to start. If you do decide to file an application, that's where it gets expensive quickly; you will need to hire a patent attorney because drafting is not for a noob. If there is something similar out there, you need to demonstrate that there is something new and inventive about it and that someone "skilled in the art" couldn't come up with your invention by stringing pieces of prior art together.

The filing costs are in https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/patent-forms-and-fees/patent-forms-and-fees

[Edited on 18/2/20 by PorkChop]

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nick205

posted on 18/2/20 at 03:53 PM Reply With Quote
My employer applied for and got a patent on something I developed for them. I don't know the costs, but it wasn't cheap and it wasn't quick.

As above even if you obtain one will you have the time and money to defend it?

From memory you get country, continent and global patent levels with increasing costs along the way. I suspect if you obtain a country patent it doesn't protect you from people making use of the idea in other countries.

You may be better seeking advice from a patent firm on costs and process.

You may also be better concentrating on making the idea/product work for you and make an income for you.

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watsonpj

posted on 18/2/20 at 05:55 PM Reply With Quote
I handle all patents for my company the actual filing isn't that expense (still a few thousand) but has be done in multi countries so then it gets expensive depending on how many countries you want to do. The expense comes in getting it searched and prepared by a patent attorney in the first place and then dealing with the challenges once pending. When each patent authority challenges the patent your patent lawyers will rack up another bill and you have to either prove why your design is unique or narrow it's application.
Once filed which can takes a few years you have to pay yearly fees to each patent authority to keep your patent alive.
If you want more info u2u.
Regards Pete

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balidey

posted on 18/2/20 at 09:20 PM Reply With Quote
As with most others here, I have been involved in an item that has been patented, but not done the actual process.
I also know someone who has set up and defended a couple. Defending one cost him a Ferrari. Maybe he exaggerated a bit, but it was the time he got rid of the car and down-sized a bit.

If I were you, I would get it into the market, but you need to try and be clever with the branding of it. ie the actual marking on the part. Assume you call it the Russbost nut, get them stamped or engraved with that name. Then in the future people will know what that part is, then google it and be lead to you. I have done this several times in the past. OK it doesn't always work, but that is probably a cheaper way of getting sales.

EDIT TO ADD: my friend who 'lost' the Ferrari, he had an expensive patent lawyer and he was either very good or very bad as one of the items he patented had the description in the text 'the item has a large radius'. Initially that is very poor wording, but as soon as you realise that someone else making a similar item could have a different radius, but still considered large, then they breach the patent.

[Edited on 18/2/20 by balidey]





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watsonpj

posted on 19/2/20 at 12:44 AM Reply With Quote
One more thing if you need to speak to someone (apart from a patent lawyer who are legally Bond) about it now make sure you have an nda in place. This will give you a level of protection until either a patent is filed or you start making them.
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designer

posted on 19/2/20 at 02:57 PM Reply With Quote
Simplest way is to approach a nut manufacturer and see if they will take it on.

The idea and design will still be yours, it's your copyright, any reputable firms will not copy it and claim it's theirs.

Done it myself and it's an easy way to get a few quid for no effort.

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Angel Acevedo

posted on 19/2/20 at 04:28 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by designer
Simplest way is to approach a nut manufacturer and see if they will take it on.

The idea and design will still be yours, it's your copyright, any reputable firms will not copy it and claim it's theirs.

Done it myself and it's an easy way to get a few quid for no effort.


I tried this on a couple of ideas I had on dental stuff, no reply from major manufacturers....

Hardware manufacturers may be different.





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jossey

posted on 19/2/20 at 04:46 PM Reply With Quote
All good points above but remember that Chinese suppliers don't care about patent breaches and by the time you send a cease and desist letter and given time for reply the seller will move on and move platform or sellers on ebay etc.

Patent application is not overly expensive these days though.





Thanks



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DanP

posted on 20/2/20 at 12:59 PM Reply With Quote
I have been responsible for working with a lawyer to get inventions patented in the past.

Lawyers fees were typically 15K per patent, plus you pay a fee every year (a few hundred I believe) to keep the patent and the fee increases every year to encourage you to turn it over to the public domain

Typically a multinational company will file in the US and then file other patents in other countries too where their product might be sold (at additional admin cost)

In general the best patents are the early ones and should be nice and “general”, if your idea already exists but in some less advanced form then you will generally have to get a more specific patent that covers the changes you made which makes them easier to avoid.

As others have said once you idea reaches the public domain it is considered prior art and cannot be patented by you or someone else.

people say patents are only a license to sue others, nothing more. Unless you are trying to value a company and then they have a value in their own right.

IMHO I would go down another route than a patent unless you believe the potential profits are large enough to pay for the costs involved in filing and suing.

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bart

posted on 20/2/20 at 08:20 PM Reply With Quote
Hi I have been involved in several patents
you could write a book on the dos and don'ts and how much etc

the best advice is go to a nut Maker preferably uk and sign a both ways NDA before you even start
get them out there, made under licence from you.

ps : patents cost £500 for a UK write it your self ! Add Patent Agent fees if you want it checked ?
about £3000 for an EU ( this may have now changed )
and varying 2-5000 k per country after that.

china will copy your idea no matter what ! Fact been there got that T Shirt

to get a Patent Geezer to go over your Patent Application will be about £500-1500

to defend a Patent in court is Very expensive any where from 50k to millions

if you want a chat on the phone send me a u2u

regards gary





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Mr Whippy

posted on 21/2/20 at 07:24 AM Reply With Quote
hmm so much for that...

Might as well send the design to China and then buy them on the web... at least you won't have to make them yourself

I was reading that China is banned from sending anyone to the international space station because everyone thinks they will just steal technology! Although I wonder how much of the computers etc up there have 'Made in China' on the back...




[Edited on 21/2/20 by Mr Whippy]

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