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Ed White
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Patents

Has anyone here invented a simple product? Have you gone down the patent route? How do you start with manufacture; wait for the patent, or once you have the patent application in place do you crack on?

Been doing lots of reading, and its a long process so would ideally like to talk to someone who has actually been through it.

StevehS3
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Hi Ed, I am sure someone suitably qualified will be along with some good advice. We used a Patent Attorney (most do) for the process so I didn't have my head in the detail but having filed several patents and having had the complete and utter  misery and eye-watering expense of defending one here are some general points to think about:

- it is relatively inexpensive to file an application which establishes the all important priority date

- how sure are you that the invention is commercially viable?

- think about what are you wanting to achieve? do you see value in the patent such as by being able to sell the products at a higher price or adding value to your company? do you want it as a deterrent from your invention being copied / would you be prepared to defend it and at what cost?

- you will be required to put the invention and its detail the public domain for anyone to see. This raises awareness and does make it easier to copy (perhaps with slight changes to get around the patent) if someone was minded to do that. 

- depending upon your resources, it can be a distraction and take time away from developing and manufacturing the product. Perhaps getting a product out to market quickly and establishing it as a market leader might have [more] value.

- 'Patent Box' is a secondary benefit if applicable.

Steve

Mark Gregory
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Hello Ed

I've taken out a number of patents on features on various products I've designed. I used a patent agent in Coventry, I was in his office so often he became a good friend & I finished up advising a couple of members of the public who had approached the patent agent with ideas!

Is your idea fully developed & is it the most efficient & cost-effective way of achieving your objective?

It is an expensive & time-consuming process, fortunately I was not paying. They have to carry out extensive searches to check that your 'idea' is novel, capable of protection & has not already been registered. Then they compile detailed text & drawings to fully describe/define your idea. before submitting it to the patent office. There may be some 'toing & froing' between the agent & patent office before the submission is accepted. The costs increase the more markets you seek protection in, the main 3 are: Europe, North America, Asia.

You have to consider what you would do if someone, say Apple (other wealthy companies are available), infringed your patent. I believe it may be possible to take out insurance to help you fight possible litigation.

Timing is an important consideration, you must not 'publish' your design/idea until your have reached an advanced stage of the patent filing process.

I hope this helps. Things may have changed, it's over 25 years since my last one was filed.

Mark

PS: YHBM

Ed White
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Cheers chaps. Mark, i'll contact you.

Steve, re a cheap commercial product, what would you do, just start up and sell them?

Bloody fantastic club this is, there is someone who knows something about everything. 

StevehS3
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It really does depend upon the circumstances, the invention itself and the proposed market for it - there are pros and cons. However, I think if you aren't  prepared to defend it (keeping in mind that most of the cost and burden would rest with you - and you would have that to do that regardless of whether it was a big or small company with the proposed infringement) I personally would be minded to spend my time and money getting on with developing it, getting it manufactured and sold. A positive way of looking at it might be that by the time someone has copied it, I would have made mine better or cheaper to manufacture to stay ahead.

Ed White
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Good logic and advice Steve, thanks, Ed