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  1. #1
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    Hello.

    I have a little bit of knowledge of the patent system in America, but recently i've developed a product that is %90 made from a recycled product. That is, the main part of the product that used to serve one purpose, now has been altered and things added to it (%10) to make this item into a complete new item. The items are not remelted, shredded or anything like that to be recomposed back into this object, It is simply modified from its origonal form by cutting welding and painting onto it etc. It is however, fairly well diquised from its origonal purpose. SO.......how does something like this fall into the patent category. Would this be a design patent?

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    It has been my experiance that a Patent is only as good as your financial ability to defend it, If you don't have the money to hire the lawyers to defend it in the first place then you need the guys that have the money to back you. If you do not have the cash backing then the choice as I see it is to build the product at the right price until too many people copy it then move on to the next great idea.

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    Design patents cover the ornamental design of products. Very limited use unless something has a highly unique design or very high brand awareness.
    http://www.bitlaw.com/patent/design.html

    Utility patents cover the functional concept of something and has to meet three basic criteria: Unique, non-obvious and useful.

    I disagree with Kustomizer though. There's lots of reasons for the little guy to apply for a patent. A cease and decist letter packs a lot of weight sometimes.
    There's several areas of patent defense, If someone feels your product is infringing on their patents is one, and up to the "infringer" to prove otherwise ($$$).
    Then there's one patent infringing on another, where the party who feels that another patent uses their concepts is first going to have to spend the money to prove that their case is valid before the other party needs to spend much.

    Simply defending a patent's validity is very rare, since for someone to claim a patent is invalid due to prior art the entire burden of proof is on them, and very few US patents have been proven invalid.

    There's a assload of other aspects to patents and their worth, but I think unless the profits are a significant multiplier of the patent cost (~100x) it's not worth it.

    You might have some protection under trademark and copyrights, but there I have no knowledge...

    Chris

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    it pays to study something about what professional - ie - non-lawyer inventors do to patent and protect thier work.

    Like any piece of Art... there will be some people who are really good, and capable doing this kind of thing...

    So it is a good idea to start studying successful patent files and how they do something.

    Patents may not be a lot... by you CAN use them to drop the figureative stick in someone else's bicycle spokes..

    As far as legal expense go... there is an art on how not to spend money in the legal area. Dumb - will pay the most... Smart - and knowledgable - will pay the least.. the alternative is working at Walmart - if you are lucky...

    --jerry

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    What you could do is file a provisional US patent. That will give you one year to file or convert the idea into a patent. If you don't file within the year you won't lose the right to patent the idea but the priority date (date that your protection begins) of the provisional patent will be lost. If you are afraid that someone might sue you and claim they thought of it first, make one and sell it. Keep the bill of sale and notarize it as proof. One year after you have made the first sale if no one has applied for a patent for the same Idea it is public domain. That means you and everyone else will be free to make it. That will at least protect you from losing the right to make the item.
    Regards,
    Chuck

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    "One year after you have made the first sale if no one has applied for a patent for the same Idea it is public domain. That means you and everyone else will be free to make it. That will at least protect you from losing the right to make the item."

    A similar strategy is to publish the invention in a "peer-reviewed" journal, under the inventor's and employer's name.

    Once so published, a competitor cannot "invent" the device and then sue you, as it is "prior art".

    IBM, AT&T and others often published inventions this way, to preclude competitors from claiming it as their own.


    In a famous software patent case, a Clifton, NJ maker of very innovative software sued AT&T over a data backup and restore program it (AT&T) was distributing for free through a user group.

    The case hinged on a numbered/signed/dated/witessed log which proved AT&T had invented the technique YEARS before that NJ company was even organized.

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    Worked in both basic and applied R&D.

    1. Talk to a competent attorney.
    2. Keep scrupulous notes. Have them witnessed by someone who can back your claim in court. Photographs and movies of operation might help too. When I worked in basic R&D we had to keep very careful notes on 100 year paper.
    3. Have money. When I worked in applied R&D it was almost an attrition thing; who could afford to pay to keep the process rolling. However this was a struggle between two established companies who hated one another's guts and were constantly poaching one another's ideas.

    Good luck.

    Gene

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    Read "Patent it Yourself" by David Pressman,
    Then deside.

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    Smile

    Thanks for the great info. Some things there i didnt realize before.

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    Talking change brand from Geely to BMW

    Some Chinese car owners change their car "appearance" , its been discussed on Chinese internet...


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    How are the patent laws across countries? For example, I know of an product in the UK that is patented there. Very simple designed product that I want to make and market here in the USA. Can I do it without any problems? Do I have to pay something to the inventor in the UK? Can I patent it here in the US myself?

    Thanks for any information!

    Dan

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    Having just put a patent application here in the UK, it appears that our system is very similar to the USA. I would have thought that the UK patentee would have no protection in the USA, which is why I am proceeding with world protection in a few months time. However, my patent attorney has advised me to do a search through the Patent Office (now called Intellectual Property Protection) to see if it would stand up to World protection. In any case the venture has cost me @$4k so far excluding my time. I,m in the process now of building a prototype...........................more costs!

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    This may be of help www.ipo.gov.uk

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    Baldrik:

    I hope your patent attourney hasn't convinced you there is such a thing as a "World Patent"

    If so I think you need to fire the wanker asap. There is no such thing. There is a World IP organization, but they don't grant patents.

    Patent protection for the most part must be obtained in each seperate country of interest.

    The European Patent Office is a bit different, but from what I've gathered, When you apply to the EPO they do a search, determine if a patent can be granted and then the nightmare starts.
    The applicant then has to specify which countries in the EU he wants the patent to extend to, have the patent translated & perfected for each country and then pay national fees for each country. And individual countries can then reject the patent anyway.

    When you factor in maintenance fees for each country, the cost can be terminal seizure inducing.


    Dan, if a product has been patented anywhere in the world you won't be able to patent it in the US as the USPTO will most likely turn it up when they do their search if you were to file.

    There is nothing preventing you selling it in the US if it's not protected outside of the UK however.

    That aside, having IP protection can be a small part of the success of a particular product. Marketing, distribution and being able to produce the product and make margins are much more important.
    The decision to invest in patents should come after many other business aspects have been analyzed and you know you can put the other building blocks of the business into motion.
    Patents should be viewed as any other capital expense, if there's not a reasonable chance of a return you're better off spending elsewhere. Yeah, that's simplistic but simply having a patent gaurantees little when it comes down to making money.

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    Having a valid patent on a desirable "whatever" is only the beginning... If it is really desirable, you will have to defend it against counter claims and outright infringement. Needless to say, this requires deep pockets.

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    Thanks for the info.

    If I follow correctly, you are saying that just because it is pateneted in the UK does not mean it is protected in the US. This said, it would be legal to make and sell in the US and nothing can be done by the owner of the UK patent?

    This being the case, why doesn't anyone with the ability to produce in a different counry just find a few good cheaply made products (already designed, tested, and proven), make and sell them in the other country with no worries of repercussion?

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    Sorry I misled you there, my attorney (she,s a woman incidentally.........works from home has a good brain, and has pointed out the costs) I did,nt mean world patent. Under the terms of an International Convention it is possible to claim the priority date of our application. Twas early morning brain not engaged. However, I am aware of the costs that will come in a years time, so I am currently trying to find a company to get on board with in this particular field. I have in fact just airmailed a letter to a company in the USA.

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    A PCT filing for international rights and an international search only buys you an extra ~30-months of protection. If you are granted a go ahead, you have to file for patents in EACH individual country you intend on maintaining rights in.

    Though not knowing first hand, it seems you could easily blow in excess of $100K on international patents, and be far from having worldwide protection. To file in not PCT conforming countries (which needs to be done within the first year of any application), the applications are just as pricey as a US application.

    Anyone here ever done it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rem.XP100 View Post
    Thanks for the info.

    If I follow correctly, you are saying that just because it is pateneted in the UK does not mean it is protected in the US. This said, it would be legal to make and sell in the US and nothing can be done by the owner of the UK patent?

    This being the case, why doesn't anyone with the ability to produce in a different counry just find a few good cheaply made products (already designed, tested, and proven), make and sell them in the other country with no worries of repercussion?
    Dan:

    On the first point you are essentially correct, but this is a very complicated subject. If one were to exactly copy a product there are other issues involved. I don't have a lot of knowledge here, so I can't give a very good answer.
    I know of one company who had their machine copied exactly and they were able to go after the copier on a copyright or trademark infringement. Something called "trade redress", and they were able to seize the inventory of parts and machines that were being knocked off.
    You've got to be pretty bold to knock something off, as a court case against you that has no chance of succeeding is still going to be a significant cash drain. On the other hand, if the UK patent holder doesn't market outside of England they really have little reason to care.

    Patent claims generally cover the concepts behind why and how something is made, so if you were to design & sell a product in the US using the concepts from a foreign patent there is virtually nothing the patent holder can do.

    On your second point, it happens everyday. There's a horde of stuff being produced and sold in Asia and elsewhere that's patented in the US. Nothing you can do about it.

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    Having just filed an application in the UK as previously mentioned, I am on now with building a prototype machine which will carry out the process. It is extremely simple .....so no great costs are involved. My big problem is getting contact with potential partners/ licencees. Two companies I have written to their R &D departments in the USA have not acknowledged my submission. Any suggestions on how I can get hold of someone.........I appreciate they get loads of nutcases writing them?


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