This will allow you to thoroughly research what has already been patented that may be similar to what you have invented. Although this is a difficult and time-consuming process - it will save you thousands of dollars and can give you an idea whether or not you have a unique invention that is patentable.
You put in queries that use key words relating to your idea (e.g., Let's say your idea has to do with a new kind of trigger for handguns...enter words such as; "trigger"... "handgun"...etc.). I suggest you start your search looking in the abstracts (summaries) of the inventions. The more specific your key words are - the more efficient your search will be.
A list of patent titles will come up - most of which are completely unrelated to what you are looking for.
You then must read through dozens and dozens of patent titles looking for something that might be related. If you find something, you then click on it and read the abstract. If it seems related, you then click on the body of the text and keep reading.
Your goal is to thoroughly research all related material and (hopefully) not find anything that is specifically like your idea.
At that point you have a clue whether or not it is worthwhile to hire an attorney to take it to the next step. They are not cheap. I was fortunate to hook up with a firm that was just starting out and took my case contingent on my paying them if the idea got funded (it has no been, so far).
It took me several years and thousands of my own hours and dollars to obtain a patent - and still no funding. This is not to discourage you because it was exciting and fun and - who knows? You might have the next great idea!
If you have any questions about the process, you can PM me.
November 19, 2008, 02:30 PM
Can you give us even a small clue as to what you've invented?
Maybe just tell me if it:
a.) Helps me load magazines.
b.) Helps me load revolvers.
c.) Helps me load brass.
d.) Helps me load blackpowder.
e.) Helps me to shoot my target.
f.) Helps me to not shoot myself.
g.) Helps absorb recoil.
h.) Makes a Glock safe for Mexican carry.
November 19, 2008, 02:56 PM
I'm a lawyer, but not a patent attorney. I did study a bit of patent law way back in law school, however, so a bit of free legal advice: Shut up. Don't tell anyone (other than your lawyer and those people who are necessarily involved in the development of your idea), and find a good patent guy. Don't post more about it here or elsewhere on the net, don't talk to friends about it. You can jeopardize your ability to secure a patent, and jeopardize its ability to withstand a challenge if the idea gets out too long before you file your application.
RainbowBob gives good advice on searching existing patents for prior art, but your attorney will probably want to do more searches...and you should let him. And yes, it will cost money. But prior art includes not only whats been patented before, but can also encompass whats been described in trade journals, academic papers, etc. And if your idea is a good one, you don't want to find out later the patent isn't worth the paper its printed on because it can be easily invalidated.
As for finding a patent attorney near you, I'd start with Martindale.com and talking to other lawyers in your area. Also, I don't know this guy, the quality of his work, or cost, but he does advertise in Small Arms Review , has done some firearm related patents, and is apparently a gun-guy:
Langlotz Patent Works, Inc.
P O Box 759
Genoa NV US 89411
November 19, 2008, 03:15 PM
Thank you, Gentlemen for your replies, especially to a new guy here.
I have already done the Patent Search and have submitted my Provisional Patent so I have some protection already. I am looking for someone to prepare my Non-Provisional Application. All PAs that I have contacted so far want me to educate them on firearms at $250 an hour. I do expect to spend time and give advice but using someone who knows nothing of guns likely will not get me the best application.
Yes, frightfully expensive, hence my search for someone at least familiar with (and friendly to) guns.
The invention will be fun for shooters for sure.
Fun Gun...you will see this name on my product soon....it's not just a screen name...LOL
November 19, 2008, 05:24 PM
I'm a patent attorney but I'm not available for hire. The advice about not disclosing the facts in your situation is good, and it sounds like you're ahead of the game with respect to searching.
First off, if you seriously want to pursue a business venture, do not try to file your own patent application. Many people who do this ultimately loose all value in their inventions, at least from a commercial perspective. Unfortunately the patent related laws and cases are complicated and grow more so every few years.
Second, be very, very careful about reliance on that provisional you filed. Again, most people lack enough understanding of the pit falls to adequately safeguard their inventions with a provisional filing.
Someone with firearms knowledge would be great, but I'd instead encourage you to find someone with a strong background in mechanical engineering and who files applications on mechanisms (whether tools, engine parts, roller coasters, firearms, etc.). Drafting patent applications on mechanical inventions is challenging and you'll be better served by someone with a mechanics background who needs some firearms education than a gun nut who files mostly software or electronics patents. There should be plenty of solo and boutique firms in the LA area to find a decent attorney.
Finally, if you want to stay well-involved in the process and add as much value as possible to your patent application, I recommend you read the Nolo Press book on patents. It's a great primer and one I recommend to every independant inventor.
November 19, 2008, 06:06 PM
also take any drawings you may have( if not make some) sign and date, and have them notarised.
November 19, 2008, 06:44 PM
You don't have to have an attorney. You can find all the information on-line. It will take time looking at a screen but everything is there. I filed for my own and did everything myself. It did take some time. An attorney would makes thing go smoother for sure but it isn't a requirement.
Initially it isn't expensive at all but maintaining a patent does get high.
November 19, 2008, 06:53 PM
Don't do this yourself! You'll end up pitching this to a firm with lots of lawyers and even more money. When they decide not to license your patent, you'll have many sleepless nights wondering if they've found some silly mistake in your filings to use to their advantage.
November 19, 2008, 06:58 PM
I'm a patent attorney with over ten years of experience. I also have a working knowledge of pistols, shotguns and rifles. I would write your application for an attorney fee of $5,000 or more, plus filing fees. Anything less would be a favor to you. This is not an advertisement of my services because frankly I have little time to take on any more work right now. Give me a PM if you want to discuss.
November 19, 2008, 11:58 PM
Thank you again everyone.
2000Yards: great advice!
Tab: yup, did this, thx.
Jake: I will contact you soon.
Yes, this whole thing is truly a can of worms. : ))
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