Copyright & Patents/Game Patent
I have an idea for a board game that I would like to pursue and present to game companies. However, I do not how to proceed with patent, copyright, a nondisclosure agreement, etc... Can you please advise how I should proceed in what order? Do I need to patent/copyright my idea for this game first? If so, how do I go about doing it? Is it possible to apply for a patent/copyright on my own, without the help of a lawyer, to save money, or better not to? How does a NDA prevent the other party from revealing, or using, my idea? Are the details specified in the NDA? Thank you in advance for your help.
Read "Patent It Yourself" by David Pressman, published by Nolo Press of Berkley, California. It is available direct or from the local bookstores for $42. Or, an older edition, the 13th has been available from Edward R. Hamilton, Bookseller, in Connecticut & also Amazon for $7.50. Or, most libraries either have it or can get it for you. It is not an easy read, (I find my most creative clients are somewhat dyslexic), so plan on perusing it a couple of times. Also, Pressman has written a book directed to Provisional Application applications.
Although a Provisional Application is a very important filing, as it establishes your priority date on what you disclose, it is also an informal document. It comprises drawings illustrating your invention and a supporting narrative explaining the invention. That, plus a "Cover Sheet" from the USPTO.Gov site & a "Certification of Micro Entity Status" from the same site, plus the $65 micro entity filing fee (assuming you are a micro entity...not making $165,000 last year, and sending it Express Mail, and you are officially patent pending, in the U.S. and approximately 135 countries around the world.
A non disclosure agreement is a most important document, as it falls under Commercial Law, which is easier to enforce than Patents pending. For that reason, many will not sign it. Often the big corporations have their own confidentiality agreements that protect them, not you. A local lawyer provides a good one, who might send it to you. email@example.com. He sells you a license, so you can use it, & run copies for yourself, as needed. If you want it, email him & ask only "How Much". Unfair to ask any questions, unless you want to make an appointment & drive over to Evansville, Indiana. Using one off the internet raises the question on who is going to enforce it.
Put a c with a circle around it, with the year and your name on your drawings, & all your literature & propaganda so people know it is your property. That is respected internationally and probably in your home state. You need to register it with Uncle Sam for inside the U.S. While anyone can file a copyright, yourself or someone for you, I always have an attorney do it. My theory being a little knowledge can be dangerous. I am strictly patents, not copyrights or trademarks. However, if funds are tight, you can probably do it yourself.
Which is first? All of them!
If you have more time than money, go for it. If you have more money than time, I am happy to help. I am a full time, self employed Patent Agent (Reg.#26,959 with the USPTO). I have an A plus rating with the BBB. My website: www.morganandassociates.net has a lot of useful information. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page for links to other parts of my website such as Inventor Resources and a good book review page.
One caution, do not deal with any of the invention marketing organizations that you see advertised. Their expertise, as it appears to me, lies in extracting funds from you, not performance!
Best wishes on your project!
George H. Morgan, Patent Agent