Inventing New Products/Inventions/New to the game :)
Hi penny, I am brand new to this and have lots of questions about how to get my invention out there and start marketing it. First of all I want to say that I have done nothing as of yet to get a patent or look for manufacturers. I have created a diaper rash serum as well as a product to allow the diaper area to "air out" while preventing the baby from peeing all over. Both products used together and separately clear up diaper rashes quickly and naturally. I have used the products with my son and now I would like to make the products available to other families out there. I am unsure of what the next steps should be... Do I need to contact a patent lawyer? How much should this cost and how long will it take to get a patent? Should I be trying to look into packaging or production? Any advice would be appreciated.
OK, let's see what answers I can muster-up for you:
OK, let's see what answers I can muster-up for you:
1. I am brand new to this and have lots of questions about how to get my invention out there and start marketing it. First of all I want to say that I have done nothing as of yet to get a patent or look for manufacturers.
a) All good actually. The new patent law goes into effect March of 2013 making the U.S. a "First to File" requirement for a patent (if the item qualifies for one). Right now the law is still "First to Invent".....but either way....I suggest you button down the “spread the word” hatches. Minimally, get anyone (including relatives/friends) who ABSOLSUTELY MUST KNOW THE FORMULA OR TECHNICAL DETAILS ABOUT IT to sign a “Non Disclosure/Non Compete Agreement.” It has to be done and you need to save a copy for your files.
b) Having said that, if you've publicly announced, advertised, sold, offered it for sale or posted key details about it so that another could make/use it in any mass-media outlet, you may have given up future rights (assuming it qualifies for one) to file a patent application on it.
c) Assuming you have not, one of your first steps should be to check out www.google.com/patents to see if any like it comes up. You could input what it is that describes the problem it solves into regular Google to see if anything surfaces. If nothing, then you should learn how to use the patent office search site to see what surfaces on it. Keyword searches can be done but they are not as good as learning what the Class and Subclass numeric designations for the item are, inputting those in a search on the patent office website.
d) On the patent office website, investigate what a "Provisional Application for Patent" is. It costs only $125 for a small entity (unless you’ve filed for a corporation in which case it would be double that) to file
a description of what it is, how it works, etc so that you've technically “enabled” (taught how to make and use) it. You write up all about it (PAP) on one or more pieces of paper, you attach a sketch(es) or a drawing showing what it is, how it worksalso. Now you’ll need to download a couple of forms off the patent office “Forms” page and attach them to your write-up. You then enclose a check for $125 and buy a stamped postcard (list on one side what you’re sending on the other your name/address)enclosing it in with those docs. You mail everything at a US Post Office by Express Mail (not registered or certified), then, before you exit the post office your invention will be in "patent pending" (if only for one year). From then on you mark anything connected to your invention "pat pending" or "patent pending" giving no one the date you filed or that you only filed a PAP (as opposed to paying an attorney to write and file a formal Non Provisional Patent Application - - which would be done about a month or two before the Provisional is due to expire). You can contact me via email (you'll find my email address in Google) if you have further questions or just use this medium.
2. I have created a diaper rash serum as well as a product to allow the diaper area to "air out" while preventing the baby from peeing all over. Both products used together and separately clear up diaper rashes quickly and naturally.
b) Have you checked the FDA web site to see if the formula has to be pre-approved before it can be commercialized? There are special label requirements if the serum has no been approved by the FDA that likely would have to be on the container or in the tube.
3. I have used the products with my son and now I would like to make the products available to other families out there. I am unsure of what the next steps should be... Do I need to contact a patent lawyer? How much should this cost and how long will it take to get a patent?
a) No, too early to be pouring monies into applying for a Non Provisional but you should investigate this for yourself.
b) It takes several years for some patent applications to be “run through the mill” hence why I suggested you file a Provisional to start out with – especially since it’s so simple and can be done by anyone who can read and write.
4. Should I be trying to look into packaging or production? Any advice would be appreciated.
a) You should be BUT ONLY IF YOU INTEND TO SET UP A CORPORATION TO MANUFACTURE/DISTRIBUTE IT UNDER YOUR OWN STEAM.
b) The other route to market is through Licensing. You would be the Licensor and a company or person the Licensee. They’ve typically be in the field and have money and facilities to produce (clean room may be needed) and market it to their clients, paying you a quarterly or yearly royalty out of sales. This way, you go on to your next invention while they commercialize it. Look into invention Licensing.
c) Watch out for companies online, the net, the TV etc who want you to put up money so they can “see” if they can license it. Thousands of scammers out there so if you have to pay to play ----- you don’t need them. If the serum is as good as you say, you look for a company or someone who wants to partner with you under a Licensing Agreement.
There’s lots more to know. The above is just a grain of sand on a beach.
Hope that helps,