Inventing New Products/Inventions/Auto Safety

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Question
QUESTION: I need grant funding to proceed with my safety invention that will save millions of lives year by year.

ANSWER: Hi Again Lonnie,

I see you posted the below follow-up comment:

Comment:   I am in need of a prototype,invention product pricing,licensing,Patent and marketing. Penny I see that this is your expertise and I will be willing to offer you a large percentage for of my invention for your help.  

My answer is as follows:

Let me know the closest large city to your location and I expect I can find a prototyper (naturally I'll need to know your estimated material type(s) and "general" invention category such as: toys, games, sports (classify type), EMT, medical, etc. I don't need to know what you have just the general category it would fit into).

I would suggest you not offer percentages until you know what it's going to cost to roll out and then make a profit - if the product were a hot seller.

Due to the new American Inventors Act going into effect March of this year, you cannot divulge your invention to anyone as the US is now a "First to File" country. Having a stack of "Non Disclosure/Non Compete Agreements" ready for signing may help depending on the state someone is from who would first sign one. NDAs are contracts therefore fall under each state's individual law of contracts. It's still risky to fully divulge these days to strangers or those with big mouths. It's first to apply at the patent office that counts. Another's patent app may be filed before yours unless you keep your lips sealed.  

Product Pricing can fall into several categories: for now if you check store shelves where your product would sit then price the low-to-high range in your category then divide, say, by five to get a very rough idea of wholesale cost. It's better than nothing, in my mind.  

As to a patent, you do not need to apply for one, as yet, until you have minimally had a "prior art patent search" performed. You can do a rudimentary one www.google.com/patents. Use five or less words to describe what you're looking for then see if anything pops up virtually the same as what you've got.

For now unless you have completely ended your inventing cycle (if you don't know materials  likely you've not ended the invention cycle as modifications may have to made depending on : ease/cost to acquire; will they hold up to your specs and for how long; are they fire proof; are there any "standards" that have to met etc etc etc) For now I would suggest if you're hell-bent on applying for a patent that you first get a prior art Patent Search performed by a professional company (not a lawyer or agent) who provides search findings (patents) and a "written" legal opinion as to potential of patentability for your final product.

If it turns out to be not patentable it may be no big deal anyway - - unless you seek an investor. A patent or potential to acquire one (based on legal opinion letter) is what should/might interest a company as it may protect their investment - that is, if other than a Design patent. I'm talking a Utility Patent. The thing is, if it doesn't qualify for one - it has no novelty meaning anyone can copy it to outside investment would not be protectable. As to cost of a prior art patent search, you might pay around $250-$350 including a written legal opinion letter as to patentabilty. If they don't include a written legal opinion letter, don't use them.

One other point, you can stall, in the US, filing for a formal "Non Provisional (Utility) Patent App" and simply self write and file what's called a "Provisional Application for Patent". The Filing fee runs around $125 payable to the US Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") last time I looked. If you go to www.uspto.gov select their "Fee" page then look up the cost of filing a Provisional - likely that would be the way to go to establish a filing date (first in line, one hopes). It's not a patent and won't result in one unless you follow through with filing one (usually via a patent lawyer or agent) "within" one year but at least you can state in promo materials and elsewhere that your invention is "patent pending." It's still risky to divulge "all" about it unless you know you'll raise monies to convert the PAP to a formal Utility patent application within one year - otherwise - you may be a dead duck if you let it expire, maybe. So, you write out what you've got, how to make and use it, and add a drawing. You need to teach someone in the field of making what you've got how to make and use your invention type (called Enabling). Then you download and attach the forms needed from off of the "Forms" page at the PTO. You then go to a Post Office (they are agents for the PTO) and you file your write up, drawing(s),check, etc by Express Mail (not registered or Certified) or you file it electronically on the PTO web site (cheaper actually).

As to licensing, the issue is never finding companies interested in Licensing (with track records in the product category and tooling or a plant or Mill to mass produce your product), it's getting them interested in doing a deal, and then doing one. If you bear in mind the focus (from their viewpoint) is not your invention but on their bottom line and/or marketing share increases. Focusing on a sales pitch doesn't work in my estimation. It's focusing on how what you've got will improve/increase their bottomline and/or market share. Hence it takes burning the midnight oil to figure out or estimate their numbers and to accurately work out as much as possible all costs and expenditures to roll out as well as how long your product's shelf life might be (compared to others on the market). Read their packaging to get an idea of shelf life or call them up if the materials they and your product will use might be a close fit.

I'm sorry but my time is quite limited so percentage deals do not interest me. I might suggest you visit a local inventors club to hear some talks and socialise to find out resources the club offers. Likely they'd be a prototyper or two who is affiliated with the club (honey pot and bee principle).  Usually yearly membership fees run $45 and up. They may have a door fee of $5 - $12 to attend monthly meetings when not a member.

You are just starting out so there are lots of options. Read a few books on the inventing process.

Kind Regards,
Penny Ballou













---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Auto Safety Pad
Auto Safety Pad  
QUESTION: The nearest big town close to me is Fort Worth, Texas.
The general invention category will be Auto Safety.
Not sure about materials because I will need to talk
to place doing prototype.

Answer
Hi again Lonnie,

Since the auto industry category has so many diverse segments I don't think I can help you find a prototyper - but there are many in the area of Ft.Worth. It's just a question, for me, of more specifics about your category. So I think you should start searching Google using specifics proprierary category unique to your invention to narrow-down down a list of specific ones to contact.

I see there's an inventors meet-up in Tarrant County hosted by an attorney. Ummm, the focus will likely be getting one's money on the table to pay for patenting - which, as I suggested, you really do not need to be spending the big bucks on at such an early stage. A Provisional will do just fine for up to a year or less, it's up to you when you convert or if you can persuade an investor to anni-up instead.

I would suggest you focus on a finding a live inventors meeting where inventors attend. Likely they'll be decent advice (but you still have to use your common sense).

I found another group in TX too. I see the new President is a patent attorney and former US PTO Examiner (examiner's receive formal patent apps and "prosecute" [the back/forth between an examiner and an inventor's attorney or if an inventor filed a formal patent app he would be called a Pro Se (self-filer) inventor] them from beginning to end). I also note the Tom Workman as

They charge $30 a year - so that's all good and the first meeting attended is Free. I also the notice on their site "Blank non-disclosure agreements will be available for your use if you wish to discuss your product with others at the meeting" - I DON'T THINK SO!!!!!

I see they advertise using Patent Pro - (garbage in/garbage out) self-writing formal Utility patent app CD. I've tried about four or maybe five CDs and they're all fill-in-the-blanks questions that spit out - IMO - junk.

Their next meeting will be: October 15th, conference room of the Maribelle M. Davis Library in Plano - but they don't list TIME! I see on another site it runs from 7PM-8:30Pm.

Note: they post a list of prototypers on their site at: http://www.txinventors.com/links.htm#prototyping

Anyway, hope that helps.

All the best,
Penny  Ballou

Note: I see a Tom Workman, may not be the one I know, is a founder. He is a very wise former patent attorney and last I talked to him he was a litigator. If it's the same one - any group connected to him has to be as ethical as heck, IMO - but not sure if it's the same one.  

Inventing New Products/Inventions

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Penny Ballou

Expertise

The Invention Process; Royalties; Licensing Inventions/Products; Pricing; Direct to Market; Marketing/Promotions; Patent Searching; DIY patent writing; Types of patents/costs/how to's; Funding (grants and Angel investors); Prototyping; Off-Shore sourcing.

Experience

I am founder of an inventors group; Advisory Board President of www.inventored.org; former Licensing Executive Society member; researcher for www.piausa.org and a consultant; plus moderate and contribute to several online inventor discussion groups.

Publications
Enter my email address into any search engine to find them.

Education/Credentials
Invention development: well-studied and applied in all aspects of the process and an inventor myself with one invention in patent pending and others ramping up. Lived and attended schools in Mainland China and the UK.

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