Inventing New Products/Inventions/Design Patent
For my slipper that shows the time up front,would I need to apply for a design patent first,and prototype second? I want to license the idea .
Hi there Jennifer.
One answer to your question is that there is nothing stating one "must" apply for a patent on anything. For starters, if there were, one would, of course, first order a professional prior art patent search (US cost around $250) which MUST include a written legal opinion indicating whether it's more than likely the gizmo may qualify for a patent. In other words, find out if there's anything out there with a current patent or which is so like or similar to your gizmo that it would defeat a patent being issued (after one had paid to get formal Design patents drawings and drafting of a patent application --as required for all US Design patent applications.
The majority of inventors who contact me want to get their products into the market place before they spend monies to pay legal eagles especially since not only don't they have those sorts of funds and would rather put them into making money first, but, if one also doesn't funds later to fight to keep one's patent (after issuance) one runs a risk of it being cancelled due to lack of novelty or some such.
As any prototype, the patent office doesn't care if one has a proto or not - - unless, the application made is so un-unstandable, they have to order an inventor to supply them drawings so they can figure out what one has. In the case of a Design Patent (versus a Utility), patent applications are pretty much just the drawing(s) so they are real important and a single legal claim one can find in any Design patent the only difference beint the inventor description.
As to Licensing one's idea: tricky! Usually licensees want to see evidence of sales are some kind of "WoW" factor along wtih evidence of public demand or evidence of a flurry of sales in the invention category before they invest their time, monies, tooling, marketing/promotions, packaging/design etc etc etc etc. Essentially tons of upfront cash in order to launch.
I trust the above may be food for thought.