Patent question(s)

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by brian eiland, Jul 9, 2004.

  1. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Are there any persons on this forum that might have direct participation/contact with the patent process/office, and/or, have sufficient experience with defining patentable subject matter thru their past projects??

    In this first posting:
    I have a very basic question concerning the patentability of a 'materials application'.....not the materials themselves, but rather combining certain unique materials together in such a manner as to produce a superior product for some particular application (marine related in this case).

    ________________________________
    I started this thread with a general heading that might allow other unrelated patent questions to be added aside from their other subject content that might appear seperately on the forum. I had done a little 'search' on the forum and didn't find patent questions sort of 'gathered'. Could this be a sort of 'patent sounding board' thread?
     
  2. Thunderhead19
    Joined: Sep 2003
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    Thunderhead19 Senior Member

    The US Patent Office is quite good about helping people out. Have you been to their website?
     
  3. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    patents

    Brian, I have three going on four US Patents. The FIRST thing you should do is to write down your idea in detail and disclose it to a patent attorney, preferably one you have a relationship with.This gives you an early date if you and someone else should file on the same idea at the same time.
    Second( simultaneuosly) ,you should make an appointment with a patent attorney, preferably one with expertise in the area you are interested in. He/she may be able to tell you right off the bat that it is/is not worth doing a search(more or less $800). With my attorney(Bill Hobby,Winter Park Fl. ) the disclosure and first meeting would have cost you nothing.
    Do not ,under any circumstances, discuss the salient points of your possible patent with anyone without making them sign a non-disclosure agreement.
    Patents cost a minimum of $4000-5000 ; the Patent office also makes inventors pay a tax(damn extortion if you ask me) every few years after a patent is granted. If your patent makes money then this won't be more than a minor irritant ; if it doesn't make money then this "tax" can be bothersome.
    Also remember: do the most thorough search you can under the technology you will attempt to patent BEFORE you committ to the attornies Search. And remember: the probablity is that the patent will be turned down by the Patent Office first time around adding somewhere over a thousand dollars to the cost when the patent attorney has to "fight"(negotiate?) with the patent office.
    You can start to sell your patent after it has been filed; in fact most patents that are sold are sold between when they are filed and when they are granted.You can actually start before you have filed but that is risky and you MUST use a non-disclosure agreement which some people and businesses won't want to sign.
    Since my patents relate to sailboat and helicopter hardware my expertise is not in the "materials" area so I can't help you but be very carefull about getting help outside the boundaries I have described above. Good Luck!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2004
  4. yipster
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    yipster designer

    Good Thread, hope it gets stuffed with factual info and maybe even new produkts that made it. inventions are a sensitive subject. did not know about a non-disclosure agreement before and can imagine an agent signing such easely but what when you want to discus the idea among designers? as i understand it signing that agreement means you cant publicly debate those ideas anymore. having ideas protected is a good thing but may at the same time take a lot of fun and possible progres out of brainstorming. for my only dutch patent i paid about E 3500 and did not renew it after 6 years. better luck i had with licence agreements, thats help and royalty's based on sales.
     
  5. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    inventions/non-disclosure agreements and my kFOIL(tm)patent

    Non disclosure agreements are not of one specific form and can be tailored to allow discussion among a group that are considering the development of or purchase of a patent or patentable invention.
    But if you discuss the details of your idea on a forum such as this one or in ANY public manner you just shot yourself in the foot.
    My latest patent applied for invention, the kFOIL(tm) is a retractable foil within a keel bulb-when deployed it is (or can be) similar to the "wings" on IACC boats; when retracted the foil disappears.
    It was primarily conceived of as a lateral resistance solution for canting keel boats INSTEAD of CBTF, dual daggerboards, a single dagger board ect. It has advantages in that it takes up no room in the boat and disadvantages in that the boat using it would not go to weather as well as CBTF.It can also be incorporated on low aspect fixed keels in new designs and potentially retrofitted.
    The reason I mention it is that soon after I filed it I mailed out 12 presentations to some of the top designers and builders in the world showing a color illustration of the concept with attendent verbiage describing the thing precisely. I have not heard a single word from anyone! Now, this was the first time I ever tried to market a patent BEFORE it was granted and I did so because my attorney told me I could but it really makes me nervous!(ha) What are all these guys doing with the details of my invention? Should I have waited? Nervous second guessing can happen if you spend $4000 on something that may never pay off and you can't really afford it.
    I'll let you know how it goes.....
    The point is that you have to do everything you can to establish that you have protected the idea as best as possible before talking too much about it and ANY conversation about your patentable idea BEFORE its filed should be covered by a non-disclosure agreement tailored to your situation. When you go to a friend and ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement you may get all sorts of reactions-doesn't matter as long as they sign it.You can explain that its not a question of trust at all but a question of establishing a trail of evidence showng that you did every thing possible to protect the idea....
    -----------
    Just a note: foreign protection on a patent filed in the US is granted for one year from the date you FILED in the US according to the "Paris Convention". Time can be extended under the "Patent Co-operation Treaty". This is one BIG reason(if you're not rich) to begin marketing your patent soon after it has been filed-to hopefully give you enough time to sell it before any one of these dates lapse.....
    -------
    For anyone interested here are two renderings showning just one of three variations of the kFOIL patent:
    Deployed- http://www.rcsailing.net/forum1/data/wgorgen/20043312449_kFOIL102.jpg
    Retracted-
    http://www.rcsailing.net/forum1/data/wgorgen/20043312541_kFOIL201.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2004
  6. CDBarry
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    Material use patents are common, one notable recent one being use of boric acid powder to kill roaches.
     
  7. Doug Carlson
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    Doug Carlson Senior Member

    I'm not a lawyer.

    I do have some thoughts on patents in general:

    If you don't have the where-with-all to defend a patent, either out of your own pocket, out of the proceeds of manufacturing under the patent, or by allying with, licensing, or selling the patent to an entity with deep pockets, the patent if it has any value can be taken from you.

    At least in the US, if your patent is violated and you don't defend it you lose it.

    Patents are theoretically intended to encourage development of ideas but it often appears to me that many very good and socially positive lines of research are not pursued because they don't lead in directions that yield patents, that is obtaining a patent becomes more important than solving a problem.

    I've seen ridiculous solutions to problems developed ,funded, and promoted only because they could be protected by a patent.

    If you are not willing or able to obtain patents in an area of interest to you then open discussion of your ideas moves the discussion ("brainstorming") forward and because your ideas have been "made public", others are prevented from that date forward from patenting that idea. You and others are still able to act on those ideas if their pursuit appears worthwhile.

    Doug Carlson
     
  8. brian eiland
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Is this really true? I thought this application was decades old.
     
  9. CDBarry
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    Well, mid 80's,

    But the poiint is that boric acid was well known, but it's new use as a roach killer was patentable.
     
  10. yipster
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    yipster designer

    fisherman's duo-prop shaft design was followed up with this e-mail i received some weeks back
    i reply'd
    got no reply anymore and did search for that # with no luck, is it still to new and not listed or who is handy diggin patents up?
     
  11. Ilan Voyager
    Joined: May 2004
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    Ilan Voyager Senior Member

    Boric acid is being used for killing roaches and ants (mixed with sugar) since at least the end of the 19th century. Tablets of boric acid for killing roaches have been marketed around 1920 and were very common in the 40's, before the DDT.

    Borates are coming back simply because they cheap (at least to produce: the octoborate at 99.85 % costs about 1.75 US $ a kg -2.2 pounds-,when you see some prices at retail of XXbor, it seems that it's better trade than cocaine for the earnings...) and pretty safe compared to organic compounds. So they have the aura of "ecologism".

    If the US Patent office has patented the use of boric acid as insecticide, they are going to patent the use of borax for cleaning clothes, the egg yolks for mayonnaise and wheat flour for the white bread ... I'm going to patent the use of a knife for cutting the meat.
     
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  12. Guest

    Guest Guest

    ...and that is a remarquable example of ignorance of the subject...and a nice waste of money.
    Boric acid for killing cockroaches is THE old, well documented use of that material.
    First thing about patents: know your subject!
     
  13. dockboy
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    dockboy New Member

    post patent

    I think the point here (if the pending boric acid/roaches patent is true) is that just because nobody thought of it before doesn't mean it can't be patented NOW/TODAY. The rules SHOULD be there to protect us, but there are bad guys out there that work the system against us for their own benefit.

    It's not right. I wish there was an easy fix.

    Case in point:
    In the medical industry where I am based there was an item that was designed and used for quite a while. It was a good seller. There were several rival companies that made knock-offs of this item that were very close and even identical to each other, but sold under their own label. Our solution to the same instrument was very different in several ways(we never copy) and a little more graceful, but it performed the same task.

    One of these clone companies managed to secure a patent on the item even tho they were not the original creator/designer. It was such a bizarre patent that nobody had even thought of such a thing. This company now went around suing all the competiton for infringing on this patent. Many cases he even managed to get compensated for years of past sales of the product from the now 'infringing' companies. He basically put quite a few out of business. Since he had no creative talent himself, instead of concentrating on improving the industry, he severly damaged it.

    He tried to come after us, and it was a battle, but ours was CLEARLY our own design - not a clone. The fact that we had to defend ourselves (which was not cheap) was yet another maddening outcome of this whole event.

    In the end, he ended up collecting a couple mill from the good companies he killed and wandered off somewhere and disappeared. I hope he is happy with himself.
    -----------
    It was mostly referred to in a previous post:
    This experience kinda shows me the growing problem in the real creative forces in the U.S. It is not worth the time to invent a little widgit that maybe makes the world a better place, and maybe reap a little reward for that widgit in the process. Especially if someone is there to take away the rewards in the end.

    Ok, fine! I see the hugely complicated process of protecting your widget as a means to filtering out the silly ideas that will never amount to anything, but I wonder how many good products were killed in the end because it was way too complex and cost prohibitive.

    If you have something good, everybody wants a piece of it.
    There is no morality in "Coyote Theory".

    Byron
     

  14. Ilan Voyager
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    Ilan Voyager Senior Member

    There are plenty of coyotes

    ( I call them tricky dick heads) and it seems very easy in the States where you can patent anything even the genes of a traditionnal thailandese crop of rice, existing since 2000 years...Happily in Europe there is a notion of "traditionnal" or "customary" use and of existing "anteriority". For example in France it's impossible to patent the use of boric acid as cockroach killer as it's well known that's a traditionnal use of the borix acid.

    It's very difficult to patent a slight variation of a mechanism if this variation does not represent a "significant" improvment and it's impossible to patent something existing and marketed before, event if the former objet was not protected by a patent... It seems more reasonnable to me that the US politics.

    Coyotes are everywhere, and while being in activity as naval engineer I've always registered (a very simple system in France where you can deposit at the tax administration an exemplary which'll be kept for a small fee) my drawings and methods of calculations. By this way I had the proof of anteriority, a very important notion in patents in Europe. As everybody knew in the profession that all my innovative work was registered, nobody tried to steal a design or method...

    Coming back to patents: it's very hard to patent a mechanical devise: first while making a research it's surprising to see that almost everything in engines mechanical design and other devices has been already invented.
    Second it's very expensive, pratically beyond the financial possibilities of a common individual if you want a worlwide protection. Third yhe patent will be immediately infringed by some company from a remote country... A lot of people are paid by big companies to closely examine all the patents deposited in innovative countries and to find the way of copying it.
     
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