Originally posted by Flatland Freak
hey i have an idea for a new bike part. Ive made very nice diagrams, and a working prototype...anyone know what i should do with my idea to get it patented so i can give it to companies?
Keep your idea secret.
Get a book called "Patent it Yourself", by David Pressman. Pressman will tell you that you can write your own application and secure your own patent. Don't believe him. You won't want to, and if you do, your patent won't be worth a fraction of what it would have been if you'd hired a good patent attorney.
That said, Pressman's book is excellant. You won't want to "patent it yourself". But his book explains the concepts and the process, and will give you information you will need to communicate effectively with your attorney.
Think about how you're going to commercialize your idea. You will be spending thousands of dollars to get your patent. Think of it as a business investment. You would not buy a new delivery truck or computer controlled machine tool for your small business without thinking carefully about how you intend to capitalize on your expenditure and recover your investment. A patent is the same. You need to have some plan for making and selling the product in sufficient quantities to recover all of the costs that go into it, or (much more likely) licensing it to a big company who will pay you a small percentage of each unit sold. Think things through. Have a plan.
Contact and visit a patent attorney in your area. Many will be reluctant or unwilling to meet with you. Many believe individual inventors are a pain in the butt and generally not worth the trouble. Others will be more willing. Call around, find someone you're comfortable with, then go to his or her office for a face-to-face meeting. Some will be willing to meet with you for an initial consultation at no cost to explain the basic process and what you can expect.
An attorney will be much more willing to deal with you if you have prepared first. Read Pressman's book so you will understand quickly what the attorney is saying to you. Think about your business plan so you can show that you're serious about your idea. Think about where you're going to get the $10-15,000 it will likely take to secure your patent.
Don't waste time or money on "inventors' services" or other nonsense such as that advertised on late night TV. Those are scams. You'll need an attorney or agent "registered to practice before the United States Patent Office", and you'll want someone close by so you can have a face to face meeting in the attorney's office.
Don't let anyone sucker you into filing a "provisional patent application." Those have their uses in limited situations, but a provisional patent application alone can never lead to an actual issued patent, which is what you are ultimately looking for.
You'll understand the advice in this message better after you've bought and read Pressman's book.
Good luck to you.