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How do I prove it's a good idea without it getting stolen?

davidroland's Avatar

I have an invention and working prototype, and of course, I want to jump to filing a patent to protect it and make millions woohoo.

But I don't even know if this is something people want... So how do I get opinions on my idea without explaining my technology and leaving it vulnerable? Where can I find a secure community to get feedback?

Thanks 

Maria Gorski
Robert Harker
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magurn's Avataren_staff_badge

Hi David!

Welcome to Edison Nation! 

First, we always warn folks never to post any details about their idea publicly (whether it is in our forums or elsewhere). Ensure that the terms and conditions for whatever company with whom you chose to share your idea meet your needs before you submit.

That being said, all ideas that are submitted to Edison Nation's platform are done via our secure online submission platform. Details of ideas are never shared publicly on our site. The only people that will see details about the product concept are the EN team, and, if an idea reaches "pitching" stage, the Edison Nation team will only share your idea with companies who we have non-disclosure agreements in place with.

As our ultimate goal is to license the intellectual property around ideas shared with us, we do everything in our power to ensure that IP is protected throughout our process.

Please visit our Help page to learn more about us and if you feel we're a fit for you, we look forward to reviewing your idea soon!

We wish you the best of luck!

David Joseph Roland
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crystaldiane's Avatar

Hi David, there are ways to protect your idea without spending a fortune.

I went the SAME Path that you did - I wanted to test the idea before I spent PILE of money.  

More and more, depending on the product category, people are utilizing "First to Market" and "Minimum Viable Product" Strategies to test ideas.  With resouces like Crowdfunding platforms, social media, this is in reach for many people unlike ever before.

Do these methogs provide as much protection as an issued patent? No, but what they do is establish something most inventors forget - which is is it a saleable product or not.  In the end people buy products not patents.  Sales of a product is much more valuable to a possible licensing partner than a piece of paper saying its a unique idea - thats MY Opinion only. Please do not read beyond this - its not advice! Only personal experience.

I might suggest you research these areas I did a prototype, put together a room of people I did not know (for free) but hosting a prototype party at a local grocery store meeting room (I only had to buy snacks) and got feedback from a wide group of folks.  Yes, that is considered public discousre but its a limited number of people so the research is also limited but weigh the risk of likelyhood that someone other than yourself (there is no shortage of good ideas there is a huge shortage of executution even Edison Nation says NO to more good ideas than Yes, right) someone would be willing to do the WORK and STEAL your idea. I actually hosted a few of these and I listened to what people told me. I then REDESIGNED a product based on what they told me and then I made some handmade versions and then I did the really hard part - I went to see if anyone would buy them.  I set up a website and went to places who I thought were customers - and yes, I did sell them.  It was at this point I felt I was onto something.

Often times the time (not counting the money)  it takes to get a patent is the life of the product you must decide if waiting will hurt you by letting that market opportunity pass you buy (Think how FAST everything is now). Of course the attorney will take your money, but they will not give you this advice.  They are getting paid to perform a service not make you money.  Two different motives.....

However, If you do the above - you will know for yourself if its something to keep moving forward on.  If you get bad feedback you will have saved yourself a lot of heartache and money.

Finally You need to do a patent search on your own. Go to Google Patents, Search ALL Categories that might even be close to this and all the words you can think of describing your product.  Its unlikely NOTHING will come up that is not considered prior art.  If you are unfamilier with this go to the USPTO Website. They have Patent Basics online to learn about.  SO MUCH can be done with just some research at home without spending a dime!  Just takes work....

Again, this is from my personal experience.  You can also get a copy of Roger Browns Book Common Sense Inventing, and look at others like Steven Key, they support a slightly different version of this strategy.

Good luck to you. Hope it works out! Best CD

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crystaldiane's Avatar

Hi David, there are ways to protect your idea without spending a fortune.

I went the SAME Path that you did - I wanted to test the idea before I spent PILE of money.  

More and more, depending on the product category, people are utilizing "First to Market" and "Minimum Viable Product" Strategies to test ideas.  With resouces like Crowdfunding platforms, social media, this is in reach for many people unlike ever before.

Do these methogs provide as much protection as an issued patent? No, but what they do is establish something most inventors forget - which is is it a saleable product or not.  In the end people buy products not patents.  Sales of a product is much more valuable to a possible licensing partner than a piece of paper saying its a unique idea - thats MY Opinion only. Please do not read beyond this - its not advice! Only personal experience.

I might suggest you research these areas I did a prototype, put together a room of people I did not know (for free) but hosting a prototype party at a local grocery store meeting room (I only had to buy snacks) and got feedback from a wide group of folks.  Yes, that is considered public discousre but its a limited number of people so the research is also limited but weigh the risk of likelyhood that someone other than yourself (there is no shortage of good ideas there is a huge shortage of executution even Edison Nation says NO to more good ideas than Yes, right) someone would be willing to do the WORK and STEAL your idea. I actually hosted a few of these and I listened to what people told me. I then REDESIGNED a product based on what they told me and then I made some handmade versions and then I did the really hard part - I went to see if anyone would buy them.  I set up a website and went to places who I thought were customers - and yes, I did sell them.  It was at this point I felt I was onto something.

Often times the time (not counting the money)  it takes to get a patent is the life of the product you must decide if waiting will hurt you by letting that market opportunity pass you buy (Think how FAST everything is now). Of course the attorney will take your money, but they will not give you this advice.  They are getting paid to perform a service not make you money.  Two different motives.....

However, If you do the above - you will know for yourself if its something to keep moving forward on.  If you get bad feedback you will have saved yourself a lot of heartache and money.

Finally You need to do a patent search on your own. Go to Google Patents, Search ALL Categories that might even be close to this and all the words you can think of describing your product.  Its unlikely NOTHING will come up that is not considered prior art.  If you are unfamilier with this go to the USPTO Website. They have Patent Basics online to learn about.  SO MUCH can be done with just some research at home without spending a dime!  Just takes work....

Again, this is from my personal experience.  You can also get a copy of Roger Browns Book Common Sense Inventing, and look at others like Steven Key, they support a slightly different version of this strategy.

Good luck to you. Hope it works out! Best CD

Robert Harker
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rharker's Avatargold

David;

You could apply for a provisional patent application which are not too expensive but labor intensive.  PPA's are like a placeholder for you in the patent office and you have a year to file a formal application that references the PPA. 

If it is more of an ornamental design go straight to a design patent which require good drawings and very little legalese and are cheaper.  Either way you should find a professional and seek qualified advise.

Non-disclosure agreements can provide protection from one on one disclosures but those have to be crafted well too.

I agree that you should do an exhaustive patent search yourself and record every shred of prior art you find for use in any patent applications:

www.lens.org Is a good place to do patent searches as well as is

Google Patents

The main place to find prior art is the US patent and trademark office (USPTO) online searches which can reference most public patents since 1976 and images of earlier ones.

USPTO Quick Search

When you find some possible prior art patents the USPTO public PAIR site will help you determine its status (patent granted, abandoned, non payment of fees etc.)

USPTO Public PAIR You will need an application number, patent number, control number and etc. to access the particular files.

Hear is a Video from USPTO on how to do a search:

How to Conduct a Preliminary Patent Search: A Step By Step Strategy

As has been stated many times in these threads, seek your own professional advise in regard to patents and their protection.  Not intended as professional advise for information only.

Enjoy Inventing;)

Maria Gorski
williamj
Chase Fisher
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