Many inventors are too intimidated by the legal process to seek out protection themselves. In truth, many inventors file their own patents. But before you consider doing so too, it is important to be aware that writing patents is very technical. You’ll need help to write your own, but that help need not be in the form of an expensive lawyer!
Inventors can and should file their own provisional patent applications (PPAs) with the right guiding software. A provisional patent application lasts for one year. It allows the inventor to file for protection without making any formal claims; it establishes an early filing period and effectively gives the inventor a grace period they can use to “shop around” his or her idea to companies to determine if there is indeed a legitimate interest in the idea. The program I recommend is Patent Wizard (htt://www.patentwizard.com). A PPA costs only $110 to file! And a PPA allows you describe your idea as “patent pending”.
It’s like fishing off the pier to see if you get a bite: you shouldn’t be ready to commit to paying for a patent unless you know your product has interest. I’ve had enough experience as an inventor to understand that I’m not going to successfully sell every idea I come up with. The upside is: if no one’s interested, you’ve only spent $110 and can easily move onto your next idea.
The downside is that a provisional patent written by an independent Inventor will never as good as a PPA written by a patent attorney or agent. But for $110, you really can’t beat filing one yourself. Inventing is a numbers game: 97% of all patents never recoup the cost of filing them. Don’t become a statistic! The USPTO has given independent inventors the tools to play one of the biggest games on the planet. Patents level the playing field by giving inventors the power to play ball with corporate America.
However, let me extremely clear about this next point: I would never recommend that someone file his or her own full utility patent. I have been to federal court to defend my patent against an infringement made by one of the largest toy companies in the world, Lego’s. I was shocked to discover what a prizefight it was. Litigators threw around words and concepts at rapid speeds – anyone without a law degree would be completely overwhelmed in dealing with such terms. Every day, they argued over the meaning of the words in my patent. Someone not skilled in the art of writing patents, in my opinion, would absolutely lose the fight.
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed
over 20 products in the past 30 years. Along with business partner
Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight,
a company dedicated to educating inventors about selling their ideas
and the skills needed to succeed. You can listen to the weekly radio show on inventing. Get In The News, list your invention to have media outlets find you for news stories.