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Getting a patent

ElaroElaro BleedingMonumentRegistered User regular
Hi!

I've invented a thing that helps composers create music very efficiently, but I don't know if it's patentable or not. Knowing that the price of just filing a patent application and having it examined (in Canada) costs money, I'd like to know: Can I get reimbursed if the patent application fails? On the CIPO website it says you get reimbursed your fee minus 25$, but I want to know if I get a lawyer, will they reimburse me if the patent application fails? I guess it depends on the lawyer? If so, can you point me in the direction of some recommendable ones?

Has anybody gone through the process of getting a patent (successfully or not) and can they share their experience?

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Posts

  • tarnoktarnok Registered User regular
    If you hire a lawyer you will almost certainly not be getting back the money you pay him to work on the patent application. If you do not hire a lawyer then your chances of somehow screwing up the process through ignorance are much greater.

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  • PapillonPapillon Registered User regular
    What are you looking to do with this invention? Market it yourself? Sell it to an established company? Depending on the invention and your plans for it, you might not need a patent; trade secrets or similar might be sufficient to defend your invention, at least in the early stages. I would suggest paying an IP lawyer to discuss your options before you commit to any particular course of action. Alternatively, if you're a student at a university they might have an industrial liaison type office which might be able to help you.

    One thing to keep in mind is that with any IP lawsuit (especially with patents), even if you are 100% in the right, it can be hard to recover any damages if you're ripped off by a large company. Lawyers are expensive, and they have lots of money. I met a (Canadian) independent inventor at a networking event once, and he was saying how he'd demo'ed a new type of child bicycle seat to a large company; never heard back from them. 6 months later, they're selling a practically identical product. He never got a dime off them, because, despite doing everything right (non-disclosure, etc.) it would have been too expensive for him to fight, and he couldn't afford it.

    Good luck.

  • Spectral SwallowSpectral Swallow Registered User regular
    I looked into patenting a specific layout styleI was using a while back and the CHEAPEST patent lawyer I found (apparently only certain lawyers do patents) was over $10,000 all said and done.
    In the end I decided it wasn't really worth the investment.
    I know when I was looking into it, I found a college library that offered to help folks do it themselves, but I didn't really pursue it. So that may be something to look into.

  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    Unfortunately I can only comment on the U.S. side of things, but the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office runs a pro bono program for inventors or small businesses with limited resources (link). I do not know if Canada has a similar program, but it's worth looking into.

    Also, while it is certainly possible to be pro se and patent your own invention (if often ill-advised), patenting an invention in Canada only protects it in Canada. An alternative is to either file in both the U.S. and Canada or file a PCT (patent cooperation treaty) application, but I would never look at a PCT application without an attorney.

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  • ANTVGM64ANTVGM64 Registered User regular
    That app sounds awesome for the record and I look forward to checking it out!

    That said, regarding patents - maybe call a local law school? I've done this for car trouble / dental advice / medical advice, and generally speaking if you just want to *talk* to someone it never hurts to bother the best and brightest. Maybe post on E-lance or something like that?

    Failing that, invent it, go on Shark Trank, sell the company, profit!

  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    Patents are for protecting income. IMO if you don't have income from it, then fuck it and monetize your product (you can do this quietly if you'd like to). When you have income flowing from it then you can hire an IP lawyer and patent your things if you want. It will cost you 5-6 figures and no you won't get refunded for anything (other than maybe Patent office fees which will be peanuts compared to your lawyer fees).

  • RichyRichy Registered User regular
    Elaro wrote: »
    Has anybody gone through the process of getting a patent (successfully or not) and can they share their experience?

    I'm a university researcher, so my only experience has been in that capacity. In that context, the first step of my patent application was talking to the technology transfer officer on campus. The benefit here is that the officer is already familiar with the patent process, and the university will cover the costs and do the legwork. Downside of course is they'll want a share of the IP and financial benefits. But if that option is available to you, it can simplify your life a lot.

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  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    Djeet wrote: »
    Patents are for protecting income. IMO if you don't have income from it, then fuck it and monetize your product (you can do this quietly if you'd like to). When you have income flowing from it then you can hire an IP lawyer and patent your things if you want. It will cost you 5-6 figures and no you won't get refunded for anything (other than maybe Patent office fees which will be peanuts compared to your lawyer fees).

    This post raises a few points that need to be clarified. Again, U.S. specific because that's my experience (but a cursory Google search tells me the same principles apply in Canadian patent law).

    You have one year to file a patent application after public disclosure, and selling your invention, or otherwise making it available to the public, qualifies as a public disclosure. So the day you manage to monetize your product, that one year timer starts. After one year expires, and if no application has been filed, you will not be eligible for patent protection and anyone can copy your invention. Additionally, since both Canada and the U.S. are first-to-file countries, it doesn't matter if you made your invention first, if someone decides they want to copy it after you sell them your invention, and they get to the patent office first, they may very well get a patent on your invention.

    If you choose to monetize your product and not seek patent protection, it is also possible that your company (you will form a company, right?) could treat your invention as a trade secret backed up by confidentiality agreements signed at the point of sale. These contracts will most definitely require the services of an attorney.

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  • Kick_04Kick_04 Registered User regular
    Elaro wrote: »
    Hi!

    I've invented a thing that helps composers create music very efficiently, but I don't know if it's patentable or not. Knowing that the price of just filing a patent application and having it examined (in Canada) costs money, I'd like to know: Can I get reimbursed if the patent application fails? On the CIPO website it says you get reimbursed your fee minus 25$, but I want to know if I get a lawyer, will they reimburse me if the patent application fails? I guess it depends on the lawyer? If so, can you point me in the direction of some recommendable ones?

    Has anybody gone through the process of getting a patent (successfully or not) and can they share their experience?

    Like everyone else has said getting a patent is not cheap, I have my name on a patent but it was through work. Sat in through meetings with the patent attorney, the bill all said and done was over $50,000. You have to pay for them to do research and patent searches to make sure it is not invented already, send patents to you to look over and see if "similar but different" or not.

    In america I know there is a way to file a patent, but it doesn't go public for that one year period. I don't remember the details on it though, due to us not going that route.

    Also as said an Canadian patent will only protect your item in Canada. With it being a product for composers, that has an inherited world appeal. Due to that you would have to get a world patent + Canadian patent. Otherwise a person in Russia can go to Canadian patent office online, read your patent, make it exactly the same and sell it in Russia, China, Europe, etc... You will also need to have multiple design features, showing ones that fail and ones that work to support your claims. You will also have to list broad claims, but not too broad (if to broad they might reject it, if to narrow you can be cheated). I work in chemical field so our product mixes at 60C, so if we say 55-65C someone can do our exact procedure but at 66C they didn't infringe on our patent due to them being outside of our scope; at same time we can't say -270to300C.


    For the part if it is patentable or not, it basically boils down to if it is a novel idea or not. If it is something unique, than you can patent. You will need to also be able to defend your patent (which is where large companies can bury you with paper/attorneys) to say 100% guarantee that the person used one of your unique aspects.

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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    All I know from people seeking my department's support in having the company help them patent something is that our first step was always doing an exhaustive search to determine whether something similar was already patented, for what little that's worth.

    What is this I don't even.
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