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Legal Advice Needed

Old 07-31-2007, 09:11 AM
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A patent is only as strong as you are. If you spend a bunch of $$ getting a patent, all you have is a civil claim to that intellectual property. If someone else wants to put your product into production tomorrow, all you can do is sue them. There is no Patent Police to help you. Now, if you're a billion-dollar coprporation holding the patent and another company wants it, you'll probably receive an offer of negotiation from them. On the other hand, if you're Joe Schmo, you probably won't even get the courtesy of a notice that they'tre producing your product. On the other hand, you may also get pre-emptively sued. I have a close acquaintance & business associate that had a great idea of which he received a patent. Took several years and the patent alone cost him about $35K. Spent about twice that on engineering consultants. When he started shopping it to the industry looking for someone either to produce it or licence the design, he found someone very interested in it. So interested in it that they dug through everything they had ever designed and patented until they discovered several areas of their designs that were analogous to what he'd done. Then, they sued him for patent infringement. They also petitioned the USPTO to rescind the patent based on infringement on their designs that the Office overlooked. His attorney basically told him he'd be wrapped up for 5 to 7 years and spend $250K to $500K if the manufacturer wanted to hang in. It was a minimum of $25K just for the initial engagement and counter suit filing. The manufacturer now produces the product and my pal is out $100K and several years of his life.

It's a sad story but it happens all the time. I don't want to be a wet blanket on your idea but it's probably best if you hear this stuff now before you mortgage the house & cash in the kid's college funds. I'm not suggesting you don't move forward, I'm only suggesting you investigate all the possibilities. If your industry segment doesn't have some large, predatory corporation for you to worry about, you may be just fine. It's always better to be prepared. Good luck!
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:54 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Wise counsel CS
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