i currently have a provisional patent on a mechanical device. i obtained this through an invention company with which i am currently in contract, however that contract is about to expire. the idea has not yet sold, and i am about to purchase a full legal patent through a patent lawyer. does my current provisional patent protect me enough that i can divulge information about it to prospective buyers? i want to see if i can get some interest in the idea before i pay the fees involved in getting a full patent, but i don't want to overexpose the idea without proper protection. what are my options?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Pardon the delay but I wanted to check with the patent attorney before I addressed business law issues. Condensed and perhaps not perfectly stated I was advised that:
1. Invention companies have no incentive to do good legal work on patents so may not do so. So, you may have nothing.
2. If you have nothing, then you have no basis to go forward with licensing, etc.
3. Because (from what he said I understand that) patents have two year lag time no one can guarantee what you have today, but at least an attorney can provide an attorney conducted search and prepared patent. Cost for the attorney search he said was $950.00 and he said it takes at least one-two weeks to do, prepare report etc.
I can't comment on your invention company but I can tell you that an Online company - I think it was Legalzoom filed a trademark for my (later) client under the name "Ivy League...". Well guess who he got a letter from? That is really dumb and dumber. If you were going to pick a fight with some one it would probably not be Harvard, Yale, Cornell, etc. So, it cost him much money to fix and to avoid money damages.
So, I guess my advice is to be sure your cornerstone is in place before you build the house. (Sorry)
One thing you can do is now and later is to have your prospective investors, vendors, manufacturers -anybody you talk to - sign a non-disclosure agreement ("NDA"). We provide a strong one for $350.00 and you would use the same contract with every recipient. So, you could start with that. This and the next manufacturing and/or licensing agreement (or whatever) is really important. Many of my (later) clients "give away the store" to manufacturers, resellers, sales organizations, etc.) So, for now the NDA and next the contract with mfg and/or seller.Hope this helps.
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