Have you ever told yourself, “I need to follow my own advice.”

The first step of the 3-Step Process I teach is “Prove It”. Prove out the concept and prove to yourself that the idea is new. It has to be novel in the eyes of the USPTO. This is what the law says with respect to novelty (I am not a lawyer, please see the help of  a professional, the following bullets are from IP Watchdog ).

  • If the invention in question was described in a patent issued anywhere in the world prior to the patent applicant inventing it, then no patent can be obtained.
  • If the invention in question was described in a printed publication published anywhere in the world prior to the patent applicant inventing it, then no patent can be obtained.
  • If the invention were publicly known in the US, but not necessarily patented or published, prior to the patent applicant inventing it, then no patent can be obtained.

I often get very excited about proving out how it works and making prototypes. I should first prove to myself with sufficient confidence that the idea is novel (new).

Here’s a story about my mishap that hopefully will help you.

About three years ago my wife had an idea for a novel invention. I took her idea and added to it, tweaked it, expanded it and I thought it was genius!

Just last week, after refining and perfecting the design (for three years), I decided to finally pull the trigger and apply for the patent. I almost made a very expensive mistake.

I posted last week how I met with an attorney in my post about privileged information. I was ready to fork over $1,200 for a professional patent search. This makes sense because I was planning to fork over another $6,000 to file the patent. More money would be required for “office action” where the USPTO and your attorney go back and forth arguing your patent.

So over the weekend I did a simple three word Google search and BAM! There was MY IDEA (OK, my wife’s idea) for sale. For sale by the very same company I hoped to license it to. Oh the horror. I was crushed, angry, and ready to cry. Why did I wait so long to pull the trigger. I was fearful that it was not perfect so I kept polishing and procrastinating.

WHAT A WASTE! No, not really a waste if you can learn from it. I did learn a lot along the  way about creating and editing videos, making sell sheets and creating photo-realistic 3-D CAD images .

Then I did a patent search and found the patent application. It was from 2006, three years before my wife and I started working on our version of the invention. Apparently it never issued so that was a bit of a consolation.

Slacker Inventor Blues

(my apologies to Eric Burton and the Animals)

Oh mother tell your children
Not to do what I have done
Spend your life in sin and misery
Skipping homework and doing what’s fun

 

Do your homework, do the un-fun part of searching for prior art before you start prototypng and calculating the royalties.

 

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