As woodworkers, I would say we are a pretty creative group. I doubt any us us have not had an idea to improve something, or develop a new tool, or idea to make an existing tool better.
This creativity is a necessary ingredient to inventing anything, and is a characteristic of our hobby. Add to that the mother of all inventions, necessity, and with us being tinkerer’s, we’re almost forced to invent something. A lot of us have made our invention, for our own use whenever possible.
Surprisingly, I’ve have been contacted a number of times over the past few years from fellows that have invented something, and somehow end up calling me for advice. I’m not exactly sure how they decide I’m the right guy to call, or even how they found me, but it continues to happen.
A few weeks or so ago, a fellow called me about an idea he has. It is a product for making cutting sheet goods easier. He has one he made from wood and claims it works great.
We talked for about an hour, and the longer he talked, the worse I felt for him.
He has spent $ 8,500.00 so far, with a patent attorney to get a patent and eventually bring his invention to market.
The invention sounds like many of the existing products on the market already, so who knows if he’ll actually end up getting a patent. What is certain though, is that money is gone, and it is without any guarantee of anything.
While talking with him, I asked him a number of questions regarding the process his attorney is using. He repeatedly said, ” my attorney said he is sure I’ll get this patent, so that step wasn’t necessary”.
He was actually defending a guy who is taking his money, and leading him to believe everything will work out fine. And guess what, it will, for the attorney. He doesn’t have to produce results, just effort. And you can be pretty certain a paralegal is doing the effort part.
I have helped a few guys, friends in various trades, get provisional patents and the results were made clear, before parting with thousands of dollars for an attorney.
Do keep in mind, it would be foolish not to get a patent attorney, but it helps to know when to get one, and if he’s on the level.
So I decided to write about my experiences in the patent process.
To that end I have created another website, http://www.adviceonpatents.com
It is still under development and probably will be for some time to come as I’m a bit busy, but there is already enough information to save anyone considering a patent, many thousands of dollars.
So, if any of my friends here are considering this adventure, and it really is an adventure, check it out!