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311Hemi

Question on patents and new products?

Question

Just wondering if anyone has any in site on patents and infringement. I am looking at making a conversion to a current product and am not sure if I can get in to financial trouble doing/selling it. Best thought is probably to contact a patent lawyer.....but just thought I would throw it out here.

The scenario (an example of something similar to what I would be doing):

Taking a Toro lawn mower and build a conversion to make it a large brush cutter. Mower would be sold used or brand new, but my kit would raise it off the ground, I would take their blade and rework it to my own style, and would have the safety features around new blade.

Now, the blade I would buy already manufactured Toro blades, cut and re-weld into a 3 blade system and sell as part of the conversion.

1) Not sure I would be infringing on anything if I reworked an existing product like this unless there was already a conversion out there like this?

2) How do things like mower blades not infringe on others? Or is it a matter of the patent expiring since these have been around for many years. Anyone now can make a two blade lawnmower blade without infringing on someone else.

BTW, the above is not my idea. If you want to build this brush cutter conversion feel free. Just a similar idea with respect to something currently available and to what I want to do. Mine has nothing to do with lawn products, but the idea is the similar.

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So you want to create a kit to sell, right?

Unless somebody already is making this kit and has it patented, you would be fine. You can use google patent to search for existing patents.

Quote:
The patent laws usually require that, in order for an invention to be patentable, it must

* be of patentable subject matter, ie a kind of subject-matter that is eligible for patent protection,

* be novel (i.e. at least some aspect of it must be new),

* be non-obvious (in United States patent law) or involve an inventive step (in European patent law); and

* be useful (in U.S. patent law) or be susceptible of industrial application (in European patent law).

quoted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patentability

Here is a link to the US patent office

http://www.uspto.gov/

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If you are thinking of patenting your machine, keep in mind that your patent will be published. Somebody could take your design, modify it a little, and then manufacture it without infringing on your patent.

Also keep in mind that you cannot patent an idea. You have to create something with that idea that has "claims" of what it is and what is does.

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Thanks for the info, I will spend some time there looking around.

And yes. I'm looking to make a kit but probably wont patent anything. It's very similar to other devices already out there made for this specific purpose, but I think I can make a kit to make a much more affordable option out of a preexisting device for those that would use it. Many already have the main device...so a cheaper kit might be a decent option.

I guess I would have to worry about others taking the idea once finished (or maybe doing it themselves)......I guess that's just part of the deal. Hopefully it's cheap enough that it would be worth it. Time will tell!

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I guess I would have to worry about others taking the idea once finished (or maybe doing it themselves)......I guess that's just part of the deal. Hopefully it's cheap enough that it would be worth it. Time will tell!

Yeah, I guess you need to weigh the potential loss of revenue against the cost of patenting your design.

I think a patent could costs at least 3 or 4 thousand dollars.

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If you are thinking of patenting your machine, keep in mind that your patent will be published. Somebody could take your design, modify it a little, and then manufacture it without infringing on your patent.

True. And you can do the same thing.

Remember, the only thing a patent does is gives you ammo in a lawsuit. If you have a patent and somebody copies your product, you are the one that needs to hire the lawyers to bring a lawsuit against them. Also, it doesn't mean that you will win.

So you pay the bucks for a patent and you still need to pay the bucks to protect it.

If you decide you need a patent do a google search for legal zoom. Might save you some bucks. Also there are several books on the subject on amazon or the book store.

BTW, it is pretty easy to bring a product to market yourself these days. You can sell it on hsolist, or get a HSOforum (or both). I have done both with good success.

Good luck!

- Wish

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I'm not an expert on the subject but once heard that if you change a product 10% it's enough to be considered your idea. 10% seems pretty ambigious (ie. color change, size, packaging?)

I was also told by an inventor that patents aren't worth it unless you are willing to fight for your patent as mentioned earlier, you are better off making a whole bunch of product and flood the market to try to make your money and then do something new because copycats will be on your heels.

Another inventor I recently fished with has a patent on a product but rather than try to manufacture it he went to an inventors fair in Vegas and a mfg company bought his patent from him. He siad his patent cost 8-10K.

Good luck I'm still tryting to invent a lure that can outfish a rapala.

redhooks

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Thanks again. I am not going to be doing any patent....would not be worthwhile for what my goal is. It wont bringing in the kind of money that would warrant me spending that much in the first place.

I just want a little extra gas money for fishing/hunting!! grin

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Figure out a way to brew your own ethanol!

Maybe once I get the backyard seeded.....way to many projects going on right now!! laugh

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