What happens if you have a business idea but....

What happens if you have a business idea but....

PostBy: EarthWindandFire On: Fri May 24, 2013 7:20 am

This is a spin-off from my other post in a way. I have an idea for a business based on a new product. I could approach others with much more experience (and money) than I do but I have friends who've had ideas stolen from them. One friend of mine was a fly-fishing instructor at Orvis in Vermont and wrote a letter to a fishing line manufacturer about his idea for an improved fishing line, well sure enough, that fall they had put his idea on the shelves of every store in the nation.

Should I approach the people with the know-how and manufacturing prowess about my idea or attempt this on my own with little chance of success?

Just something to ponder about, any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated!
EarthWindandFire
 
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Re: What happens if you have a business idea but....

PostBy: dcrane On: Fri May 24, 2013 7:53 am

EarthWindandFire wrote:This is a spin-off from my other post in a way. I have an idea for a business based on a new product. I could approach others with much more experience (and money) than I do but I have friends who've had ideas stolen from them. One friend of mine was a fly-fishing instructor at Orvis in Vermont and wrote a letter to a fishing line manufacturer about his idea for an improved fishing line, well sure enough, that fall they had put his idea on the shelves of every store in the nation.

Should I approach the people with the know-how and manufacturing prowess about my idea or attempt this on my own with little chance of success?

Just something to ponder about, any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated!


Using your friend as an example... If he had record of his "idea" and when and also record of sending his "idea" to a fishing co. and when with conversation regarding the persuet, marketing, making of this "Idea" an attorney would eat that fishing company for lunch (patent or no patent). The sales of that product would forever be in jepordy to your friend (or at least a very large portion of those sales).

In terms of your idea... you should make record of it first (not just in your head, but rather on a computer or in writting with dates), If this is a new concept idea and you feel comfortable its a new thing then you can take the time to draw it out, describe it in detail and pay a small fee to have attempt a patent on it yourself (this is all patent attorneys do by the way... the research to try and find if its been thought of yet, they have a drawing/diagrams made, they use words to describe what it is and what it does and what all of its possible intended purposes may be and they send it off to D.C. and pay a $100 fee and charge you $10,000.

An alternative if you have some people whom you wish to consult with that have some expertise in the field, you should put in writting that you both agree to consult together about the possibilities of your idea and all party's agree that this is YOUR idea and you are paying them a fee of $1.00 to investigate the marketing/development of YOUR idea and they agree that this information is to remain confidencial and not used in any way unless you both agree to terms to work together on it.
Last edited by dcrane on Fri May 24, 2013 7:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
dcrane
 
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Re: What happens if you have a business idea but....

PostBy: waldo lemieux On: Fri May 24, 2013 7:58 am

I consulted a patent attorney about this question at one time. His response was that if your idea is documented and your correspondence with a business is documented ( registered mail or recording of a conversation) then if they steal your idea they just did you a favor, as they are liable for your idea(their revenues) AND damages.With all the info online about patent search all you need to do to be sure is apply for a patent and submit your idea to a company and make note that youve applied for a patent. Even if your patent is denied if they go ahead and use your idea your covered. Finally this advice is likely only partially correct and probably worth what it cost you :oops: Do a little research ,proceed carefully but do proceed. :verycool:

Good luck

waldo

Dc beat me to it.
waldo lemieux
 
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Re: What happens if you have a business idea but....

PostBy: dcrane On: Fri May 24, 2013 8:04 am

waldo lemieux wrote:I consulted a patent attorney about this question at one time. His response was that if your idea is documented and your correspondence with a business is documented ( registered mail or recording of a conversation) then if they steal your idea they just did you a favor, as they are liable for your idea(their revenues) AND damages.With all the info online about patent search all you need to do to be sure is apply for a patent and submit your idea to a company and make note that youve applied for a patent. Even if your patent is denied if they go ahead and use your idea your covered. Finally this advice is likely only partially correct and probably worth what it cost you :oops: Do a little research ,proceed carefully but do proceed. :verycool:

Good luck

waldo

Dc beat me to it.


This is absolute correct! GG waldo ;) The company who took your friends idea would be doing him a favor if your friend simply had record (emails or whatever) of him disscussing his invention with them prior to them building it and selling it.... an attorney would wait (until many sales were in the books... then he would pounce with a cival suit and file sopeana's forcing the company produce all their sales records to date and the company would settle for a quick % of those sales and a royalty of every sale in the future). I will also add that this suit could be filed in the Fed court of your area if this company does any bussiness in your state (not just that product... but if they have done ANY bussiness with anyone in your state ever!), this is a HUGE benifit because if the large fishing co. is from Korea or Alaska that presents a large problem & $$$ for them to even attempt a trial so far away.
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: What happens if you have a business idea but....

PostBy: EarthWindandFire On: Fri May 24, 2013 8:55 am

Just for the record, the story of my friend happened in the 1970's and is just one of many stories that I could write about.

I'm sure many of you could share stories of a good idea being taken from its creator. I am just naturally reluctant to spend 100's of hours on something only to have it taken. I don't want to sound like the Winklevoss brothers here, this is not Facebook, but I need to explore my options before making a move.

Thanks guys!
EarthWindandFire
 
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Re: What happens if you have a business idea but....

PostBy: franco b On: Fri May 24, 2013 9:30 am

Tesla invented radio and demonstrated it in 1895. His patent was finally recognized in 1943 and by that time he was dead. Marconi had been using a number of Tesla patents for years.

Patent or no patent if the big boys steal your idea they can tie it up for years in the courts. Look how many years they have been trying to stop China from stealing.

In the stove line copies of Vermont Castings and Jotul were being made in Taiwan with no problem. Very hard to stop. Chubby also had several knock offs.

First find out if your idea is truly unique which it probably is not if you look hard enough. Do you have any expertise in the field of the idea? If not you have to speak to people who do.

If you have thought of something first that is your main advantage, as you can bring it to market before anyone can copy. Hopefully it is a simple product.
franco b
 
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Re: What happens if you have a business idea but....

PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri May 24, 2013 9:58 am

If you really think you have a good idea I wouldn't show anyone until you have patent in hand.

franco b wrote:In the stove line copies of Vermont Castings and Jotul were being made in Taiwan with no problem. Very hard to stop. Chubby also had several knock offs.


Note that a patent only last for 20 years, then it's a free for all. After that the only thing you might be able to go after them for is copyright/trademark but that would only pertain to the look of the stove.
Richard S.
 
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Re: What happens if you have a business idea but....

PostBy: waldo lemieux On: Fri May 24, 2013 2:56 pm

EWF,

Preliminary research on patents is not that difficult. Try "Google Patents"to find out if the exact thing has been done. If it has it will become apparent pretty quickly. If not , buy a copy of "patents for dummies" and it will give you enough guidence to file the thing yourself. All this advice, as well as above, came from a buddy of mine that was a VP of intelectual property at Siemens. His advice was to leak my ideas to the largest players in the market via documented chanels and hope that one of them picked it up and ran with it without contacting me first. He stated depending on the invention it was likely worth more to me that way than if I got a patent and sold it to the same company. The punitive damages would be worth more than the idea. I did all these things and nobody bit or cared cause it wasn't a viable idea :cry2: Get crackin man !

Waldo
waldo lemieux
 
Stove/Furnace Make: efm
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Re: What happens if you have a business idea but....

PostBy: dcrane On: Fri May 24, 2013 10:00 pm

Just to follow up... many stoves had knockoffs before a patent ended, Its for each person to decide if they have been harmed because of it (In the case of Larry and Chubby he is a bigger man then I would have been in the case of Penn). It really comes down to if you feel like you have been harmed physically, finacially, emotionaly, mentally and if you feel that harm warrents filing suit (patents, copyrights, trademarks are all wonderful things to protect your idea's, work, products, advise, etc.) but at the end of the day someone can still take it with or without those things and your still left in the exact same place you would be without patents, copyrights, trademark and that is filing suit (the suit surly be easy with those things in place though).

In the case of China its more difficult and you would be left going through the Hague Convention and it better be a damb big suit to do that as it requires international & Federal attorneys who would cost in the hundreds of thousands at least (which is why China gets away with making the "rips" in most cases although they are getting better at respecting our laws).

In terms of this country if you learn a little, pay a couple hundred, you can indeed make life pretty miserable for someone you feel harmed you and you have any kind of supporting docs.
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: What happens if you have a business idea but....

PostBy: oliver power On: Thu Nov 28, 2013 10:07 pm

dcrane wrote:Just to follow up... many stoves had knockoffs before a patent ended, Its for each person to decide if they have been harmed because of it (In the case of Larry and Chubby he is a bigger man then I would have been in the case of Penn). It really comes down to if you feel like you have been harmed physically, finacially, emotionaly, mentally and if you feel that harm warrents filing suit (patents, copyrights, trademarks are all wonderful things to protect your idea's, work, products, advise, etc.) but at the end of the day someone can still take it with or without those things and your still left in the exact same place you would be without patents, copyrights, trademark and that is filing suit (the suit surly be easy with those things in place though).

In the case of China its more difficult and you would be left going through the Hague Convention and it better be a damb big suit to do that as it requires international & Federal attorneys who would cost in the hundreds of thousands at least (which is why China gets away with making the "rips" in most cases although they are getting better at respecting our laws).

In terms of this country if you learn a little, pay a couple hundred, you can indeed make life pretty miserable for someone you feel harmed you and you have any kind of supporting docs.
Yes, you are correct dcrane. I have an invention I'm trying to get a patent on. It's been in the works for a couple years or more. Patent Attorney says anyone can copy your invention. They can make it identical. All the patent does is gives me legal rights to stop them. It's up to me to pursue it. Then they get something like 3 different warnings to stop. If they still don't stop, then the legal battle begins. One thing about having a patent is; no one can stop me. I was told by a friend of mine, I'm wasting my money. He was awarded a patent. Another company copied his device. Attorney said if he didn't have $500,000.00 to fight the battle, he shouldn't pursue it. So he didn't. Myself; I'll never know if I don't give it a try. My patent attorney said it was the "only game in town". Oliver
oliver power
 
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Re: What happens if you have a business idea but....

PostBy: Freddy On: Thu Nov 28, 2013 10:51 pm

I had a lawyer tell me that often times the best thing to do is simply produce & sell, sell, sell. By the time anyone else steals your idea you have a foot hold in the market. Then you have the leverage of saying "Do you want the original, the real thing, or are you going to test your luck on an imitation?" Only YOU can say you are the original & that in itself carries some weight.

So....the questions become how much money do you need to produce a supply of the item and how are you going to get the word out & sell it?

I once did a "Poor mans patent". That is, you send yourself a wax sealed package by certified mail and never open it. In it is a description of your idea. The postal cancellation date is proof you had the idea before that date. That same lawyer told me it wasn't worth the cost. *sigh* It does not prevent someone else with thinking the same thought independent of you. It seems the only real way is a real patent & in my world that cost is always too high.
Freddy
 
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Re: What happens if you have a business idea but....

PostBy: dcrane On: Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:22 am

EarthWindandFire wrote:This is a spin-off from my other post in a way. I have an idea for a business based on a new product. I could approach others with much more experience (and money) than I do but I have friends who've had ideas stolen from them. One friend of mine was a fly-fishing instructor at Orvis in Vermont and wrote a letter to a fishing line manufacturer about his idea for an improved fishing line, well sure enough, that fall they had put his idea on the shelves of every store in the nation.

Should I approach the people with the know-how and manufacturing prowess about my idea or attempt this on my own with little chance of success?

Just something to ponder about, any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated!


if your friend at Orvis has proof of his help, assistance, offer, etc. of a product the company does not have evidence of prior to your friends good faith offer...I would be rip shyt if this happened to me and your friend should file suit and Subpoena financials, emails, letters, texts, and every other thing that could possibly show his case and damages (if you dont think this can be done folks...think again), the company would attempt to use things like jurisdiction, failure to join party, and lots of other funky stuff.... but at the end of the day they CANNOT LIE and they CANNOT falsify evidence and they CANNOT hide evidence (because thats when people go to prison plus you win your case)....

In answer to your question... your ALWAYS at risk and nothing will totally remove that risk... BUT what you can do before presentation is make sure you keep records, journals, dates, contacts, etc... have an officer for the company presenting to sign a confidentiality agreement or a letter of understanding prior to presentation... it would make the company think twice about being unfair to you.
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404

Re: What happens if you have a business idea but....

PostBy: titleist1 On: Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:08 pm

oliver power wrote:Attorney said if he didn't have $500,000.00 to fight the battle, he shouldn't pursue it.


There is a self employed international intellectual property lawyer i know that lives on a couple hundred acres of what i think is one of the nicest forested / water front properties in our area. Its only one of the houses he owns beside the one in FL, the one in AZ and the one in the Virgin Islands. Kinda verifies the $$$ it costs to deal with these issues. I don't know his success rate with the China / Taiwan rip offs, but the companies he works for keep paying him. I only know him because he slums it playing golf with us in the summer when he can. We bust his stones by telling him we are his token common folk he hangs around with. :)
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Re: What happens if you have a business idea but....

PostBy: dcrane On: Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:36 pm

titleist1 wrote:
oliver power wrote:Attorney said if he didn't have $500,000.00 to fight the battle, he shouldn't pursue it.


There is a self employed international intellectual property lawyer i know that lives on a couple hundred acres of what i think is one of the nicest forested / water front properties in our area. Its only one of the houses he owns beside the one in FL, the one in AZ and the one in the Virgin Islands. Kinda verifies the $$$ it costs to deal with these issues. I don't know his success rate with the China / Taiwan rip offs, but the companies he works for keep paying him. I only know him because he slums it playing golf with us in the summer when he can. We bust his stones by telling him we are his token common folk he hangs around with. :)


ProSE :punk:
dcrane
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404