Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
RiverMan

Patents and such

13 posts in this topic

I'm curious as to whether anyone here has experience with patents.

I would like to know "how different is different" when it comes to manufacturing a lure. I have a concept I want to pursue and would like to have it manufactured in quantity. The concept I have is a modification to an existing lure. I would like to just go ahead with having the molds machined and begin production without going through the hassle of patent search and protection as these costs would essentially sink me. So what I am asking is "how different does a lure have to be to be protected from infringement"?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To decide whether your design infringes on a patent first go online to uspto.gov. Then find the relevant patent and read the claims at the end of the patent. If they describe what you have done then your design infringes. If you can't tell for sure you should probably spend the money to get an opinion from a patent lawyer. The law requires you to take affirmative action to avoid infringing.

BTW- disregard the previous post as the poster clearly knows 0 about patent law.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lol, thx Bob, I essentially did exactly what you said yesterday and found something that sounds somewhat similar but for some reason I couldn't get all of it to download...will try again today. It's quite interesting to do a search on patent ideas for fishing lures. Just about every possible idea you can think of someone has put a patent on at some point in time. Many of the ideas are so trivial I have to wonder why anyone bothered.

Thx again.

jed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a patent on a lure.

Really the conscept of a lure.

It took at lot of time and money.

But the partner has like 19 of them(patents), so he knew all the steps.

The Real bummer is the names that were rejected for the copyrights.

Now it looks like some one down south has infringed, the lawyer is going to have fits.

I really hope they haven't, it took me like 16 months to get it to the market.

The money invested is only like 10 percent recovered at this point in time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's the thing with patents from my understanding..If say Pradco infringes, do you have the financial resources to contest it? Likewise if you are wondering if your product infringes, even if it doesn't, you need to consider if the company holding the patent would sue for patent infringement, which you'd have to defend. Of course if it doesn't infringe you'd win, but not until you've paid tens of thousands defending yourself, possibly bankrupting your company/yourself, making the whole thing moot...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was told by a coworker that infringment is fairly common in this business. He told me that many small business people will simply make lures and other such products knowing they will likely tread on somebody else's patent. If they get sued and lose, they simply bankrupt the business and start all over again. I wouldn't be able to sleep doing this myself but I can certainly see others doing it.

You know tho so many lures are virtually identical in form and function that it would be very hard to prove you have "stolen" an idea. If the lure had some concept that made it "unique" (one of a kind) then of course this would be a different situation but most all of us are making lures that wiggle, wobble, dive or float, these have been around forever and are made by virtually everyone. If you like a particular lure, it seems you could simply change it's design some and go into production as this is what virtually everyone has done. Look at flatfish for example, now there are kwifish, elmers, and a host of other off-shoots that look exactly the same. The flat-fish to me looks just about exactly like the old "lazy ike's", someone changed the design a bit and went with it. The sonic and rattle traps are another good example, they are the same bait, how many others look nearly identical to this same design?

Jed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a lot of misinformation floating arround on this subject. First, the idea that big companies will just step all over the little guy is pretty much unfounded. Yes they have huge legal deptartments with lots of money, but it is a whole lot cheaper to settle with a little guy than go to court. Several reasons for this - If you can prove that the ifringement was intentional they must pay damages (your legal fees) plus any settlement. Second, infringement trials are jury trials and juries tend to favor the little guy. Big companies know this and would far rather settle with you. I know this first hand as I have a number of patents and have had big companies pay me WAY more than what they were worth to settle.

As for the idea that a big company might try to scare you off by claiming infringement against you, this is more likely, but it would take the form of intimdating letters from their lawyer. It is highly unlikely that if you are not infringing that they would go to court. The court does not look lightly at frivilous lawsuits leaving the company open to counter suit for damages.

Bottom line - If you have a patentable idea you should pursue a patent. If you can't afford it what can I say. You could forgo the patent and have your idea become public property. Other people could make it and you would have to compete the old fashioned way. Or you could start filing and drag your application along to see how the product sold before you paid for the whole filing. You start with a search for around $400-$500 which takes a month or two. Then most patent attourneys want half the fee upfront, around $2,000-$3,000. From there things usually slow way down and it could be a long time for any more fees to hit. (These are only estimates on my part) You could also do it yourself with the book "Patent it Yourself" by David Pressman from Nolo Press available on Amazon.com must read for anyone contemplating a patent.

If your idea is truly unique and patentable and most important MARKETABLE you owe it to yourself to patent it.

Sorry for being so long winded, but this is a complicated and much misunderstood topic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a lot of misinformation floating arround on this subject. First, the idea that big companies will just step all over the little guy is pretty much unfounded. Yes they have huge legal deptartments with lots of money, but it is a whole lot cheaper to settle with a little guy than go to court. Several reasons for this - If you can prove that the ifringement was intentional they must pay damages (your legal fees) plus any settlement. Second, infringement trials are jury trials and juries tend to favor the little guy. Big companies know this and would far rather settle with you. I know this first hand as I have a number of patents and have had big companies pay me WAY more than what they were worth to settle.

As for the idea that a big company might try to scare you off by claiming infringement against you, this is more likely, but it would take the form of intimdating letters from their lawyer. It is highly unlikely that if you are not infringing that they would go to court. The court does not look lightly at frivilous lawsuits leaving the company open to counter suit for damages.

Bottom line - If you have a patentable idea you should pursue a patent. If you can't afford it what can I say. You could forgo the patent and have your idea become public property. Other people could make it and you would have to compete the old fashioned way. Or you could start filing and drag your application along to see how the product sold before you paid for the whole filing. You start with a search for around $400-$500 which takes a month or two. Then most patent attourneys want half the fee upfront, around $2,000-$3,000. From there things usually slow way down and it could be a long time for any more fees to hit. (These are only estimates on my part) You could also do it yourself with the book "Patent it Yourself" by David Pressman from Nolo Press available on Amazon.com must read for anyone contemplating a patent.

If your idea is truly unique and patentable and most important MARKETABLE you owe it to yourself to patent it.

Sorry for being so long winded, but this is a complicated and much misunderstood topic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Bob, great info! So lets say I have a patent on a lure design. What is stopping the next guy from simply making the same lure with a slightly rounder head, or thinner tail? Now if it my lure had some "unique" feature as I mentioned above, like the new lucky craft pointers, I could see being able to protect it but so many lures are nearly the same aren't they?

jed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The lure we did is totally new.

It was the only thing like it on the market.

I think cease and desist, or Royalties is how mosty of these get settled.

We offered it to many big names, and the all clamied it was over designed

And would be hard to make money with.

We have sold every one that has gone in a package and it will be a long time before we recoup start up costs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See that is exactly what I am afraid of Richoc. If I pay 8k for a patent and 500 for a patent search, well I could have produced a good number of lures for that amount. As Bob said if a guy has something special then patent it, otherwise it seems to me to just avoid the whole business and start producing.......being respectful of other patents of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Riverman, what you described is what is referred to as a "narrow" patent, as opposed to a "broad" or "basic" patent. Not that there is any clear distinction. For instance if I patented the wheel (work with me here) then anyone who made anything with wheels would need a license from me. That's an example of a broad or basic patent. But if I patented the car anyone who made a car would need a license from me, but if they wanted to make a bicycle could do so. That's a bit more narrow. If I invented a car that ran on bourbon that would be even more narrow, and so on. The notion that you can just change a little something to avoid a patent stems from a common misunderstanding of this concept. If you have a very basic patent you got a lock on it. If you have a very narrow patent people can just change a little something and get around it.

PS a patent shouldn't cost $8,000. More like $5,000 to $6,000.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0