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jitterbug

patents

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I have several spinnerbait designs that are pretty dog gone good but i'm afraid someone will steal my ideas. Is there any help for us guys who have ideas and want to develop them without someone taking them away from us. I don't have the finances it would take to patent them. I notice alot of new lure ideas on this site. Aren't any of you guys worried about lure idea thefts.

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Jitterbug,

In my opinion it's better to showcase them here. If you don't have the money to patent them why worry about it, most likley someone somewhere has the same idea as you anyway. Heck half of the things people think they developed are alredy patent. To me it is better to show the guys here your baits and get some respect and credit for them before someone else shows up with the same or a similar idea.

Taylor

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I'm not much help on this one either. However, I agree, if you don't have the financial backing, don't waste your time. The patent itself is very expensive, but the legal fees paid to lawyers to uphold the patent is where it really gets expensive!

You could always do what some of us have done in the past. It's the poor man's patent. It's not legally binding, but if you're in the process of filing, it could help. Simply take a finished product, photo, diagram and small write up, seal it in an envelope and mail it to yourself. When you get it, just leave it sealed and file it away somewhere safe.

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Many years ago I was working in food marketing and a supplier and I developed a wire rack for grocery stores to hold our new line of envelope food items.

The company I was with spent the money to send me to their corporate patent attorney.

The attorney was a very honest man. He said the idea probably could receive a patent BUT then showed me how a clever cheater could get around the patent and make a similar product.

He went on to say that my ego might be happy with a patent.

Ego lost. I never filed.

Phil

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the worst case scenario is someone else gets a patent and then charges you to use their design that you invented. Thats my luck right there if i needed a patent and didnt get one.

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My feeling would be to hire a patent attourney to check that your design doesnt currently infringe on any existing patents, then have him help you file a "patent pending" (cant remember the exact term) type of submission to the USPTO. I think its in the neighborhood of $200-$600 depends on if your a business or individual.

If approved, your idea is protected for up to a year, if your product is truly a hot item then be prepared to make efforts to flood the market.

If the demand is what you expected, then you can shell out the thousands required to patent your product. I often hear that nearly all patent requests are rejected at least once due to complicated paperwork, so an attourney is vital for a true patent in my book.

Thats just my thoughts, & I'm nowhere near a reliable source, considering Ive sold a total of 2 lures in my lifetime.

Good luck, whatever you do.

redg8r

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I'm not a patent attorney - but I saw one on TV once....

Seriously though, we recently got knocked off pretty significantly and I spoke with a patent attorney.

Now we haven't had our products patented, and as far as I can tell, most of the industry doesn't. Only things that are completely unique - like there is a company out there that uses titanium for a wire bait and patented the idea of using titanium for a wire bait - are patented.

The attorney I spoke to told me that a patent is almost useless in this sort of a thing, because a competitor can change the design by as little as 5% and call it a different item - then the patent won't cover it. 5% might be the difference in using epoxy instead of built-up clear lacquer - or a snap swivel instead of a barrel swivel... Who knows?

He suggested that a trademark might be more useful - like Coca-Cola trademarking the shape of their bottle, or Harley-Davidson trademarking the sound of their engines. Other than speaking with this attorney, I haven't researched this any further. The patent office and trademark office might have more information.

Now, the other thing he said was that even if we did have it patented (unlikely as that is), we can do that for little $ - like $5000 or so, the expensive part comes when some large company copies your idea and puts it on the market. You are REQUIRED to defend your patent or lose it. Which means that you, with your small budget, are required to go up against megabuckscorp inc. who has attorneys on staff (and, believe me, most of the large tackle manufacturers do) and spend your whole bankroll "defending" your patent. After you have spent all of your money over several years, and go bankrupt, there is nothing to stop them from making the product...

In essence, you can spend yourself into bankruptcy defending the patent and go out of business, or you can stay in business with a competitor.

If you can show that you were producing the product prior to their putting it on the market, there is absolutely nothing they can do to stop you from continuing to do so. So, I believe that the idea of mailing yourself (or an attorney, or your CPA, or some disinterested 3rd party) a copy in a sealed envelope and leaving it sealed to show that you were making it on xx/xx/xxxx date might be helpful in that case... Don't know for sure tho.

That's just my 2 cents worth...

Remember too, I'm not an attorney - I am just passing on information that I have been made aware of over the years in the business - your situation may be completely different and you need to talk to an actual attorney before making any decisions... After all, those of you who know me know that I'm on my 3rd (and final) marriage - so I HAVE been known to make an incorrect decision here and there! :)

d|:^)

Dick

edit: I inadvertantly used the term "copyright" where I meant "trademark" - sorry. It's late.

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Licensing a product trademark seems to be the most economical and practical way to go with concerning fishing tackle.

Everyone has heard of the Senko. Gary Yamamoto isnt concerned that folks are making Senko knock offs as much as he is concerned they might use the Senko name to sell counterfeits. From many folks point of view there is only one true Senko and that is a Yamamoto Senko.

Consider CHANNEL LOCK PLIERS. When you see a pair of channel lock type pliers you will most often automatically refer to them as channel locks. Even though the one you are looking at may be junk from china. But however if the product is trademarked as "THE ORIGINAL CHANNEL LOCK" this protects the integrity and reputation of the product. Even when a person is buying a cheap knock off or another brand of channel lock type tool they know that in order to get a real pair of channel locks thay have to pay a little more to get the original/more reliable channel lock brand.

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I remember reading somewhere that a simple way to prove and protect the fact that the original design is actually yours is to draw it in as much detail as possible and get it notarized.

It doesn't keep others from using the idea, but I would think it'd do some good as far as someone accusing you of stealing "their" idea. You have a detailed drawing that is notarized with a date, proving when you came up with the idea and committed it to paper.

I'm not a lawyer either, just a regular joe who reads too much sometimes. :D

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When you design, manufacture and sell a new item you should devise a way of proof that you sold it on a certain date and to a certain individual. Such as a receipt with a noted date along with the individuals name and address on it. If they pay you with a money order or a check then photocopy it and attach it to the receipt.

This is not proof of legal ownership of the design. But however it will serve as proof of date the product was sold to a customer. It may not do you any good in a court of law but it will allow you to save face in the event some type of legal technicality comes about. Lets say someone does come along later and steals your idea, or is unaware it was originally your idea, then you will have a record of its existence on a particular date.

I know a guy who took numerous new ideas with him when he went to work for a new company. When they found out his ideas were not protected they fired him and immediately secured his ideas and put them into production. But he had proof of sales receipts with proper dates and customer names two years prior to his employment with that company. This gave his previous employer a serious black eye in the busines community. This got the attention of his former employers main competitor. As a result he became employed by the other company making much more than he would have with the first company.

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