Debra asks, “I have started the application for a patent, and of course, everyone says I can't do it on my own. I have completed half of the process. So, do you think I can be successful?”
So there's the—in the different areas of intellectual property, you have patents, you have trademarks, you have copyrights. The copyright filings, a lot of inventors and entrepreneurs do themselves. And that's, that's, it's, it's not as tricky. The Copyright Office has a number you can call; they'll direct you to the proper forms. Trademarks, there are a lot of pitfalls. So I don't recommend trademarks, either. But with trademarks, you could get lucky and still you know, progress with your trademark filing without a lawyer, and it could be granted. And you know, and you don't face some of those pitfalls.
The problem with the patent is that the patent only protects what's listed in the claims. So, unless you draft the claims in a way that really covers alternatives to your idea, your patent is not going to have much value; it's only going to protect your exact invention. And say for example, you develop a new type of chair that has a heater in it, and maybe magnets or something for pain relief. If you don't work with a patent attorney, and you file it yourself, you might inadvertently say that this chair has four legs, and it's completely normal in normal life to describe something in that kind of detail. However, if in your claims, you put that it has four legs, you know what a competitor can do, they can take the heart of your idea, and create a bar stool with three legs or a wooden bench, which has two legs on each side, and they will get around your rights. So, if you're creating your patent to stop infringers, then you really need to have an attorney prepare it. The other thing to keep in mind is that before anybody pays for your idea; if you want to license it to a manufacturer—Alex Gomez, for example, his patent was purchased for over $115 million. No company is going to pay that kind of money without first hiring a team of lawyers, an army of lawyers to find loopholes in the patent and find shortfalls. So when you have it done right, like we did with Alex's patent, they're not able to find a way around the idea. They can't steal it by making some minor modification. There's a lot of myths out there that you can change an idea by 20%, 30% and get around a patent. That's all nonsense. A well-written patent should be drafted in a way that competitors really have no choice but to buy rights from you if they want to produce that item.
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