How do I legally protect my idea for a new industrial bracket? 7 Answers as of December 23, 2010

I have developed a bracket that attaches to a series of large tools used in our industry! These tools are used worldwide! The bracket system that I have developed incases heavy tools that we use daily! The company that builds the tools that we use daily does not have any such brackets. This I know because I contacted the local sales rep. This tool that we use is extremely heavy (90 lbs.) and surpasses the legal lifting weight allowed by OSHA. The tool bracket that I developed allows the heavy tool to be suspended in mid air thus eliminating the weight of said tool. The suspension system that I came up with also has a jib pool that is portable and well under our 40 pound limit! The company sells worldwide and has already taken one of my ideas! This will not be the case again!

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Handal & Morofsky LLC
Handal & Morofsky LLC | Anthony H. Handal
To protect an idea, you need to file a patent. This will give you rights throughout the United States and a grace period within which to file overseas. You should not disclose your idea to anyone or publish or sell the product, as this may jeopardize your rights in the United States and is very likely to prevent you from seeking a patent in many countries outside the United States.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 12/23/2010
Fish & Associates, PC
Fish & Associates, PC | Robert D. Fish
Congratulations, it sounds as if you have a very interesting invention, one that could see substantial success.

Searching, brainstorming, drafting and filing a strong utility patent application runs about $7,000 to $10,000, depending on the technology. Software and pharmaceutical patent applications are among the most expensive. One would think that simple inventions are easiest to patent, but they are often the most difficult to patent because of the extensive prior art. one files accelerated examination, the charges to get the application on file are usually $22,000 - $25,000, but the patent may well issue within a year (or even six months), rather than 3-6 years as with a non-accelerated application.

After filing it usually requires another $3,000 - $7,000 or more to prosecute the application, i.e., argue with the patent office and get the application allowed. Accelerated patent applications are usually at the low end of those numbers because the claims are already crafted very carefully to circumvent prior art discovered during a very extensive patentability search.

Some firms charge only $2,500 - $3,500 to file a utility application. Such inexpensive applications are just a waste of resources. Any patent procured from such an application will almost certainly be worthless because it will be easy to circumvent. One can file a decent provisional for $3,500, or even much less depending on the extensiveness of the inventor's disclosure. But that just puts off the cost of filing the utility application by a year. At the other end of the extreme some firms charge $25,000 or more just to file a patent application, and that much again for prosecution. Except in the most extreme circumstances those charges are just a rip-off.

All the charges mentioned are for the U.S. only. Foreign patenting is much, much more expensive.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/21/2010
Malhotra Law Firm, PLLC
Malhotra Law Firm, PLLC | Deepak Malhotra
This sounds like a good candidate for a utility patent application as long as the design is non-obvious. A utility patent can be used to protect a design that is new, useful, and non-obvious. It isn't clear from your description whether or not your design is merely an adaptation of a known design or something substantially unique. An application, to be valid, must be filed within one year of the earliest sale, offer for sale, or publication of the invention. A public use can also trigger the deadline. The one year grace period is for the U.S. only. Other countries require absolute novelty prior to filing. International treaties allow you to use the filing date from one country in another country. Other types of intellectual property might also be available to protect your design, including design patents and trademarks. Other forms may also be possible but it is best to discuss your design with an attorney and then choose from a menu of options.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 12/21/2010
Law Offices of Daniel Richardson
Law Offices of Daniel Richardson | Daniel R. Richardson
An idea can only be protected by a written contract, often referred to as a non-disclosure agreement.

Otherwise, to protect an invention that is designed, such as you describe, you would need a patent.

You get a patent by filing a patent application for registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/21/2010
DANIEL NESBITT | Hasse & Nesbitt
A patent can be obtained on an invention related to devices, apparatus, article and methods for their use and for making them. Your new industrial bracket and its use falls within these categories of a patentable invention. To be patentable, the invention must also be both novel and non-obvious over the prior art.

You should consult a patent attorney who will assist you to determine assess whether your invention has patentability over the prior art, and to prepare a patent application for you.

Please contact me directly for assistance.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 12/21/2010
    Young Basile
    Young Basile | Denise Glassmeyer
    Run. Do not walk to your patent attorney. You and your attorney can discuss what the proper course of action would be in your particular case.

    In the meantime, here are some things to consider. Patent protection is available to inventions meet the requirements of new, useful and non-obvious. Patent inventors can assign or license their rights in issued patents (and even pending applications) to third parties. Being the first to file a patent application, though not exactly necessary, is still a good strategy, in the US.

    Until you have discussed this with your patent attorney, be careful about any public or non-confidential disclosures in advance of patent application filing as those disclosures can have an adverse impact on your patent rights in some situations.

    Make a note to discuss the issues surrounding the prior idea that you feel was taken without permission with your attorney also. In many instances, there is little or nothing that can be accomplished to remedy that situation. Your attorney can determine whether there was an actionable breach of confidentiality or theft of trade secrets.

    Good luck! It sounds like it could be a very useful invention.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 12/21/2010
    Mark S. Hubert PC
    Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
    Get a patent ASAP! For further info call Mark Hubert (me).
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 12/21/2010
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