What should I do about securing an idea if I don't have the money? 8 Answers as of March 21, 2013

I have an idea which is in the medical field. I live on a very fixed income that I barely survive on. Where or how should I go about following through with this idea? From my own research, I have not found this item on the market. So I do think it would be a profitable idea but where to begin is another thing. So what should I do?

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Law Office of Kirk Buhler
Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
Just because you can't find the product in the market does not mean that it has not been patented. Perform a search in the US patent AND published database at USPTO.gov. (FREE). If you don't find the product then you can go to the library and check-out a book on patenting your invention (FREE). You can prepare a patent application based upon what you read. You will still need to pay the Micro-entity filing fee with the patent office. If your idea has any value then it will cost you, a friend or relative some money to protect the idea. Sell something for the money, take a second temporary job for some money. Once you are patent pending contact companies that would be interested. Using the internet to make contact is also free.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/21/2013
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
Unfortunately a patent costs money and attorneys don't work for free. Possibly you can get an attorney to do it if you draw up a contract stating some arrangement to pay them later or on a payment plan or even perhaps for an interest in your company. Good Luck!
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 3/21/2013
Ochoa and Associates
Ochoa and Associates | Susan Ochoa Spiering
The USPTO has an inventor help line that you can call for guidance. Generally you need to leave a message and they'll call you back within a few days. I suggest you have your questions ready and written down to ask to make the most of the time spent.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 3/21/2013
Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
Unfortunately - patents are VERY expensive - and under the new US Patent Law - filing "first" is of utmost importance. Search the US Patent Office website for similar ideas - www.uspto.gov. If you find one - use that as a template to prepare your own Patent Application. You can then file, perhaps as a "micro-entity" to save on patent office fees. Check with a local Law School to see if they have an inventor assistance clinic.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 3/20/2013
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Go to your public library and look for books and other materials on patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and/or copyright. Those will give you and idea of how to protect your idea and how to bring your idea to market. There may also be free or reduced-price entrepreneurial classes or advisory bodies at your local community or state college. Also check out groups like SCORE who provide business advice to start-up companies. And the web is a great place to do basic research, with the caveat that not everything you see will be true or accurate.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 3/20/2013
    Barton Barton & Plotkin
    Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
    This is a common problem and unfortunately there is no easy answer. It takes money to commercialize a product, and you need to focus on how to raise money. You should know that ideas-even great ideas, are a dime a dozen. Our intellectual property laws reward people who find a path to transform ideas into useful scientific inventions, or original works of art, music, theater, film or literature. If you are serious about pursuing this, your first step is to draft a business plan which you would use to raise money to fund the retention of a team of professionals to help you develop your idea into something tangible and useful. There are many examples of business plans that you can find on-line. Another approach is to engage in crowd-funding using Kickstarter and other such funding sources, and use the funding to hire professionals (lawyers, accountants, investment bankers etc.) to commercialize your product. There is a company called Quirky.com which is very reputable, which will evaluate your idea, and if the idea is commercially viable this company may choose to license and commercialize it for you-Quirky finds the truly viable commercial ideas and puts its own money behind them. Of course, they accept only a tiny percentage of the ideas that are proposed. The bottom line, however, is that you need to find a way to finance this-I have given you several ideas. But no one will do this for you. It will take your sweat equity, on the phone, on-line, on the internet, and on your computer, to raise the money to make this happen. There is no magic wand that can be waived and without financing the best idea in the world will be a failure.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/20/2013
    Tran & Associates | Bao Tran
    You should get patent application as soon as you can to prevent others from copying you. This is important as we move into the First to File era. I would recommend the use of software from PowerPatent.com called ProvisionalBuilder. Software costs $99 so it i very inexpensive yet guides you to prepare a high quality patent application that one year later you can turn to a lawyer to convert into a utility application for you. A feature summary is at http://www.powerpatent.com/prwelcome The software helps you organize information, and through your summary description, brings back sample patents in the same field for you to use as examples.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/20/2013
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