Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas!

I have new ideas pop into my head all the time. We all do. In the past I may or may not have written them down depending on what I was doing or thinking at the time. I have found that if I wait I will forget or downplay the value of the idea and move on to something else.
One of my new tenets is to record my idea as soon as possible (ASAP). I will not dilly about whether it is a good or bad idea, I can do that later I just need to write it down. I carry a small book for this something I can write a note, draw a sketch or project a statement onto. I can always come back to the idea and mentally develop it further, but only if I get it on paper.
We have all been in Wal-Mart and seen something on the shelf and said “That is my idea!”, or we have told somebody an idea only to have them say “I saw that on the internet.” That is the nature of ideas. You cannot keep a good idea down, or hidden. It will eventually surface. I believe that ideas are logical conclusions developed by our brains to solve a problem, fill a need or support a want. And while people have different thought processes influenced by nature and nurture, we are all still the same. If you thought of it somebody else did6oo, or will shortly. The race is now on to patent it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - Geotechnical engineering and geological engineering news blog, articles and links

Geotechnical Engineer information - Geotechnical engineering and geological engineering news blog, articles and links

Path of a Utility Patent

The most appropriate patent for my particular idea is a Utility Patent. While I am not going to discuss what my idea is on this blog until I have properly protected, I will divulge that it has mechanical parts and is not ornamental in nature, oh and it is not a plant. So a Utility Patent is the way to go.
At the time of this blog there are two different paths to take for a Utility Patent, the traditional path and what is called the Provisional Patent. Both are valid paths to take each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
The traditional path. . .
The Provisional Patent. . .

Monday, June 28, 2010

Plant Patents

As far as patents go the Plant Patent is probably one of the hardest to enforce. Think about it your neighbor has a brand new patented plant in his yard that is both beautiful and pest free. He brags to you about how nice it looks in his yard and how much he spent on it. He tells you that he paid so much for it because it is a ‘patented plant’ that is not available anywhere else.
You start remembering all the time you spent at your grandparent’s house as a kid and how your grandfather showed you plant propagation skills because he thought you would need to know them. You sneak over to your neighbor’s house in the middle of the night to make a few unnoticeable cuts on his plant, and the next growing season you are planting twenty of these beautiful ‘patented plants’ in your yard.
Did you infringe on the inventor’s rights? Yes!
Are you going to get in trouble for it? Slim chance! How would the inventor ever know?
I am not down-playing the value of a plant patent , I believe that hard working horticulturists should be able to recover money for the pain-staking time spent finding, developing and propagating new breeds of plants. I was just using the above analogy to point out the ease at which a Plant Patent could be infringed upon. Now imagine if a nurseryman (one who grows plants for a living) wanted to propagate this plant, he could do thousands in the same amount of time that it took you to do 20.
While my grandfather did not teach me plant propagation (it is a skill I learned while working as a research assistant in horticulture at Auburn University), I do believe that he would roll over in his grave if he knew people would pay $50 or more for an azalea, which is one of the easiest plants to propagate.
Check out the link below for some beautiful azaleas. The picture above is Encore Azalea 'twist'.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Types of Patents

There are three types of patents; Utility Patent, Design Patent and Plant Patent. A Utility Patent is used to protect a useful process, machine, article of manufacture or composition of matter, it is the hardest and most expensive to get. A design patent is for protecting the ornamental characteristics of some widget, it is fairly easy to get and much cheaper. The Plant Patent is for protecting a new variety of asexually produced plant. (Information gleaned from the USPTO website)
One common complaint that I have seen in my research of the ‘patent mill companies’ is that they are quick to steer people towards the Design Patent because they are fairly easy to get. The ‘patent mill companies’ can easily push these because most people think that having a patent, any patent, protects their intellectual property, however this is not necessarily true. A Design Patent should only be used when your invention is of some ornamental nature. Let us say a water bottle that has a particular shape, maybe looks like a dolphin. In this case the dolphin shape is what is covered under the patent not the water bottle. Now here is the rub. If you get a Design Patent for some sort of mechanical widget and it is a great marketable idea, all some company has to do is change the way it looks (ornamental characteristics) and mass produce it. They have not infringed on your patent rights because all you had were the rights to the way it looked.
The Plant Patent is exactly like it sounds here is an example;
My plan is to pursue a Utility Patent for my idea. . .

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Is This Ironic?

Today it dawned on me that I was trying to fund my idea and get it to market by having everybody click on advertisements from companies that get paid to take ideas to market. Does anybody else think this is ironic? Please keep checking out my blog and clicking on the advertisements, every penny will help fund this idea. Comments are welcome. We can do it!
Thank you for all of your help.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What is a Widget?

When I was in college many years ago and was forced to take an economics course the professor used the term widget. He used it often. I came to learn that a widget is a nondescript term used to mean a manufactured item. So instead of saying that ACME made rocket packs (you know the ones Wiley Coyote used to chase Road Runner). He would say that ACME made widgets (and I would imagine rocket packs).
Guiness Beer had their own form of a widget. This widget was put into their beer cans to help produce the well proportioned head that is associated with their beer. This picture is from the link below.

Other forms and uses of the widget are located here on Wikipedia.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Who is advertising on This Little Idea Went to Market?

I checked out most of the invent, patent, idea advertisers that are being posted on this page by Google. I do not get any pennies for clicking on them I just get pennies when visitors to my blog click on them. The main reasons I checked them out was first to see if they were relevant to my blog, second to see what services they offered, and last to see the costs involved with the services.
The advertisements were relevant to my blog. The Google crawlers are doing their job. (When I think of crawlers I get a mental image of the Sentinels from The Matrix). Google should think about giving them a raise or a gold star or however you reward an algorithm.
So the main types of services they offered could be broken down into the parts from my Road Map post.
Idea > Record Idea > Patent Idea > Manufacture Widget > Market Widget > Sell Widget
There were companies that would do any and all of the following; patent searches, patent submissions, develop a prototype, market to industry, find a manufacturer, sell your idea, sell you an idea, etc. The one that I thought was really interesting was company that offered to record your idea for you so you would have proof of conception. They had an internet based form that you could enter everything in to, from the name of invention to the detail of the invention. Now I sometimes am not the smartest cookie, and I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express. But I am thinking that releasing my idea out into the World Wide Web is not going to help with proof of conception. I may be a skeptic, but I think this company is up to no good.
I unfortunately do not get to choose the companies that advertise on my blog, a mathematical equation does (crawler). So while I would like to believe that all of the companies that are advertising on my blog are outstanding and honest, I am sure that some are less than scrupulous.
The cost after some quick calculations, and if I outsourced all of the work could be close to $25,000 or more. The main difficulty in trying to cost something out like this is most everybody charges by the hour. I understand this concept because when you submit a patent to the patent office (USPTO) you do not know what they will come back with. So it would be hard for a lawyer to give you a set price. I hope to do as much as the work as I can myself such as develop the prototype and perform the patent search, but feel I will most likely need a patent lawyer for the patent application.
Know any good lawyers? I did not think so. (A little humor)
Anyway please click on the advertisements they are going to fund this idea.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Documenting My Idea

I have an idea, now I have to document it, proof of conception. This documentation first can be used to prove that it is my idea, second that I came up with the idea first, and last to antedate any prior art. My plan is to document the idea in my Inventor’s Notebook and sign and date it. Then I will find at least one or two people that I can trust to sign and date that they understood my invention.

Things I will include in my documentation; Name of Invention, how I thought of it, purpose it will serve, how it works, a drawing detailing the important parts, market it could serve, and anything else I can think of.

Is there anything else I need to include?

Road Map

A map is nothing more than detailed directions on how to get from point A to point B. If you have ever used MapQuest or a GPS you know that there is a multitude of ways to navigate from one place to another. You can change your preferences to go by certain landmarks or to avoid certain roads. With each new request you get a new map, a new set of directions.
Today I start with an idea and want to get it to market. There are no landmarks I want to see or heavily trafficked areas I want to avoid (not yet anyway). The good thing about directions is you can change them along the way to suit your needs. If you are driving down the road and you see a sign for the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, you can go. After you are done analyzing the string you can double back or just get new directions. This will be my approach.

Idea > Record Idea > Patent Idea > Manufacture Widget > Market Widget > Sell Widget

When I was a child my parents had bought some land in Kentucky. This land was well off the beaten path. We stopped at the local market to ask for directions where I could hear the locals saying things like “turn right at the big oak tree” or “it’s about 10 miles as the crow flies”. I am sure these were great directions if you grew up in this community (or if you were a crow), but they were not so good if you did not.
My point! I know nothing about patent law, patents, intellectual property, marketing an idea, manufacturing, getting something to market, etc. Not yet anyway. Your input will be welcomed.

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who is checking out my blog and clicking on the advertisements. This is helping my idea along.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Crawlers Are Everywhere!

Sounds like the title of a horror movie. Crawlers are algorithms that Google and other search engines use to find websites that match up with the search terms that are entered into the search engine. So let’s say I wanted to find a blog on patents, inventions, and ideas, I could type in “This Little Idea Went to Market” and I would get several websites other than this one. Why you ask? Traffic.
Traffic is how many people are coming to your website (blog) and where it is turning up as a reference or link. So here is another call for help, if you have a social media site, blog or website link to me to help with my traffic. If you do please let me know so I can return the favor.
A quick recap of how you can help.
1. Bookmark this blog and visit it often.
2. Click on the advertisements each time you come. (Please)
3. Link this blog on your social media, blog or website.
4. Tell everyone you know to visit this blog and follow these steps.
5. Comment, feedback is welcome. Something you say may help guide this idea to market.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Call for Help!

Call for Help
Wow! I started to research how much his proposition will cost. Everything costs money! To apply for a patent costs money. To hire a patent lawyer costs money. To buy the stuff I need to turn my idea into a widget for proof of conception costs money.

‘Money, Money everywhere but not a dime to spend.’

My goal is to do this without having to ask for money or investing money I do not have. So I need your help!
Please click on the advertisements to help this idea along to market. It will take a little bit of your time, however when you see this idea make it to market you can tell people that you helped get it there. I am not saying that you have to buy anything (unless you want to) but each time you click on one of the advertisements my idea gets a little more money to help it get to market. How much? Not much, mere pennies, but every little bit helps. Together we can all do it. Thanks!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Please click on the advertisements!

Hey everyone glad you are here. Please do me a favor and click on the advertisements. This will help me buy a cup of coffee so I can stay up and post. Thanks!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What's in a Name

Today I did a Google search of my Blog title “This Little Idea Went to Market” to see if a crawler had picked it up yet. I did a Google search before I started my blog to see if the title had been used, however forgot to put it in the quotation marks. Nothing came up then. However today there was a hit again without the quotation marks. Somebody posted an entry on June 16, 2010 in another blog using my title “This Little Idea Went to Market”. So I did another search of the title this time placing the quotation marks around the title. I got approximately 6 hits, using this exact word grouping. One of them dated back to an article written in 1996. So my blog title was not an original idea, but it was mine. The interesting thing is over the past 16 years there have only been six instances of this word grouping on the web; however two of them were in the last three days.

Imagine working at an office building with about 1000 other people. One day you wake up and decide you are going to be different so you put on the Hawaiian shirt in the back of the closet that is normally reserved for picnics. When you get to work you see that Bob, Larry and Suzy all decided to wear a Hawaiian shirt too. What are the chances? Mathematically it could be figured out but who wants to. You just rack it up to odd in your head. On your way home from work you notice a billboard advertisement that you swear you have never seen, with a guy relaxing on the beach wearing you guessed it a Hawaiian shirt. Then you realize that maybe that billboard had been there for a while and Bob, Larry and Suzy all probably pass it every day too.
Now expound this out to the internet with millions and millions of blogs, web pages and news stories, only six accounts of this word grouping but two within 3 days. That is odd. The posting of my blog title ‘This Little Idea Went to Market” was this person’s own idea because the only person reading my Blog right now is my wife (Thanks honey!).
The paragraph about the Hawaiian shirt is how I explain random occurrences of ideas. It is what I attribute that feeling of having that great idea in your head, to only find out later that someone is already selling it in Wal-Mart.
By the way, the chances that the six words in my blog title “This Little Idea Went to Market” were to happen at random with someone just picking 6 random words out of the English language are 1 in 3.4E31 chance. That means 3.4 with 31 zeros after it (or 34 with 30 zeros). I made some assumptions to make this easier to calculate. I assumed 180,000 words in current use for the English language. This included replacement (math geeks know what this means), assumes no sentence structure (engineers don’t need sentence structure or spelling), or looking for something that would stick, words could be in any order.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Engineer Process

I am an engineer so I need to make the chaos work in my world. I know what I have (an idea) and I know where I want to go (to market). So I am going to use an engineer’s solution process to make this work
The Given here is my idea, or any idea. The Find is Marketable Goods, with the Solution being the path or my Road Map.
Assumptions are used by the engineer to simplify a problem. If I was calculating the weight of a 2000 linear feet wall, I could look at a one foot slice of that wall and then multiply it out at the end. This would be an assumption that the wall is similar throughout the 2000 feet. A common assumption that I make every day is that is reinforced concrete weighs 155 pounds per cubic foot the actual weight could be a little less or a little more, but when doing calculations on a building or foundation this assumption suffices. If it was discovered later that the reinforcement steel was going to be much more, the calculation could easily be redone by changing the assumption.
The first assumption that I am going to make for this project is that my idea is a great one and it will sell. Will it? I do not know, only time will tell. I could spend years and lots of money trying to figure this out and never proceed any further. At some point I do have to fill in an answer for this assumption, I will need to know if my idea is marketable, but I can figure that out later.
References for an engineer may be a design standard, test method or building code; for this project it will most likely be patent law, the USPTO and others.
So I plan on breaking the solution (Road Map) into smaller problems each with their own assumptions, and references then reconstruct the whole package back together at the end.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How Do I Get There From Here?

When doing most anything there is a logical order to follow. Most people learn at a very young age that you must put on your socks before your shoes. Once the shoes are on your feet it is impossible to get your socks on your feet without taking the shoes back off. One way to bypass this procedure is to be like my son and just not wear any shoes, but that can lead to other problems.
Simple analogy? Yes! Getting an idea to market is far more complicated than putting your shoes and socks on. But maybe not. Think about how to explain to someone who has never seen shoes and socks (maybe an imaginary someone), how to wear them. How would you start?
“Grab a sock.”
“What is a sock?”
“The white cotton thingy over there.”
“Yes! Now put it on your foot.”

Well you get the idea. I think of it like trying to explain the color blue to a person that has been blind since birth.
This is where I am at. I have an idea. I have heard of the Patent Office. I have watched Law and Order so I know what a lawyer is. I have shopped at Wal-Mart so I have seen the mounds of stuff people will buy.
Now What?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Goals of this Blog

Here are my goals for this Blog.
1) Use Blog format to help keep me involved and motivated to follow through with the steps to take an idea to market.
2) Determine a clear path(s) from idea to market, a roadmap that can be followed by others (and me) for future ideas.
3) To find an expose pitfalls and traps that may be encountered through the process.
4) Develop tools and processes that can be used by all, for ideas, inventions, patents, copyrights, marketing, etc.
5) To get input from others! Comments are welcome.
6) To make money. Not from selling advertising, but by getting a product on the commercial market.

New Invention

Scrubbing Luffa!

Sunday, June 13, 2010