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I've never known a plumber that didn't have to make or modify a tool
for a specific purpose. We've all been in situations where you do what
you gotta do to get the job done. Don't mean to pee in your corn flakes
but I doubt yours is an original idea.
first of all contact a lawyer, and get a non discloser agreement with any one you talk to about the idea, If you think the unit is patent able, then maybe on should look in that avenue to protect you idea for a time, (that will cost money), also the more you can put into the patent the better the protection, (in other words if the idea can be slightly altered with a slightly different concept, and accomplish the same thing, one may need a different angle to the patent,
one way one can some what do your own patent search, is to go to Google patents, http://www.google.com/patents?hl=en
and type in the search as many different words and combinations of words that many describe your idea, and see if it have been done,
and get creative, for example say you have some type of pipe wrench holder, http://www.google.com/patents?q=pipe...Search+Patents
one can see there are multiple ways of describing much the same process,
a few examples, are from the titles on the searches
"pipe clamping device"
"pipe wrench stand",
"combination tool for pipe fitters"
you may stumble across a similar idea and you may not, and you may get more ideas,
if you can not find any thing that resembles it or does similar, (keep the numbers of the ideas that may represent what your doing so your lawyer can see if there any "infringement", if the product was produced, and the chances of your idea being able to get a patent on it,
also the patent only protects you for a limited number of years, and that is so you as the inventor kind of has a head start, but when the patent run out it is open season on the idea, that is why on good ideas there are many manufactures of similar products,
(look at the pattern of the RIDGID WRENCH, copied by nearly ever one now)
(also just because an idea is patented does not make it a good idea or product, or one that industry or manufacturing wants)
one of the hardest things to do IMO is to figure out the marketing of products,
and most likely to be effective in the marketing, one will have to sell there idea to an established company, at least that would be the simplest process,
for example I came up with an idea that I think would help many farmers, the other day, I was repairing a grain auger, (normally used a few weeks out of the year and moved little), many are set up at a grain storage bin, and left with out moving them for years, but the transport has rubber tires, and modern rubber tires do not last hardly 5 years and will not hold air for many year with out leaking down, so many have to put new tires on the augers that are not moved, so my IDEA, is steel wheels, my thought was to put a tire tread on them for short moves, under a few miles, if more than a few miles rubber tires would be needed, but would solve flat tires for many augers and farmers, but how would one market it, how do you reach the farmers who need the wheels, how does one come in contact with the potential customer, I do not know, (since steel wheels are a thing of the "past" there is no patenting them, (unless one can come up with a unique way of making it that would be different), but for the most part if some one would want to I think since a wheel is so broad of a subject, it could easily be worked around, but would still like to see the idea come to life if it would just be for me and my use,
I would suggest that you talk to a patent lawyer, and find out how to explore and protect your self at the same time, what you need to do, to either sell the idea or even to find a manufacturer to make the item, and some place to market it or company that could add it to there line or catalog.
Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
"The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
attributed to Samuel Johnson
PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.
you don't necessarily need a patent before you start talking to people and trying to market your idea. but you DO need to FULLY document your idea and have that documentation meet certain requirements for it to protect you legally.
There have been a couple threads on here in the past on this subject, i suggest you search them out and you will find useful information and links to government and non-profit web sites that can help you greatly.
"When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
Right ,and make sure what you are trying to market has not already been done.Even remotely will cost you copyright infringements .Be careful and do full research. Good luck. I would love to patent a tool or anything that would sell millions.Again good luck with your venture
''Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" Benjamin Franklin