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Ever sell an unpatented idea to a kite company?

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Rorke
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Ever sell an unpatented idea to a kite company?

Postby Rorke » Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:24 pm

Has anybody here ever had a good experience selling an idea to a kite company? If so, to whom?

I have a pretty slick idea, but it would be too expensive to patent/protect/enforce.

It's not earth shattering by any means, but it is a logical, slight improvment. Also, it would inexpensive to implement.

I think it would be easier to just exchange it for gear with a handshake deal. That's why I'm asking if anybody has had a good experience.

Please reply or PM me. Thanks

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Re: Ever sell an unpatented idea to a kite company?

Postby scklandl » Tue Sep 23, 2008 4:44 pm

Im in the same boat

so if someone sends you a PM and doesnt share here would you share some of that with me?

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Re: Ever sell an unpatented idea to a kite company?

Postby jakemoore » Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:44 pm

If its not worth 5 grand to patent its not worth trying to sell the idea. You should put it in the public domain, name it after yourself and take the accolades.

Jake

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Re: Ever sell an unpatented idea to a kite company?

Postby Wetstuff » Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:59 pm

The NY Times says there are about 300,000 new titles, fiction and non-fiction, published each year. Every one of them thinks - maybe - they just wrote a Da Vinci Code.

I'd write a letter to _______ Kite Co and say: "If you use it - kick me down a prototype and add me to your friends list." ...and if you don't hear back: toss it out to us.

Jim

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Re: Ever sell an unpatented idea to a kite company?

Postby El Rudo » Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:25 pm

with or without a patent, it's about trust.
Here are some of the steps you can take w/o spending lots of money:

0. Do NOT take it to the public domain. (then no one can patent it, including you and your prospects - unless that's what you want). When it's out in the open, nobody is likely to invest in it since there's no ROI if anyone can be working on it at the same time.

1. register a document with a description of the idea, drawings etc., for instance at the tax office.

2. set up a secrecy agreement, comprising at least:
- title of your invention
- parties are to keep secret and treat as confidential what you show
- the other party has to tell promptly if they are already working on it, and prove that as well.
examples can be found online.

3. choose a brand you like and feel comfortable with. Look at: are they approachable, do they invent or just copy, did you ever see them take a risk, is there an owner you can talk to or only other designers, how are they funded.

4. go for it, if they don't want to sign the secrecy agmt it's their call, there are 70 or so brands out there so just move on.

5. have LOADS of patience, selling inventions is for a great part about timing (right tim/place/idea) and sheer luck.

there's a lot more to it (legal, finance etc.), and don't forget it's a fast growing/quickly innovating industry so the chance you come up with something that's in many other designers sketchbook is huge. No reason not to try btw.

good luck!

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Re: Ever sell an unpatented idea to a kite company?

Postby Rorke » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:06 pm

Jake,

I see you're from Texas. Hope all is improving on the coast.

My pal who makes Zero Gravity kiteboards already named something after me, the "Rorked" handle. It's a slightly diagonal handle on a kiteboard.

Two years ago, I camped out in Corpus. The weather got crappy so we camped next to the ZG shop.

When I saw how the boards were made, I figured they could be stronger if the center spline was not interupted by two fasteners from the handle. So now it runs diagonally, one bolt on either side of the centerline.

Moreover, this simplified the construction, regarding how the inserts are installed.

Also, carrying the board is more comfortabe on the wrist. In my estimation, .001% more comfortable indeed! :D

The new concept is a little bit better than that.

Rorke

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Re: Ever sell an unpatented idea to a kite company?

Postby switch313 » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:09 pm

you said enforce.......haha, mmmmm.....no kiting in speedos or you will be shot on the spot? ive seen the speedos happen unfortuntely no shooting..........

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Re: Ever sell an unpatented idea to a kite company?

Postby insectoid » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:23 am

Not to a kite company, to other companies. I have received multiple royalty checks from innovations which never received patents, they were in a specialty markets and the patent was a waste of money, they just needed innovation. The kite industry looks like much of the gear is the same based on function and public domain so be careful if it is a good idea.

Basically you need a good NDA, lots of trust, the willingness to loose your idea and an inside track to the right person. Depending on what your idea is you might find that you can not obtain a utility patent based on prior art and a design patent is worth much less (royalty). In the case you pitch it with no patent you might get credit (your name on it) or a steak dinner. Most of the time if you do not have an issued patent and you don't have much value, mainly if it is an improvement. Most improvements are covered by the original patent, or you will need the original patent to use your improvement.

If a company is interested in your idea this is how it goes down.
this is not everything, a super brief overview if things go well.

1. you get all of your stuff ready (patent search, prototypes, market study, presentation etc.)
2. you find the right person to pitch it to
3. you get your meeting
4. you pitch it
5. they like it
6. you get some sort of contract together
7. everything gets signed
8. you get a check in about 3-4 years (not kidding)

The check in 3-4 years is the normal when you don't have a patent issued. Most of the time any royalty you agree to will be held in escrow until the patent issues. They do this because someone else might come up with the same or similar idea and their patent issues before yours does and if this is the case you get nothing. Or if you can not obtain a patent (depends on how your contract is written)
Also in your contract make sure you are not liable for ANY legal fees. If your product is sold you may be liable for any lawsuits and that can kill your royalty and send you into bankruptcy and the company walks away clean.

So the best advice is to do a good market search and patent search, get some professional advice on your product and start making contacts.

and if you are just looking for gear then pitch it to whomever you can, just make sure if anyone takes it you are clean if they get sued.


Hope this helps.
I have lots of contacts if you need some PM me.

.


.

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Re: Ever sell an unpatented idea to a kite company?

Postby mmunzer » Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:05 pm

If you are in the US, you can get a provisional US patent application for 105USD. Just write down your invention the best way you can and make some sketches. Put it all on paper and file it with the USPTO. Then you get a provisional patent application. From the provisional you can file a regular utility application within one year. You can also file other patent applications in other countries around the world within the year.

It is a cheap way to protect your invention while talking with companies. The companies you talk with can purchase your patent application, fix it up and file it as a real patent if they want to.

The only important thing to keep in mind is that you only have one year after filing to keep the application alive.

If you have a simple idea, the best bet is to sell the idea for a one time payment. Doing contracts with license fees just makes it too complicated for all parties. But NDAs are a pain the ass both for companies and for inventors. A provisional patent application is much better since you are completely protected.

By the way, many countries have the equivalent of a US provisional application. In some countries it is free to file a patent application. For example in Denmark you can file a danish patent application and not pay the fees. You still get the priority date and you can still file other applications with one year. So you actually get patent protection for a full year for no money... :-) You just have to write the application.

/Marc
GoExtreme.dk

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El Rudo
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Re: Ever sell an unpatented idea to a kite company?

Postby El Rudo » Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:23 pm

mmunzer,
The route you are describing is interesting, but there is a pitfall. For instance, I can patent anything in NL for around €95 and set my priority date. But if I aspire to file intl applications, I will need to tick a box declaring that I order an international survey (around €800) to be completed before the end of the priority year, i.e. within one year of application.
So, doing this start the clock for application dates (PCT, national applications within 30 months etc) If you want to go around without NDA's.
Another pitfall is that you can not add anything to the patent claims after filing, so you're likely to be walking around with a sketchy/unripe idea, plus you're easily abused as you lost timing flexibility.

About NDA's being a pain, this is interesting: Any company that's seriously interested in your work will want to have every previous disclosure covered by at least the NDA you want to make them sign. Such a disclosure track record is valuable for you and your prospective buyer, for instance, an NDA signed by company A with written notice of them that they don't want it, makes it more valuable for company B. I figured this out myself, and since I tell that story, I had no problems getting NDA's signed.

imho registring the idea outside the patent is the cheapest and the most flexible ticket. Really, people that don't sign NDA's will likely have more problems waiting for you around the corner, it's a good test.


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