View Full Version : Patents Anyone??

Matthew Poeller
07-26-2005, 8:34 PM
OK, so I think that we are all do-it-yourselfers or we would not be on this forum. I have seen peoples work and everyone here has great ideas and wonderful talent. I am sure that most of us have a "million dollar idea" at least once a month. This does not have to pertain to woodworking or woodworking machinery. I know that I do and I write them all down in a journal. Once in highschool I had an idea that I actually built and nobody believed in it so it went no further. Then two years later there it was in one of the stereo magazines. The idea: CD player where you can speed up and slow down tempo not just pitch. It would mainly be used for club DJs and what not. Pioneer was the first to make it, I think.

So now for the question.......

Have any of you taken your ideas to the next level? I was wondering if anyone here has either approached a company with their idea, sought the advice of a patent lawyer or used one of the invention submission companies?
If so what have been your experiences?

Jim Hager
07-26-2005, 10:11 PM
Well, I made a oval jig to fit my wife's quilting machine and sold the idea to the manufacturer of the Gammil Quilter. I took the idea from a jig that I made several years ago for my router to make oval table tops. I just made one to fit the quilter, checked on patent availability and decided against the process, and sold it to the quilter manufacturer with an agreement not to sell the idea or to engage in manufacture of the jig. I even had to give up my drawings, and prototypes so his competitors would not be able to get hold of them. I guess that took place in 2000. I got a pretty good little chunck of change for it and have never even checked back in with him to see if he is manufacturing them or not.

The jig would guide the quilting machine in the process of sewing stitches in an oval of practically any size and shape. I also designed a plate to fit on top that gave a large number of repeatable shapes. Kinda a fun project but I earned every penny that I got for it. Developing a product is a lot of work especially the first time you try it.

Keith Christopher
07-26-2005, 10:50 PM

I went to a patent lawyer a couple of years ago to get a patent on and electronic device I designed. Problem is it will set you back a couple of grand in patent searches alone. Then you have to have a detailed drawing/explaination. Total cost will be around 7K. And then once it's filed it is up to YOU to defend the patent. which will mean $$$$$$$$. So it's not as simple as I have a patent and now and you can't (insert copy of here). The companies usually charge up front and then "own" the idea as they attempt to sell it to a large company which they will reap the lion's share of the proceeds. Try not to let this discourage you, just know it's not as easy as they make out to believe.


Don Baer
07-26-2005, 11:35 PM
Many years ago when I was a young pup (1975 or so) I had an idea to use a computer to scan credit cards so that people could pay for gas at the pump without an attendent. I was very big into computers at the time and doing a lot of machine laungage programing at the time. I talked to a friend of mine and he thought I was smoking to much of the funney stuff so I never persued it. To this day he reminds me of the of my moment of genius. A few years later I had a conversation with my little brother about digitising music so it could be stored and replayed on discs as a more convient medium then tapes.
Oh well maybe next week I'll figure out how to make a machine that makes Ice Cubes.

Vaughn McMillan
07-27-2005, 4:45 AM
For a college engineering class I took back in the late 70's, I designed and built a modular effects device for electric guitar players. I aced the class (the professor commented that he'd never seen a better researched and documented project), but didn't pursue the idea because I realized then I couldn't afford to patent it. By the mid 80's several similar systems were available commercially. It's likely they were being developed about the same time I came up with my "invention". The commercial systems were executed better than my home-made rig, but they were pretty much the same as the design I would have built had I been given the resources.

Matt Meiser
07-27-2005, 7:48 AM
I have my name on a patent, but the legal work was paid for by the company I was working for at a time (you see thier yellow machines on construction sites everywhere.) I had to write up in detail what we were trying to patent for corporate legal and then meet with one or more of the lawyers several times to review what they were doing. I can't imagine what it would have cost if I was paying the lawyers.

I got a $1 bill for it, which I still have with the envelope they gave it to me in, and a $100 bonus check.

Pete Lamberty
07-27-2005, 10:06 AM
I wonder too how many people here might have copyrights on their work. From what I have seen, Saw Mill Creek has many creative people. I wonder what their copyright experience has been like. Has anyone here gone through the copyright process?

Matthew Poeller
07-27-2005, 11:56 AM
Well that is what I thought. I am not saying that I am not going to do something about it but it seems difficult. Everybody wants a piece of the pie.


Did you contact the company directly? How did you approach them? That is something that I would be willing to do.


That is exactly what my company does. Most of my ideas are not anything that they would be intersted in.

Very interesting that a lot of people have these stories.

Pete, to my understanding I believe that it is a bit easier to get a copyright rather than a patent.

Anyone else have a good story?

Jim Becker
07-27-2005, 2:34 PM
My brother-in-law is in the "invention presentation company" business...run, do not walk...away from them. As much as I hate to say it, nearly all of these companies are "dubious" at the very least. That's one reason he no longer lives in the US...and I'll say no more.

Jim Hager
07-27-2005, 9:54 PM


Did you contact the company directly? How did you approach them? That is something that I would be willing to do.


Yes, I went directly to the company in West Plains, MO. We purchased the quilting machine that my wife had from the owner of the company in the storefront. He does not manufacture the machines, has that done elsewhere but he did design, patent, and is the exclusive distributor of the machines in the U.S. at least. There are 3 other companies that offer similar products and he is a real competitive type so he of course wanted it first.

Since we had bought the wife's machine from him, I felt like I knew him well enough to hit him with the idea. I took a rough version of the jig to him and he loved it. One gal in the store that day is considered the GURU of the hand guided machine quilting world was quite taken with my little gadget too.

Wasn't that big of a deal really just a really cool thing for me to sell something that I had designed to someone who wanted to manufacture and sell them all across the nation.:cool: I gave up all my rights to the product. Glad to do it for the chunk of change that I got.:D