An easy affordable way to protect designs/design ideas??

Apart from the unopened letter, is there a cheap effective way to protect your hard work?
At 12 grand upwards it is expensive to patent an idea…

Has any one used Free patients online? Does it work against chinese(no offence) companies??

Here is the skinny from zippy, no charge (this time) lol. The onopend letter trick (certified) only documents your date of reduction to pratice, and thats just a part of your defence if you file and if your grandted a patent that is infringed upon or challanged. You can go to the site and file a “provisional patent application” for $75.00 BUT two things to remember

  1. What you put in that app is the basis for your real application, so think it out well or better yet have a pattent attorney do it with you.
  2. When your provisional is granted (automatic) you are now “patent pending” a good thing, however the clock has started and you have 1 year to generate and file your patent in the US and all other countries you have decided on. If that years time goes by you can get a extension for the US but not the rest of the world. If the year goes by and you decided not to or cannot file then the provisional become pubilc domain. It takes currently 2 years for a full US patent to be granted if there are no challanges, longer in some other countries at wich time you have the right to sue infringers (if you got the bucks).

Patent protection in china is pretty much no existant, its a 1500 buck fine for infringment period, hardly even a slap on the wrist. Design patents are functionaly worthless after being granted as you change the silouett of the product or any number of things and bingo, new design. 12 grand is just the start, we budget 50 to 70k for a full international spread on good stuff and a defence fund to take on infringers would be 10x that. Invention is a tough game, played for high stakes, hope this helps. Ok thats the primer, want more just pm me.


1500 bucks. Unbelievable. I reckon if the design is strong enough, you have some protection as major respected companies will not directly copy an idea/concept. But unless you have invented the replacement to the cigarette(i think i might have) then it is best to use the 30 grand on the next project… thanks for your replies zippy!!

no sweat and dont let it put you off, do the PPA and at least you have patent pending status for a year, during that time you might score a investor or licence the beastie off…

a small thing: date every sketch, print, notes, document, especially handwritten notes from meetings or site visits. Surprisingly strong if what is obviously consistent work with consistent dates is provided as evidence of prior ownership.

My scribbled “June '94” on a series of design sketches won the day, or went a long way to winning, in a Minneapolis court, or so I was told by my boss via our president.

But there is a lesson here. Most if not all ‘protection’ assumes post-discovery prosecution and consequent threat of punitive legal remedies, not overtly dissuading others from theft.

If the threat is empty such as a startup or private person its no threat at all. The dating help, its called date of reduction to pratice and sets a provinance, a good tip that I forgot as its in autopilot mode in me.