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Patenting and trademarking a novel "toy game" component.

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InvisibleJon
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Joined: 07/27/2008

Hi All,

I've made up a game component that could be the core component for a wide range of games (Like a Pop-O-Matic bubble or Garfield's Deckmaster deck-building system.). I think that I should patent the component and may also trademark it and its usage.

Have any of you ever patented / trademarked anything? If so, I'd appreciate your advice. I should note that I'm looking for advice that applies to the process of doing this in the United States. I'm doing research on my own and will update this thread with what I discover and how my quest is progressing.

I'm starting at the FAQ for the U.S. Patent Office: http://www.uspto.gov/main/faq/
From what I've read so far, I'm considering filing a provisional application ( http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/provapp.htm ) for $105 ( http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/qs/ope/fee2007september30_2008august... ).

Katherine
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Joined: 07/24/2008
Patenting and trademarking a novel "toy game" component.

Hi ...

I have a provisional on a component. It is hard yards to try and manage and I cannot comment on rewards because it is still with the graphics team.

ask yourself why you want to patent ...
Are you prepared to do all the work yourself or are you hoping to pick up a license. I think the free patents on line website is full of patents waiting to be licensed.

Do your homework ...
Before we submitted the application we spent months searching all three patent sites + google images. We then paid aditional costs for an IP search to be performed by the patent office. The searches didn't find anything similar to what we had come up with so we applied for a provisional.

Be prepared to argue your case ...
The claims have to be watertight (these define your idea) so we used a patents lawyer to write the application. After a few months the examiners office came back with half a dozen patents that challenged "novelty". Our task was to prove that our idea was not the same as the six that already existed - a couple of months after that we were granted the provisional with a priority date.

Take heart ...
the six patents that challenged the novelty of our idea were all big sellers owned by big companies in the toy industry. That gave us a boost to persevere, I figured if we are compareable to what exists and what parents are buying then we may have a chance of at least breaking even.

Keep searching ...
The priority date is important because provisionals last 12 mths and can be extended for another 18 before being made public - this means that a product can be "hidden" from all searches for up to three years.

Get it developed if you can ...
Once your patent is granted you are free to seek help from those who have the skills to help but ... Most will treat you like a fool for going down the patent road. Some will assume you are super rich and make stupid demands for their assistance. (I still have an email from a board game designer who wanted US 15,000 upfront and return of ownership after 3 years).

Think about global patenting ....
I think taking a provisional for all countries is being prudent if your idea is unique and likely to be a big seller - it doesn't cost much more. It then becomes a race against time to get the thing selling so that you can raise the funds to apply for standard patents in the countries where you think your idea will sell and protect in those countries when the time comes.

Think about alternatives ...
Trademarks and design registrations may be a better alternative, especially if you question the "novelty" of it yourself.

good luck with whatever you do and send me a pm If you want advise on search types.

Redcap
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Joined: 07/26/2008
Also check legalzoom.com,

Also check legalzoom.com, they do a bunch of legal stuff for really cheap. Maybe it will work for you, maybe it won't but it looks impressive to me. :)

InvisibleJon
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Joined: 07/27/2008
Thanks so much for the very

Thanks so much for the very detailed and informative write-up, and for your offer of assistance. I'll take all of your advice to heart.

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