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Should I just file my own patent application?

The only way to properly claim ownership of an idea is with an enforceable patent.  Self-filed patent applications are almost never enforceable.  They are not written the right way.  They are not intimidating to a potential copycat.  It always makes business sense to take an idea rather than pay for it, unless there is an enforceable patent, or at least the appearance of a potentially enforceable patent. 


Potential copycats will often ask their attorney to review a patent application that covers technology they want to copy.  If the patent application was self-filed by an amateur, then an attorney will almost always dismiss it as being unenforceable (that is, “not worth the paper that it is written on”).  In that instance, the attorney will encourage the potential copycat to take the idea, rather than licence it.


It is very difficult to write a patent specification correctly.  50% of the people who undertake the patent drafting course fail it and most of those people have PhDs in science or engineering.  Patent litigation almost always turns on the interpretation of a single word in a claim to an invention.


Once a patent application is filed, new material which goes beyond the scope of the original specification cannot be added to the specification.  Therefore, the limitations of the original specification cannot be remedied.


If your patent application is published, then it will disclose the idea, but have no prospect of being enforced.  You would have been better off not filing anything at all, as at least then you could have kept the invention as a trade secret.  It is possible to stop the theft of a trade secret, but only as long as it is a secret.  It is not a secret if it is disclosed without a confidentiality agreement, or if the invention is publicly disclosed online.

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