In the United States, your attorney will need to describe the invention in such a way as to disclose how to duplicate the invention. So it does not need to have been built before filing an application for patent. In fact, beginning on March 16th, that may be too long to wait.
I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.
Short Answer: You can file for a patent on your idea as soon as you are able to describe it in a detail such that one of ordinary skill in the filed of your invention can reach the resul that you claim to be your description. Although the PTO used to require bulit models a long time ago, that is not a requirement now. In fact they won't even accpet it. As far as using someone else's patent, you can use the disclosure of the patent in your invention (to build on it, so to speak) but if your inventive product requires use of the patent issued to another, then you (and others) are going to need a license to the other patent in order to practice your invention. I suggest you consult an attorney to answer your multitude of questions. Good Luck.
It's not too early to consult a patent lawyer, since they'll be the one drafting the application, using your description to create drawings and articulating the "claims" of what your patent does.
Yes, your invention can contain other people's products, and unless your invention is dependent on some particular motor, your application need not be either.
Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.
Q. At what point can i get a patent?
A. You should file for a patent immediately at the point when you can describe with exact words, and without being next to the reader, how to replicate your invention. The reader is considered a Person of ordinary skill in the same area of the invention.
Q.Does my product have to be completely finished?
Q. What do i need to do to get a patent?
A. Your best bet is contact a registered Patent Attorney who will guide you through the process.
Q. Is it okay that i have used other items that are already patent, to create my product? For example, i used a small motor that is made by another company to get my item to spin.
A. No problem here, so long as it is not a specific motor
Q. Can i do this or do i have to design my own motor and not use someone elses motor?
A. Yes you can
USPTO Registered Patent Attorney, Master of Intellectual Property law, MBA I am neither your attorney, nor my answers or comments in AVVO.com create an attorney-client relationship with you. You may accept or disregard my free advice in AVVO.com at your own risk. I am a Patent Attorney, admitted to the USPTO and to the Florida Bar.
The three books linked-to below provide very good information for non-attorneys about patents and the patenting process. You should buy and read at least two of them. And then speak with a patent attorney licensed to practice in your state [use the last link to locate one]. Good luck.
The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.
Mr. Golab provided an excellent succinct answer to each of your questions. If you go to the US Patent and Trademark Office website (www.USPTO.gov) you can find a wealth of information (although it is not an intuitive website, requiring somehat clunky searching around to find the specific information you are looking for).
As an inventor first, who later went to law school, I can vouch that the best response came from everyone: consult with an intellectual property attorney:
A) The USA patent law has become a first to file system, not necessarily who invented the invention first.
B) There is limited time to file for a patent. If you do not file in time, you may lose the option to patent the invention.
C) Is a much less expensive Provisional Patent a more appropriate course of aciton? A Provisional Patent application costs only hundreds instead of thousands, but may be appropriate as it can give you time to determine if your invention will sell enough to justify the costs of a full blown patent application? .
D) Trade Secret protection may be a better approach than a patent application for your particular invention, and finally
E) Protecting your idea is very important.
My disclaimer is simply that Avvo already has an adequate disclaimer.
Check out the Critical Timing Article below, and other articles in my library.
The other aspect of 2013 is that inventor tax advantages are still alive, only more complicated to compute and depends upon your other yearly income.
Patents are negative. Getting a patent is insulated from activities directed toward making ---
they need different insurance policies and involve different considerations on protecting your assets on going into business. But if you are not going into business, and if you license the invention, an offensive insurance policy and a simple stream of royalties may be the ticket.
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Please remember to designate your question's BEST ANSWER.
Call me if you need to talk. My focus is on helping inventors maximize income and minimize / take advantage of favorable tax provisions for inventions and business startups.
Certified Tax Specialist -- State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
Electrical-Chemical-Mechanical Patent (Intellectual Property) Attorney
About Curt: http://patentax.com/curt/index.html
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Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization PATENTAX.COM This communication is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This communication should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm.