Do I need a patent lawyer?
February 17, 2012 2:56 PM   Subscribe

I have an idea for a fun project I'd like to fund via Kickstarter, but I need to do some due diligence first. My idea involves a variation on an existing product. How do I learn if there are patents involved and who I need to talk to to license them if needed? Is this a job for a patent lawyer?

It may be worth noting that the product in question is neither new nor terribly popular, so I hope it won't be too challenging to gain the permissions I need.

(Actually, what I'm really hoping, since the product has been around for a long time, is that any patents have actually expired.)
posted by o2b to Work & Money (3 answers total) is a good start. There are also patent search services such as this one: Finally, yes, a patent attorney will be helpful to consult about the derivativity of your idea, licensing, etc. (though they will probably do the search again.)
posted by michaelh at 3:15 PM on February 17, 2012

I am an IP attorney, but I am not your IP attorney. This is not legal advice. You should consult a competent attorney in your jurisdiction.

A patent attorney can assist in both determining whether your planned product or service likely infringes any patents and in negotiating any necessary licenses. Many patent attorneys outsource their patent search services to specialized companies, but an attorney can help recommend a search company, set up an effective search, and make sense of the results. Even once patents of interest are identified, identifying the current owners can take some detective work, as patent owners do not always promptly record changes in ownership.
posted by jedicus at 3:25 PM on February 17, 2012

the answers to your questions are here. You can also call and as.
posted by BobS13 at 2:30 AM on February 18, 2012

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