I have submitted a patent idea to a company, and they need $1,200 to do the patent search, design, and study group before looking for a buyer. I have no money available, as I have just started a new job. I would like to know if there any investors that would be willing to take a chance with me, or if you have any help for me to move forward. Thank you very much.
by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space
This is a good question, and I’ll do my best to answer it. First of all, your idea probably isn’t worth anything until you are granted the actual patent, and that takes years and usually costs thousands of dollars for the legal work (unless you can do it yourself).
Any company that is promising to sell your idea for $1,200 is probably a scam. Very few individuals or corporations will buy an idea, provisional or pending patent, and if they do, it’s usually not for a lot of money. Most individuals and companies buy patents once they are granted. That’s when they become valuable.
Before you spend $1,200 to have this company do the patent search, design, and study group, please do your homework on them. Check references. Find out exactly how many patents they’ve sold, for what amount, and how the entire process works. Also find out what additional money you’ll need to spend and what happens if your patent idea does not sell.
You can file a provisional patent on your own for less than $1,200, and this gives you a year to file an actual patent. Again, I wouldn’t waste my money and time unless you’re prepared to go all the way, and that’s expensive.
On another note, it’s hard to find people who are willing to invest in patents. Most investors are looking to invest in startups that have a much larger upside than an individual patent. Unless you have a very unique discovery that will have a huge impact on a large industry, the chance of finding an investor or buyer for your idea is slim.
If you want help connecting with investors and getting feedback, I recommend coming to one of our Founders Roundtables. We’ll connect you with other entrepreneurs, who are going through the same thing, as well as lawyers and investors, who can provide valuable advice.
I hope what I wrote above helps a little!