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New Invention - Toilet and sink unblocker

Postby Bilbo » Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:26 pm

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Hi Everyone

I have designed a toilet and sink unblocker that is more efficient than any conventional plunger and can be used on toilet outlets of any shape.
I have a working prototype and have applied for a UK Patent. I know it works as I have used it on numerous occasions on my own toilet.

Once people see the principle of how it operates and have a look at the design, they all say that it is so simple that it can't fail.

I have a question relating to this idea-

If I have applied for a UK Patent, do I need an NDA before showing people this design?

I stay in Hamilton, Scotland and I feel there is a world wide market for this design but does the world need a new method of removing blocked crap from toilets ?
Your comments and opinions will be greatly appreciated.

Postby citizen » Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:48 pm

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Welcome!

The world can always use a new idea.

Without knowing the specifics of your invention, I can tell you what I'd like to see in a toilet bowl/sink unplugger.

I'd love to see something less ugly, and more stylish. Sure you don't want it to be displayed as a centerpiece, but if you had one that if left out didn't make you sick of the thought of where its been, that'd be great.

I'd also love one that eliminates germs or keeps you from getting anywhere near any part that is anywhere near the germs.

Also, what about one that doesn't drip all over the floor, or toilet seat.

Good Luck!

Jason

Postby Bilbo » Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:59 pm

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Thanks Jason

The design is much more pleasing to the eye than conventional plungers, is capable of having bright prints on it and can fold up to be stored either in a container or out of view of people.
The most important thing is that it works brilliantly !!

Re: New Invention - Toilet and sink unblocker

Postby Scrupulous » Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:25 pm

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Welcome, Bilbo.

Bilbo wrote:If I have applied for a UK Patent, do I need an NDA before showing people this design?


That is a very good question...one that should probably be copied to the FAQ forum.

The answer depends on the answers to several other questions:

1. Is this a product that will likely be competed against by [illegal] knock-offs?

2. When did you apply for the UK patent? (i.e. are your options to acquire international protection still available to you?)

3. Could you make enough money on the project by starting locally, with or without a patent? (Publicizing the idea gives potential knock-offs time to run you out, and is often better used as a defensive strategy.)

4. What is the likelihood that your application will ultimately be denied, with respect to prior art?

There can be significant value to NDAs after IP rights have been secured. With that in mind, probably the most important question is why you would consider publishing an idea to such diverse audience.

Re: New Invention - Toilet and sink unblocker

Postby Road Show » Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:28 pm

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Bilbo wrote:If I have applied for a UK Patent, do I need an NDA before showing people this design?

I stay in Hamilton, Scotland and I feel there is a world wide market for this design but does the world need a new method of removing blocked crap from toilets ?


First of all, Bilbo, welcome to ISpot. You are well on your way to success, in my opinion. Your patent application gives you as much protection as you can have at the moment, so using NDA's, though unnecessary, may still be a prudent option. If your product is not ready for market, you may just want continue to operate using NDA's to minimize the potential number of infringers who will use your idea during it's pendency period to make a tidy profit. Realistically, you should only use public disclosure as a technique to prevent others from being able to patent your idea (ala Scrupulous' advice); otherwise, it is my opinion that openly disclosing your ideas before you are ready to market a product is of no benefit. Where do you ever hear of a company discussing their products in development until very close to a launch date?? Same applies to an inventor. Treat your product's development as a trade secret. If public disclosure is the only option to protecting your rights, then email Scrupulous for more information.

As to your second question, "...does the world need a new method of removing blocked crap from toilets ?"; why not? Did the world need another vacuum cleaner when Dyson invented his version of the effective vacuum cleaner? If you have a product that actually has advantages over the existing options, then you will benefit from the word of mouth action that escapes the imitators. I for one would like to know that a clogged toilet is not going to result in a call to a plumber after an hour or so of futile effort trying to unclog the toilet myself. Convince me of this, and I'll buy one. I don't think I am much unlike most consumers in being motivated to avoid this unseemly task.

As always, good luck.

RSG

Postby Bilbo » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:52 pm

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Scrupulous

Thanks for the responses and I will deal with them as you numbered them.
1. Yes- It works as good as I say it does, so ultimately it may be copied.

2.Good point- i am still within the 1 year period so I can apply for a World Patent based on my UK Patent.

3. Ideally, I would like someone to run with this idea through a licensing agreement and I would take royalties from the profits.

4. I have extensively researched prior art through sites such as esp@cenet and others and have found nothing that would impinge on my design and my claims.

Finally, I do not really wish to publish my idea to such a diverse audience, although I would not have any issue with running it past people who may be able to get it to the market place, as long as it remained protected.

Road Show

Thanks for the words of encouragement - I am Scottish and I was once told that we Scots invented the modern world !
When I challenged the person on this fact he listed over a dozen scots who either invented or helped mould the World as we see it today.
From a Country of around 5 Million people we have given a lot, and this list does not include our most famous invention ---- WHISKY !!!

Cheers and thanks for the advice.

Postby Bilbo » Sun Nov 04, 2007 3:15 pm

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Just another quick question - I really want to get this product to the market but would prefer someone else to look at the design with a view to assisting me in return for a share in the profits.

Now I know it might sound like I am asking for a lot, but the way I see it is that someone with the right credentials can look at the design and assess it before they consider committing any money or time to the project.
So if potential investors have faith in the design and also in their own judgement, both of us could make money from this venture.

Is this too simplistic or is it the way it actually works?

What to do?

Postby MattB » Mon Nov 05, 2007 10:31 am

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Hello Bilbo,

Yes, in order to get people on board, usually you have to show them some details. You should sign NDAs with anyone you disclose your idea to. Unfortunately, if you publish any details, they may be excluded from any protection the NDA might cover.

Additionally, if you think this idea is good worldwide, you should consider filing a PCT within one year of the UK filing to reserve rights in other countries (with toilets).

If you don't protect your idea worldwide, you may end up disclosing it to someone who ends up going around your back, producing the produc tin China, and selling it in the many markets outside the UK (USA, Germany, France, Japan, etc.) without giving you a dime,... er I mean sixpence.

I encourage you to discuss this with your UK patent counsel!

Good luck!

MattB
Matthew L. Bycer<br /> Registered Patent Attorney<br /> http://www.bycer.com

Postby Bilbo » Sun Nov 25, 2007 12:28 pm

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Thanks for the responses- I have been so busy with my real job the last couple of weeks that I haven't had time to spare on this site!

I already have some interest in my design and would like to know what sort of percentage should I be asking for royalties if this company like the concept?

Secondly, this really works and is better and easier to use than a conventional plunger- this makes the potential market enormous, so I want to secure this company or another as quickly as possible so I can negotiate a World wide deal and also a PCT patent to protect it.

The question is would it be better for this company to have world wide rights to selling this and if so, should it be reflected in the percentage of the royalties?
All advice is greatly appreciated.

Postby MattB » Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:11 pm

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Hi Bilbo,

There is no "standard" royalty. It depends on the industry, maturity, and most importantly risk allocation.

It might be good to see what comparable products go for as roylaties to inventors and competitors manufacturing - re-label.

At this point, i would advise that you find for yourself a business agent/representative.

Good Luck,

Matt
Matthew L. Bycer<br /> Registered Patent Attorney<br /> http://www.bycer.com
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