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About Tony, the Inventor

Postby tony.fulford » Sat Jan 05, 2008 1:17 pm

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Green Belt
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:04 pm
First, I am 65 years old and have been around the block a few times.

I began my career with IBM in 1965 and retired in 1995. I started with IBM in Montgomery, AL diagnosing and repairing mainframe computers. In a couple of years, I went into programming support analyzing computer software failures and fixing them. In a couple of more years, I took a position as a programmer in Raleigh, NC. I was a programmer throughout the 1970’s and then went into management in 1980. I managed a number of software development products.

After retiring from IBM, I first had a company that did International Trade and Information Technology consulting in Charleston, SC and then a software development company in Wilson, NC. Scattered through those years I also owned restaurants.

About a year ago I got so bored with the everyday mundane tasks of running companies that I decided to become a full time inventor. So here I am.

My strategy is one of licensing my ideas/inventions rather than developing them myself. Over the past year I have had 37 ideas for invention. Of the 37, 23 have been canned because they were pre-dated. With the remaining 14, I am in negotiations with several companies for licensing agreements.

My philosophy is to search, search, and search to ensure that the ideas are truly inventions before I file a patent. Even then, I file a Provisional Patent Application to get my Patent Pending status and the one year period for filing a non-provisional patent application.

I then take that time to present it to companies for licensing. If I cannot license it within a year, I put it on the back burner and do not file a non-provisional application. As long as the USA has first-to-invent as opposed to first-to-file, I will continue in this manner. I still have it in my Inventor's Notebook and I have a copy of the provisional so that if anyone gets a patent issued for it I can challenge their patent if I choose.

I read stories about inventors saying they have to file 100 patents to get 3 issued. My take is that if they would adopt the search, search, and search philosophy they would be more successful and save a lot of money. It makes no sense to file a patent if it is not going to be issued. Search must go beyond the USPTO databases and include what is available in the market because many people do not file for patents, they just start producing a product. If a product is available in the market, chances are a court would consider that pre-dating your idea even though it doesn't.

I have a digital certificate with the USPTO and can file my applications online with the patent office. This makes it much quicker and more convenient.

I enjoy inventing more than anything I have done in my 65 years on this planet.

I have already learned there is a wealth of information and a positive people-helping-people attitude here on ispot. I look forward to interacting with all of you here on the inventorspot!

--Tony a.k.a. the Inventor
Last edited by tony.fulford on Wed Jan 09, 2008 6:00 am, edited 2 times in total.

Postby Michelle » Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:07 pm

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Black Belt
Posts: 1533
Joined: Wed Oct 11, 2006 7:27 am
Hi Tony:

Thank you so much for volunteering to start a dedicated section in these forums where new inventors can regularly get advice from a more seasoned inventor.

We have some great inventors who regularly participate in our forums and offer great advice. We are so pleased to be able to add you to our growing team of experienced inventors who volunteer their time and energy to helping others.

I look forward to following the dialogue you cultivate here and throughout the forums.


Re: About Tony, the Inventor

Postby apapage » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:30 pm

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Posts: 213
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:30 pm
Location: NYC
When I am considering an invention, I am looking for something that is easy and inexpensive to produce, and there must be a need (efficiency), The market should also be large enough to make the investment in the product worth while. Assuming that your invention satisfies this criteria, the next step is to protect your idea as best as possible. You have a few options. First, you should insist on a non-disclosure agreement before you tell anyone about your invention. If the party receiving the information breaches the agreement, you may be able to recover some of the loss from them. If there is a disclosure, however, you will not be able to stop anyone else from copying unless you have a patent. Patents are expensive, but there are smart ways to proceed. I suggest filing a provisional patent application, which will give you a year before you have to file the more expensive utility patent application. Consider a prior art search first as well. Many inventors file provisional apps on their own with relative success and the fee that the patent office charges is currently $110.