(lead-in/background to the questions): I spent nearly a year developing the idea and determining what distinguishes the concept from prior art. I filed a provisional application in April. I have received in-person help from an examiner in the USPTO Pro Se Inventor Assistance Program. I am now about a week away from submission of the nonprovisional application and beginning the long wait for (probably) the initial rejection and all that. Meanwhile I will step-up the work already begun on animated simulations of the concept. I do not intend to develop this into a product myself, I am only interested in licensing or selling outright, if that opportunity is ever found. I am, for now, doing this without an attorney.

The Question(s):

  • At what point does it make sense to do anything regarding attempts to license the concept to (it is hoped) a major tech company?
  • Is it totally pointless without a granted patent?
  • Is it a hopeless effort without an agent who is connected with the industry, and would such an agent even be willing to talk about a patent that's far from a final decision?

I understand well that from a purely objective viewpoint, an applied-for patent is worthless, and could still be judged as worthless even if granted. But I'm wondering: If a tech company insider were to see a demonstration and liked the concept – and from extensive knowledge of what's already out there, believes there's a good chance it could be granted a patent – might they be willing to make a contingent agreement? Does that ever happen?

What are some suggestions for locating agents who specialize in software and computer related I.P.?