To begin with I read: Is it practical for a novice to successfully file a patent without hiring a patent lawyer?

There's a large community of hobbyist and DIYselfers who are constantly working on new stuff. Assuming that one of them comes up with something new what are the avenues that he/she can profitably explore. What I did understand from the link that I referenced, is that it is impractical to fight out your Patent Wars all alone. Are there communities, which for a certain percentage in the returns, help a small-time individual in filing for a patent of his/her idea?

The first two communities that come to mind are:

  • Universities (for those who have that option)
  • Sites like InventHelp (link).

Are there other groups out there who will do a similar/better job?

  • Why would you want to prevent others from profiting if you are not interested to develop your own profitable business (instead)? Is it just to spite everyone else? Aug 28, 2013 at 15:08

4 Answers 4


Similar? Yes. Better? Probably not.

Filing for a patent on an idea/invention/etc. without a patent lawyer is like bungee jumping without a bungee cable. There are many who attempt to create the verbiage of a patent on their own or with small-knit online communities, and when their idea comes to fruition, it gets stolen left and right because the patent itself is weak. Then you end up having to hire a lawyer anyways, spend thousands of dollars to get $0 in return.

Do all the research to ensure the idea is usable now or in the future (don't waste your time on horrible ideas), research and pay for a good patent lawyer to help build your patent and to represent you if someone infringes, and move on.

Remember that a patent is an investment. Be willing to 'invest' in it.


The short uncomfortable answer: He can't.

See the patent of the Walkman as an example: There is a guy inventing the first mobile stereo player and Sony just refuses to acknowledge him and pay him royalties. He had the patents(in more than one country!) and still a United Kingdom court invalidates them. (How is it possible, you ask? I don't know.)

Finally he got some money (10 million dollars is one rumor, however Sony sold more than 200 million devices). And he got the money 25 years after his invention and spent millions on lawyers.

As a hobbyist, you will not have the money/time to fight a big company for several years.

Patents are only for big players to seal markets. They were always for them. If you have one patent it is like a drop in the ocean.

  • 1
    +1 I like this answer, especially eluding to "Patents are only for big players to seal markets." The whole idea is to be able to 'own' an idea that NO ONE else is allowed to utilize to make a profit. That way you have leverage in the marketplace. Most inventors will file the patent, and then go and find an angel investor to create a company around it, or license/sell it off to the big players. Oct 17, 2012 at 12:42

In most re-told cases, inventor services that take some ownership in your patent in-exchange for defending / promoting it – will marginalize their involvement with you.

You have to consider their business model. They are looking to optimize their expenses to maximize returns through litigation and portfolio sales. If you dont' clearly have the next big thing in your area, you may be unlikely to get much attention in exchange for your costs.

You will also have to spend time developing your business plan and market entry strategy.

  • this is for your own good
  • this may be another way to get attention from 'your new partner'

I recommend looking for a non-profit inventor club locally. The UIA maintains a list. My view is that the patent system can be used by the "little guy". The big guys have market presence, capitol, name brand etc. - very hard to duplicate for a start up. Patents can be a leveler.

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