A Patent of the Heart
Hold your second-hand horror stories, I already submitted the paperwork to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Delica Winds has two patents officially in process! Looking at my idea written down as intellectual property.... it is surreal.
I have been told on multiple occasions that its not worth it: when someone infringes on Delica WInds designs, they will have more money and power and I'll lose everything just to battle in court. That is a scary thought and could actually happen. So why spend time and money on a few legal documents? Three reasons:
1. The process requires researching every possible competitive product, which raised my confidence in how Delica Winds is different and better, instead of assuming originality.
2. Patenting is made to protect people like me... small time inventors... and if I do end up in court I can say I did everything I could to prevent it.
3. I had to write, rewrite, and let a lawyer write, the method of design for Delica Winds so that it is specific to my product, but broad enough that others can't easily copy. It forced me to explain things I took for granted. For example, what I would call simply "the figure 8 connectors" is instead written "attachment mechanism may be comprised of rubber, plastic or a combination thereof and may be adjustable with respective to the sizes of the first loop and second loop....".
For the past few months, I've been working with a law firm in Minneapolis to figure out what I need to claim for Delica Winds to be considered a new method of accessorizing. The patent lawyers were helpful, honest and quick. When I said, "I want to do as much of this on my own because I really can't afford you", my lawyer wrote down and explained everything I could do on my own. And that was a free consultation! That very same August afternoon, I submitted my provisional patent application because they gave me the confidence to move forward with what I had done.
If you are thinking about inventing something, RESEARCH and DOCUMENT. My products changed dramatically in prototyping and its all written with dates in my notebooks. In the beginning, I spent money with InventHelp to do patent research for me. That feels like a waste now because I can do it myself. I bought a book on the process and it really cleared up misconceptions that companies like InventHelp use to make money on the ignorance of idea-people. Everything is online. Go to the USPTO website and type in every keyword that may relate to your product. Applications are being accepted everyday so do this every couple weeks!
The age-old negativity of "if it is such a good idea, why hasn't someone done it before" is actually pretty motivating if you think about it. When you find a similar patent, always think "someone did this: why was (or wasn't it) successful and how is mine different?". Its thrilling research (in a nerdy-heart-racing-kinda-way).
I provided my patent lawyers with drawings and a detailed synopsis of the final versions of Delica Winds. They translated it into legal language and helped me understand what my creative property looks like on paper. It turned out way wordier than I ever imagined, but thats lawyers for you!
Once approved, these patents will protect Delica Winds per the US government. But on a marketing level, I'll have to be a lot more creative and persistent to foster brand-loyalty. So if someone does try to drain me in court, it won't be worth it for them, because the customers want a real Delica Winds, not a knockoff.
I am delighted to attach what has become one of my favorite poems to this part of the Delica Winds journey. I've always had hope in the process of putting my heart into this brand. And the last line fits perfectly for my invention, for those with eyewear, it is designed to "embellish all we own".
Hope is a strange invention - A Patent of the Heart - In unremitting action Yet never wearing out -
Of this electric Adjunct Not anything is known But its unique momentum Embellish all we own -