PLH 012 | Small Business Patent

“People ask me, ‘what’s the costliest part of patenting?’ I’ll tell them, the costliest part of patenting is your misinformation about patents,” says our Product Launch Hazzards expert Attorney Richard Goldstein, author of the American Bar Association’s Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent. Rich graduated with an Engineering degree before being a patent lawyer, and has the unique combination of having a systems-oriented brain from his engineering background, combined with a liberal arts mind that enables him to write really well, allowing him understand the finer details of product designs and explain precisely what is needed for effective applicable patents . He has dedicated his law career into educating and helping individuals, small business owners, startups, product developers and inventors understand the core principles of patenting. He started teaching the patent process in the early 90’s, and has created a 6-part video series on the basics of patenting with over 10,000 views. Discover how you can ultimately reduce the risks of product launch failure, cut costs, save time and resources as Rich answers your patenting concerns each month.

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Welcome to our interview with Rich Goldstein. I’m super excited to interview Rich because he wrote the definitive book on obtaining a patent. Rich, this is offered by the American Bar Association?

PLH 012 | Small Business Patent

Small Business Patent: The ABA Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent

Yes, The American Bar Association Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent.

That’s great because we have a consumer focus here. There are people building companies here but at the end of the day, they’re startups, they’re entrepreneurs and they’re beginning at this. Treating it with a consumer mindset is a good idea because that’s how we met, but I believe that there’s so much to do on the product launch process that a patent is only one piece of it, where in so many organizations that’s the end all. Not getting it to market is a waste of time.

I totally agree and I agree wholeheartedly with having a holistic approach to this because there needs to be an overlap between what you’re patenting and what’s marketable and what matters to your venture, to your business, or to the product that you’re looking to launch.

That’s why you’re here on our platform. Tell us how you got started in patent. You go to law school, you could have gone into any area. What attracted you to intellectual property?

I knew before I went to law school. I was studying electrical engineering and I learned that the reality of being an engineer meant working on the same project day in and day out for maybe five years at a time. You’re given a little piece of some type of bigger system and told to design this little piece. I didn’t think that would be interesting enough for me, especially as I was getting interested in business at that time and in entrepreneurship, so someone suggested patent law. I finished my electrical engineering study and then I went to law school. Once I was in law school, I already knew that I was going to be pursuing patent law.

I’ve met a couple of intellectual property attorneys who came out with the same feeling as you. Many engineers, this is why they invent things on the side because they are not challenged enough at their current job.

The great thing is I get to work on something different every day, so it’s not just the fear that I had when I was studying engineering of being stuck, but it is the fulfillment of the promise of being in the field of patent law, so I love it.

That’s what I love about my job. It’s always different every day. I have a new product pretty much every week, we’ve got something new going on, and some new thing to explore and learn, but it doesn’t change the process. That’s where this book that you’ve written is so great because the process isn’t different anytime you’re going and launching products. That’s what we’re here about on Product Launch Hazzards, is everybody wants to see what that process is.

The reality is that there’re nuances and differences depending on the types of products that you’re going to go into market with. Some are more engineering-heavy and some are more manufacturing-heavy and some are more distribution-heavy because it’s complicated to deliver whatever it might be. The reality is all the steps are the same. If you get them in the wrong order, then you have more work to do. I imagine that you’ve had to redo a lot of patents because somebody patented too soon and then figured out that the way that they needed to engineer it or the way that they needed to design it or manufacture it involved a complete redesign.

The process is the same, the principles are the same, and it’s helpful to understand those principles as you go into it. Once you have the principles in mind and you know the project that you’re working on, then you can begin to map those principles on your situation and understand where a patent fits in or maybe where it doesn’t. It doesn’t always fit in, and so it’s helpful and it saves a lot of money to know the difference. Similarly to what you’re saying about being in a position of fixing some work that was done without the right forethought, a lot of times it’s not fixable. A lot of times there’s not much we can do after the fact.

If the patent went in a certain direction and the person launched the product and a couple of years have gone by and we see the patent that you applied for should have been very different, it may be too late. We’ll probably talk about this a bit also, but sometimes if you wait too long, you’ll lose the right to apply for a patent and sometimes you lose the right to apply for your own patent, even though in your mind you’ve already applied for a patent, but it was the wrong patent at the wrong time with the wrong focus.

We’ve been talking about that here. As you heard from my talk, that’s how we met at the Prosper Show, we’re big fans of provisional patents here. It does give you a little bit of that comfort level to start to explore with protection, but it’s not so inflexible that you still have your claims to write, so you haven’t completely blocked yourself out. You may have a few that are little too specifically much. There’s a lot of controversy in the inventor community about the new patent laws, but we are big fans of them because they’re good at helping you build a business without overspending. The cost of filing those provisionals and being a small entity is very favorable. It’s the mystery of not understanding the system that makes people so fearful.

It’s also the biggest and costliest part of the patent process. People ask me often, “What’s the costliest part of patenting?” I’ll tell them, “The costliest part of patenting is your misinformation about patents.” The extent to which you don’t understand patents is where you’ll spend money that should not be spent. It’s where you work on a project or get a patent project going that maybe isn’t worthy of patenting. It could be where you lose the rights to something which otherwise might have been a very worthy candidate of a patent. It’s all about understanding the principles and understanding the process. Any of the audience realizes this and they realize that it’s important to learn before they jump in.

Is that part of the reason why you’ve decided to write the book?

Yes. The funny thing is that I’ve been doing things like that for more than two decades. I think 1994, The Learning Attic asked me to do a class called Inventions 101 to teach people about the patent process. I did that for quite a while and then eventually I did that in Los Angeles and San Francisco too once a month. For a number of years, I was doing that class and then sometime later, I created videos to help educate the public about patents. I have a series of six videos, a video course, which is free. More than 10,000 people at this point have watched those videos and I get great feedback about that. What happened was the American Bar Association saw all of that and they contacted me and they said, “We’ve been thinking about having someone write a book to put in simple terms how patents work,” and that’s what I did. They asked me to write this book, which was awesome.

[Tweet “Sometimes if you wait too long to file, you’ll lose the right to apply for a patent.”]

It feels pretty good, doesn’t it?

It does. I see my colleagues pitching books to the ABA all the time, making book proposals, and here they came and asked me to write this book because they saw what I had been doing with regard to educating the public about patents. It was perfect because I love and I’m passionate about helping people understand the process. I love writing, which is a good thing because as a patent attorney, almost all that you do is writing.

You come out an engineer and all you do is write.

It’s the unique skill set of a patent attorney. On the one hand, you have to have an engineering mind. On the other hand, you have to have the liberal arts mind to be able to write well. Those two don’t always go together, but fortunately those happen to be the two things that I’m good at.

That’s interesting because that’s what has made me good at my job of being a strategic designer is because I can write. I can also explain and discuss and enlighten people on what it is that’s so wonderful about the product, but it is being able to also then dive in and understand the deep details of something. You have both sides of your brain working at a higher pace. On the back of your book, I don’t know what year this one was written, but probably a little bit older than your statistics here, which says nearly 2,000 patents that you’ve helped obtain. You probably have a bit more now.

That’s about right. I lost count.

We do that with, “How many products are in the market?” I’m like, “It’s 250 plus,” because I lost count myself. Obtaining a patent, what are the statistics on that recently? I haven’t looked at what the US Patent and Trademark Office says, but issuance and getting and obtaining a patent, the statistics are not great. There’re a lot of patents that don’t make it.

There certainly are. I don’t know what the exact statistics are. It’s probably somewhere in the range of 60% or so of applications that are filed are granted, but even more than the ones that are granted or the statistics of how many of them make it, the question also is, “How many of them are good? How many of them matter? Do they matter?” so we need to be thinking about them.

The one that I cite from the US Patent and Trademark Office is a few years old. I think it’s 2011 but it was less than 2% are what they called commercialized. That means that they were used in commerce and that they made money. When I thought of that statistic, it blew my mind because you think of companies like Apple, Procter & Gamble, and Johnson & Johnson, DuPont, with giant numbers of patents. Aren’t they tipping the scale? Shouldn’t it be a bigger number?

Yes and no. I’ll tell you why not necessarily. It’s because bigger companies like that are filing for every idea that they come up with, so they’re not necessarily filing on everything that they turn into a product. They are speculating. They’re creating as much IP as they can around not just the products that they pursue but also the products they think their competitors might pursue or inadvertently step on. They’re hedging their bets to a very large extent.

What you’re saying is right. It isn’t the same thing in product, which is why I’m not a big fan of small companies patenting too soon or too much because you don’t have that runway that Apple or Johnson & Johnson has to be able to have that shotgun approach to it, and so you have to be much more specific about it. That’s why waiting a little bit longer without risking yourself and that’s where advice comes in, calling on Rich and making sure that you get a concerted opinion with experience, because what you don’t know is what hurts you usually in the process in everything that we do on product launching.

There are enough unknowns in inventing something, there’s enough new things that no one’s done before hopefully, that’s the goal, and so that should be the only thing you don’t know. You should have the right advisors to be able to fill those other gaps, the things that you don’t know just because you’re not educated in, that you’re not aware of it. That’s where your resources come in because those rookie errors hurt you and can derail your entire company before it gets off the ground and your entire product before it gets off the ground.

It’s like those principles, those things that you don’t know, it’s a unique focus of my book and I’ll tell you why. There was a big gap in available information on the subject. The reason being is on the one hand, you had patent law books that were written for people that wanted the details of patent law and it was written for the lawyers and people that were at a higher level of knowledge to begin with. On the other end, there were the do-it-yourself guys.

The dummy’s guide to patenting or whatever that is.

Patent it yourself. The truth is that you can’t patent it yourself and you know that. It’s not possible to write a patent. It may be possible to get through the patent office, but there’s no way that it will be written in a way that protects you, just the part that goes into it.

A lot of people ask us, “Do you do drawings?” and early on, we say, “Yes, we provide drawings, but we provide them to an attorney and they turn them into legal drawings,” because it’s not the same thing but you happen to have drawings.

It’s not. It’s helpful. Your drawings are helpful for me to see what the details are so that I know what I have available to me to focus on.

We do that for our clients. I just want to make that aware for you, Rich, because one of the things that we do is we provide both that communication with the attorney because we’ve done so many patents, we do understand what you are looking for, and so we provide that communication and the drawings so that when we identify what we believe is unique innovation, because we studied the market.

We want to identify that for you because it makes your job faster, it makes it easier for you to go in and make sure you’re researching in the right area because that is, as I understand it, from 38 or something patents. Having done your research at the very beginning, that research phase of it, determining what is patentable possibly, where those gaps are, what’s been done in the market, and where all of that prior art is, that’s your job. If you’re not looking in the right area, then that’s not helpful either. That’s what takes more time or makes a miss.

PLH 012 | Small Business Patent

Small Business Patent: Once you have the principles in mind and you know the project that you’re working on, then you can begin to map those principles on your situation.

If your attention is in the wrong place, then it’s going to cost you more. Where I was headed with that is that the middle ground that I pursue with the book is you are not looking to do it yourself. You’re a busy entrepreneur, you’re developing a product, you realize that it’s not possible to do a good patent on your own, so you’ve got to hire a patent attorney, but if you’re going to do it, let’s make some good decisions about how you do it.

Make some good decisions about why you do it or if you do it. That’s the overarching principle of the book. That’s the context of where we come from in the book. That’s the unique space that operates, because I saw too many entrepreneurs headed to the do-it-yourself guides. If you’re a busy entrepreneur, you don’t want to read a 600-page book about all the details about the paper size or the margins, about how to prepare a patent application. You want to learn the principle that helps you decide yes or no, or when.

That’s what I appreciated about it when you sent me your book and I was flipping through it. I was like, “I love the order of these chapters. They make way more sense.”

Let’s take it from a higher level and then move further into the details as necessary.

It is an interesting thing, and here at Product Launch Hazzards, we always are diving into some of the problems that occur over time, whether it’s obtaining the patent or filing the patent or whatever that might be. There’re a lot of times where you’re so restricted, you can’t fix it later. We want to talk about some of those things over time here because it is through those problems that we typically get the other hazards of product launching. We get those.

That’s how I get the most of my clients, and unfortunately for so many of them will come to me, some I’ve seen spent $15,000 to $20,000 between the initial drawings and the patent itself and they have this issued patent in a big binder and they’re super proud of it, but they’re out of budget already. I have to tell them the bad news that when I looked at it, I was like, “You can’t make that for the cost that you need to make it for the market. It has to be completely redesigned and I think this might invalidate part of your patent or will be unable to use the thing.”

Just make it irrelevant. Make the patent irrelevant to what you have to do.

You’ll have to do it again. I hate that feeling. The last thing I want to do is tell them that because I know they won’t be my client at the end of the day for every reason, but I don’t want to tell them that, it’s such a disappointment, but that’s the way. What are some of those that you see that are those gigantic ones that happened and you wish you could fix it but you can’t?

The number one hazard that people step into without knowing better is putting the product on the market before they’ve applied for a patent. I’ve seen it over and over again. Over the last 25 years I’ve been doing this, I see it time and time again where people are not so sure that it’s worth doing a patent. They say, “Let me put the product on the market first and if it does well, then I’ll apply for a patent.” I get people to come to me and they say, “I need to protect this. I’ve been selling it and it’s doing so well. I just need to protect it now.” I ask the question and afraid of the answer, “When did you start selling it?” “About two years ago,” and then I have to tell them that, “I can’t help you. It’s game over. It’s too late.”

One thing to know is that if you’re at all considering doing a patent, you need to look into that before you apply. Granted there is a possible one-year grace period, but the circumstances are not always in your favor. First of all, if you start selling the product without having applied for a patent, you immediately lose most of your foreign filing rights. In many overseas countries where you might want protection, you’ve lost them immediately when you put it for sale before you apply for a patent. In the US, technically under some circumstances, there is the possibility of a one-year grace period where it won’t be too late if you file within that year, but don’t recklessly rely on that grace period.

Once again, this is definitely the number one hazard. This is something that as a patent attorney, if someone asks me, “If we’re going to teach people one thing about patent law in high school, like in high school science class, so that they knew, tell them about this rule. Tell them about this because more than likely, if they ever have an invention during their life, this is the one that they’re most likely to run afoul of and then wonder.” They’ll say to me, “How could I have possibly known that? How could I have possibly known that I lose the right by putting it on sale?” The truth is that they probably couldn’t have, and that’s why the audience is here, because they want to learn things like this.

Such a good point and there are so many things that Rich can do for you. That’s what provisional patents are great for. If it’s a matter of money and not having the big budget to do the full filing start there, or if it’s a matter of you absolutely have to beat someone else to market it, there’s a crunch. Provisional patent again, a fast way for you to get started, then he takes the time he needs to write the full patent. I’ve had some people were they filed a provisional because of a market timing issue, and then within two or three months, they already had the other one filed. It’s not like they waited the whole year. There are so many new tools that come with the new patent laws that were enacted. Was it 2009 or 2010? There were a couple of different changes.

There was a bunch. The provisionals came about 1995 to 1996, but then the first to file came about just a few years ago. You just pointed out two more hazards we should talk about. Another hazard is with provisionals. People file a provisional because it’s an easier way to get patent pending. What a provisional does is it gives you priority toward filing that utility patent application within a year, but the major caveat here is that the priority you get is only as good as it is well written. When you file a provisional, it’s put on file at the patent office, but they don’t examine it. They don’t review it, they don’t give you any feedback. They will give you a filing receipt almost no matter what. Almost no matter what you sent in, no matter how good or bad it was, you’ll get a filing receipt and you say, “I’m patent pending,” but the thing is that priority is only as good as the application is well written.

If it doesn’t dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s and fully explain the invention to the requirements of the patent laws, then you’ve left yourself vulnerable. Vulnerable for what? Vulnerable for someone else filing their own utility patent application and if you beat them by priority by maybe a month, let’s say, then essentially all that’s standing between them getting the patent and not is your provisional application. At certain points in the process, they’re going to make it their business to poke all the holes in it that needs to be poked in it. I haven’t seen an application that was written quickly like that written by an individual that I couldn’t poke 100 holes in.

This is where those writing skills come in. As in utility patent, you’re not outlining all the claims, it’s just the abstract. It’s like an introductory paragraph, but it is supposed to encompass everything that you intend to patent, if I understand it right.

There’s a requirement for patent applications. Section 112, if people want to look it up. If you Google 35 U.S.C. 112, you’ll see this rule, which is all about how clear and concise and enabling the description needs to be. You need to provide enough information so that someone in the field could duplicate your efforts, make the invention from your description. That requirement is for patent applications, and that requirement also exists for the provisional, so for the provisional to be adequate, it has to fulfill that same requirement. That’s a big potential hazard there.

[Tweet “If your patent doesn’t dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s and fully explain the invention to the requirements of the patent laws, then you’ve left yourself vulnerable.”]

We had something interesting happened where we decided we’re going to do a little episode on it because people don’t realize that when you write your patent and then eventually maybe license it or do something like that, one of the things that you don’t think about at the beginning of it is that it may expire some day. Our big patent that we base our sole story that we tell on stage, our stylus pens for handheld computers and our infringement lawsuit with IDEO and Palm Computing, they just expired. We looked at each other and we were like, “What a milestone. It’s been that many years.” It blew our mind that all that time has passed.

Back then, it wasn’t any faster to get a patent, so you filed and then it was three years before we actually got it and then now it’s seventeen years from that date and twenty years from the original filing date. We were like, “It’s expired,” but the second thing out of our mouths were, “I think we can make it again then. It’s open game.” I was like, “I think we have to check our contract with how we licensed and sold it, but I’m pretty sure you’re right.” How interesting to think about it? It is like, “Is it still relevant seventeen to twenty years later?” We looked at each other and we’re like “Crazy, but it is, because stylus pens are still being used.” Tablets are still being used, touch tab, and so we were like, “That’s crazy to have created something and have it still be relevant and useful, but did we plan that in? Did we think about that?” Absolutely not.

By the way you said at the time, you didn’t think that your pattern may expire one day.

It’s not in your mind. I knew it would.

It’s awesome that you created something that’s still relevant all of that time later. That goes to one of the inquiries of, “Should you get a patent?” In terms of should you get a patent, sometimes people will look at a product and say, “This is a short-term trend. This is something that’s not going to have staying power. It might take me a few years to get a patent, so should I even bother?” If it was a situation like yours where it was something that was relevant for a long period of time, you’d be kicking yourself if you didn’t patent it at the time. Granted, things like fidget spinners and other fads are here today and gone tomorrow, but if you think it’s a fad, then maybe it’s not worth doing a patent, but don’t be so sure before you forego the possibility of doing a patent thinking that it might not be relevant twenty years later.

We have three criteria. I’m going to list them here and see what you think of them. Our three criteria for making some decisions about patenting is number one, does it have business relevance? Is it going to make my business more competitive? Is it going to make my business more acquirable? Is it going to add an asset that’s a value to the bottom line? Is it going to make it more desirable from anyone who might be looking at it from that? We look at it from the business standpoint.

Then second we look at, “Is going to give us that competitive edge, give us time to get to market, time to establish ourselves in that before somebody else tries to figure out how to make it or how to get around it or how to do those things? Is it going to give us some time?” That’s also another factor for us. The third thing we think about long-term is, “Is it something that we think is trendy or not? Is it long-term?” Maybe it’s a little ahead of its time.

Case in point, one of the other products we designed for that same company at the time was a case keyboard that went along with your PalmPilot and this keyboard flipped and opened and everything, and it wasn’t until the keyboard thing was a little trendy because there were lots of different ones at the time and people were using touch pad and they were using the pen and you have your QWERTY keyboard on your thing and then Blackberry’s came out after that.

There were lots of things like that that came out, and so it might have been trendy in the process, but one of the things that we invented was the idea that when you plug the keyboard in here, you could still charge your phone, and so it was called a pass-through port. It was the pass-through port that ended up valuable and was the most valuable claim. The reason why this whole thing was extremely valuable and we ended up selling it just for that, we sold it twice, that’s the part that ended up valuable because there was a whole bunch of products that needed it in order to be successful. We designed it out of necessity for what we needed to do and then it turned out so did all these other products need it as well, but we were first. That’s also something you can always anticipate in.

I have this good friend, Nick Ripplinger, who is taking unused intellectual property patents that were developed by the government or by veterans and civilians in government and utilizing them to help our service members be more successful at their jobs, be safer, and do all of these things. They’re specifically developing that tech because a lot of it is sitting there unused, but it’s useful. It’s just that particular company can’t take advantage of it. Sometimes you don’t think about that, but if you think you have very long-term implications of doing good in the world, maybe it’s worth doing. That’s a third consideration for us because you got to have some resources to make that one happen.

There is a goldmine there too in expired patents. You talked about the 2% commercialization statistic, so there are a lot of patents out there that were pursued, the patent explains fully how it works, but they were never commercialized. There are some good ideas that were never commercialized and now expired, so the patents are twenty years old. They were filed more than twenty years ago, and so if someone wants to pick up that technology and make that product, they can.

3D printing is a case in point. This whole boom of 3D printing in the industry in 2009 came about because of many expired patents. It’s one of the reasons we got into it because all of a sudden, the ones who had been holding the patents had been holding them for these industrial, very expensive means, but all of a sudden, all these hackers and all these makers made an industry out of being able to make one accessible and low cost and all of us today are benefiting from that. A perfect case in point of where if the company is not going to take advantage of it, one day it will expire and there are people interested.

Another example is virtual reality. In the ’90s, there was a huge wave of virtual reality technology. There was a lot of investment in virtual reality companies and so there were a lot of patents filed for different variations of virtual reality possibilities, but it was too early for it to be commercially viable. There’s a goldmine there of technology that’s right for anyone who wants to pick it up and do it. Granted, you can’t patent it over again. You can’t see something that’s expired and do a patent on it again, but if you want it to pick that up and do it, you can.

The second thing that I wanted to talk about in terms of hazards. You were talking about the changes in the patent law, and so one had to do with provisionals. The other one that I wanted to talk about has to do with first to file. It used to be that if you invented something first, and even if someone else beat you to the patent office, you can prove that you invented it first under the right circumstances and prevail and be the one to get the patent.

PLH 012 | Small Business Patent

Small Business Patent: The number one hazard that people step into without knowing better is putting the product on the market before they’ve applied for a patent.

There was this myth that if you wrote it down, put it in an envelope and mail it to yourself by certified mail, and you didn’t open the envelope that would serve as proof that you invented it first. First of all, that’s always been false. That’s never been a way that you could prove that you invented something. This thing that they call a poor man’s patent, I had an expression for it that as, “A poor man’s patent will keep you poor because it doesn’t work.” I used to have to go to a long explanation about why it doesn’t work. “The courts would never favor this evidence because Congress went to the trouble of creating a patent system, so why would they ever reward you for going around the system,” but now the explanation is plain and simple.

Since they changed the patent laws a few years ago, it is now a first to file system. The first person to file the patent application with the patent office is the one that gets the patent. It doesn’t matter what proof you have, whether it was that idea described in an envelope or a thousand witnesses to say that you invented it first. If someone else got to the patent office before you, then they will be entitled to the patent. That’s the other major hazard to know. It was all that mythology that goes back 100 years about, “If you have an invention, make sure you write it down and notarize it and all that stuff.” That doesn’t matter.

When we ran into our patent infringement suit, our attorneys asked us, “Where’s your documentation?” because back then it was not first to file. Although we were the first file between the two companies, they filed for their patents six months later and so their application date wasn’t even close to ours from that standpoint.

There is a potential vulnerability at that point that maybe they could prove they invented it first and so he wanted your documentation.

We pulled it out. We’re designers, we come from art school, so we have bound notebooks that we sketch in all the time and we’ve always made it a practice that we have them and we have a series of them and we have them all over the place. I’m literally like, “Do we need to keep these?” and I’d be like, “Yeah, we probably do. Let’s keep them anyway.” They’re in the middle of a whole bunch of designs and a whole bunch of things that all have a basis in time when they went to market or when we were designing them for other clients or contracted for them. There was a nice bookmarking and relevance of where that fit within those drawings, and so they were like, “That’s fairly confident that your timeline is documented.” We were like, “Wow.”

We didn’t know that in college. No one told us when we were using sketchbooks and we were doing that, that it might be useful like that. That would’ve been great to know. Anyways, I want to close a few things about you, Rich, because I want to make sure people get to know you on the platform here and that they’re going to have access. You were saying that you were an engineer, but that probably gives you a little edge with certain types of patents and certain types of companies that you’ve been working with. You said to me that you worked with so many, but tell us some of the areas that you’ve worked in.

Just about any type of consumer product, electrical and mechanical, computer, throughout my career my niche has always been working with small companies and individuals. A lot of my colleagues, they won’t work with a small company or individual. They don’t know exactly how to explain everything to these clients or there’s a decent amount of hand-holding that goes into working with clients like that, but I have developed systems that help us work effectively with people that have never done this before, so that’s my niche. It’s not based on technology, it’s based on the type of client.

Where are you based out of?

We’re in the New York area, New York and New Jersey. We have several offices over here, but we work with clients around the country and to some extent around the world because it’s not necessary to meet with our clients to understand what it is they’re doing and to take care of them well.

We can demo anything. We have video call nowadays.

It’s funny, fifteen years ago or more, when I was trying to explain this to clients on the phone, I would say, “It’s not necessary for us to meet because we could do everything by phone and fax,” and now that I said that, I would totally date myself.

Somebody told me that they had one of these dial fax and it followed you so you can keep the same number everywhere. I was like, “That is so old. Let’s not say that in public that we both know what it is.”

If we say, “We can work together by phone and fax,” they would be like, “Who is this guy? How can he claim to be with technology and be able to help me with line technology?”

[Tweet “The costliest part of patenting is your misinformation about patents.”]

Product Launch Hazzards members, I want you to know that you have access to Rich over our platform. He has an expert profile with all sorts of links and his course is linked right on his page for us. Rich does videos and as he does his Office Hours over time, they’ll be captured on video if you miss it, so if you’re unable to come because you’re working at that time, that’s fine. Send in messages, send in email, you can go right over the platform and fill out a form and send your questions in for him and we’ll make sure that they get put up at the next Office Hour and he gets notified of them.

If you missed it, there’s a tab on his profile that says Office Hours and you can watch all of Rich’s Office Hours at one time if you want to binge watch Rich. Over time, you never know when somebody’s going to come in through this membership portal and they might come in and you’ve done six months’ worth of videos that are fabulous and giving them all sorts of new insights, so we want to make sure that that’s available to you. Do you have anything else that you’d like to say and maybe preview a little bit about what you’re going to talk next?

As far as resources, there are links to all of that. It is also available at That’s where I have a lot of information. Also the book is available on Amazon. It’s The ABA Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent, so it’s not just from the ABA. You can get it directly from Amazon. It’s inexpensive. In terms of what to talk about next, we’ll talk about some aspects about what it takes to get a patent and how to know if it’s right for you and is your idea something that can and should be patented.

Tune in to Rich’s next Office Hours. Connect with and find out more about Rich in our Experts Directory.

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