Fundraising · Innovation

What’s the next best step after receiving a software utility patent when I don’t have the money to build a prototype?

Ethan Paulson MBA-IT Grad and Patented Software Inventor

Last updated on July 3rd, 2020

I have recently received a software utility patent from the USPTO for my invention pertaining to the 3D design and calibration of 2D substrates. I have manually proven my algorithm to design onto a 3D model, unwrap the 2D substrate relative design from the 3D model, and then print tattoo stencils, plot sewing patterns for clothes, embroider or sublimate onto clothing, and much more. My system can even virtually display clothes on a 3D scanned 3D model of a person accurately for virtual clothing fitment. Applications could be relative to the clothing manufacturing/retail industries, vinyl wrapping, tattooing, 3D dye sublimation painting, sheet metal fabrication, landscaping, and even medical uses. Although I have not developed an automated system yet for any of the application potentials due to financial restraints from expenditures related to getting the patent. I know I have many options but I would love to discuss what others in this group might think would be my best next move.

David M

July 4th, 2020

Do an opportunity evaluation to discovers which way you want to go with regard to building a business. From there build a business plan. Happy to discuss if you want to reach out.

Dmitri Toubelis

Last updated on July 8th, 2020

Having a patent is undeniably important and now your rights are legally protected. You have an opportunity to take advantage of your patent before it expires. However, it is just an opportunity no more and no less.

The typical next steps would be to do market research, build MVP and get some traction. The longer you can go without external funding the better it is for you and for your business. It may be a good idea to bring a partner or two, who can work for minimum cash in favour of equity. I would also advise bringing a few advisors on the board. Just keep in mind that sweat equity is your best friend at this stage ;-)

Adil Akavov Founder

July 5th, 2020

Hi . First of all try to deeply understand who are your clents it is serious opportunity to build your marketing vision . Than if you have any experience try to build design of system architecture and document it . It will help you to be more attractive in eyes of fundraisers and

Richard Markow Former Submariner; Nuclear Engineer; Technology/Strategy Consultant who now works as an IP Attorney

July 8th, 2020

Ethan, Generally speaking you have three paths: 1) raise money to build the invention/company yourself; 2) Partner with someone who will become a key supply/delivery partner in your target eco-system if you become successful (I'll explain what I mean in a second); or 3) look to license the patent to someone else.

David and Dmitri gave you some overviews of how you go about building a business plan and then raising money. An often overlooked opportunity is find a company in your eco-system i.e. someone that will make money off your success and try to get them to invest. Fore example say you had a really cool design for a new fiberglass boat. You could reach out to a company that builds molds for fiberglass boats, or one that sells boats, etc, to invest in an alpha version of the product. They might invest because if you are successful they will make money either making molds or selling your boat. Lastly you can license the patent. There are companies that value patents for inventors and help them license patents to manufacturers.

Hope that helps.

Edward de Jong Software designer and developer, programming language designer

July 10th, 2020

Software patents, and patents in general, are wonderful to have. However, without any money to defend the patent, it has almost no effect. Every day of the week big companies infringe on patents, and expect you the patent holder to vigorously defend your patents. So spending money on a patent (which typically costs at least 15K to get awarded (not provision, the real thing), but not having any money left over to build a prototype is somewhat foolish. The patent system was never designed for software, and almost every program infringes on the vague patents that the USPTO foolishly allowed for years, creating a morass of litigation. Anyway whether you had a patent or not isn't really the big thing; if you have a good algorithm, then hopefully it will make the process easier, and you will have to raise money to build a prototype. Raising money is typically Step 1.

Andy Freeman Product Management and ... - Looking for new opportunities

July 10th, 2020

It's water under the bridge at this point, but you should have started doing something when, if not before, you applied for the patent. I get that you're low on funds but there are long periods during the patent process where you're not spending money on it. However, you are burning time.

That said, what you should do now is what you should have done then. Figure out what someone will pay you to do and do it. Unless you're telepathic, "figure out" involves a lot of talking with potential customers.

As far as your patent goes, there are several other patents that seem to meet that description. I haven't read them but one possible outcome is that none of them can be practiced (read "implemented" or "used") without infringing on at least one of the others. And no, your patent doesn't give you the right to practice your invention. A patent is just the right to demand compensation from someone who practices your invention.

Ethan Paulson MBA-IT Grad and Patented Software Inventor

July 10th, 2020

At the time I developed this algorithm it was only possible manually not as a system so building a prototype was impossible for a mobile device. Although I knew the potential integrations to make it work once processing power and SDK’s were available so I was able to patent the system as well. I also just filed a CIP with a slew of additions to make it even better for modern technology now and in the future. Currently I have enough funds for a prototype although I do not have enough funds for a prototype for each potential application. I’m thinking about creating a prototype for virtual fitment and shopping of clothing as the first application of my technology. What companies do y’all think I could pitch my technology to once I have a prototype? I can think of a few of course but like Edward said that could open the doors up to them infringing on me anyway. Should I raise private equity first before I display my prototype to any company for legal protection funding? What’s the next best move from there?

Artin Vaqari CEO - Purchasing & Procurement Center Inc.

July 12th, 2020

Ask the following questions: 1. Does your software solve a real problem in the market place?

2. Who are the people that have this problem (your tragettarget market)?

3. Are they willing to pay? How much?

If you can answer them in the positive, you will have many investors willing to give you money.

If not then look at getting an improved patent for something that solves a real problem

Steve Owens Startup Expert

July 15th, 2020

You have three choices:

- Build a business on the idea

- Try to license the patent to other businesses

- Be a patent troll

To build a business, you will need to raise money - see our website for how to do this. Raising money is a full time job, and for some reason, not everyone is capable of doing it even if they spend 40 hours a week on it. Building a business is even harder than raising money - more than a full time job for many years.

Licencing the patent is a sales and marketing job. It is possible, but most fail. I do know a group that might take it on.

Patent trolls just wait for someone to violate the patent (or appear to violate the patent) and then sue. Even a weak case is worth $50K just to make it go a way. You might be able to get a patent troll company to represent your patent. You will have to judge the ethics of this approach for yourself.