Patents

Please put your pickup/wiring discussions in the Electronics section; and put discussions about repair issues, including "disappearing" errors in new instruments, in the Repairs section.
Post Reply
Henrique Schneiter
Posts: 98
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:59 am

Patents

Post by Henrique Schneiter »

Hello people!

I've been designing and building solids/ semi-solids for almost 20 years, as a hobby. Recently, a friend asked if I ever patented my designs, and my answer was that I never really thought about that. Surprisingly I found nothing about it on the library.

So, what you people feel about it? Has anybody done that? How's the process?

User avatar
Jim McConkey
Posts: 954
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:00 pm
Location: Way north of Baltimore, MD

Re: Patents

Post by Jim McConkey »

It partly depends on where you live. In the United States patents are basically for processes, although there is a specialized design patent. Most shapes, etc., are trademarked, not patented, but every country has different rules.

Although I have never attempted to file a patent application for a shape, some of my engineering work has been patented over the years, and I can tell you from experience the process of actually applying for and getting a patent is very expensive and drawn out. I have easily seen it take 5+ years and tens of thousands of dollars, and the approval took so long in one circumstance that the company had gone out of business by the time it was approved! For a hobbyist, I personally don't think it makes much sense.
MIMForum Staff - Way North of Baltimore

Christ Kacoyannakis
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:58 pm

Re: Patents

Post by Christ Kacoyannakis »

I made a take-apart, travel, electric, Greek bouzouki a number of years ago. I had showed it to an attorney who had done some very basic patent work, and he said I could apply for a patent. But I did some more research, and there is a ton of prior art in the area (Fender, etc.). In the end, the market was so small, and I really had no intention of making or selling these, that I decided it was not worth the effort to even continue researching the idea. The thing about patents is they grant you the right to file a lawsuit. They cost a lot to even apply for, and they don't guarantee you will either get the patent or win a lawsuit if you do get a patent. Years later, I saw an individual luthier, in Greece, making something similar, and he said he had a patent from Greece, which he showed. I took one look at that thing, and could see if said exactly what Fender's patent on travel guitars (which is written to cover any stringed musical instrument). Maybe Greece doesn't care. Patents are issued by individual countries, and are supposed to be enforceable almost internationally (will somebody please tell that to some of our Asian friends), but this is only by treaty. In the end, it didn't seem worth it to me. Please don't consider this legal advice, because all I know about patents, I learned from the Internet.

Henrique Schneiter
Posts: 98
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:59 am

Re: Patents

Post by Henrique Schneiter »

Wow.. I had no idea it could be so expensive and time consuming... thanks guys for the replies.

User avatar
Peter Wilcox
Posts: 1224
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:31 am
Location: Northeastern California

Re: Patents

Post by Peter Wilcox »

:D Reminds me of my patent experience. Twenty some odd years ago (no, I wasn't born in the southland) I filed a patent for an optical microphone. I did it all myself (and even built one that didn't work very well), so it was cheap, and thought I had done an adequate patent search under optical microphones. Several years later I got a denial letter that a similar patent already existed, under the heading "transducers." Live and learn, but it was an interesting and educational experiance that was well worth the time and money involved.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

Bob Orr
Posts: 123
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:20 pm
Location: Nailsea, Nr Bristol, UK

Re: Patents

Post by Bob Orr »

The other thing is having a patent does not necessarily stop someone copying it. If there is money to be made the Chinese will just copy and market it anyway. You then have to go to court which is very expensive and virtually impossible to win in China.

Post Reply

Return to “Solid-Body and Chambered or Semi-Solid Electric Guitars and Bass Guitars”