Most inventors understand that new inventions often provide solutions to old problems. It's expected that inventors should play fair with their inventions, but some don't play by the rules when disclosing a new product or idea. On that note, it's evident that the interested parties will not sign any confidential documents before actually seeing the invention itself.
It becomes a conundrum to most inventors if you have to show your new invention to potential manufacturers only for your idea to be ripped off. Well, there are a few ways to beat the game if it comes to that. First, some inventors build the invention and test it thoroughly before planning an exhibit to the interested parties. If everything has been carefully documented, it's easy to disapprove any rip-offs from the parties concerned.
On the other hand, the inventor can get a US pending patent for the product or idea. That way, he/she can show it around without any worries about being ripped off. That's because the manufacturers will be afraid of infringement lawsuits if they rip off a product or idea with a patent pending label.
Of course, these are good ways to solve the issues at hand, but they are flawed. For instance, since technologies are becoming more complex it's tough for developers to build and test everything before showing them to potential investors. On the other hand, filing a patent is also very expensive, especially if you're using an attorney for the process. However, there are a few ways to go about these flaws.
Well, you can choose to file a provisional patent for the invention and immediately label it as patent pending when showing it off to interested parties. Its an excellent idea because you will take half the time to do so and its also very affordable. To file a provisional patent, you need about $75 or $150 depending on the size of the invention which is considerably cheaper than applying for a patent pending status right from the start.
On the other hand, you need a detailed description of how to make the invention and use it correctly. Don't forget to add drawings, charts or images that help the patent approval officers understand how to make and use the invention. Finally, you need a cover page thats about one sheet and a declaration for a small entity, especially if you're paying the $75 application fee.
After a year from the filing date, you can get a US pending patent status on your invention. Note that, the filing date is paramount especially if other applications come into the market before your patent is approved. If there are any infringement lawsuits, you can always claim to have applied for the patent earlier. Note that, if you file the provisional patent to get a patent pending status, then file to follow up after a year, the whole application will be thrown out.
In conclusion, if you have invented a new product or idea in a very popular niche, you should be able to use these ideas to get a patent pending status soon enough.