May 18, 2024


Mad about real estate

California Business Law Attorney’s Guide to Making Money in the Future – Patents

In these difficult economic times, new businesses are much riskier to try, but there is no more lucrative an area even in the current conditions than for an inventor or designer who can create a new invention or process and who can afford to have it patented.

Whether you live in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Barbara, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Temecula, Anaheim, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Encinitas or Palm Springs conditions are much the same throughout California. Business is slow and much of what little real estate is selling are the foreclosed homes.

As a Business Lawyer in Southern California, people are always asking me for the next great area of business in which they can make money and what legal restrictions there might be in the future. When asked these questions the one place I don’t turn to is those newsletters that tell you how much money you would have made if you had followed their advice and invested in certain stocks or gone into the cell phone business.

For the most part, however, you can almost certainly bet that their advice is wrong, so you can likely assume that the opposite of their advice would offer a better chance of success.

Many newsletters are still focused on getting into businesses that rely on the consumer having discretionary cash to purchase unnecessary items. That’s probably not just bad advice, it’s lousy advice. Television commercials telling you that you can make tens of thousands a month working from home are a way to take your money for seminars, books and other materials that most likely in the end will cost you more than you’ll ever make, once you add in your start up costs.

On the other hand, one or two of the ideas being touted may be the fad of the future, no matter how little money people have to spend. For instance, if people will buy expensive clothes for their dogs, does that mean that they’ll buy little prom dresses for their infants? Hard to say.

However, if the high heeled shoes cause injuries to those infants, you can see the lawsuits coming already.

What’s the next item we can’t do without or that we like just fine now, but would pay an extra $50 to have a designer version of that item? That depends as much on good marketing and a good business plan as the good idea. If you have that and the resources to start production, create a website, hire a search engine optimizer to help your website get noticed on search engines and then know how to create publicity for your product, you are halfway home. But all of that costs money, lots of money, or lots and lots of time. But if the design is unique, it may make much more sense to apply for a design patent and then to license or sell your patent outright to another manufacturer.

One item that makes business run is credit. But all you hear in the news is how hard it is now to get credit for a house, for a business, for anything. You can therefore almost certainly count on new businesses popping up that offer their services in finding you credit. While this area of business is already regulated, as more and more scammers get into this business, you can be certain that more regulation will follow.

The difficulty with this type of business is that you may find it difficult not to be brushed with the same paint brush as the unscrupulous businesses who will guarantee to find a person credit for a fee and then either take the money and run or simply offer excuses why it was impossible for them to find their customer the credit they promised.

An area where there appears to be an opportunity in these times is helping others and in doing so, you may help yourself. Consumers need real help to survive this economic mess. Web sites that actually provide a service such as locating cheap gas, coupons for groceries, clothing sales or other basic necessities may be the one area in which there could be demand by the consumer. This type of service will require a lot of free advice, however, time and people to gather this information and it still could be difficult to recoup your investment.

Perhaps the best way that still exists to make a lot of money is if you can develop an idea for an invention. Utility patents are very expensive to obtain using a lawyer. Most charge from $7,500 on up depending upon the complexity. However, you can obtain a provisional patent or a design patent for substantially less and as soon as the application has been accepted (as opposed to when the patent is granted, which takes much longer) you can begin to market your invention to other companies and either license your patent pending invention to them or sell it outright.

So start thinking about what hasn’t yet been invented, or improved upon in an important way, and if you need assistance with obtaining a patent, trademark or copyright, call us or visit us at our website where you can access much more information about intellectual property.