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My dad is 85 years old. He is still sharp in his thinking, except for this. He has an invention and thinks he will get a patent on it, then have an investor take it over and there will be a large factory right here in Florida to make this invention and the factory will employ several people. He is constantly asking me and family members to help with his idea. He is even harassing the neighbors. Our family is doing everything we can to care for them (both mom and dad) such as cleaning, grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments and everything else. Our family has no time to put time into something that is not going to happen, and he is getting really angry telling us that he is doing this for us. Do I continue to let him continue with this and risk spending any money he has left or figure out a way to put an end to it. I don’t want to shatter his dream but at the same time, I don’t want him getting into debt. He will be devastated he even says if this invention does not go through he will not want to live anymore. He is so stubborn I can’t talk any sense into him. Any advice?

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The patent idea is what is giving him meaning in his life right now. I think if you take away his dream, he won't have meaning, and he probably will wither away. Let him have his dream.

It is very low cost to file a provisional patent application yourself - $300 I believe. Low cost is relative to the cost of filing a patent with an atty - we spent about $20K on our son's work, and he won $15K of that specifically for patent expenses. BTW, son's patent was denied, largely because of the attys I'm afraid.

The provisional app protects the patent for two years while you try to find a buyer for the idea. You could get him the Nolo press book that shows you how to do this yourself and let him work on it, then file the provisional if you want to spend the money. He then should mark "patent pending" on everything and have potential buyers sign a non-disclosure agreement (even if he has not paid for the patent, just play along with him).

From what I gather, you don't think this is a viable project. That is fine, but obviously he believes in himself. Buy him the book, have him work on the filing himself. That should keep him busy with a purpose. When it is done, you can offer take it to the post office for him, but actually spending the $300 by mailing it is up to you.

Mailed or not, you don't get anything back from the patent office, but I believe it is published in the application book within 18 mos of the pending app filing date. We never saw my son's until we searched for it near the end of his patent application process 5 years later, so your dad would never know the difference. He can just be looking for a buyer for his gadget, try to get people to sign the non disclosure form, and dreaming. And that dream is fine for him to have.
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Well then print out the application and let him send it to the patent office. But keep him away from unscrupulous patent consultants, because that is where he is headed next. Make sure he writes "copyright (his name) all rights reserved" on all the drawings and parts, with the date. My brother-in-law patented a simple item and his wife poo-pooed his idea. It turned out to be pretty successful. You could do an online patent search for him to be sure no one else already invented his object.
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Thanks for the reply. He has had two attorney's tell him they did not want to represent him, but he won't take no for an answer. We can't talk any sense into him. It's like an addiction to him. I'm afraid someone is going to tell him what he wants to hear and take advantage of him. He gets so angry at me for not going along with this idea. I don't want to give him any false hope, but I'm afraid of crushing his dream.
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takes my mind to the movie " the jerk " . his invention isnt the optigrab is it?
meh. i applied for a patent once. they took my 150 bucks and told me to go to h*ll..
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If you have a family attorney, have him talk with Dad. Dad would need a patent attorney. There is a $400 filing fee and forms are on uspto.gov if you think it is a novel, useful item. Or call the patent office 800-PTO-9199. They get 500,000 patent applications a year, some are quite unique, but fail for lack of investment or poor marketing. It's a fairly involved process. Hey, you never know.
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