Discover how trademark, patent, and software law can help small business, entrepreneurs, and inventors. Check my blog for questions and answers.

With no money, how do you protect an invention?

How in the world do i get my inventions into production with no money to invest?

I have an prototype of a battery pack that can go from all the way dead to fully charged in one minute i also have a way to write video games with millions of different levels and can make a tv any size and so on but i have no money to invest what do i do?

~ Homer, Alaska

The first step will be to file patents. Patent attorneys, like all attorneys, provide no cost or reduced cost services for the benefit of the public. This is called "pro bono publico", or just, "pro bono", and it means "for the good of the public." It will take real effort, but, you should be able to find a patent attorney to help you at no cost.

First, you need to call all eleven (11!) patent attorneys that live in Alaska. You can use a qualified patent attorney from any state in the US, but it might be helpful to meet with one locally. Next, you might want to move your prototypes and inventions to another state, like Arizona. Really! For pro bono patent work, it may be helpful for you to be able to show your prototypes in person. The State of Arizona encourages pro bono activity and actively recognizes attorneys that do more than 50 hours of pro bono work each year. While Arizona has a referral program, your specific need is so specialized, I recommend that you contact patent attorneys directly.

When you arrive in your new state with your inventions, use the USPTO attorney database to search by location and make a list of patent attorneys nearby. Start calling them. Explain that you have built a working prototype of an invention. Explain that you have no money. Ask politely if they ever do pro bono patent work.

Eventually, you will get one or more meetings with patent attorneys who will help you at no cost or greatly reduced cost. Be prepared to make a lot of phone calls.

Good luck with commercializing your invention!

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