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Patented leather shoes

Monday, 5 Feb, 2018

Today I took all my precious cargo… my shoe prototype from Italy, my sketches (some on the back of a plane ticket), my pitch presentation, and a whole lot of anticipation (oh, and of course my bump) to meet with a patent attorney 🙌🏻  It was a full-on meeting and my head is buzzing with information overload – but in a good way!

It’s a funny scenario, sitting down with someone for the first time, you’ve only just met them and you’re about to open up the archives of your dream and download the big vision – where do you start? ‘At the very beginning’ I can hear you say – but there is so much in the vault that I know/understand/can piece together – so how do I share it all succinctly? I have been thinking and dreaming this up for years and I have to get it all out in an hour? (Ok, so we ended up meeting for 2 hours!) But the benefit of this meeting was that there wasn’t really emotion involved in the sense that I wasn’t asking an investor to believe in my idea (and me!) and commit their capital, I just needed to clearly present the facts for analysis. This is the problem I have identified. This is my solution, my idea. This is how it will work. This is what I want to achieve. Do you think it is patentable, have I really invented something unique? (believing confidently that I have, of course).

It’s incredible how sharing your vision can empower you time and time again. It’s amazing – every time I have the opportunity to tell someone new and to speak it aloud, the more real and tangible it feels. There’s a lot to be said for speaking life into an idea. Sharing it each time convinces me of the vision all over again, even though I already sold myself on it enough to resign from my job 12 months ago!

So, hopefully as you follow this journey you’ll pick up things which may help you bring your ideas to life too. With that in mind, here’s a snapshot of what I learnt today (note that I’m not a lawyer!) about differences between trademarking, registering designs, and patenting things:
Trademark: Protecting the brand of the invention – the name and the logo, icon etc
Design Registration: Protecting the visuals of the invention – the actual physical object and how it looks
Patent: Protecting the functioning of the invention – how it works and operates

Lots of things to consider about these things too – when to file (now is good but it costs a lot!), where to file (different countries can require specific registration and… that costs a lot too) and what you should try and cover (as much as you can, but you guessed it… that also costs a lot!)

So while I’m starting this journey towards protecting my IP (intellectual property) because I have big plans for my venture and it’s good sense to protect it, it’s not going to be long before I’ll be on the hunt for an investor.

Oh, and in answer to my question to the patent attorney – ‘have I really invented something unique?’ – he’s confident I have. However, we do need to do all the necessary checks and investigations to really know there isn’t someone else scheming up the same idea and execution of the idea that’s already got a filing on it. Here’s praying that’s not the case!

*Just in case you are wondering, no – my shoe concept is not based on patent (shiny, high gloss coated) leather shoes! 😉

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