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The process of turning a great idea into a patented invention can be lengthy.

Christine McAuliffe, a registered patent attorney with Phoenix-based Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, recommends that potential clients do their own research to see if their product already exists.

McAuliffe estimated that 90 percent of the time, the patent office will object to it, so she does research to be sure someone’s invention has a chance before taking the plunge.

“If we find nothing out there related on the idea, then we have a good feel that this may be an idea or invention that could survive the rigors of the patent office,” she said.

The average patent could take as little as 12 months or more than two years. Catherine Finney, inventor of Petz on Wheels, received the patent for her product two months ago, although it started selling in 2003.

McAuliffe encourages patent clients to submit a draft that has stipulations broader than the prototype to further protect their invention from copycats who try to change a tiny detail in an effort to steal the idea without legally stealing it.

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Originally posted by Rich Whittle on September 11, 2006 in Inventions.


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