Monday 18 November 2013

When solo practitioners file their own patent applications, can crowd-sourcing be far behind?

This article is penned by Michael Factor but posted by me.

Being small is OK, but let's not be small-minded. In one of the LinkedIn groups to which I belong, a sole practitioner has posted an ambitious item about trying to raise money by crowd-sourcing for filing patents on his own ideas.

The posting is reproduced below:

Crowdfunding to Cover the Costs of Filing Patent Applications

L. Jon Lindsay Solo Patent Attorney
Has anyone tried using crowdfunding to cover the costs of filing patent applications? Crowdfunding includes sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, RocketHub and lots of others.

If you tried it, did it work? If you didn't try it, why not? What worked? What didn't work? What's the best approach to it? What's the best crowdfunding site for patent applications, if any?

I started some crowdfunding campaigns to cover my patent application costs. And I was wondering if anyone had any advice. My campaigns are at:

Indiegogo -
Peerbackers -
RocketHub -

My Kickstarter campaign hasn't been approved yet.

Any comments or advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

I’m creating a new TV show genre utilizing virtual reality technology for all new fun and exciting TV viewing.
Jon's original post can be accessed here

We can assume that the solo patent attorney in question is not charging himself to draft and file these applications. He is only laying out the filing fees. And let's put aside the issues of the patentability of TV genres and whether a request for crowdsourcing is a preliminary disclosure. But here's a problem: if any patent attorney/inventor believes in his product, the only reason for him not to pay the small entity filing fees is that he can't afford to, which would be a worrying scenario for any patent attorney with many years' experience.

Having followed the links to crowd-funding, it seems to me that there's another problem.  If crowd-funding hasn't done the trick in the two years since original filing of the first application, and it hasn't produced enough seed money, why should anyone expect that this method will be any more successful in future?

Finally, I know that some of us are more successful than others and times are hard -- but I would advise any professional to take the path of caution before venturing on to a patent forum and telling his or her peers that he believes in his own ideas, that he is happy to write up patent applications, but won't put up the filing fees himself and may be depending on the wisdom of the crowd when seeking to sell the product to interested parties. 


  1. Gamecaster is a similar operational business that found the world of European patents too expensive to game see here so maybe its not for European money

  2. A crowdfunding campaign can also be used to attract future customers and so one should not just look at the immediate financial gain. I suspect in the future a crowdfunding campaign will be used in parallel on all sorts of projects as a way of publicising and also allowing people to participate. If someone was building a new bridge over the Thames it would be nice to chip in a little bit of money and feel one has contributed.

  3. Hi Suleman, Joanna lumley and Boris are just waiting for your chip here for the Charity or here for TFL consultation