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How to Protect Your Invention

Need invention protection? An attorney can help.

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This story appears in the August 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Question: I just invented a cool new product and know I would sell millions of units if I could get it on the Home Shopping Network or QVC. The trouble is, I can't afford the thousands of dollars in legal fees it would cost to get my product patented. Do you have any ideas?

Answer: My advice is to talk to your attorney and see if you can strike a deal. Corporate lawyers typically charge $250 an hour or more, but some attorneys are willing to reduce their fees or scrap them altogether if they think you're sitting on a million-dollar idea. They'll typically take a piece of your company's equity in the form of stock, options or warrants in exchange for applying for the patents, trademarks and copyrights necessary to protect your intellectual property.

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