This Young Entrepreneur Aims To Help America’s Inventors Protect Their Great Ideas Inexpensively

This Young Entrepreneur Aims To Help America’s Inventors Protect Their Great Ideas Inexpensively – Forbes
Budding household products inventor John Khalil, 29, was shocked when he met with three attorneys to find out how much a patent search would cost. They told him they would charge between $500 and $2,500.
Khalil realized that many inventors needed a more affordable solution. His answer is Patent Lot, a currently one-man web business where inventors can do searches for $299 each. Khalil, based near Princeton, N.J., in South Brunswick, launched the site in June and has started generating revenue.
It isn’t fair, he says, for people who have come up with a great idea that could potentially solve a problem for society to stall out because they cannot afford to move forward with a basic patent search. “Ninety-nine percent of the time it just stops there, as an idea,” he says.
It wasn’t just the high cost of patent searches that frustrated Khalil. When he met with the three attorneys, he said, “Every single one pulled out a big binder of all of the patents they filed for and acquired.” However, none got into detail on whether their experience was directly relevant to his types of invention or whether they had ever filed for patents in the exact patent class that suited his idea.
That frustrated Khalil, a high-energy serial entrepreneur who showed up at the coffee house where we met with a portfolio full of product sketches and prototypes, eager to explain how they all worked. He’s the type of guy who will check into a hotel every couple of months for a “reading vacation,” where he immerses himself in favorite books like How Successful People Think, by John Maxwell, or who likes hanging out at Thomas Edison’s home and laboratory, now a national historic park, to stimulate new ideas.
John Khalil founded Patent Lot because of his own frustrations with the patent-search process.
Patent Lot isn’t the only site that offers patent searches, so Khalil will face some tough competition. For instance, LegalZoom, a substantial-sized hub, also offers a $299 patent search. But he says his site is different from rivals because of the precision with which it matches customers who do the searches with carefully-vetted attorneys who have deep expertise in the exact types of patents for which they need to file. There are hundreds of different patent classes listed by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
“I am trying to give inventors, businesses and entrepreneurs an easy, time saving, cost-efficient way of navigating to the ideal attorney based on their innovation’s USPTO filing class,” says Khalil. “That’s why I’m starting this. I see the value as an inventor.”
Attorneys currently get free listings on Patent Lot, though Khalil eventually plans to charge for the profiles. He has recruited about 10 attorneys per state. “I’m still working on the last seven states,” he says.
Khalil is encouraging attorneys to outsource patent searches to his site; this has been his main source of revenue to date. “Right now I plan to reach out to businesses and law firms and introduce them to our service as the most affordable way to execute and bundle patent searches,” he says.
But ultimately, he hopes to attract inventors like himself, too, by helping address their untapped needs for research, know-how and inspiration. “I know just how to do it–because I am one,” he says. If he can persuade other eager inventors that he’s in their corner, he’s likely to find plenty of takers in a nation that finds Shark Tank just as entertaining as Survivor.

Source: Forbes, Elaine Pofeldt

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