How does a lost art impact on patenting?
I recently had an inventor who was very proud of his invention and had never seen anything like it before. He had a prototype that he had knocked up himself. It was a simple mechanical device, and it was exceedingly effective at solving a very troublesome issue.
He was very excited about it, and he had managed to excite some investors too, who insisted that he get a patent attorney to do a search before they jumped on board. He was of the view that a patent search was a waste of time and money, but he needed to do it to appease his potential investors.
A few days later I had to give him some bad news. His concept was originally patented back in the early 1900s. Yes, it was a lost art, which is why he had not seen it before. Unfortunately, it was not patentable. Not only that but the 1900s patents solved the problem more easily and effectively than his own solution.
Take home message: research before you go too far down the track. Your potential investors will want to know what steps you have taken to protect your ideas or at the very least to figure out what else is out there.