Hi @NZfightclub

Your first step is conducting a patent search to see whether your idea has already been published before. You can do this using Google Patent or Espacenet or various other free tools. It can be quite a rabbit hole soaking up massive amounts of time, if you are not really familiar with patents or patent searching. The alternative is to pay a patent attorney to conduct a “patent novelty search”. I would say the cost of such a search would be in the order of $3000-$5000 plus GST.

If the search is clear, and your idea is novel (not known, used or published before) and inventive (not obvious in light of everything else that has gone before it), then you could consider filing a patent application. The usual process and timeline is to file a provisional patent application in NZ first – that sets a 12 month clock running for you to both complete that application and/or file international patent applications or a PCT application. The PCT application buys you a further 18 months to file your individual foreign patent applications (called “national phase” of the PCT application). The likely cost of your provisional application depends on the field and complexity, but usually budget $5000 – $10,000 plus GST. The cost of filing the PCT application at the 12 month mark would be around $10-$15,000. The cost of each national phase application in the countries of interest would be somewhere between $5000 – $12,000 – with the exception of Europe which you can cover in on filing for around $15-$20k. There are costs following those filing costs once the patent applications are examined in each foreign national phase country.

The search is of course not mandatory – you could simply have a patent drafted and filed without first confirming if it is novel and inventive. However, you do risk wasting the drafting costs if it transpires that the idea is not new.

Other steps you should take when disclosing to a potential manufacturer are to have them sign a non-disclosure agreement confirming that they will keep the information confidential and not use it for their own advantage. This should be done whether or not you have first filed a patent application.

I hope this information is useful. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.