Patenting ETF Idea/Strategy

Discussion in 'ETFs' started by jtrader99, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. An idea dawned on me for a new ETF that has not yet been created.

    I've been trying to find any information on the possibility of patenting this idea but have been very unsuccessful the last few days.

    Does anyone know if there is a way to patent this idea or possibly protect my idea somehow? E-mailing a company about this idea then asking for payment will probably only end up in me being laughed at and my idea stolen.

    Anyone here ever patented an idea or concept before? I know this is sort of a gray area in patents.

    For example, if I had come up with the idea for the GLD etf, is creating a fund that tracks the price of GOLD patentable? It's not quite as generic as gold, and it's not quite a commodity, but you get the idea.

    Thank you for any responses or suggestions
  2. talk to patent attorney. I think it will cost under 10K. Its same as intellectual property (IP) right.
  3. mutluit


    IMHO the easiest method would be to publish it (or at least the results) as yours (ie. w/ copyright remark), and offer and license it to interessted firms...
  4. You cannot patent an idea or a concept or an algorithm (unless you can embed it in a special purpose physical device that you can patent, but you have to build one in that case).
  5. clacy


    If it were acceptable to patent a concept for an ETF there wouldn't be 1000 ETF's 90% of which are redundant
  6. Patents have been granted on Stock Indices, upon which ETF's can be based, but not on the ETF's themselves. No stock index patent, AFAIK, has yet been challenged in court, so no telling whether this type of patent will hold up.

    Proprietary indices like the SP500, for example, are usually protected by copyright and trademark.

    So start publishing your new index on your website on a daily basis or even on a minute-by-minute basis. If it attracts a following, maybe you can convince sombody to form an ETF based on it. Forming an ETF is not a DIY project, so just publish the index and then start talking it up on various forums.
  7. slacker


    One of my favorite questions, from one of my previous posts:

    The ET search functions works very well, give it a try...

  8. My idea is not an index, nor some BS technical trading indicator. So a lot of what has been said isn't relevant, although I appreciate all the help and insight. I'm thinking all I would need to do is give the HF's a small taste of what my idea is then if they are interested ask them to sign some sort of a Non Disclosure and give them the full proposal which I don't see how they could say no to at this point(although I could be biased). It blows my mind that no one has created this ETF yet and the idea is so front runnable it's not even funny. I was worried the market was too small but total size of the market is about 300mm so the etf could come in and buy 50-100mm. There are many ETFs of that size currently so I'm not so worried about it being too small.

    I'm unemployed, not trading right now, and on a very tight budget so I'm not looking to spend a bunch on a lawyer. I am asking around and maybe(hopefully) I can find a lawyer who can just give me some confidential legal advice for a small sum on how to go about this and write up a non-disclosure.

    Any one know any patent lawyers in the Chicago area who work on the cheap?
  9. slacker


    You mean less than $200 an hour. No. There are plenty of scam sites that will send you a pdf file of info they downloaded from the web.

    If I was starting from scratch and had an idea as you describe....

    I would go to Google Patent database and google every possible combination of words that you would use to describe your idea.

    You can learn a lot by looking at other patents.

    In addition to not having a 'prior art' problem you would still have other issues. For example most patents must be novel, non-obvious and useful.

    Checklist to search for similar patents on Google search:

    1. Do you have a prior art problem?
    2. Is it novel and non-obvious?
    3. Is it useful?

    That could help you define your application. If you file a patent application today it will take 4 to 5 years to reach an examiner and then another year to respond to requests for more info called 'Office Actions'.

    18 months after you file, it will become published. So I can use it privately if I want as long as I do not sell it myself. Also, I can 'snowflake' your application and change it a little and do a better job and file a patent of a similar idea of my own.

    Good luck.
    #10     Nov 4, 2012