Inventors need assistance in this big bad world. Protection.
One of the first laws ever passed in the United States pertained to patents.
Because bright ideas can mean good money, and the last thing anyone with a truly bright idea needs, is for some low-down to come along and pinch it and steal the rewards. That's why there's patent law, and patent attourneys.
An interesting Web development is also the ability to readily circulate information about known con-artists. Scam alerts, as it were.
Another thing that can be of use of course are patent offices. If you want to apply for one, you first need to check if such a thing is already patented. You can get lawyers to do this, but you'll save a good deal of money if you do it yourself.
Here's a wee collection of links some may find useful.
You'll find most of these expand right out into a whole bunch more links too, of course. But then the Internet's like that, isn't it?
New Zealand -
Intellectual Properties Office of N.Z. (IPONZ)
A branch of the Ministry of Commerce.
Pipers Patent Attorneys, Auckland.
"Worldwide patent, patent attorney, copyright, trade mark,
and intellectual property information, as well as New Zealand
and Australia client services can easily be found amongst our 6000 pages.
Newnham & Co, Patent and Trademark Attorneys, Auckland
"Patents - Inventions
Trade Marks - Brands, logos, names
Copyright - Industrial Design etc..."
N.Z. Govt E-Commerce Intellectual Property Rights page.
Features links to a number of useful international organisations as well as our own.
Simon Saunders and Daniel Donovan's Resources
An excellent collection of useful links put together by a couple of bods in the know.
By no means just a local resource either.
United States Patent and Trademark Office Home Page
kinda speaks for itself, don't it?
U.S. Patent Boolean Search Page
Search tool provides for two-term Boolean searching of the U.S. Patent Database. Includes help on formulating queries.
European Patent Office
European Patent Office
Responsible for patent protection in 18 member states. Includes info on obtaining European patents and patent searches.
The UK Patent Office - Great Britain.
Try keying "patent" into their search engine window and see what you get.
I got 1,799 results and they all looked pretty good. Don't get lost!