Kickstarter.com, Indiegogo.com and other crowdfunding sites have revolutionized the way that some businesses start up and raise capital. However, when new technology is involved, it is best to look before you leap. In a first-to-file patent system there is a danger that winning the race to raise capital could lead to losing the race to the Patent Office.
Inventors have the right to prepare and file a patent application without the assistance of a patent lawyer. Inventors have always had this right, referred to as prosecuting a patent pro se, which is described in the Code of Federal Regulations (37 CFR 1.31) and in the Manual of Patent Examination Procedure (section 401). Well-funded organizations rarely seek patent protection without the assistance of a lawyer.