Today's Date: October 1, 2014 Search | Home | Contact | Services | Patent Attorney | Patent Search | Provisional Patent Application | Patent Application | Software Patent | Confidentiality Agreements

Posts Tagged ‘ independent inventors ’

Patent Drafting: Ambiguity and Assumptions are the Enemy

Posted: Saturday, Sep 27, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | No Comments »
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Educational Information for Inventors, Gene Quinn, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Drafting, Patent Drafting Basics, Patents

Should inventors be going solo and trying to protect their own inventions? No, at least not if you can afford to hire a patent attorney. Going solo through this patent maze would be similar to trying to remove your own appendix. If you can get to a hospital you should not be removing your own appendix! It is that simple. But there will always be inventors who will proceed on their own. Sometimes this is due to hubris, but frequently it is out of necessity.

There is nothing wrong with representing yourself if the choice is between DIY or not moving forward, but for those who will go it alone it is imperative that they become as familiar as possible with the rules, regulations and best practices. It is for these do-it-yourselfers who proceed out of necessity, but with their eyes open, that I write this and other similar articles.

One very common mistake inventors will make is that they will want to only describe their invention in the most general terms possible. Why would you want to be specific, they ask, because if you are too specific it will be easy for people to get around your patent. It is true that an unnecessarily specific discussion of the invention in a patent application can make it easy for competitors to copy your invention without infringing your patent, but if you file an application that only generally, or vaguely, describes the invention that is even worse.



John Calvert, A Champion for Indepenent Inventors

Posted: Saturday, Sep 20, 2014 @ 9:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | No Comments »
| Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Gene Quinn, Interviews & Conversations, Inventors Information, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles

John Calvert (r) with Senator Birch Bayh (ret.) at PTO 30th Anniversary celebration of Bayh-Dole.

John Calvert, a twenty-four year veteran of the USPTO, retired in June 2014. If you are in the independent inventor or product commercialization communities you undoubtedly know Calvert. After starting as a patent examiner, in 1999 he started working with independent inventors. He would ultimately be in charge of the independent inventor outreach efforts of the USPTO by the time he retired.

Calvert didn’t go quietly off into the sunset though, which is a good thing. A long time friend and champion of the independent inventor he is now going to work with and for inventors in the private sector by and through the United Inventors Association (UIA). As the new Executive Director of the UIA he will lend his time and talents in an endeavor that is near and dear to his heart.



A Conversation with New UIA Executive Director John Calvert

Posted: Saturday, Sep 13, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 1 Comment »
| Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Educational Information for Inventors, Gene Quinn, Interviews & Conversations, Inventors Information, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles

John Calvert

Many within the independent inventor community are well acquainted with John Calvert. Calvert originally started out working for the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a patent examiner, but by the time he retired twenty-four years later he was in charge of the independent inventor outreach efforts of the USPTO. I have known him for a long time, he is a friend, and he has been a champion for the independent inventor community.

When Calvert retired in June 2014 I was saddened to see a him leave, but also saddened because I know how tirelessly he works to inform, educate and assist independent inventors. While he has no doubt earned a quite retirement I am extremely pleased to say that in retirement Calvert will continue to work with independent inventors; he was recently hired as the new Executive Director of the United Inventors Association (UIA). His energy, passion, knowledge and contacts should dramatically impact the UIA in a positive way. Good things are no doubt on the horizon.



Call for Inventions for DRTV Product Summit Presented by InventionHome

Posted: Saturday, Sep 6, 2014 @ 11:11 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 2 comments
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Gene Quinn, Invention Marketing, Inventors Information, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Licensing

Calling all inventors! InventionHome is once again hosting what is becoming a yearly DRTV Product Summit. The one-day event will be held on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Inventors will be given the opportunity to pitch their products to representatives of the six (6) DRTV companies on one day in one location.

This will be the fourth such DRTV Product Summit hosted by InventionHome. Over the first three Summits some 66 inventors pitched their inventions in the format described above. 61 of the 66 have left the Summit with at least one of the company representatives expressing some interest in pursuing additional discussions. Ultimately, 18 of the 66 inventors have received either a term sheet, licensing deal or rep agreement.

Unfortunately, this event is not open to all inventors. Over the past few years the event has grown and there has been significant interest in the inventor community. In order to be considered inventors must submit their inventions to be reviewed by a panel of referees. Submissions are due no later than Tuesday, September 30, 2014. The submission and selection process insures that only the highest quality inventions are presented to the representatives of the DRTV companies that will be present. This maximizes the value for those DRTV companies, which means they keep coming back year after year. It also reserves pitch time for inventors with the most commercially ready products that have the greatest immediate chance for a deal.



Patent Drafting: Appropriately Disclosing Your Invention

Posted: Saturday, Aug 30, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 3 comments
| Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in: Educational Information for Inventors, Gene Quinn, Inventors Information, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Drafting, Patent Drafting Basics, Patents

Drafting patent applications is a frequent topic on IPWatchdog.com. In fact, we are in the middle of a series on patent drafting written by Joe Root, author of Rules of Patent Drafting: Guidance from Federal Circuit Cases. The series by Root has patent attorneys and patent agents as the primary audience. This article, as well as other basic patent drafting articles, are more aimed at independent inventors or others who are relative novices.

The focus of this particular article is on the disclosure of the invention in the specification. While it is true that the claims will define the exclusive rights that are granted to the patentee, the specification provides the information through which the claims are read. The specification provides the detail that defines what the claims mean, and as the result of a variety of cases over the past few years the specification is becoming an increasingly important part of the patent application. It has always been required and very important, but Courts seem to be marching the United States toward a strict technological advancement standard, which means the technology, mechanics, structure, architecture and environment in which the invention is used really needs to be described with as much detail as possible in order to guarantee that the claims are viewed as covering an innovation and not something trivial or unimportant.



How to Describe an Invention in a Patent Application

Posted: Saturday, Aug 9, 2014 @ 12:51 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 8 comments
| Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Educational Information for Inventors, Gene Quinn, Inventors Information, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Basics, Patent Drafting, Patent Drafting Basics, Patent Drawings, Patents

One of the biggest problems that inventors face when setting out to define their invention is with describing what the law refers to as “alternative embodiments of the invention.” Most inventors are quite good at describing exactly what they have invented. The invention is your work and you know it best, so it is not surprising that most inventors can (with enough effort) explain the preferred version of the invention; what the law refers to as the “preferred embodiment.” Nevertheless, it is absolutely essential to think outside the box when describing your invention in any patent application. Stop and think about different ways that your invention can be made or used, even if you deem them to be inferior. Failure to disclose alternatives will almost certainly foreclose your ability to say those alternatives are covered by your disclosure, which will prevent any issued patent from covering those undefined variations.

Focusing only on the large picture and not describing nuances and alternatives may not seem like a big deal, but history has shown that it is critical. If you are lucky enough to have invented something of great importance there will be a number of individuals and companies trying to capitalize on the opportunity you have created. If you dismiss variations or entirely different and unique embodiments then you are leaving those to the individuals and/or companies that would seek to capitalize on a product or process that is similar to your own, but not specifically covered by your patent claims. So what can you do?



How Long Does a Patent Last?

Posted: Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 @ 9:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 4 comments
| Tags: , , , ,
Posted in: Educational Information for Inventors, Gene Quinn, Inventors Information, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents

Before June of 1995, the patent laws in the United States provided that the term of a utility or plant patent ended seventeen years from the date of patent grant. To comply with Article 33 of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement resulting from the Uruguay Round Agreements of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the United States was required to establish a minimum term for patent protection ending no earlier than twenty years from the date the application was filed. Thus, the Uruguay Round Agreements Act amended 35 U.S.C. § 154, and these amendments took effect on June 8, 1995.

Generally speaking, utility and plant patent applications filed on or after June 8, 1995, have a term that begins on the date the patent issues and ends on the date that is twenty years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States. If the application that ultimately issues contains a specific reference to an earlier filed US or international application, the term ends twenty years from the filing date of the earliest such application. This patent term provision is referred to as the “twenty-year term.”



What is Intellectual Property?

Posted: Saturday, Jul 19, 2014 @ 11:56 am | Written by Gene Quinn | No Comments »
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Educational Information for Inventors, Gene Quinn, Inventors Information, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles

Generally speaking, “intellectual property” is probably best thought of (at least form a conceptual standpoint) as creations of the mind that are given the legal rights often associated with real or personal property. The rights that are obtained by the creator are a function of statutory law (i.e., law created by the legislature). These statutes may be federal or state laws, or in some instance both federal and state law govern various aspect of a single type of intellectual property.

The term intellectual property itself is now commonly used to refer to the bundle of rights conferred by each of the following fields of law: (1) patent law; (2) copyright law; (3) trade secret law; (4) the right of publicity; and (5) trademark and unfair competition law. Some people confuse these areas of intellectual property law, and although there may be some similarities among these kinds of intellectual property protection, they are different and serve different purposes.



Understanding Patent Claims

Posted: Saturday, Jul 12, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 48 comments
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Educational Information for Inventors, Gene Quinn, Inventors Information, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patent Drafting, Patent Drafting Basics, Patents

In order to obtain exclusive rights on an invention the law requires that the patent applicant particularly point out and distinctly claim the subject matter which the inventor regards as his or her invention. Any patent, or patent application, contains a variety of different sections that contain different information. Generally speaking, a patent is divided into a specification, drawings and patent claims. Only the patent claims define the exclusive right granted to the patent applicant; the rest of the patent is there to facilitate understanding of the claimed invention. Therefore, patent claims are in many respects the most important part of the patent application because it is the claims that define the invention for which the Patent Office has granted protection.

35 USC 112 requires that the applicant shall particularly point out and distinctly claim the subject matter which he or she regards as his or her invention. The portion of the application in which he or she does this forms the claim or claims. The claims are in many respects the most important part of the application because it is the claims that define the invention for which protection is granted.

Like most statutes, Title 35 is not very specific with respect to the details regarding implementation of its directives. Notice that 35 USC 112 only states that a claim is necessary, but does not provide any information on the structure or format of the claim or claims. It is, therefore, necessary to turn to Title 37 of the CFR to expand upon what is actually required. The basic section that deals with claim requirements is 37 CFR 1.75.



Different Types of U.S. Patent Applications

Posted: Saturday, Jul 5, 2014 @ 9:00 am | Written by Gene Quinn | 1 Comment »
| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in: Educational Information for Inventors, Gene Quinn, Inventors Information, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents

Patent terminology can be daunting at times, making it quite unapproachable for a novice inventor to understand what is really going on and what options are available in terms of filing a patent application. Take for example the various types of national patent applications that one can file. A national patent application means a U.S. application for patent that was either filed in the Patent Office under 35 U.S.C. 111 (i.e., directly with the USPTO as a domestic U.S. patent application), or which entered the national stage from an international patent application after compliance with 35 U.S.C. 371 (i.e., initially filed as an international application invoking the benefits of the Patent Cooperation Treaty).

Let’s hold off discussing international patent applications for now and instead focus on national patent applications filed under § 111, which is what most independent inventors and small business would file in the U.S. If you are interested in information on international patent applications please see PCT Basics: Understanding the International Filing Process and PCT Basics: Obtaining Patent Rights Around the World.

Domestically filed U.S. patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) include original non-provisional utility patent applications, plant patent applications, design patent applications, divisional applications, continuation applications, continuation-in-part applications, reissue applications, and design patent continued prosecution applications (CPAs). Provisional patent applications are filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(b), and hence a different type of patent application altogether.