IPWatchdog.com is in the process of transitioning to a newer version of our website. Please be patient with us while we work out all the kinks.

Posts Tagged: "patent basics"

Why and When Design Patents are Useful

Simply said, the rights provided by one design patent will be extremely unsatisfactory. However, design patents must be considered because a design patent can in many instances be awarded in as few as six to nine months. If obtaining some protection is important for an overall marketing strategy, getting at least some protection quickly may be advantageous compared to waiting the two to three years it will likely take to obtain a utility patent. Design patents can also be an extremely useful tool for a variety of reasons.

Background Pitfalls When Drafting a Patent Application

Generally speaking, the first section of a patent specification will be the Background. The Manual of Patent Examination and Procedure (MPEP) recommends that the Background be broken up into two sections: (1) Field of Use Statement; and (2) Background of the Prior Art. These sections are recommended, not mandatory. Indeed, the Background itself is recommended and not mandatory. If you are going to have a Background it needs to be short, sweet, completely self-serving, must never actually describe the invention and it cannot ever use the term “prior art.” One big mistake inexperienced patent practitioners and researchers tasked with creating a first draft will make is they will go on page after page in patent applications about the history of the invention and the prior art. Indeed, there are some popular books on the market that recommend that this material be filed in patent applications. Including that type of information in an application that is filed is simply inappropriate. You do not see the best lawyers at the best law firms who represent the largest patent acquiring companies write patents like that, so why should you?

Starting the Patent Process on a Limited Budget

If you are an inventor new to inventing, you undoubtedly believe you’ve come up with an idea, or two or three, that could really be successful. That eternal optimism and belief in one’s self is precisely what every inventor needs to succeed. Now, if you are like the so many others who have walked in your footsteps before you, you’ve probably started researching how to patent an idea but have quickly become bombarded with information from a variety of sources.  “I have no clue where to start, and I have only a limited budget,” is a typical new inventor question. “What should be my first step?” The patent process can be complex and knowing where to begin and how to approach the process in a cost-responsible manner is not always easy, particularly for first time inventors. Of course, before proceeding it is worth first asking why it is you want a patent? The road to invention riches may, or may not, include obtaining a patent, although at least filing a provisional patent application can be and usually is a wise first step for a variety of reasons.

Beyond the Slice and Dice: Turning Your Idea into an Invention

The patent process actually starts well before you file a patent application or seek assistance from a patent attorney. Every patent application starts with an invention, and every invention starts with an idea. While ideas are not patentable, there will be a point in time when the idea you are working on comes so into focus  with enough detail that it will cross the idea / invention boundary.  It is when an idea matures to the point of being concrete and tangible enough to be described to another that the idea has become an invention, at least in general terms.