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Posts Tagged: "provisional patent applications"

Patent Pending: The Road to Obtaining a U.S. Patent

The term patent pending is a well recognized term of art that many inventors rightfully covet. It subtly, and very directly, conveys great meaning. It means that an inventor has taken steps to protect their invention in hopes of ultimately obtaining a patent. It also conveys to consumers the aura of innovativeness. Of course, patent pending status is just a stop on the road to obtaining a U.S. patent.

What are the Priority Date, Patent Term, and Effective Filing Date of a Patent: The Roles of Specific Reference, Incorporation by Reference, and Claim Support

A recent Federal Circuit decision demonstrates that for priority claims and patent term, the phrase “specific reference” is key. For example, amongst three related applications, to get the benefit of priority of an earlier U.S. patent application 1, application 3 in a priority claim has to have a “specific reference” to earlier application 1. A mere priority claim in application 3 to application 2, even though application 2 specifically “incorporates by reference” application 1, is not sufficient to allow application 3 to rely on the filing date of application 1. Rather, the priority chain is broken between applications 2 and 1, leaving application 3, at best, with a priority date of application 2 for purposes of patentability… From the Federal Circuit in Droplets, practitioners are reminded that both priority claims and incorporation by reference are very specific tools that should not be relied on during prosecution without careful consideration and deliberate use. Certainly, incorporation by reference does not trump “specific reference” and may lead to a break in the priority chain for purposes of patentability.

How to Write a Patent Application

Writing a patent application is not as easy as many think. Indeed, the concept of usefully describing the invention, which on its face seems easy enough to understand, is not as straight forward as it might seem, and why you cannot simply file an abbreviate description of an invention and think that suffices to protect anything really. This article looks at the most common parts of a patent application, and provides discussion about what each section needs to include.

A Claim of priority Cannot Be Made With an Incorporation by Reference

Upon filing a patent application, the USPTO mails a filing receipt.  The domestic and foreign claim of priority is stated and should be checked to make sure that it reflects the claim of priority that the inventor intends.  Otherwise, the patent owner may not be able to cure the defect when trying to sue an infringer after it issues as a patent.  If it can be fixed after it matures into a patent, the costs are much higher than the costs to fix while the patent application is still pending. 

Filing a patent application is still a smart decision for inventors

I’m not alone in thinking that at least a provisional patent application is extremely important. Stephen Key, the preeminent inventor coach in the United States, advises all his students to at a minimum file a provisional patent application on their inventions in order to establish what he calls “perceived rights.” Key’s strategy, which has been successfully followed by hundreds of his students who do find licensing deals, is to place that marker in the sand and define an invention with a provisional patent application.

Provisional Applications: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Provisional applications can be a very useful tool, but only when they are done right. When provisional patent applications are done poorly you not only obtain no benefit, the filing potentially demonstrates you were not in possession of an invention, which could be catastrophically bad.

There is no such thing as a provisional patent

Although there is a popular misconception among inventors new to the field of inventing, the United States Patent and Trademark Office is never going to grant a provisional patent. A “provisional”, as it is sometimes called, is a type of patent application. A provisional application for a patent can be filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in order to establish priority of invention, which is critically important given that the United States is now a first to file country. Although the U.S. is not a pure first to file country it is safest for inventors to assume that first to file laws do set up a race to the Patent Office. Therefore, it is essentially in virtually all cases for an inventor to file a patent application first — before anyone else who may also be working on the same invention. This is where a provisional application for a patent can be extremely useful.

Should I File a Patent Application Before Licensing the Invention?

I am frequently asked by inventors whether they should file a patent application before seeking to license their invention. Some even ask whether they should first obtain a patent before they submit the invention to a licensing company… I always tell inventors and entrepreneurs that the best invention to patent is one you will make money with regardless of whether you ultimately obtain a patent. After all, if there is not a market for the invention why would you ever consider spending the time and money to obtain a patent? The goal is to make money and investing in a business or to obtain a patent makes sense only if there is a reason to believe more money will be made than spent.

Invention to Patent 101 – Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

This page and website contain contain detailed information to help inventors on the road from invention to patent… Below are a sampling of inventor help links to specific patent and invention related information throughout our website. As you read these articles you will invariably come across links to other articles of interest, which you can and really should read. While I believe inventors should take the time to read all of the pages throughout IPWatchdog.com, I have gone through the IPWatchdog.com archives and created several “reading assignments,” which will hopefully make the task of figuring out where to start more manageable, and which will help get you started. I recommend you do them in this order (i.e., starting with Reading Assignment 1), but if you find something that you just need to know then by all means jump ahead. You can also visit our Inventor Education Archive as well.

The Benefits of a Provisional Patent Application

There is a great misunderstanding among many inventors and entrepreneurs regarding what many simply refer to as a provisional patent. The first thing that needs to be said is that there is no such thing as a provisional patent. Instead, what you file is called a provisional patent application… Now that the United States has become a first to file country and abandoned our historic first to invent ways it is critically important to file a patent application as soon as practically possible. Filing a provisional patent application that adequately describes the invention will establish priority and satisfies the need to act swiftly under first to file rules. A well prepared provisional patent application is your best friend in a first to file world.

Defining the Full Glory of Your Invention in a Patent Application

Perhaps the patent laws should not be so generous to allow inventors to protect that which they can describe on paper without any proof of a working prototype (which the law refers to as an actual reduction to practice), but that is the law and if you are going to file a patent application you might as well know it and seek the broadest protection possible. This being the case, the trick with drafting a patent application is to define anything that will work, no matter how crude, no matter how defective and regardless of whether you have tested or even have the ability to build and test the device yourself. You want to capture everything, on every level, from broad to specific and all versions of the invention in between. Thus, inventors need to look beyond what works best or is most desirable and consider what works at all. Anything you can articulate and convey can be yours for the taking, provided of course it is new and non-obvious.

Patent Drafting 101: The Basics of Describing Your Invention in a Patent Application

One big mistake inventors make is they will go on page after page in their draft patent application about how they came up with the idea for the invention, what the market for the invention is and how they plan on tapping into that market. None of that is appropriate for a patent application. Various pieces, perhaps even all of it, would be appropriate for a business plan. So the first thing inventors need to understand and really internally appreciate is that a patent is NOT a business plan. If you are going to attempt to raise money to pursue your business objectives you will undoubtedly need a business plan and attaching a well drafted and previously filed patent application as an appendix can be useful at times, but a business plan and a patent application play very different roles.

The Patent Process on a Tight but Realistic Budget

The patent process can be overwhelming and quite costly for an inventor who wishes to secure patent protection on their invention. But there are certain steps of the process that should not be neglected because of financial constraints, otherwise your efforts could actually be counterproductive and work against you in the end… In other words, even if you qualify as a micro entity, which entitles you to pay 25% of the regular USPTO fees, the fees due just to the federal government will more than eat up a $600 budget and that is if you represent yourself, which can be quite risky.

Inventing 101: Protecting Your Invention When You Need Help

Once you get that first provisional patent application filed you are ready to approach others for assistance with your invention. You have a measure of protection, but never forget you have no exclusive rights until the patent ultimately issues. You should also still get a confidentiality agreement signed by anyone who provides assistance to you. While the clock in the US is ticking to file the nonprovisional, the real important significance of confidentiality agreements after a provisional filing is so that those who assist you will not run off with your invention on their own. With this in mind, it is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL that you get an assignment of rights with respect to any protectable aspects provided by those giving you assistance.

Provisional Patent Applications the Right Way, the Wal-Mart Way

If serial provisional patent applications seems like a good strategy for Wal-Mart, which is one of the largest corporations in the world, and if serial provisional patent applications is recommended by the likes of Gaudry and Franklin at a well respect law firm like Kilpatrick Townsend, why wouldn’t serial provisional patent applications be an appropriate strategy for inventors, small businesses and start-ups working with a shoestring budget?