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Part 7: How To Prevent Design Around

You can listen to this blog below: How to Patent an Idea: A Guide for Beginners This is the seventh post in my series How to Patent an Idea: A Guide for Beginners. In the previous articles I’ve discussed how to understand patents, common types of claims, protecting your product or method, and many other topics. Hopefully by now you’re feeling a little more informed about the patent claim process. In this article we’ll discuss how to prevent design around.  How Can I Prevent Design Around?  The term “design around” is commonly used when referring to some minor change that allows a competitor to avoid infringing the claims of your patent. Depending on your technology, you may not be able to prevent all design around, however you can make it as hard as possible for your competitors to steal your invention. In exchange for disclosing your innovation to the public, the government will grant you a patent that allows you to sue others for using or selling your invention without first requesting permission. The purpose of the patent law system is to encourage the public disclosure of innovation, not to protect you from competition. This may seem like a subtle…


Part 6: Protect Your Method with Method Claims

You can listen to this article below: How to Patent an Idea: A Guide for Beginners If you read my blog on understanding patents then you know that only the claim section of an issued patent can be used to sue for patent infringement. If you read my articles on how to protect your patent idea, and how a product claim can protect your product,  then you’ve got a good foundation for reviewing claims. Now it’s time to discuss method claims, also referred to as process claims. Generally, method claims are claims that recite one or more steps. They are typically used to protect methods of making a product, using a product, or providing a service. Method claims are usually considered much weaker than product claims because method claims can be difficult to enforce. Infringing Methods Are Harder To Detect Unless the method is being practiced in view of the public, the infringement of a method claim is more difficult to detect. The first step of any patent litigation is usually suspecting that a competitor is practicing your invention without your permission. Detecting an infringing product is usually pretty straight forward. It’s usually on the shelf right beside yours. And…


Part 4: The Most Common Types of Claims 

How to Patent an Idea: A Guide for Beginners Listen to this article below: This is the fourth post in my series entitled How to Patent an Idea: A Guide for Beginners. In this post, we’ll discuss three special types of claims that are also very common. If this is the first blog that you’re reading in the series, it would be a good idea to also read the second post on understanding patents. If you need a few tips on how to read patent claims then Blog 3 is for you. Now let’s discuss the three most common types of patent claims and what you should know about each one.  The Markush Claim? A Markush claim is a patent claim that contains a special phrase. The classical Markush format is “selected from the group consisting of (a list of possibilities) and (one last possibility).” For example, a Markush claim for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich might read as follows: A square sandwich for satisfying hunger comprising: a first piece of white bread and a second piece of white bread; a peanut butter layer; and a jelly layer, wherein the jelly layer contains a plant material selected from the…


Part 3: How To Protect Your Idea

How to Patent an Idea: A Guide for Beginners You can listen to this article below: This is the third post in my series entitled How to Patent an Idea: A Guide for Beginners. In this post, we’ll discuss the various parts of a patent claim, but if you missed Part 2 on Understanding Patents  (Hyperlink Blog 1), be sure to go back and review after reading this post.  How Do I Read Patent Claims? To understand how patent claims work let me give you an illustration of how patent attorneys interpret claims. During the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther supposedly met with the protestant leaders at Marburg to determine if they could reconcile their differences and unite into a single protestant church.  The stakes couldn’t have been higher! They agreed on every point . . . except for one. Martin interpreted the biblical phrase “this is my body” to literally mean that the bread of communion became the flesh of Jesus Christ. However, the protestant leaders interpreted the phrase to be symbolic. In their mind, this couldn’t be taken literally. There was no apparent physical change or scientific explanation for that statement. Taken in context, Jesus must have meant it…


Part 2: Understanding Patents

How to Patent an Idea: A Guide for Beginner You can listen to this article below: This is the second post in my Series entitled How to Patent an Idea: A Guide for Beginners. In this post we’ll discuss the context, rights, limitations, and parts of a patent. If you missed the first post click here to see why 97% of patents are ineffective, and what you can do to be sure your patent doesn’t become part of this statistic.   To truly know why understanding a patent is so important, I have to tell you the story of a friend of mine. He was sitting in his first meeting at a major chemical company listening to a group of chemists discussing a challenge that they were facing…. it wasn’t going well.  Management had assigned them the critical task of making a molecule, but while conducting their research the chemists found a U.S. patent that discussed several ways to make the molecule. The chemists kept pouring over the patent again and again, but the patent discussed every possible way to make the molecule. They had spent several months trying to find other ways to make it. None of them worked. …

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