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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, 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 symbolically. The protestant leaders argued…

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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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How to Patent an Idea: A Guide for Beginners

Part 1: Common Patent Mistakes To listen to this blog, press play below:   I’ve heard it before. Stories that start off with - “I paid a lot of money to get a patent on one of my products, and now someone else is making it! I can’t believe that they can change one little thing, and now my patent doesn’t protect me!” I see this happen all the time to people that I wish knew everything that I’m about to tell you. Here’s how to understand patent claims and protect your invention. Many brilliant people like you - scientists, engineers, professors, and other business professionals, often run to large law firms to secure a patent. Unfortunately without understanding patent law - how do you know if you’re getting your money's worth? A big named business doesn’t automatically mean big quality. Does Taco Bell mean quality Mexican food? Large law firms are billing machines. They place enormous pressure on partners and associates to crank out billable hours. To maximize profits, the associates with the least experience are assigned to draft patent applications for universities and small businesses. Even then, large firms only budget about 20 - 25 hours to discuss…

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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 24

How Do You File A PCT Application Or A National Stage Application? You can hire a patent attorney to files these for you, OR If you are the application owner, then you can file them yourself. Due to the complexity of patent law, I highly encourage you to hire a U.S. patent attorney or U.S. patent agent to draft and file your PCT application or U.S. National Stage Application for you. While I cannot guarantee that my services are a good fit for your needs, why not call me to see if I can bring some value to what you are doing? READY TO TALK? Call me direct at 832-621-0353 or email me to schedule a FREE, no-obligation consultation. If you decide to file yourself, you can learn more by visiting PCT or National Stage Applications. How Much Does It Cost To File A PCT Application? The cost of filing a PCT application depends on many factors including who drafts and files your PCT application, on the size of your business, and on the particulars of the PCT application itself. PCT Filing Fees: PCT application filing fees are complex and mostly depend on the size of your business (entity) and…

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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 23

Why Should You File A PCT Application? To establish a priority date for your invention in every PCT member country while delaying most of the costs of applying for a patent until you have enough money and knowledge to apply for patents in PCT member countries. A PCT application is like a provisional patent application because it can establish a priority date for your invention while you evaluate the market, develop your invention for commercialization, and raise funding. However, unlike the provisional patent application, the PCT application will be published after 18 months, which allow competitors to see your invention and start trying to design around your claims or block your National Stage Applications. Also, the PCT application is examined by a PCT receiving office, which can raise costs. In summary, one PCT application can protect your patent rights for 30 months in nearly every country in the world while you: Develop your invention, Evaluate the market for your invention, and Raise funding for commercialization. Why Should You File A National Stage Application Based On A PCT Application? To actually get a patent in each PCT country where you want patent protection for your invention and your profits. PCT Application…

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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 22

Where Should You File A PCT Application? If one of your inventors is a U.S. citizen or resident, then you can file a PCT application in the PCT receiving office of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or directly with the International Bureau of WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization). In practice, a U.S. patent attorney or U.S. patent agent can file a PCT application for you from anywhere in the world. Click here if you want to learn how to file a PCT application yourself. When Should You File A PCT Application? The answer to this question is depends on your situation. As Soon As Possible: Generally, you should wait until you have drafted claims for your invention and can explain to a person skilled in the art how to make and use your claimed invention. The sooner you file, the less likely anyone is to scoop you and block you from getting a patent. However, once you file the PCT application, you cannot add subject matter to your PCT application. That means that you cannot claim later improvements of your invention. Basically, you are stuck with what you file. After Development And Evaluation: Many inventors and owners take…

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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 21

PCT Application: What You Need To Know To Protect Your Invention And Your Profits Around The World Who Should File A PCT Application? An inventor or assignee (owner) who wants to apply for patent protection in at least one country that recognizes the PCT, which is nearly every country in the world. Click here for a list of PCT (Paris Convention Treaty) contracting states. What Is A PCT Application? A PCT Application is an international “place holder” application that can establish a priority date for your claimed invention in every country that recognizes the PCT. A PCT application is often misnamed an “international patent” or “international patent application.” A PCT application is an official request for the countries that recognize the PCT (Paris Convention Treaty) to grant you a priority date for a claimed invention. Most countries are first-to-file countries, meaning that if your invention is publicly used, published, or sold by someone else anywhere in the world OR someone files for the same invention before you do, then your patent rights could be lost or severely limited. By filing a PCT application, you can “win the race to every patent office” that recognizes the PCT. However, the PCT application…

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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 20

What Should You Expect After You File A U.S. Utility Patent Application? The answer depends on the filing strategy you use and who is handling your patent application. You are entitled to a U.S. utility patent when you file a U.S. utility patent application unless the USPTO provides you with a reason why your patent application shouldn’t issue as a patent. In practice, the USPTO will examine your patent application and issue Office Actions, which are official communications that explain why your U.S. utility patent application cannot be allowed. You can then file a response that brings your U.S. utility patent application into condition for allowance. You can think of the process of getting a patent like a tennis match where you (or your patent attorney) explain why your U.S. utility patent application should issue as a U.S. Patent, and the examiner or a judge explains why it should not. In the end, either you get a U.S. utility patent or you decide that it's not worth your time or money to continue trying to get a patent issued. It is rare for a U.S. utility patent application to issue as a U.S. patent without at least one Office Action.…

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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 19

When Does A U.S. Utility Patent Expire? If filed today, the default patent term is 20 years from the day of filing your U.S. utility patent application. Patent term is the duration or life of your patent. The default is the starting point for calculating when your patent will expire. The term of a U.S. utility patent can be increased by delays at the USPTO (patent term adjustment (PTA)” or delays for FDA approval (patent term extension (PTE)). The term of a U.S. utility patent can be decreased by terminal disclaimers and by a failure to pay maintenance fees.

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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 18

How Long Does It Take To Get A Utility Patent? The answer depends on your filing strategy and your invention. Generally, it takes from about 3 months to 5 years. Generally, there is no upper limit on how long it takes for a U.S. utility patent application to issue as a U.S. patent because your U.S. utility patent application may not issue at all. That is, if you run out of money and/or fail to timely respond to a USPTO requirement, then the application can go abandoned and never issue as a U.S. patent. There are various filing strategies where you can speed up the examination process for your U.S. utility patent application and possibly allow it to issue within two to three months. Alternatively, there are filing and prosecution strategies for slowing down the examination of your U.S. utility patent application so that it can take more than a decade to issue as a U.S. patent.

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