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Part 8: How to Patent an Idea: A Guide for Beginners

This is the last post in my series - How to Patent an Idea: A Guide for Beginners Thank you for taking the time to read my insights on how to understand patent claims. I hope this information was useful and helped to clear up some of the confusion that comes with pursuing a patent. Here is a quick summary of the main takeaways discussed throughout this series: Patents Only Protect Your Invention In Their Country of Origin. Only Issued Patents Can Be Used To Sue A Competitor. Only The Claims Of A Patent Protect Your Invention.Claims Are Usually Open-Ended: Make Sure That Your Claims Only Recite Essential Aspects Of Your Innovation. Patent Attorneys Are Claims Fundamentalists: Make Sure That Every Word Is Necessary And Not Overly Limiting. Challenge Every Word! Try To Envision All Variations Of Your Innovation And Ask Your Patent Attorney If Your Claim Will Cover That Variation. Find The Bottlenecks Created By Science, Your Application, Or Regulations, And Claim Them. It is up to you to ensure that your patent is valuable, and your ideas are well protected. If your current patent attorney doesn’t seem to have the time to help you prevent design around, Childs…

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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…

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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…

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Part 5: How A Product Claim Can Protect Your Product

This is the fifth post in the How to Patent an Idea: A Guide for Beginners series. You can listen to this blog below:   If you read part two in the series on understanding patents, then you know that only the claim section of issued patents can be used to sue for patent infringement. If you read the third post, How To Protect Your Idea, then you have a few tips for reading patent claims. Will My Patent Claims Protect My Product? There is no definitive way to guarantee that your claims draft will protect your innovation, especially given the constant evolution of patent law that can change the way claims are interpreted by the courts. To give you an example - the claims that you file in a patent application can be thought of as a starting point for negotiations with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). As part of this negotiation the USPTO may require that claims be amended in a way that reduces the coverage of the original claims. Additionally, product claims are usually considered much stronger than process claims. One reason is that an infringing product is easier to detect when a competitor imports…

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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…

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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 Find A Patent Attorney Part 1

How To Find A Patent Attorney: My Guide for Performing Your Own Patent Attorney Search, Part 9

This is the last post in my series “How To Find A Patent Attorney: My Guide for Performing Your Own Patent Attorney Search.” Thank you for taking the time to read my suggestions for how to find a good patent attorney. I hope you found these suggestions helpful. If you are an entrepreneur, founder of a start-up, or an in-house general practice attorney at a small business, here is a quick summary. Executive Summary Finding A Good Patent Attorney For Who You Are Search look for a patent attorney at a law firm of 20 or fewer attorneys. Finding An Experienced Patent Attorney For What You Need If you want to get a patent, search for “patent attorneys” and “patent agents,” especially ones with “patent preparation” and “prosecution experience.” If you want to avoid getting sued, search for patent attorneys with “patent opinion” experience. Finding The Best Patent Attorney For You Search for patent attorneys with advanced technical degrees that match your technical area, have at least two years of experience providing the service you are looking for, and, optionally, are located in favorable geographical areas. How to Search for a Patent Attorney Use the information gathered to solicit specific…

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How To Find A Patent Attorney Part 1

How To Find A Patent Attorney: My Guide for Performing Your Own Patent Attorney Search, Part 8

How To Get The Most Out Of A Free Consultation This is the eighth post in my series “How To Find A Patent Attorney: My Guide for Performing Your Own Patent Attorney Search,” and will cover “How To Get The Most Out Of A Free Consultation.” If you have read my previous posts, then you know have a list of patent attorneys and an idea of patent attorney costs and expectations. Now, it’s time to for the free consultation. Step 1: Scheduling The Free Initial Consultation (a.k.a. A Preliminary Conflicts Check) The first step in interviewing a patent attorney is to schedule the consultation. I suggest that you start by sending the patent attorney an email that contains the following information. Remember, patent attorneys are terrified of losing money due to conflicts (especially at larger firms) so you may need to assure them that there is little or no danger or a conflict before they will agree to speak to you. Subject Line: I was referred to you by [[name]]. I am interested in your patent services. (This gets your email opened) Your Referral Source (A referral gives you credibility) Your Name (Needed for the conflicts check) The Name of…

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How To Find A Patent Attorney Part 1

How To Find A Patent Attorney: My Guide for Performing Your Own Patent Attorney Search, Part 7

How Much Does A Patent Attorney Cost? What Should I Expect? This is the sixth post in my series entitled “How To Find A Patent Attorney: My Guide for Performing Your Own Patent Attorney Search.” If you read the previous posts, you should have made a list of potential patent attorneys that you are interested in hiring. Now it’s time to make sure that they are who they say they are. This is the seventh post my series entitled “How To Find A Patent Attorney: My Guide for Performing Your Own Patent Attorney Search.” If you read the previous posts, you should have performed a patent attorney search and verified the credentials of the patent attorneys on your list. Now it’s time to discuss the patent attorney costs and expectations that you should have of the patent attorney and they should have of you. What You Should Expect From Your Patent Attorney: Professionalism — Patent attorneys and patent agents should never be rude or condescending to you or your staff. Responsiveness — You should expect responses to emails and voice mail by the close of the next business day unless you receive an out of office message. Patent attorney who…

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How To Find A Patent Attorney Part 1

How To Find A Patent Attorney: My Guide for Performing Your Own Patent Attorney Search, Part 6

How To Verify The Credentials Of A Patent Attorney This is the sixth post in my series entitled “How To Find A Patent Attorney: My Guide for Performing Your Own Patent Attorney Search.” If you read the previous posts, you should have made a list of potential patent attorneys that you are interested in hiring. Now it’s time to make sure that they are who they say they are. As I mentioned in my last post, one of the challenges with finding a good, affordable patent attorney is that many good patent attorney at smaller firms do not like to advertise. In contrast, many patent scam artists and large, expensive firms love to advertise. However, most patent attorneys will have some sort of “digital presence” online as a web page or Linked-In. So I suggest taking the following steps to verify the credentials of a potential patent attorney. Step 1: Visit Their Webpage — At a minimum, their web page should have a professional photo of them, their mailing address, email address, and a phone number where they can be reached. Their web page will also indicate if they are registered to practice before the U. S. Patent and Trademark…

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