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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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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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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 17

How Much Does It Cost To File A U.S. Utility Patent Application? The answer to this question depends on the size of the entity filing, who is drafting and filing the U.S. Utility patent application, and the details of the U.S. utility patent application itself. USPTO Fees: The USPTO fees for filing a U.S. utility patent application depend on the size of the business (entity) who owns the U.S. utility patent application. The general filing fees are as follows: $1,600 for a large entity (generally over 500 employees), $800 for a small entity (generally less than 500 employees), or $400 for a micro entity (generally university owned or licensed, non-profit, or where each inventor has filed less than 4 U.S. patent applications). The Details Of the Patent Application Itself: USPTO fees can increase based on many factors, including expedited fees, number of pages, number and type of claims, and how the application was filed. Patent Attorney Fees: If you hire a U.S. patent attorney or a U.S. patent agent to draft and file your U.S. utility patent application, then they usually list their service fees separately from the USPTO fees. According to the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) 2015…

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