Over 97% of Patents Are Worthless! Protect Your Invention Before It’s Too Late!
It happened again.
A small business owner asked what I do. I responded that I am a patent attorney. I help inventors protect their inventions.
The man filled with fury. He said, “Well, then I need to talk with you! 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 gave him my card.
I hope it’s not too late.
This situation happens way too often. Read on to make sure that it doesn’t happen to you.
Most people, even inventors, scientists, engineers, professors, doctors, and business professionals, know little or nothing about patents or patent law. What typically happens is that inventors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses run to the largest law firm that they can find.
They think that a big name automatically means 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 your invention and draft your patent application.
This mismatch leaves associates with little or no time to explain the bare bones basics of patent law, including how the claims of a patent protect your invention.
Which brings us to…
Inventors and business professionals are asked to review the claims of their patent application before it is filed. This step is THE critical step that is supposed to ensure that the claims will protect their invention.
BUT no one has explained how to read the claims!
They have no idea if the claims protect their invention!
Worse, they often mistakenly think that the claims do!
To save time, inventors and business professionals often blindly trust their patent attorney and approve the claims.
You might think that this sort of error would be caught by business professionals, technology transfer officers, or in-house counsel. Unfortunately, these people usually don’t know anything about patents, OR they don’t have time to review every patent application, OR they don’t understand your technology well enough to protect your innovation, OR some combination of the above.
Over 97% of patents are worthless for a reason.
I promise you this: no one will care more about your business or your invention than you do! It is up to you to make sure that your patent protects your invention!
I am writing this blog series to give you a few basic tips about how to read patent claims so that you will have an idea of what your claims will protect and what they won’t.
This series is not designed to make you a patent attorney or to replace one. Patent law is an extremely tricky area of law filled with traps for the unwary. This series is merely intended to give you a general idea of what your claims will cover, so that when your patent attorney drafts your claims, you can give informed feedback before you approve your patent application for filing. Also, this series will only discuss utility patents, not design patents or plant patents.
- How Do Patents Protect My Invention?
- How Do I Read Patent Claims?
- Special Claim Formats: What Is A Markush Claim? What is a means-plus-function claim? What is a product-by-process claim?
- How Can A Product Claim Protect My Product?
- How Can A Method Claim Protect My Method?
- How Can I Prevent Design Around?
Why Should You Care?
At this point, you may be thinking something like, “Wait a minute! Why should I read a total of 8 posts to learn how to patent an idea? I have seen other web pages with this sort of information in a single list of bullet points!”
The typical cost for drafting a patent application is over $8,000. The typical cost of filing and obtaining a U.S. patent is $20,000 to $30,000. It will probably take you hours to help draft the application and years to get it issued. If I were going to invest that much money or time to have a patent attorney help me get a patent, I would invest the time to read a few posts and figure out if your patent application will be worth the paper it’s written on. I suggest that you do the same.
The next post in my “How To Protect An Idea: A Guide For Scientists, Engineers, Inventors, And Business Leaders To Understand Patent Claims” series will cover “How Do Patents Protect My Invention?” Click here for the next post.