Posts Tagged: "independent inventors"

Turn Your Idea into an Invention with a Good Description

In reality, it is probably better to think of the description requirement as the core to patentability. If you can describe your idea with enough specificity you no longer have an idea, but rather have migrated past the idea-invention boundary, which means you have something that can be patented if it is unique. The crux of this so-called adequate description requirement is that once the first four patentability requirements are satisfied the applicant still must describe the invention with enough particularity such that those skilled in the relevant technology will be able to make, use and understand the invention that was made by the inventor. For the most part, and from a legal perspective, this requirement can be explained as consisting of three major parts. First is the enablement requirement, next is the best mode requirement and finally is the written description requirement.

Patent Drafting: What is the Patentable Feature?

Due to the laws of nature, and the reality that there are only a finite number of solutions to any particular problem, every generation invents, or re-invents, many of the same things. Thus, it is always wise to do a patent search to start the process. I guarantee a patent search will uncover inventions that you did not know were out there. With over 8.5 million utility patents having been granted in the U.S. and well over 1 million pending patent applications, and millions of other published but abandoned patent applications there is always something that can be found that at least relates in some ways. You are always better off knowing about those related inventions. This allows you to determine whether moving forward makes sense, and it also allows for a patent application to be written to accentuate the positive, and likely patentable, aspects of an invention.

Should I File a Patent Before Licensing the Invention?

Without a patent pending you also don’t have anything to license other than an idea that lacks tangible boundaries. While that is not always an impediment to moving forward, the further you can develop your idea the better. The more tangible the more valuable. So an idea is worth something to some people, but an idea that has taken more shape and is really an invention is worth even more. An invention that has been defined in a provisional patent application is worth more, and of course an issued patent takes away much of the risk and questions associated with whether your invention is new and unique. But now we are getting ahead of ourselves. The business of inventing needs to be considered a marathon — not a sprint. Take things one step at a time, proceed deliberately and invest little by little and only so long as it makes financial sense. That is why starting with a provisional patent application is frequently the best thing to do.

Financially Responsible Inventing: Prototype Basics

Getting professional patent illustrations or engineering drawings is certainly helpful, but there is simply no substitute for having a working prototype. Unfortunately, prototypes cost real money. Even though costs have dropped over the past few years thanks to new technologies, the prototype stage is where inventors start to really burn through cash at an alarming rate. For example, if you build an expensive prototype and then need to make a change because it didn’t work so well that means building another expensive prototype. That being the case wise inventors push off an expensive prototype as far into the future as reasonably possible. Instead consider starting with a 3D model, which is much less expensive than a prototype. 3D modeling starts to bring the invention into focus and really can allow you and prospective licensees and partners to envision the invention in a meaningful way.

A Factured Fairytale Part 3: More Patent Troll Myths

Myth 4: Patents of NPEs fare much more poorly in reexamination proceedings brought during litigation than those of Producers. Truth: When one includes independent inventors and independent inventors in the mix of NPEs, the patents being asserted by NPEs may be said to fare slightly more poorly in reexamination proceedings than those patents asserted by Producers. However, if one removes these independent inventor entities from the mix of NPEs, the patents held by non-independent inventor based NPEs were seen to do at least as well, if not better, than the average asserted patent of the Producers which was likewise thrown into reexamination during litigation.

Déjà vu: Targeting Inventors as the New Boogie Man

The attack on individual inventors using names like NPEs and patent trolls is nearly identical to the attacks previously waged by corporate America on personal injury lawyers, using the McDonald’s hot coffee case as an example of lawyer abuse (now it’s the Wi-Fi patent cases). Like the corporate attacks on everything from the private enforcement of securities fraud claims to unfair business practice, civil rights and age discrimination claims, the new target is patent infringement claims brought by “boogie man” entities that don’t manufacture products.

Why Are Individual Inventors Important To America?

Ray Niro writes in defense of independent inventors: Can anyone cite what section of the Constitution or the patent law reserves the right to obtain and enforce patents exclusively for large manufacturing companies? And how can an individual or small company compete against a large company that decides to copy without concern for the cost or risk of litigation? My plea to those in power is simply this: listen to both sides before you act, please. Stop categorizing all NPEs as bad. Go after abuse where it actually exists. And, please: protect American inventors and invention, not those who copy innovation.

Patented Wake Board Made in America by Inventor Company

Licensing is relatively easy and potentially less risk financially and less time consuming, but licensing also has its negatives. So I went to Surf Expo with my wife to help us decide what to do… At the tradeshow, we found that the President of the Water Sports Industry Association loved our product, but he warned us that if we were to license this product into the existing market that what we would find was two-fold: one, they wouldn’t do it with the same heart, they wouldn’t have the same passion as the inventors and the team that created it and, two, they wouldn’t potentially invest the right amount of money into it and in some cases they may actually bury the product concept and prevent it from coming into the market, because they may see our product as competition to their market. It could have a potentially negative impact on say kneeboards. I was warned to stay away from licensing, in this particular case, and if we really wanted to see it grow, to go full-time into it. So I asked my two friends if they really wanted to take this on and I would be their mentor as they go through the process of beginning a company. So that took the stress off of me. I gave them equity in the new venture, which owned a full utility patent. They showed what they were made of and created a very successful business with a simple concept, “to help lots of people enjoy their time on the water!”

What is a Patent? Understanding Patents and Patent Law 101

The patent system incentivizes innovation. This is accomplished by granting exclusive rights to inventors or the corporations who own rights by and through their inventor employees. This exclusive right dangles the prospect that if there is a market for the invention it can be exploited only by the patent owner. It is important to note, however, that patents do not protect ideas, but rather protect inventions and methods that exhibit patentable subject matter. In other words, a patent can only protect something that is considered patent eligible. Generally speaking, in the United States the view of what is patent eligible is quite broad.

Getting Your Invention off of the Ground with Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a proven way to get initial funding for the commercialization of an invention. Crowdfunding involves posting a project description on the internet, asking for pledges to complete the project, and if the minimum amount of pledges is received by a certain deadline, having the funds transferred to the project. On some sites, such as, if the minimum isn’t reached, you don’t get any money. On other sites, such as, if the minimum isn’t reached, you still get what you’ve raised.

Patent Claim Drafting 101: The Basics

When writing a claim it is important to describe how the various components are structured and how the various components interact and connect. First, include a claim that defines your invention in broad terms, leaving out any and all unnecessary options. Second, include another claim that defines your invention with as much specificity and with every option you can think of. It does not matter that the claims won’t be in perfect format, with appropriate being defined as the format the Patent Office will ultimately require. At the initial filing stage what matters most is that claims are present and they have appropriate scope, with some being broad and some being narrow and quite specific. By starting to write these two claims you will “bookend” your invention. By this I mean you have disclosed the very broad and generic version of your invention, as well as the highly specified version.

Patent Searches: A Great Opportunity to Focus on What is Unique

The patent process can be expensive, so the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time and money preparing and filing an application when there is easy to find prior art that will likely prevent a patent from issuing. Likewise, a patent search can give you a good idea about the likely scope of any patent claim that you may be able to anticipate. Still further, a patent search will give you an opportunity to discover which aspects of your invention are most likely to contribute to patentability, thereby allowing the description in any filed patent application to focus on those aspects most likely to contribute to patentability. Without a patent search you would just be describing all the various aspects of your invention as if they are equally important, which we know won’t be the case.

Don’t be Fooled, Drafting Patents is Complicated

I understand it is prudent to proceed with care and not needlessly waste money, which is why I try and help inventors understand how best to start the patent process on a budget, but a couple hundred dollars is not really a budget. You might as well go to Vegas and put it all down on black and let it ride. At least you have close to a 50% chance, which is a greater chance of success than having only a few hundred to spend on your invention. Inventors really need to know and fully understand that there is a big difference between inventing and describing an invention. For well over 100 years courts have marveled at how difficult it is to draft a patent application.

USPTO Implements Micro-Entity Discount Effective March 2013

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is revising the rules of practice in patent cases to implement the micro entity provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA). Certain patent fees set or adjusted under the fee setting authority in the AIA will be reduced by seventy-five percent for micro entities. The USPTO is revising the rules of practice to set out the procedures pertaining to claiming micro entity status, paying patent fees as a micro entity, notification of loss of micro entity status, and correction of payments of patent fees paid erroneously in the micro entity amount.

A Beginner’s Guide to Patents and the Patent Process

Even when hiring a patent attorney inventors still need to be engaged in order to give the patent attorney the best information available about the invention. This seems simple enough, but so many inventors fail to understand what information is important and why it is necessary.  If you don’t understand that “why” you will you will almost never be able to provide all the information necessary.