Posts Tagged: "Patent Drafting"

Patent Drafting 101: Going a Mile Wide and Deep with Variations in a Patent Application

You absolutely want to file a patent application with a description that is a mile wide — that part is good — but you also need to also drill down far more than one inch deep in order to teach the various nuances of at least the key aspects of the invention. And there are always nuances that can go a mile deep for any and every invention, no matter how simple it may seem to you as the inventor… How do you know how far you need to go? You really should strive to remove doubt and questions from the reader’s mind. While a certain amount of experimentation is allowable, and patents do not need to contain blueprint level detail, ask yourself whether a knowledgeable reader would know from what you’ve written enough to understand your invention without asking additional questions. If answers to additional questions would be necessary to fully comprehend the invention then answer those questions.

Learning from common patent application mistakes by inventors

The goal in a patent application is to provide a full, clear, and exact description of the invention in a way that particularly points out and distinctly identifies what the inventor believes he or she has invented and wants the patent to cover. Unfortunately, while articulating an invention many inventors fall victim to a host of common mistakes. Saying that…

Definiteness and Patent Drafting: The Nautilus Surfaces

Two seminal cases illustrate the techniques of analyzing definiteness in a post-Nautilus world. One case followed Nautilus and the other preceded it, but that case demonstrates what stands of the old rationale. The first decision, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. v. Covidien, Inc., dealt with ultrasonicshears for cutting and sealing a blood vessel… A clear difference between the new “reasonable clarity” standard and the Federal Circuit’s “insolubly ambiguous” formulation is that the latter calls for considerable effort in seeking out a claim construction that comports with the inventor’s manifest intent. The new standard may require the same effort, but that result does not appear guaranteed by the language itself. The entire direction of patent law toward Disclosure World suggests that definiteness will continue to be governed in large part by the meaning drawn from the patent as a whole, not the claim language standing alone.

Optimizing Patent Applications: Drafting to Withstand Challenge

Drafting a patent application can be a daunting task, particularly today where virtually every commercially valuable patent will likely be challenged at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Join me for a free webinar discussion – Optimizing Patent Applications: Drafting to Withstand Challenge – on April 19, 2017, at 2pm ET. Joining me will be Joseph Root, author of Rules of Patent Drafting: Guidelines from Federal Circuit Case Law. In addition to taking as many questions as possible from the audience we will discuss: (1) Best practices writing to overcome Alice-based 101 rejections; (2) Identifying the invention/improvement versus KSR 103 concerns; (3) Best practices for ensuring a complete and thorough specification; and (4) Nautilus, means-plus-function and other 112 matters.

Defining Computer Related Inventions in a post-Alice World

it is absolutely critical that computer related inventions describe the technology to the greatest extent possible, focusing on as much that is tangible as possible.

Patent Application Drafting: Using the Specification for more than the ordinary plain meaning

As a general rule the ordinary plain meaning of the term as would be understood by someone of skill in the relevant technology area or science will be used. That may or may not be bad, and it may or may not be what you intended… When I teach this topic the example I tend to use relates to “standard room temperature.” If you have invented a process that needs to be carried out at 68 degrees F you might say that the process can or should be carried out at standard room temperature, for example. In the U.S. standard room temperature is generally referred to as 20 degrees C, which is 68 degrees F. But in some parts of the world what qualifies as standard room temperature is a bit warmer, sometimes up to 25 degrees C. So this illustration is particularly useful for several reasons. When you say standard room temperature did you even know that it has an accepted meaning in the scientific community? Were you aware that the meaning could vary depending upon whether the person reading the disclosure is in the United States or some other part of the world? This is where defining what you mean could be particularly important.

Patent Drafting Tip: A comma affects meaning of items in list

The issue was whether the comma in the phrase “, otherwise available to the public” meant that the phrase also modifies the phrase “on sale.” If the phrase “, otherwise available to the public” does modify the “on sale” phrase then offers for sale of a product or service not offered to the public but made in secret would no longer be a bar to patentability… At least one District Court opinion has also followed the interpretation of the phrase “, otherwise available to the public” as also modifying the “on sale” phrase consistent with the USPTO. Helsinn v. Dr. Reddy’s and Teva (D.N.J. 2016).

Flexible problem-solution analysis for drafters with Europe in mind

The problem-solution paradigm has become a cornerstone of patentability in Europe. If the invention cannot be reduced to the format of a technical solution to a technical problem, this could be a sign that either the supposed invention is non-technical, or the contribution over the state of the art is non-technical. In Europe, non technical inventions are excluded much in the same way as abstract ideas are deemed non-patent eligible in the US. Inventions that make no technical contribution are refused for obviousness. The EPC and the subsequent case law do not have a precise definition of what is technical (non-abstract) and non-technical (abstract). Nevertheless there is a growing body of case law on inventions which involve a mix of technical features and non technical features and that are refused for lack of inventive step because the non-technical features are disregarded.

Patent Drafting 101: The Basics of Describing Your Invention in a Patent Application

One big mistake inventors make is they will go on page after page in their draft patent application about how they came up with the idea for the invention, what the market for the invention is and how they plan on tapping into that market. None of that is appropriate for a patent application. Various pieces, perhaps even all of it, would be appropriate for a business plan. So the first thing inventors need to understand and really internally appreciate is that a patent is NOT a business plan. If you are going to attempt to raise money to pursue your business objectives you will undoubtedly need a business plan and attaching a well drafted and previously filed patent application as an appendix can be useful at times, but a business plan and a patent application play very different roles.

Patent Drafting for Beginners: The anatomy of a patent claim

First, every patent claim needs a preamble, which is the introductory phrase in a claim… Second, every patent claim needs a transition. The most common transitions are: “comprising” and “consisting of” … Third, the first time you introduce a limitation you MUST introduce it with either “a” or “an”, as is grammatically appropriate… Below in an example of an independent claim that applies the above stated three simple rules, which is taken from U.S. Patent No. 6,009,555, titled Multiple component headgear system.

Patent Drafting for Beginners: A prelude to patent claim drafting

The art of patent claim drafting is an undeniably difficult art to master. It is, however, essential for those in the patent space to both appreciate, understand and master. Before we put the cart before the horse let’s take a step back. Given the importance of patent claims it is not unreasonable to want to start there, electing to jump right into the deep end. That would be a mistake. That is not how patent attorneys do it, and if you want to succeed that shouldn’t be your approach either. Before you ever think about writing patent claims there are several very basic questions must be answered first.

Patent Drafting: Describing What is Unique Without Puffing

In fact, many times the patentably relevant information is not described as well as largely irrelevant information about marketing strategies and likely consumer demand. Discussion of what makes an improvement better, stronger and faster should take precedent and inventors should consider adding more of this type of information than they are generally accustomed to doing. Keep the puffing for the sales department, the market and consumer demand for your business plan and spend your time in a patent application describing what makes your invention unique from both a structural and functional standpoint.

5 things inventors and startups need to know about patents

One big problem independent inventors face when they choose to represent themselves is with respect to the very real problem of admissions. Truthfully, those who are representing themselves should be given patent-style Miranda warnings before they file a patent application or say anything during the prosecution of a pending patent application… Another problem is with respect to not wanting their patent applications to be “too specific” and, therefore, keeping everything very general. If you are afraid to be specific in a patent application you really shouldn’t be seeking a patent in the first place.

Drafting Patent Applications: Writing Method Claims

Method or process claims are relatively easy to write once you know what the core invention is and what is necessary to be included in the claim in order to overcome the prior art. Method or process claims will include active steps to achieve a certain result. In method claims the transition is typically either “comprising” or “comprising the steps of.” While legally there may be some distinction between these two different transitions, both are acceptable. It is also important to understand that each of the steps in a method or process claims use gerunds, which are a form of a verb that ends in “ing” and operates to direct the action that is to take place.

An Introduction to Patent Claims

The examination you receive from the patent examiner is never going to be any better than the patent claims you provide. If you provide preposterously broad patent claims and then add very few and perhaps common features to that preposterously broad claim in your dependent claims you are making it easy for the patent examiner to reject the preposterously broad claim and then also reject your barely narrowing dependent claims. Worse, you are left with absolutely no useful information about what the patent examiner thinks might be patentable. You are not in a meaningful position to know what prior art exists that the examiner will later throw at you, and you hardly have any useful basis to talk to the patent examiner.


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