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How to File a Patent

Almost all of us are potential inventors.  Haven’t you been in a situation, maybe at home, maybe at work where you ran into a problem that had to be solved.  In your search for an answer to your problem, you couldn’t find a satisfactory answer.  Now your mind churns through your life’s database for a solution.  After awhile you might even give up trying to find an answer.   At that time there just seems to be no real good solution.  But in your subconscious, your mind keeps looking for an answer.  Then all of a sudden there’s a trigger.  It might be something you saw.  It could be something you heard or read.  It might not even be directly related to the former problem that you were seeking a solution to.  It could be completely out of context.  But by whatever means it came.  You then have this Ah Hah moment.  You finally have a breakthrough solution that elegantly solves your problem.  In that moment you are an inventor.

How to File a Patent – Part 1

How to File a Patent – Part 2

I would venture to say that if you had experienced the problem that you found a novel and unique solution to, so have others, possibly thousands, maybe millions.  How much money would they gladly plunk down to use your invention to solve what seems to be an intractable problem?  Maybe its only a buck, maybe it’s a thousand dollars.  It’s all in the numbers.  Even if your invention sells for a dollar, if it is cheap to make and if there are millions of people willing to purchase it, it could still make you rich.

Now what happens next could determine if you go on with your life as is, or if you go on to attain unimaginable wealth and live a rich and rewarding life.  If you believe that you truly have a novel and unique invention you’ll want to put out a “claim” or several claims to your invention. You do this by filing a patent with the US Patent Office.  You can even enlarge your claim by applying for patent protection in other countries.  In many ways applying for a utility patent is similar to a gold prospector who stakes a claim to mine that has a valuable vein of ore.  When the minor obtains title, he can then prevent others from prospecting on his claim.   Like the miner, once you have a registered patent you can prevent others from infringing and profiting from your idea, without your permission.

Now before you go out and spend thousands of dollars staking a claim to your new invention, please take a deep breath. There are some very important things you need to do before progressing down this long road.  An important first step is to determine if you can even get a utility patent for your invention.  The following is a list of criteria that your invention must fulfill in order to get a utility patent claim registered with the United States Patent Office.  First, the problem that your invention addresses must be a relevant problem.  Second, your invention must provide a unique solution to the problem that those that are experts or “skilled in the art” have not yet considered.  Third, your solution to the problem must be unique and novel. Forth, your solution must be non-obvious.  This means that those that are “skilled in the art” would not have obviously considered your idea as a solution to the problem.

Now let’s say that at a glance your invention passes the mustard with regard to all of the above mentioned criteria.  Do you go out and procure the services of a patent attorney who’ll charge you $250 to $300 an hour?  Now if you are as cheap as I am, hell no!  Now I’m not saying that you don’t have to get professional help.  You will!  All I’m saying is it would probably be in your best interest to do some homework before getting a patent attorney involved.

Now the first item on your homework pile will be to define your utility patent claim or claims. What does it do?  How does it work?  How would you make it?  How does it solve a problem in a unique and novel way?

The second step in defining your utility patent claim or claims is to tightly focus them into precise and logical descriptions of your invention.  Imagine if you were on an elevator and only had a few floors to explain your invention to a complete stranger.  How would you describe it?  How would you convey the problem, the solution and the novelty of your solution to this person in the elevator?

The third step you now want to take is to do a thorough investigation of the prior art.  In your small world, you might think you have a novel idea.  However, there is that thing called the “Universal Consciousness” or “Collective Consciousness” that will often come along and spoil your patent party.  There’s this old saying that if “you thought of something, there’s a good chance that many others have thought of it too”.  So before you start your celebration of coming up with a novel invention, I would strongly recommend that you check to make sure its actually novel.

So how do you go about checking the uniqueness and novelty of your invention?  Do you just go on the US Patent Office website and do a keyword search of your utility patent claims?   Well the short answer is an emphatic No!  I learned this the hard way.  I did a keyword search of my invention.  Lo and behold it came out clean.  It didn’t appear that there was any prior art that described my idea.  So I went out and spend hundreds of hours writing a business plan. I spend hundreds of more hours writing a preliminary utility patent application.  I also spent upwards of thirty thousand dollars on developing a prototype. But I wasn’t done.  Oh no.  I had to splurge a another twenty thousand dollars for the services of a patent attorney.  And after all of that, after spending two years of my life pursuing this crazy dream, what did I accomplish?  Zip, Nada.  After submitting my utility patent application, the US patent office cited three patents that showed prior art that invalidated my patent claims.  Without a utility patent, I didn’t have a valid business.  As a result, all of my efforts and all of that money was wasted.  So I implore you, don’t make this terrible mistake! You need to do your homework!

In order to learn from my costly mistake, I would suggest that you go in a step by step manner.  Don’t jump ahead.  First do a very thorough preliminary search to determine the novelty of your invention.  If it looks like you have a novel idea, take the next step.  Do a professional patent search.  If everything looks good, you might want to save some money by writing a preliminary utility patent application.  Don’t get overly concerned about using patent jargon when you state your claims.  That will be all straightened out by your patent attorney.  In most cases, I would recommend holding off making prototypes and writing business plans until you have that newly minted registered utility patent in your hot little hands.

After thoroughly checking the novelty of your invention, you will want to prepare several items in as much detail as possible before handing your material over to a patent attorney.   Remember that these professionals charge between $250 to $300 or more an hour for their services.   As a result, doing more on your own can result in significant cost savings.

I would recommend that you create the following items before approaching a patent attorney:

Title of the Invention

The first item will be the title of the invention.  This is listed at the top of the first page.  Although a title may have up to 500 characters, the title must be as short and specific as possible.  An example of a title of an invention would be:

Components and method for improved dental implant impression making and for fabricating temporary restorations  for dental implants

Cross-Reference to Related Applications

The next item is the Cross-Reference to Related Applications section.  In this section you will list the US or International patents that describe the prior art that pertains to your invention.  You must list the patent number, the date it was issued and the name of the inventor.   This material is obtained from your patent search.

Brief Summary of the Invention

The third item you should write is a brief summary will present the substance or general idea of the claimed invention in summarized form.  An example of a brief summary of an invention would be

The subject components in this invention are used for taking pickup impressions of abutments that are installed in dental implants.  These components also include a coping for fabrication of a temporary crown on said abutments.

Background of the Invention

The forth item you should provide your attorney is the Background of the Invention.  In this section you give a brief summary of the prior art that pertains to your invention. In this section you will also want to cite problems that the prior art does not address.  It is important to include the pertinent patent numbers in your summary  when they are cited.

Detailed Description of the Invention

A fifth item you should include  is the Detailed Description of the Invention section.  In this section the invention must be explained along with the process of making and using the invention in full, clear, concise, and exact terms.  This section should distinguish the invention from other inventions and from prior art.  It should give a detailed description and include the best version.  Your description of the invention must be sufficient so that any person of ordinary skill and knowledge pertaining to the subject area of the invention could make and use it without extensive experimentation. Elements of your invention that are contained in any drawings also need to also be included in this section.

Drawings

Drawing are required if illustrations are needed to understand the subject matter to be patented.  Most patent applications contain drawings. The drawings must show every feature of the invention as specified in the claims.

Brief Description of the Drawing

Where there are drawings, you must include a listing of all figures by number and with corresponding statements explaining what each figure depicts.

Claim or Claims

Another section you should include is the claims section.  The claims define the scope of the protection of the patent.  A nonprovisional application for a utility patent must contain at least one claim.  The claim or claims must distinctly describe how your invention solves a relevant problem in a unique and novel way.  Claims are tightly focused descriptions of your invention.  It may describe what your invention does.  A claim may describe how your invention works.  Alternatively, a claim may describe how, something is made in a new and novel way.

A patent claim has three parts: An introductory phrase, the body of the claim and a link that joins the two.  The introductory phrase identifies the category of the invention and sometimes the purpose of the invention.  An example of a patent claim introductory phrase would be: A prescription reminder system.  The link between the introductory phrase and the body of the patent claim consists of words and phrases such as: which comprises, including, consisting of. The body of the claim or claims contain the specific legal description of the exact invention which is being protected.  An example of a complete claim would be:  A prescription reminder system comprising of a prescription compliance device having a means for reminding a patient to take one or more prescription medications at a predetermined dose, a predetermined starting time and predetermined dosage interval.   Whether a utility patent will be granted is determined, in large measure, by the scope of the claims.  If the claims are too vague or too broad they will probably be denied.

Once you have all of the above sections compiled, you are ready to bring it to your patent attorney.  I know some of you will strongly consider doing a final draft all on your own.  All I can say is that I wouldn’t recommend it.  Writing out claims and dependent claims can be very tricky.  The least worst case scenario is that the US Patent Office rejects your utility patent application and you have to appeal it.  The worst case situation is that your claims and dependent claims don’t give you the broadest protection that you could have achieved if your utility patent was written by a professional.  If this is the case, others can easily work around your patent without having to pay you a royalty.

Once you have a registered utility patent, what are you going to do next?  Do you have a strategy to earn income from your patent or to turn it into a business that will manufacture and market your product?  All this vital and important importation is organized and provided free of charge in NewBusinessCreator.com.

Maybe you are thinking about creating your own company to manufacture and sell your invention.  NewBusinessCreator.com will provide you with the information you will need to create a successful business.  It also serves as a portal to a number of affiliated listing sites that will enable you to obtain the capital, human resources, materials and marketing systems that will be required make your dreams a reality.

If you’re goal is to sell or license your utility patent, you need to check out IntellectualPropertyStore,com.   This web site attracts thousands of people and companies that are actively looking for new business opportunities.  Many of them are very interested in intellectual property that can be commercialized and turned into a thriving business.  Instead of making cold calls and knocking on company doors to find these people, why not let them find you!  When you place a listing on this site, you can use narratives, pictures and movies to pitch the commercial marketability of your utility patent.  This is a very powerful and timesaving way to either sell your patent outright or license it.

IntellectualPropertyStore.com can also be used to showcase your utility patent to product promoters or licensing agents.  Hundreds of licensing agents and product scouts are scanning this web site daily for products they may be interested in promoting.  These professionals have major industry connections.  So if you want to get your invention in front of the decision makers that can turn your idea into a reality, then decide to showcase it in IntellectualPropertyStore.com today!

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