Saturday, March 03, 2007

Narrow vs Broad Patent?

Should you go for a narrow or a broad patent?

Presuming the question is directed to the scope of protection, namely broad or narrow protection, the answer is both. Always both.

Patent protection is determined by the claims that are issued. The claims identify (list) the elements of the invention protected thereby. The fewer and more general the elements, the broader the claim, and the broader the patent protection.

Patents typically issue with a number of claims ranging from the broadest available down to the narrowest worth bothering with. (This is not generally true of poorly drafted and handled patents.)

The broadest patent claims provide the widest scope of protection, but also present the biggest target for a validity challenge. The range of narrower claims hedge against broader ones being later held invalid, and their narrower scope of protection might suffice.

So again the answer is both, always both, and if reasonably broad claims are not available, consider whether the value is worth the cost of securing patent protection at all.

More information regarding patents is available on the USPTO website at and my website at

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Patent Application Failure Rate

The failure rate for patent applications examined in 2006 was 46%.

By failure here is meant all claims remained rejected after the prosecution stage . A rejection of all claims on a first Office Action kicks off the prosecution stage. Such a first-Action rejection is not unusual, and many of those approved start out in that group.

There is another type of failure, however, which is a failure to have meaningful claims allowed even though a patent issues. I have seen instances in which no attempt to obtain meaningful claims was ever made. (This does not normally happen to corporations, but to independent inventors.)

More information on patent applications at the USPTO website at (and there is only one USPTO website) and on my website at

You Want a Quick Patent?

Not infrequently do I hear the question, how do I get a quick patent.

How quick do you mean? Real quick? Not possible.

Even the USPTO's recently instituted accelerated-examination program won't get you a patent that quick, and adds several layers to the pre-filing work.

Think in terms of years, not days, when thinking of patent applications.

More information on patent applications at the USPTO website at (and there is only one USPTO website) and on my website at

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Patent or Registered Mail - The Word Still Not Out There

Patent or registered mail? I am presuming this not-infrequent question is asking whether sending the idea to yourself registered mail is a reasonable substitute for a patent.

The answer is - not even close.

Patent protection - if the idea merits patent protection - provides proprietary rights. It provides the right to exclude others from making, selling or using the invention, as defined in the issued claims, for the life of the patent.

Sending it to yourself, registered or otherwise, provides no rights whatsoever. It is not even a decent way of proving the date your idea existed, and it provides no rights against another who has the same idea and capitalizes on it in the market place and/or patents it.

I and many others have explained this over and over and over again, for years and more years. Time the word got out there, isn't it.

More information on patents and protecting ideas on the USPTO website at (and there is only one such website) and on my website at

Saturday, February 03, 2007

DYI Patent Applications

There are dyi tragedies mounting out there.

There are countless bloopers laying in wait for independent inventors. Lots of these bloopers relate to their million dollar idea being old and/or fairly worthless commercially. More on those later.

There are a minority of independent inventions that have commercial potential.

That minority have a chance to fall into a blooper custom made for them, namely dyi their own patent and miss the opportunity of securing adequate patent protection.

Whatever they have produced as a provisional application, we can only hope that at lest some with a commercially valuable invention have the sense to retain a professional to convert the provisional into a decent patent application.

That conversion step is their last, their only, chance to get it right.

More information on patent applications at the USPTO's official website at and on my website at

Friday, January 26, 2007

Idea Protection - No Patent?

Idea protection - no patent?

No patent, no idea protection. Simple.

Any many (possibly most) ideas will not merit patent protection.

Additional information on patents at the official USPTO website at and my website at

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Idea Theft Sadness

You have a great idea that will make millions. Then the next step, the patent search, establishes that the idea is not new. So where are you now?

Angry, and very possibly disbelieving (although the attorney provided copies of the relevant patents).

I have seen it over and over again. Folks who cannot handle the reality check, because that means no millions on the horizon.

So it morphs into a conviction that someone is stealing your idea? Just awful, and nearly that awful are the folks convinced someone is stealing their ideas before they have had a professional search to see whether it is an old idea on which they can never secure proprietary rights.

And sadder still is the Chicago perp, feeding off the street talk out there, who ended up murdering the patent attorney, and the press which fed off the nonsense for days and day. Ugly. Just ugly, and beyond sad.

What more is there to say except those folks deserve to be scammed by the invention promotion industry. Unfortunate that some nice folks get scammed by the invention promo outfits too.

More information available for would-be inventors is available at the USPTO's website at Those who are into their delusions need not bother.