Sunday, October 29, 2006

Patent Application Ready

What you need, and do not need, to be patent application ready.

Preliminaries:
Determine whether all co-inventors in agreement about filing a patent application (independent inventors) (or whether you have a written assignment from the individual inventor or inventors (business entities)).
Document any disclosure document filings.
Document any Provisional application filings.
Document any publications, public uses, sales or offers to sell subject.
Obtain a professional patent search and patentability opinion.

Fundamental items needed:
A description of subject - usually accompanied by sketches
An identification of new feature or featurs.
An enablement - operable example (can be hypothetical if operability is obvious, need not be commercially viable).
The best mode - best version known at the present time (again it need not be commercially viable).
List of the closest prior art - includes similar items known to inventor/applicant plus patent search results.

Items that are not required:
Prototypes (comments below)
Formal drawings (comments below)

More on prototypes:
Many wrongly presume a prototype is necessary, or preferred. The U.S. Patent Office (USPTO) does not accept prototypes, and hasn't since the 1800s. A rough prototype can be helpful to understanding and finding flaws in the subject. (Promoters of commercial prototypes are often scams.)

More on drawings:
The U.S. Patent Office (USPTO) requires drawings for most applications. The drawings must follow the content of the application, and therefore the attorney preparing the application determines the content of the drawings. The the drawings also must meet USPTO formalities. Therefore drawings made before the application preparation can be a hindrance or waste. (Promoters of formal drawings before you start the patent application preparation process are often scams.)

More information regarding patent applications is available at www.uspto.gov (website of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) and at my website at www.noreklaw.com from which this post was reprinted.

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