Colorado Patent Lawyer

Inventors: Do You Know What A Prior Art Search Is?

colorado patent lawyer
Colorado Patent Lawyer

Inventors may want to consider a prior art search to find out what is out there that might be the same or similar to their invention. The prior art search can give inventors a better idea of the state of the art related to their invention.
Inventors are not required to conduct a prior art search before filing a patent application (or at any time, for that matter). But in some cases, the prior art search turns up references that are the same as, or so similar to their invention. If this is the case, and the inventor decides not file a patent application, then they’ve just saved thousands of dollars!
Even if the prior art search indicates that one or more feature of the invention might be patentable, it is still a good idea to have an understanding of other inventions that are out there already. These might be the competition and inventors can see how to make their invention even better.
Oftentimes, seeing what else is out there will prompt inventors to think of additional features or enhancements for the invention, that can help better distinguish the invention over competitors. This can not only be helpful in preparing the patent application, but also for marketing the invention.
Of course, there is no guarantee that the prior art search will uncover all relevant (or even the most relevant) references. This is simply because there is so much information available, that it would be impossible to find and evaluate every reference that is related to the invention.

Patent Attorney Colorado Q & A Part 5

Patent Attorney Colorado Q & A Part 5

Okay, if my invention is new and not obvious, what then?

You have a couple of options. You can file a provisional patent application, or you can file a regular patent application for your invention.

What is a provisional patent application?

A provisional patent application is a patent application that describes your invention in words and optionally with drawings or pictures, and when filed with the United States Patent Office, receives a serial number and a filing date. On the same day that you file your provisional patent application with the United States Patent Office, you can mark your invention (brochures describing your invention, etc.) with the words “Patent Pending” (or “Pat. Pend.” for short).

Then what’s the difference between a provisional patent application and a regular patent application?

A provisional patent application is never examined by the U.S. Patent Office and automatically goes abandoned after one year from the filing date.

If a provisional patent application goes abandoned after only one year, why would I file one?

Your budget (or lack of a budget) is probably the number one reason to opt for filing a provisional patent application. In general, provisional patent applications cost significantly less than filing a regular patent application. There are no formal requirements for a provisional patent application, like there are for a regular patent application. So in general, it takes a patent attorney more time to prepare a regular patent application than it takes to prepare a basic provisional patent application. It’s the old adage that “Time Is Money.”

If you can’t afford to file a regular patent application just yet, but you don’t want to lose rights to your invention, consider filing a less expensive provisional patent application. Then when you have money from sales of your invention, or investors lined up, you can better afford to file a regular patent application.

To get started with you patent, visit our online patent law firm.

Patent FAQ’s

How do I know if I should apply for a patent for my invention?

Since you can’t apply for a patent for something that already exists, it’s important to start with a prior art search. In order to analyze those search results, its best to consult a patent attorney. A patent attorney can explain how your invention may or may not be patentable so that you can decide if a patent application is worth the money.

How soon should I apply for a patent?

Inventors have one year to file a patent application from any publication, public use or disclosure, or sale or offer for sale of their invention. After that one-year period is up, your invention is considered public domain and is no longer eligible for patent protection. It is highly recommended that you at least file a provisional patent application, which can be prepared and filed by a patent attorney, as soon as possible. Filing a provisional patent application is a relatively quick and inexpensive process.

Is it expensive to hire a patent attorney?

Some patent attorneys can be expensive. Unfortunately, there is a misperception that high costs equate to high quality. At the Trenner Law Firm, this isn’t the case. We offer exceptional quality at a fair price. We offer most of our patent services at a flat-fee basis so that our clients know what they will be paying up front for a project. Mark Trenner has more than 10 years of experience helping clients’ protect their inventions with patents. He has worked with a variety of clients, from individuals to large corporations.

Should I hire a patent attorney?

It doesn’t take a patent attorney to file a patent application but having an attorney involved can be extremely beneficial. An attorney can help spot issues you may miss that may compromise the approval of the patent when being examined by the Patent Office Examiner. Not spotting these issues on time could prove to be a costly mistake and you could lose important right to your invention.

What if I don’t have time to come meet with you?

In addition to my traditional law office located in Denver, I have also provided you with an online option where everything can be handled over the phone and by e-mail. The benefit of the online law firm is that I am available to you by phone or e-mail outside of normal business hours. Not only does this offer more convenience you, the client, but the time saved means I can offer significant discounts through my online law firm.

More Questions?

Call today for a free phone consultation. Special discounts available through the online law firm option, with patent services starting as low as $250. Call or visit online today to learn more.

Inventors & Patent Laws

Inventors & Patent Laws

Inventorship is a legal determination based on the patent laws (discussed below) and a technical analysis of the claims in a patent application.

The threshold question in determining inventorship is who conceived of the invention. Unless a person contributes to the conception of the invention, he or she is not an inventor. The inventor is not required to reduce the invention to practice.

Conception is the formation in the inventor’s mind of a definite and permanent idea of the complete and operating invention as it is to be applied in practice. Conception requires a contemporaneous recognition and appreciation of the invention.

Conception is established when the invention is made sufficiently clear to enable one skilled in the art to reduce it to practice without the extensive experimentation to make the invention operative.

Merely hoping that something will work does not establish conception, since there is not a definite understanding or a reasonable expectation that the invention will work.

An inventor may consider and adopt ideas, suggestions and materials derived from many sources. Examples include a suggestion from an employee, a hired consultant or a friend even if the adopted material proves to be the key that unlocks the problem so long as the inventor “maintains intellectual domination of the work of making the invention down to the successful testing, selecting or rejecting.

But simply suggesting an idea of a result to be accomplished, rather than the means of accomplishing it, does not make someone a co-inventor.

A coinventor need not make a contribution to every claim of a patent. A contribution to one claim is enough. Inventors may apply for a patent jointly even though (1) they did not physically work together or at the same time, (2) each did not make the same type or amount of contribution, or (3) each did not make a contribution to the subject matter of every claim of the patent. 35 U.S.C. 116.

It is important to work with a qualified patent attorney in order to make a proper determination of inventorship. Failing to name all of the inventors on a patent application can have serious legal consequences.