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Messages - Brad

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Yes the frustrating thing about patents is that often the attorney or person writing the patent will include a lot of statements and things that they don't have any evidence or data for but it can still be used by the examiner to block your own patent.   I don't know of any easy way around this unless you can somehow prove that what they first patent was proposing would not work as intended or could not be combined or modified to work the same as yours.

Yes it would be very hard to get a new patent approved if you are just changing the sizes or dimensions.  You could try claiming these different size ranges and sometimes the examiner will agree with you but usually they push back and say it would be "obvious" and produce an expected outcome. 

One other strategy I have seen people use is try and claim the specific benefit.  For example, if your table with 4 legs has a "stability factor of X" while the prior art with 3 legs only has a stability factor of half X you may be able to put language like that into your claims and then argue the prior art was not able to produce the same result as what you are claiming.

Patent Questions and Advice / Re: Two devices as an invention
« on: November 06, 2017, 09:22:20 AM »
If they are only useful together I would include them both in the same application.  If this is only a "provisional" application it should not really matter but in the future at the non-provisional stage if the patent examiner thinks you are trying to claim more than one invention he/she may ask you to split them up into separate filings called "divisional" patent applications.

Although the second one does not negate the first (i.e. you can have two co-pending provisionals), your first provisional will expire after 12 months.   If its been longer than 12 months since you file the first provisional you only have one pending provisional which is the more recent one your filed.   

Patent Questions and Advice / Re: Improving a patented device
« on: October 30, 2017, 07:22:08 AM »
I have to be very careful here as this is NOT LEGAL advice as I have no idea what product you are talking about.

In general, if there is a patented product and you make a minor improvement that may not be enough of a change to get around the original patent.  You would have to (1) make sure the original patent is still active and enforceable (if its more than 20 years old it may be expired) and (2) compare the claims of that older patent to your product to see if your improved product still copies each feature from their broadest claims.

For example, if I added a non-slip back to an iphone and started making iphones in my garage and selling them that is likely not enough to get around Apple's 1000s of patents covering different aspects of the iphone and they could likely enforce their patents against me.

You would really need to hire an attorney to review your product and compare it to the claims of any issued patent on the original product and give you a "freedom to operate opinion".

On the other hand, if its a very niche and small market and it does not make sense for a company to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a patent enforcement suit then some people may make the business (risk vs. reward) decision to just proceed without doing a proper freedom to operate search knowing full well you may later get in trouble.

They will only make you divide if you have multiple inventions in your claims.  It does not matter how long your application is.

So in your case one option would be to have a very large application but just try to limit your claims to only one type of invention and this should not trigger a restriction. 

1)  Why do you think you will lose your priority dates?  Usually the patent office will by default assume the priority claims are valid so you should be able to keep those.

2)  Yes your provisional applications will not publish but they will be "available" to the public through the USPTO Public PAIR system so the public could find them and view them online.

One thing you may want to do is merge all of your 3 PPAs together and you can attach that file as an "Appendix" to your full non-provisional.   This also will not publish but it will be another way to make sure all of your information from the PPAs are included with your full non-provisional.

Patent Questions and Advice / Re: Questions regarding sb0015a and sb16
« on: October 16, 2017, 08:57:34 AM »
If the "applicant" is a company than only a registered agent or attorney can sign the forms (see MPEP 4.09)

If there is no company involved than I believe you can pick one of you to be the applicant which should probably be the first named inventor and that person should sign SB16.

For the micro entity form, you would fill out the first named inventor in the top section and that would list the same person in all 3 pdfs, however, each of the 3 pdfs would have to be signed by each person.  You can then either upload all 3 pdfs as separate files or you can merge them together (does not matter).

Patent Questions and Advice / Re: Prior Art Case
« on: October 10, 2017, 07:50:50 AM »
European rules are different from US so only a European Patent attorney can answer your question about the EP patent and why it was granted.     Just looking at claim #1 from the EP patent I don't see anything about sizes or dimensions so they must be claiming a feature or component in the EP patent which was not shown by the US patent, either that or the examiner just did a really bad job and allowed a patent on something that was already known (which does happen from time to time).

I would try to read through several patents that are related to this to get a feel for common terms used in this field.

I have used terms like "housing" and "frame" before and then you can just define those terms how you want when you write the application.   Remember, you are allowed to make up your own definitions for words so if you like the term "frame" then just define what you mean by that term in the application and show an example in the figures.

Patent Questions and Advice / Re: Prior Art Case
« on: October 09, 2017, 06:47:26 AM »
In your example the 3rd person would likely not get the patent approved.   

Changing sizes and dimensions is usually not enough to get your patent allowed.

Patent Questions and Advice / Re: Prior Art Case
« on: October 07, 2017, 09:12:11 AM »

Sorry but I don't have time to read though each of those patents for you and give you comments.  (We charge $690 for a patentability opinion as it takes a good amount of time).    In general, if the claims are different and claim different features not shown in the other patent then the later patent should be allowed.

If you are making a new and non-obvious changes to the other inventions and your changes are not shown in those other patents there is a good chance you should be able to get your own patent allowed.

Hope that helps.

I would describe the attachment method generically such as "the light is removably coupled to the XXXXX"  or something like that. 

If it turns out later that the way you attach the light is crucial - you would need to update and file a new application explaining how the attachment works.

If the actual electronic components are not new/different than you will probably be okay just listing these components out as a "block diagram" in a figure where each block represents a different component of the device such as a "power source" and "light element"  a "processor"  a   "memory unit",   etc.

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