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Patent Questions and Advice / Re: Does this prior art disclose my invention?
« Last post by Brad on November 07, 2017, 07:40:13 AM »
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.

Patent Questions and Advice / Re: Does this prior art disclose my invention?
« Last post by Jim (wa) on November 06, 2017, 11:16:57 PM »

From my perspectives there are a lot of unfounded statments made in patents. For example, the prior art specification Im citing claims that 3 legs for given table size is preferred. The inventor provides no research or data to prove that their assertion of 3 legs being preferred is in fact so. Im just noticing that maybe the patent system does not care if statements made are true or false, only that they are made record and thereby disclosed.

Am I to assume that I can say 4 legs is preferred over the 3 that the prior art states, because the stability factor is increased by x amount, without any test data to back it up?

I think I may be able to take the 2nd route you propose. The prior art table actually has 2 legs, and I would assert that their table is unstable but my table with 3 or 4 legs is stable. This is a more accurate example of my scenario.

Patent Questions and Advice / Re: Does this prior art disclose my invention?
« Last post by Brad on November 06, 2017, 09:28:16 AM »
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
« Last post by Brad 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.

Patent Questions and Advice / Two devices as an invention
« Last post by buraq on November 06, 2017, 02:39:07 AM »
Hello everyone.
I have a question: I have two devices, let's call them base unit and photo camera. Base unit processes the special output file from the photo camera (that I have built from components so it would be simple to use, fully automatic) and the output of this camera is some special (my own) file format of the picture with some basic processing.
They both are useful only when using them together.
How should my PPA look like in such case?
Patent Questions and Advice / Does this prior art disclose my invention?
« Last post by Jim (WA) on November 05, 2017, 11:33:02 AM »
Hello All,

I am trying to determine whether my invention is patentable. There is an expired prior art that is very similar. Because it's expired, my understanding is that evaluating whether I infringe on the claim is not an issue, but rather whether my invention is disclosed anywhere in the specification is the significant issue.

I will use a simple example that shares the same sticking points as my scenario to describe the situation.

In a nut shell, the prior art reads on a table concept with embodiments of a range of preferred sizes with 3 legs, but it also says that, "Dimensions beyond those mentioned above are also possible within the scope of the present invention, [referring to both that table sizes and number of legs could vary]"

My invention asserts that for table embodiments of a size larger than given in the prior art, 4 legs is preferred. I don't believe I could patent the idea of a table, but I'd like to patent the range of embodiments not specifically stated in the prior art.

Additionally, I think that the prior art inventor actually got it wrong in their statement that 3 legs is preferred for the table. My deep experience in this field tells me that actually 4 legs would make a better performing table and I have no interest in making tables with 3 legs.

From my initial research I understand that improvement patents need to be unobvious and produce new and unexpected results.

The prior art captures the embodiments that I seek to patent with the one general quotation above, but the prior art inventor miss states the emobodiments that are preferred and does not specifically state the range of embodiments that Id seek to patent.

I am trying to figure out an approach to writing my specification. I could attack the prior art flaws and do testing to show that their assertions are wrong, and that mine are correct. This will cost lots of money, so Id prefer not to need to do testing just to get the patent.

Id prefer to just show that my invention is outside the range of their disclosure and is a separate invention, but the quotation in the prior art above is very trouble, as it seems to cover all embodiments. Ive also been advised that is very hard to get a patent by just changing the size, which to some degree is what Im doing, but for good scientific reasons, not just to be different.

If anyone can give me some feedback, Id appreciate it.
Thank you,

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.   
I filed a provisional patent app about a year ago. Seven months later I refiled the exact same provisional. Does the second filing delete or get rid of my original filing date? Do I now only have the second filing to rely on as a priority date? Or is the original first provisional priority date still valid?
Patent Questions and Advice / Re: Improving a patented device
« Last post by Brad 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.

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