Patent and Invention Help Forum

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Patent Questions and Advice / Re: Timing Is Everything, Or Is It?
« Last post by Brad on May 26, 2017, 01:02:30 PM »
You cannot claim priority from one provisional to another or cite the earlier provisional.  You would essentially have to file your updated provisional as a new stand-alone application.   You would then file your non-provisional within 12 months of your first provisional and have the non-provisional link back to both of your provisionals.

If you think this new improvement is important and would be a big selling point of the invention I would play it safe and spend the $65 to file it as a new application and then follow the strategy I outlined above.

Patent Questions and Advice / Timing Is Everything, Or Is It?
« Last post by atouk on May 26, 2017, 06:45:12 AM »
Now that I have a Provisional Patent, I've already figured out an improvement on the original design.  So the question is:

Should I wait until near the end of the current 1 year timeline to file a additional Patent (Provisional) and cite my previous one as Prior Art, and get the extra year, or;

File immediately so that the improvement is also granted protection, even though the original Patent would (should?) protect the original design, with or without the added improvement.

The functionality or usage of the design is not changed with the improvement, but it does add value to the end user as well as adding another distinct marketing feature.  Does the 1 year clock make the design change moot since the actual usage of the product is unchanged, and only the improvement would be covered under the new application?

What are the pros and cons of doing it sooner as opposed to later?
General Non-Inventing Discussion / Re: Big Thanks to Brad
« Last post by Brad on May 25, 2017, 05:29:06 PM »
Great advice.  Thanks for sharing.

The good news is that 95% of all mistakes can still be corrected with the patent office (sometimes you have to pay a fee).  The biggest mistakes that cannot be corrected are forgetting to include important details about your invention or forgetting to upload a figure (or multiple figures).    If you make a mistake like that you are not allowed to go back and try to add it later.

General Non-Inventing Discussion / Big Thanks to Brad
« Last post by atouk on May 25, 2017, 01:55:31 PM »
I'd like to give Brad an internet High Five and thank him for the FREE guidance and advice available here.

I received my OFFICIAL LETTER Of PROVISIONAL PATENT and Gilded Certificate suitable for framing from the USPTO.

OK, that may be an exaggeration.  It's a pretty bland 3 page letter with lots of legal speak and language meant to confuse and confound mere mortals.  But it's MY 3 page bland letter full of legal speak.

A few tips for those ready to tread these deep and mysterious places run by bureaucrats in dark and musty offices.

Double check everything.

My first attempt on online application included me attaching a blank PTO/SB/15A (Certification of Micro Entity Status), instead of the filled PDF.  Keep your blank and filled forms separate. Murphy thrives in paperwork, and his laws are absolute.  If there is a possibility of error, errors will happen.

This caused a Notice To File Missing Parts Of Provisional Application.  OK, fine.  They sent 2 copies of the letter with instructions to return one copy with the missing paperwork.  Seemed simple enough.  So I just printed out a new properly filled copy of PTO/SB/15A, stapled it with the copy of the Notice letter, stuffed an envelope and affixed TWO stamps (can't be too careful, error tend to compound themselves when nobody is looking).  Off to the Post Office, and done.

Oops, not so fast.

I receive yet another letter, Notice of Incomplete Reply.  What??  What was incomplete?  In this letter, I get informed of a $15 surcharge for late filing fee.  Double check previous letter and nope, not mentioned.

The actual Notice had a list (in bullet points) or the missing parts.  First was the" Surcharge as set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(g) was not received."   The second was asking for a "Provisional Application Cover Sheet under 37 CFR 1.51(c)(1) which may be an Application Data Sheet (37 CFR 1.76).  Going back to the original online application, I'm positive I filled something similar out.  No problem, again.  I'll just find the appropriate form online and send it in.

Moment of confusion time.  Trying to find forms on the USPTO site is not for the faint of heart.  But after a hearty cup of coffee, success!  I will give whoever designed the PDF for this one props.  If any required information is left blank, it will let you know.  Since this is an 8 page form, and not all entries may apply to you, this is above and beyond for a Government Agency.

For the sake of thoroughness, I printed the Application Data Sheet, Made a copy of the Notice of Incomplete Reply, included another copy of the Certification of Micro Entity Status, and with my best handwriting, penned a check for Fifteen Dollars and 00 Cents.  And back to the Post Office.

The entire process gave me a new found appreciation for (certain) lawyers, and a deeper mistrust of that guy named Murphy.  All of the above could have been avoided by simply double checking that the proper forms were initially sent as attachments.

Now as to the actual Patent Application.  6 pages, and 4 illustrations.  I worried and fussed over every single word and punctuation mark.  I double checked spelling.  I tried to think of every unknown known and known unknown.  The illustrations were done with Adobe Fusion, a free 3D rendering package.  So doing everything yourself on the cheap is possible. I made sure that descriptions matched Illustrations.  As for the actual item being Patented?  Well, now the fun part starts.  Deciding on how/where/who to market it with, and getting them to understand how much money it will make them.  But all in all, the help available here got me this far, so future millionaire or not, many thanks.

One last bit of advice - Check Your Forms Before Hitting Send!
This is a common questions and I have seen attorneys argue either for or against copying from other patents.  In theory patents are supposed to be in the public domain so many don't see anything wrong with copying from them.

My personal (non-legal opinion) is that you should not copy word for word and at least try to re-phrase and re-word things a bit. 

PatentFile Website Questions and Reviews / Using Information From Another Patent
« Last post by Mitch on May 23, 2017, 12:40:50 PM »
Hi Brad,

I have an idea for which I intend to file a provisional patent.

There are a few similar products that have nearly outdated patents that also used older, more inferior technology that is not as reliable, prone to failure, etc.  The technology that I intend to use did not exist when these patents were issued and is not described or mentioned in the prior art inasmuch as I have found in my research.

There are other elements of my idea and design that I believe will be patentable.

My question is this.  Is there anything wrong with copying information from existing patents to use in my own patent?  Since these patents solve a similar problem, I'm thinking why recreate the wheel when information in the description and claims is similar, well written, and has already passed through the scrutiny of the Patent Office.

Patent Questions and Advice / Re: PPA vs. design patent
« Last post by Brad on May 23, 2017, 12:03:25 PM »
Two things can have the same function and still be patentable as long as the way they accomplish the function is different.

For example, a paper clip and a binder clip both do the same thing (hold papers together) but they each work in different ways and have different components to them so they could each be patented. 

If you think your garment has a new and different way to accomplish the function than I would most certainly try for the utility (PPA) patent.   If you have the budget we could also apply for a design on the way the garment looks but usually the utility provides stronger coverage so if you had to choose just one I would do the utility.

Patent Questions and Advice / PPA vs. design patent
« Last post by cfantell on May 23, 2017, 09:24:04 AM »
I have invented a garment that has both a fashion element and a specific functional element. Should I apply for a PPA or a Design Patent - or both? Also, in my preliminary search I did find some garments that address the same function, but have a different design than mine. Does that mean I shouldn't go forward with the patent process?

Patent Questions and Advice / Re: secret details?
« Last post by Brad on May 17, 2017, 08:03:35 AM »
If someone could buy your product and easily see all of your "secret details" they are not really secret.   What I meant by not including secrets in your patent application is that you don't want to include stuff which does not directly relate to your invention.

For example, people sometimes put business plan type information in their patent such as who they would try to market or license the invention to.  That is not needed and would be better kept as a secret. 
Patent Questions and Advice / secret details?
« Last post by cfantell on May 16, 2017, 02:30:58 PM »
First off, Brad, thank you for the invaluable information you share in your newsletter and on your website! I am VERY grateful. However, I'm quite intimidated by the provisional patent process and feel like such a fish out of water especially with regards to understanding the differences between the initial specification, description, and detailed description, etc! Seems all the same to me. (And I REALLY don't understand what a "claim" is, although I can worry about this later, I know.)

You stressed the importance of details in the first newsletter, but then warned to be careful of not including "secret details". My product is really uncomplicated but the key component to it's uniqueness is a design element that I would consider "secret" so how do I do this without risking it all on the internet down the road?

Hmmmm, I think I will be purchasing your gold package.....

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