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Patent Questions and Advice / What Happens After Filing Non Provisional
« on: January 10, 2015, 01:12:41 PM »
Let's say, hypothetically, that a dunce patent attorney was hired to assist an inventor in writing and filing the application for a non provisional patent, and it's been submitted to the U.S. Patent Office. All the hard work is done. Now waiting for...

But this is the question:

Just days or weeks afterwards, the inventor wants to have nothing to do with that law firm. All bills have been paid. Monthly statement says $0 due. Just want to terminate all dunce services.

What happens to the issuance of the patent? Let's say that a "power of attorney" was signed for filing. Everything seemed "standard" procedure.

What steps and precautions must the inventor take at this point?

Thank you, Brad.

You provide very good insight.

Of course, I’m only commenting from the point of view of a struggling inventor without the deep pockets of institutional clients. But I truly think my product has some innovation and market value. I’m also a fairly good businessman (in my regular profession), so I hate to spend money when the return just doesn’t look right.

This actually points favorably to the DIY packages elsewhere here at They’re starting to totally make sense.

Thanks for the reply, Brad.

In reality, it’s actually NOT like most other professions. It's not even like most other law practices.

First, there are many other professions that have some kind of ranking or reputation that's somehow measured, surveyed or statistically tabulated. And either the public knows where to look for such information, or it's proudly presented to a new client each time.

Second, while in some professions it's not reasonable to guarantee success, patent attorneys clearly do have a reasonable measurement — the issuance of the patent!

It's not whether the invention makes any money. That's ludicrous, unreasonable, and every inventor and entrepreneur already knows it.

Instead, it's simply getting patented. It's a very clear objective. And it’s the ONLY task at hand for the agent!

Then the question of whether a particular idea or invention is patentable should be first assessed by the patent attorney using his experience in filing for patents. And consulted with the client inventor prior to getting hired. Patent attorney should at least be able to provide rough percentages of success (of patentability) in the particular field of invention, if not disclose their own success rate or "batting average."

For example, I wouldn’t hire a lawyer to help me sue somebody if they're historically weak in suing. But where do I look for weakness or strength in patent attorneys? It’s not like I can ask a neighbor.

I post this now having gone through an unfortunate tough situation with a patent attorney. I've paid thou$ands. Maybe I’ll post it as a lesson for others in another topic. Moreover, I now have two new related inventions that I want to get patented soon, so I'm again shopping.

Patent Questions and Advice / Patent Attorney's (or any agent's) Incentive?
« on: December 26, 2014, 07:59:25 PM »
True that there's none whatsoever?

For example, an agent such as a patent attorney that an inventor hires to help write and file a patent application (regardless of provisional or non provisional but let's say non provisional) would be performing professional services on the inventor's behalf, and would get paid by the inventor regardless of the result — whether the application is approved or rejected, whether the patent is ultimately granted or denied. Correct?

So there's really no incentive to produce a well-written smartly strategic application?

Except maybe personal pride for the agent, but then it's still not any help or comfort to the inventor paying for such services.


Patent Questions and Advice / Re: Proximity of patent attorney
« on: December 26, 2014, 07:47:53 PM »
Thank you, Brad. Those are very helpful and useful sites.

Patent Questions and Advice / Proximity of patent attorney
« on: December 09, 2014, 12:08:05 AM »
My provisional utility patents are about to "expire" — they were filed in early January 2014. And so, after nearly a year of development, though still not entirely ready for market but almost, I'm going to jump into filing for a permanent non provisional patent. At least get the primary one that applies to my main invention. (It has accessory features)

Question is, should I look for a patent attorney that's only located in my metropolitan area? Only within driving distance? Or does it not matter if we're West Coast to East Coast corresponding by email?

The first problem I imagine is presenting the physical product for tangible inspection, which becomes costly if I have to fly to their offices. Presentations and correspondence via Skype? The vital essence of my device might get overlooked via webcam. I wish I had some ready-to-sell products that I can simply package and ship out. My "final" prototypes are very promising, but I need them to concurrently show to factories. (I have to do so many things at the same time)

Does proximity of patent attorney matter?

What other issues?

Comments and suggestions welcomed.

This is a follow-up question on another excellent newsletter topic by Brad regarding international patent priority based on U.S. Provisional Patent filing.

I've heard horror stories over the years that no matter how completely patent-protected you have for your product, in whichever country, there's really no stopping some super efficient factory/distributor/retailer in China from producing a super cheap knock-off.

Is this true? That there's no patent protection in China? Or very little enforcement?

I'm actually not so worried as curious about how to COLLABORATE with one of these Chinese entities upfront to manufacturer my product for cheap and sell it globally, making money for us both! I'm a businessman!

But first, need to understand patent protection in China, if there's a thing.

Apparently it's okay!

Today I've received the filing receipts. I had filed two, therefore two receipts. Less than 10 days turnaround. Not bad.

Invention Prototyping and Development / Re: Low production strategy
« on: January 11, 2014, 08:39:14 PM »
That's one way of looking at it. But the mold cannot be used later in any regular factory.

It sucks. Unless I'm missing something.

Invention Prototyping and Development / Low production strategy
« on: January 08, 2014, 07:31:10 PM »
Has anybody (reading this) benefitted from using any of the low-volume injection molding services? I wonder what's the best way to take advantage of them. How do you strategize for your marketing, quality control, and most important of all, PROFIT?

For example, my product can be made mostly of plastic. There's a metal hardware piece and some LED electronics. But not counting the electronics, the total estimates for low-volume runs come to 14k for 20 units, 18k for 200 units, 55k for 2000. Ouch!

And these are not even "mass production" quality either. They require special tweaking to the CAD models because of their versatile molding machines. So surface textures, colors, and certain forms are very slightly off. There are limitations on what you can produce.

Then if you look at my invention, it looks like it can be made in China for under $10 and retail for under $30!

Do the math. What's a good strategy for profit?

Thanks, Brad.

The chance to make corrections is a relief. I was fearing, at worst, that I would just be embarrassed or harassed (by junk mailers, telemarketers, or other evil doers) when my address and phone appears in searchable documents.

Thanks, Brad, for the reassurance.

When I say that I can easily sign PDFs with Apple's Preview app, I'm saying exactly what you're suggesting — "circumvent this by using free PDF conversion programs..."

PDF is very common. It's broadly accepted. There are many ways to download them, open them, fill them, even sign them. Preview in Mac OS, for example, has an intuitive little procedure where you first physically sign black ink on white paper, then hold up your piece of paper to your Mac's FaceTime camera. There's a blue line that, once you position your paper near enough, it takes a clear snapshot, and VOILA. You've got an instant, up-to-date, real signature to paste into your PDF! It's quick, robust, reliable, stable, printable, small file size.

However, it DOES NOT trick the patent office's program!

Even without doing the little signature feature, any PDF saved from any "free PDF conversion program" other than Adobe Acrobat gets a ERROR (red triangle), and EFS-Web won't take me to the next step. So I had no choice. Believe me I've tried so many different ways. But this was only for the Cover Sheet SB16 and App Data Sheet — both requiring line items to be filled out and requiring a signature at the end — in Adobe Acrobat only.

This is what I mean by extremely limited.

Yes I did the /FirstName LastName/ thing for signature. So hopefully I don't wait (for the postal mailed receipt) in vain.

Patent Questions and Advice / I've included my address in Specifications
« on: January 03, 2014, 12:30:51 AM »
I've filed two PPAs tonight.

Looking over my submitted files, I notice that for one of them PPAs, I had submitted under the Specifications category a PDF of my written description of my invention (the painstakingly long detailed boring document) with the INVENTOR paragraph showing my name, address and telephone number. The EFS-Web process also called for a separate category for Abstract, so I had also submitted a PDF for that with the INVENTOR paragraph again showing my name, address and telephone number.

Now I vaguely recall reading somewhere (maybe in Brad's advice) that I shouldn't do that? Am I in trouble? Or am I GOING TO BE in trouble?

I've finally filed my Provisional Patent Apps tonight! Yayy! Now have to wait for that acceptance letter.

But what a headache! I'm on a Mac running the latest OS 10.9.1 (Mavericks). That EFS-Web process first required me to install Acrobat Reader, which has always been hated by Apple engineers. It installs a plug-in for Safari browser, which may or may not be the problem. There's no other way to fill out those PDF forms.

Now, are these problems?

1. The eFiled acknowledgment I got shows WARNINGS (yellow triangle) "this is not a USPTO supplied blah blah blah form" even though they are!

2. There's no way to digitally sign the Provisional Cover Sheet (SB16) or Application Data Sheet in Acrobat unless I go to another third party (fourth party?) called EchoSign and subscribe to their service at $15 per month! That's not right! I can easily sign PDFs with Apple's Preview app.

3. My previous correspondence with USPTO was the application for a Customer Number. They could NOT read any content in the Acrobat-filled application that I had FAXed to them! I ultimately had to use a totally different way to convert the PDF, fill it, sign it, FAX it, then call them up to be sure that they've received it, that they see the proper contents, my signature, etc. This is evidence that Acrobat-filled PDF forms may not show contents properly!

So should I be happy or should I be worried?

PatentFile Website Questions and Reviews / Include minor embodiments?
« on: December 22, 2013, 01:23:31 PM »
Hi Brad,

Thank you for the reminder/ explanation/ email regarding the patent-friendly legal phrase "some embodiments of the present invention..."

It brings up a question for my invention and PPA strategy.

Mine is an apparatus that can be simplified for cheap and lightweight use. A lightweight version could be very limited. However, I would hate to allow an unscrupulous competitor from producing a knock-off of my main product when I first reveal it, essentially creating the lightweight version, then beat me to mass market by out-advertising and out-selling me due to already having resources in place. AND easily pay his way out of legal trouble by using his profits.

So is it good strategy to include one or more different embodiments of the present invention in the PPA?

If you say I should just file a second PPA for the minor embodiment, then where to stop? I could file 20 or 30 different PPA's for the 20 or 30 different embodiments. Or more! This minor embodiment I could easily do so with just one extra paragraph and an extra diagram. It'll be a secondary model that I'll produce to follow the first one. Is there a rule of thumb on how much extra detail or how many "alternate embodiments" to include?

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