Category Archives: Patents

Best Provisional Patents

Don Debelak offers affordable patents

Best Provisional Patents clearly outline what your invention is, provide drawings and covers as much ground as possible, even listing disclosures and specifications that will lead to multiple patents later on.

The Internet seems to be full of provisional patents for $149.00 or some other very low price.  These prices work because no one looks at a provisional patent until they evaluate a utility patent application that looks at a provisional patent for priority.  So if your provisional patent is not done correctly you won’t get a priority date.  Which means if someone else files for a patent on a product with similar claims to yours, they may be first to file and you won’t be the first inventor to file and probably will lose ability to patent your idea.

Your provisional patent needs to have a detailed description and in most cases drawings to clearly show your invention so the patent examiner will feel you have possession of your invention.  If you fail to show you have possession of your patent your provisional will be worthless.  This detailed description should be written very similar to a standard non-provisional application.

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Getting a provisional patent application number is of no assistance unless your patent is done right. That is why you are better off using a patent attorney or a patent agent on a provisional patent.   No matter how much information you supply the patent agent or attorney, they will need to rewrite the Detail Description and the Summary of the Invention for the provisional patent, and probably have patent drawings completed.  Be sure to ask for a copy to review before the provisional patent is sent off.

Drawings in a Provisional Patent Application

Your disclosure in a provisional patent needs to explain the invention.  Drawings don’t have to be to the same standard as a non-provisional patent, but they should include numbers for each component that goes with detailed description. I also like to include a Summary section on how the invention works.

Open-Ended Language

You need to be sure you don’t limit your potential patents deriving from a provisional patents by using any closed ended language.  Phrases like “consisting of these features” are limiting in that only that combination of features can be patented.  Since often you are getting a provisional patent first in order to do some market testing leave your options open.  Instead of consisting use phrases like comprising components similar to, or “comprising in one embodiment of “are much better.

List Many Embodiments

An advantage of the provisional patent is that you can end up with multiple patents using the same provisional patent patent examiner to apply for multiple patents when you file for a utility patent, but your provisional patent can, and should, give you the most flexibility for what final patent you want to apply for.

Get all these steps right and you will have all the best features of a provisional patent, with strong priority you can use in case of any dispute on priority for your invention.

as a priority date.  List as many embodiments as you can think of, all with open-ended language in your patent.  You will have to be more specific in your final patent, but listing as many possibilities as you can is permissible in a provisional patent.

Method of Use Description

Patents can be either product based or method based.  For a provisional patent it is a good idea to include a method of use description that would qualify for a method of use patent. Again you  might eventually be required by an miner to do a separate patent for a method of use, but that won’t matter for a priority date, the provisional patent can cover multiple patents.

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Provisional Patents – An Additional Advantage

Provisional patents have the advantage of being low cost but they have another additional advantage that make them a plus for inventors.

Requirements per the US Patent Office

The provisional application must be made in the name(s) of all of the inventor(s). It can be filed up to 12 months following the date of first sale, offer for sale, public use, or publication of the invention, whichever occurs first. (These pre-filing disclosures, although protected in the United States, may preclude patenting in foreign countries.) Continue reading

Is a Design Patent Right For You?

Until recently, design patents were the patent you got if it didn’t work out to get a utility patent. But the recent Egyptian Goddess v. Swisa case has strengthened design patents and redefined how design patent infringement has been determined for over the last 25 years. Now inventors and intellectual property professionals are considering design patents in this new light. Design patents are no longer the patent you get if nothing else works out–they now offer valid protection for some products. But for which products? Let’s first take a short look at the history of how design patent infringement has changed. Continue reading

What Do You Do If Someone Already Patented Your Idea?

It hit you like a ton of bricks; the stars aligned and you had your eureka moment: you came up with a great new idea for an invention! You threw together a prototype to see if the idea would work, and it did! Then you hopped on Google Patents and started searching to see if someone has patented your idea. You sorted through countless patents and finally found one that looks a lot like your idea. What can you do?!? Fortunately, there is a whole lot you can do and often you can still pursue your idea and succeed, even when someone else has patented the idea. Continue reading

Doing a Google Patent Search

I’ve found the easiest way to do a preliminary patent search is to do a Google Patent search.  You can put in a simple search term and then work from its database to get a good idea if your product idea has already been patented.  This search won’t necessarily reveal every other patent but it is a good start.  Another good aspect of the Google patent search site is that it lists the patents pending that are published by the patent office but haven’t yet been issued.

To get the most out of a Google search you can’t just put in the name of your idea and then do a Google search.  That will leave out far too many patents where the patent application uses different terms than yours. You need to look instead at all the citations listed in the patents to find out more.

To give you a better idea of how to get the maximum benefit, I’ve listed all the steps and procedures for an inventor who came up with the idea of having an electric plug where a child could not pull the plug out of a socket. Continue reading