A Premier Patent Law Practice
A good invention can be ruined by a bad patent application or by mistakes made during patent prosecution. Writing a good patent application requires a sound, comprehensive understanding of an invention and how it will be used in the real world. It also requires a comprehensive understanding of how the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office examines applications, how courts interpret patent claims, and the strategies used to avoid or design around your patent.
While good patent attorneys understand the basics, a great patent attorney incorporates that understanding into each patent application he or she prepares. At Coats & Bennett, PLLC, we have a team of great patent attorneys who love the work they do. Many of our attorneys hold advanced scientific or engineering degrees and have extensive industry experience as working engineers. Each of our attorneys is supported by the combined expertise and wisdom found only in high-quality law firms that have years of focused work in intellectual property law. In short, we know patents. We are consistently ranked by IP Today magazine as one of the top 200 patent law firms nationally, as measured by the number of annually issued patents. Please click here to view examples of our work.
Why You Need A Patent Attorney
There are three types of patents:
- Utility: These patents protect how things work. For most inventors, this patent is the most useful. When most people say they want a patent for their invention, they really mean they want a utility patent.
- Design: These patents protect only the ornamental appearance of something and cannot ever be used to protect how that thing functions.
- Plant: As the name suggests, these patents protect plants (subject to certain qualifications).
Ensuring the proper patent type is just one of the many reasons why you should not attempt to prepare or file your own application. It is one of the most complex legal documents in existence. It must meet all the legal requirements for demonstrating that you are in possession of your invention and enabling others to practice your invention without undue experimentation. It must also describe and claim your invention in a manner that preserves the broadest possible protection for your invention, which means including the right details and precise wording.
Worse, everything you say (and some things you don’t say) in the patent application and in correspondence with the patent office will be held against you. In other words, there are many “wrong” things that you can do to compromise the otherwise broad scope of your claims.
Additionally, you must remember that when seeking a patent, you’re dealing with two audiences. Your immediate audience is the patent examiner at the patent office. Your long-term audience is the patent courts that will judge what your claims do and don’t cover in any patent litigation lawsuit that involves your patent.
Provisional Patent ApplicationsMany think of these as a “cheaper” type of patent application. However, provisional patent applications are never examined by the patent office and do not issue as patents. Instead, provisional patent applications serve as temporary placeholders. It establishes a filing date for your invention and gives you up to a year to file a related utility application. That utility application takes its “priority date” as the provisional’s filing date.
The “trick,” if there is any trick to filing a provisional patent application, is to make sure that your provisional patent application includes all of the important details that will be in the later utility application. Otherwise, the provisional patent application’s date protection will not apply to the later utility patent application, leaving it vulnerable to inventions made after the provisional filing but before the utility filing date.