This site requires Javascript.
Windows Internet Explorer
Note To allow scripting on this Web site only, and to leave scripting disabled in the Internet zone, add this Web site to the Trusted sites zone.
On the Tools menu, click Internet Options, and then click the Security tab.
Click the Internet zone.
If you do not have to customize your Internet security settings, click Default Level. Then do step 4
If you have to customize your Internet security settings, follow these steps:
a. Click Custom Level.
b. In the Security Settings – Internet Zone dialog box, click Enable for Active Scripting in the Scripting section.
Click the Back button to return to the previous page, and then click the Refresh button to run scripts.
Mozilla Corporation’s Firefox

On the Tools menu, click Options.
On the Content tab, click to select the Enable JavaScript check box.
Click the Go back one page button to return to the previous page, and then click the Reload current page button to run scripts.
Opera Software’s Opera

On the Tools menu, click Preferences.
On the Advanced tab, click Content.
Click to select the Enable JavaScript check box, and then click OK.
Click the Back button to return to the previous page, and then click the Reload button to run scripts.
Netscape browsers

Select Edit, Preferences,Advanced
Click to select Enable JavaScript option.


Home About Us Patent Patent Search Trademark Get Funding News/Blog Info/Links Site Map  
Through our DC office: we offer patent research at USPTO EAST- the same system/methods used by Patent Examiners.
Getting Started

Our Work
Search
 
 
Provisional Patents Provisional Patent Applications
When cost is much more important than quality. Low-cost, gives you fast "Patent Pending" and 1 year to file for a Utility Patent Application.
Provisional Patent Application information
Utility Patents Utility Patents
Best quality, 20 year protection for useful structures, functions, compositions, & and methods.
Utility Patent Applicaiton Information
Patent Searches Patent Searches
A good idea: before investing time and money, we research your idea's likely patentability and help you distinguish your idea from prior solutions.
Patent Search Information
Design Patents Design Patents
Protects an article's form and artistic appearance from being copied. Can complement the Utility patent protection when both form and function are unique. Great for product designers.
Design Patent Information
Patent Drawings Patent Application Drawings
Bay Area IP's expert draftsmen create professional patent illustrations of your invention that are guaranteed to be approved with your patent application.
Formal Patent Drawings Information

 

Patent Application related questions

In what situations is Patent protection needed?
Can someone get around my patent by making a simple change to my invention? 
Is my invention patentable?
Patent Attorney or a Patent Agent, which is right for me?
Why does the "quality" of a Patent matter?
Should I apply initially for a Full Utility Patent or a Provisional Patent Application (PPA)?
A Full Utility Patent Application costs a lot of money, why do it instead of a Provisional Patent Application?
If you did my Provisional Patent Application, how much will it cost me to do the full Utility Patent later on?
If I decided on a Provisional Patent Application, of the Quality oriented or Cost oriented Provisional Patent Application approaches, which is right for me?
I decided on doing a Cost Oriented Provisional Patent Application, but which level of service is right for me?
Is a flat-fee approach right for me?
How do I know which Flat-fee category my idea falls in?
Could I lump multiple apparatus and/or methods together into one application?
When should I apply for a Design Patent?

Back to "Getting Started FAQ" index

 

In what situations is Patent protection needed?

The common situation where applying for patent protection is important, if not mandatory, is when the nature of the idea, method, or apparatus is such that if it were kept as a trade secret (also see the types of Intellectual Property protection) competitors observing the embodiment of your invention (e.g., the product or method you are selling) would be able to figure out and copy your invention without your help. A patent is also usually required if you want to ever license your idea(s) to others, and many manufactures will not even talk to an independent inventor unless he or she at least has "Patent Pending" status for the idea being offered for sale or license.

Can someone get around my patent by making a simple change to my invention?

The claims define the scope of protection for a patent afforded to the actual inventor. Patent law requires the applicant to swear, or affirm, that he believes himself to be the true inventor of the art, machine, or improvement, for which he asks for a patent; and further that he shall deliver a written description of his invention, in such full, clear, and exact terms, that any person, acquainted with the art, may know how to construct and use the same. The reason for this is to guard the public against unintentional infringements of the patent, and to enable the public to make an improvement that does not infringe your patent. When an accused device possess every limitation of a claim in your patent, then that device or process has comited literal infringement of your patent. However, the language in the patent claims may not capture every nuance of the invention or describe with complete precision the range of its novelty. If patents were always interpreted by their literal terms, their value would be greatly diminished. Unimportant and insubstantial substitutes for certain elements could defeat the patent, and its value to inventors could be destroyed by simple acts of copying. For this reason, the clearest rule of patent interpretation, literalism, may conserve judicial resources but is not necessarily the most efficient rule. The scope of a patent is not limited to its literal terms but instead embraces all equivalents to the claims described. In this way, a balance between the two competing policies behind the enforcement of patent rights: (1) to protect the inventor’s right to exclude others who might steal the product of his work by making equivalent modifications, and (2) to provide clear notice to the public of the invention’s boundaries.

Is my invention patentable?

Note, the information provided here are the basic concepts, however we would have look at the details of your case to provide you a patentability legal opinion. Any proper legal assessment of patentability should be based on the results of a professional patent search

In generic terms: in determining the patentably of your your invention, the Patent Office must consider utilitynoveltyobviousness, and so called "secondary considerations." Generally, if your product or process does something useful that a "close" one does not, then your product would logically be novel. You must then question if the additional features or functions that you are claiming as novel would have been obvious to do for an average person skilled in the field of your invention. If the novelty is clearly not obvious to an average skilled artisan, then your invention would very likely be patentable, all other things being equal. If your invention's novelty is questionably obvious, then the fallback argument, although some what weaker, is to set forth any secondary consideration that relate to the commercial viability of your product over the others in question. For the more complicated case where your invention is questionably obvious, read on...

Patent law is designed to serve the small inventor as well as the giant research organization. One fact to keep in mind is that most, if not all, inventions are combinations and mostly of old elements. Therefore an examiner may often find every element of a claimed invention in the prior art. If identification of each claimed element in the prior art were sufficient to reject patentability of your invention, then very few patents would ever issue. Patent examiners are not allowed to reject patents solely by finding your claimed elements in the prior art. If that were allowed it would permit an examiner to use the claimed invention itself as a blueprint for piecing together elements in the prior art to defeat the patentability of patents. The courts have said such an approach would be an illogical and inappropriate process by which to determine patentability.

You should also be aware that it is not a requirement of patentability that an inventor correctly set forth, or even know, how or why the invention works.

Generally, the claimed invention must be considered as a whole, and the question is whether there is something in the prior art as a whole to suggest the desirability, and thus the obviousness, of making the combination. When determining the patentability of a claimed invention which combines two known elements, the question is whether there is something in the prior art as a whole to suggest the desirability, and thus the obviousness, of making the combination.

To prevent the use of hindsight based on the invention (i.e., viewing the prior-art in terms of what your invention or the art after your filing date teaches) to defeat patentability of the invention, courts require the examiner to show a motivation to combine the references that create the case of obviousness. In other words, the examiner must show reasons that the skilled artisan, confronted with the same problems as the inventor and with no knowledge of the claimed invention, would select the elements from the cited prior art references for combination in the manner claimed.

Courts have identified three possible sources for a motivation to combine references: the nature of the problem to be solved, the teachings of the prior art, and the knowledge of persons of ordinary skill in the art. It is not allowed for the examiner to just rely on the high level of skill in the art to overcome the differences between the claimed invention and the selected elements in the references, and provide the necessary motivation.

Instead, the examiner, if rejecting your claim based on obviousness, must explain what specific understanding or technological principle within the knowledge of one of ordinary skill in the art would have suggested the combination. Otherwise, if a rote piecing together of prior-art elements could suffice to supply a motivation to combine, the more sophisticated scientific fields would rarely, if ever, experience a patentable technical advance. That is, for example, in complex scientific fields, the examiner could routinely identify the prior art elements in an application, invoke the lofty level of skill, and rest its case for rejection. To counter this potential weakness in the obviousness construct, the suggestion to combine requirement stands as a critical safeguard against hindsight analysis and rote application of the legal test for obviousness.

Obviousness is ultimately a question of law that rests on underlying factual inquiries including: (1) the scope and content of the prior art; (2) the level of ordinary skill in the art; (3) the differences between the claimed invention and the prior art; and (4) objective considerations of nonobviousness. Objective considerations such as failure by others to solve the problem and copying may often be the strongest evidence of nonobviousness.

This objective evidence of nonobviousness includes so-called "secondary considerations" such as copying, long felt but unsolved need, failure of others, commercial success, unexpected results created by the claimed invention, unexpected properties of the claimed invention, licenses showing industry respect for the invention, and skepticism of skilled artisans before the invention

The so-called "secondary considerations" provide evidence of how the patented device is viewed by the interested public: not the inventor, but persons concerned with the product in the objective arena of the marketplace.

Patent Attorney or a Patent Agent, which is right for me?
also see: USPTO Patent Attorneys and Patent Agents

We are agnostic between Patent Agents and Attorneys, because we employ both.  First of all, it is helpful to understand the main differences between a Patent Attorney and a Patent Agent. From the USPTO's point of view, both have to passed the Patent Bar Exam and if the person is a licensed Attorney in some US State, then she is a Patent Attorney, otherwise a Patent Agent. The Patent Bar Exam is mostly taken by Attorneys, and is extremely difficult to pass. It usually takes two to three tries for most to pass (i.e., pass rates range from 15-35%). Anyone that can pass this grueling exam is licensed to practice in all matters related to patents before the USPTO. Interestingly, there is nothing taught in law school about Patent Practice that would help a law student at all to pass the Patent Bar Exam or to prepare and prosecute patent applications. In this respect, there is little advantage to  a Patent Attorney. The main factor that you should consider concerns your practitioner's technical and legal expertise. That is, generally, the more technically knowledgeable your practitioner is, the more accurate your patent will be, and the less time it will take to have him or her understand your invention. In this regard, Patent Agents tend to be far more technically capable than Patent Attorneys. The main reason is because Agents tend to come from a career in industry, and Attorneys tend to come right out of law school no practical technical experience. The final main difference to consider, is that, for reasons beyond the scope of this brief presentation, we, and most patent firms, bill out Patent Attorneys at least twice as much as a Patent Agents.

Regarding which is right for you, the only cases where only a Patent Attorney is an option is if you require patent litigation, patent validity opinion, patent licensing, or trademark application services. Although, few Patent Attorneys have much experience in these areas, the litigation and patent validity opinion experience, if supported by solid patent prosecution experience (a very rare combination), can be helpful in drafting very high value patent applications (e.g., worth $100's of millions like Yahoo!, Amazon one-click, etc.). Even if your patent may not turn out to be the next Amazon, you should still find an affordable practitioner with some experience in patent validity opinion work, as this will usually increase the likelihood that your patent will hold up well in court. That is why it is particularly important to be sure that the practitioner you are considering has worked in an important Patent Law Firm (and not only inside a company), and has worked with validity opinions. It is our experience that, all other things being equal, it is almost always a better over-all value for a small business or independent inventor to work with a Patent Agent over a Patent Attorney as it usually costs half as much for the same work.  For our corporate clients, who can better afford the premium, we will often recommend our seasoned attorneys.

Why does the "quality" of a Patent Application matter?
Patent Specification Quality
Patent Claims Quality

The "protection" afforded by a Provisional Patent Application or a regular patent application, is only as good as the disclosure of the invention in the patent application and the legal strength/scope of the claims. If it is not properly or completely described, or if there are vague or contradictory aspects to the Provisional Patent Application disclosure, then the Provisional Patent Application may be later found invalid, or not covering the scope of what you consider to be your invention (read quality -vs.- cost tradeoffs for more details). The protection afforded by a Provisional Patent Application or a full Patent Application, is by way of a competitor being afraid to infringe on the future patent, and winning significant damages if they do. Thus, if the Provisional Patent Application specification is defective, then the later filed full Utility Patent Application that claims the filing date of the Provisional Patent Application would also be defective or invalid, and no effective patent protection would result. That is why a Provisional Patent Application should be treated as seriously as a regular, or full patent application, esp. if it is critical to have future patent coverage extend to the earlier filing date of the Provisional Patent Application, and not to the later filing date of the full Utility Patent Application.

Sometimes Provisional Patent Applications are filed before one starts (test) marketing the corresponding invention. In such a case, given the above analysis, if you think your invention has significant market value, then you should go the Quality Oriented Provisional Patent Application or full Patent Application route. If you are unsure of your idea's value, or your finances are particularly tight, then the Provisional Patent Application, while not desirable, is an acceptable option (Click Here for more details between Full Patent and Provisional Patent Application). In the end, if you believe your invention has a good chance of becoming something valuable, then you must be sure from the start that its patent protection will be strong enough to convince a manufacturer's/licensee's lawyers, for example, that you have a patent application or granted patent of sufficient quality for them to take the risk in investing in, or paying for use of your invention. Otherwise, if the quality of the patent application or granted patent is too weak (i.e., of low quality) they might prefer to design around or ignore your deemed narrow or otherwise insufficient patent protection.

In general, if you cannot afford a full Patent Application (which is always the best course of action) a Quality Oriented Provisional Patent Application can go a long way towards assuring that your idea is better protected. That way, if someone else applies for a patent on your same idea or attempt to sell a product based on your idea, your earlier date could block them. However, if your Provisional Patent Application application did not frame and/or disclose the proper or sufficient aspects, variations, and/or applications then you would not have an earlier filing date for those aspects not properly set forth, and thereby have no patent protection. In this way, the "quality" of the original patent specification is critical to the effective strength of the resulting patent.

Patent Claims Quality

Generally, an invention should be claimed in different ways and with varying scope to ensure that an invention is sufficiently protected against copying or theft by competitors and sufficiently motivate them to license your invention instead. In this way, the complexity of a patent practitioners claims drafting will depend to a large extent on the subject matter being protected and the number of ways and depth and breadth of the claims construction strategy. The main issues governing how sophisticated a claims strategy is required concerns claim examination by the patent office, claim interpretation during infringement proceedings, and litigation cost reduction. Regarding examination, a more complex claim construction strategy will provide a multitude of alternative claims for the Patent Examiner to find allowable, which usually make patent allowance quicker and prosecution costs lower. Regarding claim interpretation, employing a complex multitude of alternative approaches in claiming an invention, of varying degree in breadth and legal approach (e.g., means-plus-function, etc.), casts a broader and stronger net to catch infringers. With respect to patent infringement proceedings, a more complex claim construction strategy targets all envisioned alternative commercial embodiments of the invention not in the known prior-art with the intent to require less legal argument justifying infringement during litigation, thereby saving money and increasing the likelihood of winning an infringement judgment by, among other things, reducing the risk of prosecution history estoppels. Furthermore, for high quality patent applications, claims are draft claims to target a wide range of potential infringers (including present/future competitors, manufacturers/distributors, users, distributed networks across national borders), and where practical, claims are drafted to cover only a single potential infringer. This high quality approach significantly increases the strength and value of your patent intellectual property.

Should I apply initially for a Full Utility Patent Application or a Provisional Patent Application (PPA)?

The answer to this common question mostly depends on your financial situation and goals.  Of course, if you knew that your idea was going to be worth millions of dollars, then their would be no question about it, and you would be sure to file a top quality Utility patent application right away.  However, for inventors who think that their idea might receive little interest in the marketplace, a provisional patent application may be the best risk/reward option, especially if your budget is extremely limited. Please click here for the main provisional patent application pros and cons. In general, the decision is boils down to the level of investment you feel is warranted, or the most you can invest, to protect the potential future revenues your idea may generate. If you do not think that your idea will sell in the marketplace, or if you simply can not afford a quality Utility patent application, then a provisional patent application might be your best option. On the other hand, if you think that your idea has commercially potential, which may be confirmed, for example, if pertinent professionals or consumers like it, then a Utility Patent Application will provide you the best quality patent protection for licensing and against idea theft and knock-off productsClick here for a more detailed explanation of why a Utility Patent Application inherently is of much higher quality than a provisional patent application.

Full Utility Patent Application costs a lot of money, why do it instead of a Provisional Patent Application (PPA)?

Again, if you knew that your idea was going to be worth millions of dollars, then their would certainly be no question about it, and you would be sure to file a top quality Utility patent application right away.  If you are an individual inventor, which is probably why you are considering a Provisional Patent Application, we know it seems like a lot of money at first, but, to frame the context more accurately, like any decision, it is all about assessing the opportunity -vs.- cost. On the opportunity side of the equation, if the opportunity seems to be relatively significant and there is some positive feedback from industry players (e.g., professionals, companies, academia, executives, etc.), then a less quality Patent Application (e.g., a cost-focused or  do-it-yourself Provisional Patent Application) may risk losing a valuable deal if a big player deems the application as legally insufficient to warrant their investment or licensing. Another significant risk is that the weaker Provisional Patent Application might very well have technical and legal gaps in the disclosure that would allow would-be-copiers or licensees to more easily design around your patent, thereby losing all or part of your potential revenue stream.Click Here for a more detailed explanation of why a Utility Patent Application inherently is of much higher quality than a Provisional Patent Application. Of course, if your confidence in the commercial value of your invention is relatively low, then a full Patent Application may not be for you, and you should Click Here to assess your better course of action.

On the cost side of the equation, generally, as the opportunity appears more significant, then the investment warranted usually follows some equation like $ to invest = $ Income Potential x Probability of Success. A low cost patent firm, such as Bay Area IP, can go a long way towards helping you take less upfront risk, while best positioning you to reap the rewards. For example, a typical, high overhead, patent firm would charge any where from $7,000 to $10,000 just to prepare and file a Utility Patent Application and about the same amount to prosecute it until issuance. That makes it almost impossible for the independent inventor to invest in a better quality Utility Patent, and forces them into the more risky Provisional Patent Application. In contrast, our much lower fees  to prepare and file the same Utility Applications gets you in the quality "ball park", at substantially less risk. Our unique affordable-cost approach, provides a service at every quality step from a "full service"Utility Patent Application down to a completely do-it-yourself Provisional Patent Application, which enables you to pick your optimal comfort zone balancing the Opportunity -vs.- Cost and Risk -vs.- Reward decisions against your financial situation.

If you did my Provisional Patent Application, how much will it cost me to do the full Utility Patent later on?

Until further notice, we offer a special cost savings opportunity for those procuring our Option 1 or 2 flat-fee Quality Oriented Provisional Patent Applications(qPPA), whereby we guarantee that you may deduct the amount paid for the flat-fee quality Provisional Patent Application from the then prevailing cost of the corresponding flat-fee, full Utility Patent Application. That is, you only pay the difference in cost between the flat-fee Utility application and the quality Provisional Patent Application, instead of the full future cost of applying for a full patent. If you procured an Option 3 quality Provisional Patent Application, or a Cost Oriented Provisional Patent Application service at or above the Provisional Patent Application Review level, then your Provisional Patent Application application is usually automatically eligible for a reduced cost Flat-fee full Patent Application quote; however, the fee paid for these Provisional Patent Applications is not deductible.

If I decided on doing a Provisional Patent Application, of the Quality oriented or Cost oriented Provisional Patent Application approaches, which is right for me?

Having already decided upon a Provisional Patent Application it is usually the case that you are on a limited budget, or have high uncertainty about the marketability of your idea. For some inventors, another variable is the number of ideas that patent protection is sought. The main decision point factors are as follows:

  1. Budget
  2. Marketability confidence
  3. Amount of work you are willing to do yourself under our guidance
  4. The number of inventions you seek Patent protection for

The first item to consider is your budget. If you simply cannot afford a Quality Oriented Provisional Patent Application then the Cost Oriented Provisional Patent Application is your way to go. If your budget is not the limiting factor, then the next decision point to consider is how much confidence you have in the marketability of your invention. Of course, the higher your confidence, a proportionately greater investment in patent protection warranted. That is, if you have done some basic marketability research (e.g., professionals like your idea, it is selling on eBay, you see inferior products in the market place, & etc., for marketing ideas read books by Jay Levinson) that is very positive, then you should procure the highest quality Provisional Patent Application (if not a full Utility Patent) that you can afford. Similarly, the lower your marketability confidence, a commensurately lower amount of investment is justified. After establishing your budget and level of confidence, then you should decide how much work you are able, or willing, to do yourself with our guidance. For example, if you do not want to spend the time to initially write a Provisional Patent Application disclosure yourself according to our Provisional Patent Application kit, then either our Top or Good quality Provisional Patent Application service is a good choice. If, however, you are willing to draft a Provisional Patent Application under the guidance of our Provisional Patent Application kit, and have relatively good confidence in the marketability of your idea, but only have a limited budget to work with, then either of our Drafting Basic Plus or Drafting Basic service is ideal. Because the Drafting Basic Plus level of service includes a broad claim, it is a good compromise between cost (e.g., "Drafting Basic" Provisional Patent Application) and quality (e.g., the "Good quality" Provisional Patent Application). Some inventors have multiple ideas they wish to pursue patent protection for. Often they do not know which one will be the most well received in the marketplace and cannot afford the cost of procuring high quality Provisional Patent Applications for all of them. Some clients find a good approach in this situation is to procure, for the idea they have the most confidence in, a Quality Provisional Patent Application that is then used as a template to pattern Provisional Patent Applications for their other ideas, and use our Cost Oriented Provisional Patent Application services to clean up and assure minimum legal validity for each of them.

Is your do-it-yourself approach right for me?

When it comes to patent law, there are so many complex variables and laws involved that a non-practitioner is always advised not to do it themselves.  However, if you simply do not have the funds to pay for the proper legal service, then our do-it-yourself with our support will at least make sure that what you file is legal valid and not worthless. 

The question may be more intuitively framed in the context of what your goals and risk tolerance levels are, with the understanding that as with any task (e.g., filing your own tax return, repairing your car, medical treatment, etc.), you will always  get the best quality job done when you have a professional do the work. To help you better understand the context, let us compare filing your own Patent Patent Application Provisional Patent Application to filing your own income tax return. Ideally, if you do the best you can according to the basic IRS instructions, and have a CPA review your forms, then you can save a great deal of money, because the true value that the CPA brings to your tax return filing is to make sure that you get the largest refund, you do not break any IRS rules, and help assure you do not get audited. In the same way concerning Patent Applications, the real value that a Patent Practitioner offers you is to get the greatest patent scope (like a tax refund), make sure you do not break any USPTO rules (like IRS rules), and try to avoid legal pitfalls that could lose you a patent infringement case in court (like avoiding an IRS audit). In this way, if you are willing to write the draft under the detailed guidance of our Provisional Patent Application kit (like filling out IRS forms using tax form instruction guides), and have us fix obvious problem (like a CPA reviewing your tax return), then the DIY approach can work for you if you understand and accept the quality -vs.- cost tradeoffs that always go along with doing anything yourself.

In this way, anyone who can write coherent, even if simple, sentences describing how to make and use their invention can write and file a legally valid Provisional Patent Application themselves with the basic guidance that we provide. However, without our professional review/guidance there is no guarantee that the application will be minimally legally valid. So, if your budget limits you to DIY, then you should at least order one of our DIY with our support" services, which is a Provisional Patent Practice relatively unique to our firm.

I decided on doing a Cost Focused Provisional Patent Application, but which level of service is right for me?

If you have already converged onto our Cost Oriented Provisional Patent Application services, then you are likely working with a very tight budget. It is better to take a swing at making something of your neat idea and protecting it, than to do nothing at all, and watch someone else do it- while you say to yourself "I should have done something with that idea!". The same analysis as that for the Quality Oriented Provisional Patent Applications applies here by replacing "Top Quality Provisional Patent Application" with "Drafting Basic Plus" and "OK Quality Provisional Patent Application" with our "Drafting Basic". That is, if you simply cannot afford our Provisional Patent Application Drafting Basic Plus service then the Drafting Basic may better fit your budget. Basically, each level of service will likely result in a higher quality Provisional Patent Application and result in a stronger US Patent. Our DIY with our support" services are ideal for those who have virtually no money, but want a guarantee of at least securing a filing date for there exact idea (very easy to design around). For just a little more money, inventors in this situation can greatly benefit from our Drafting Basic service. The "Drafting Basic" service, takes your detailed invention disclosure submitted to us and not only legally writes it for "minimum legal validity" and avoids harmful language, but it also adds basic helpful language (or "legal Safeguards") to improve Patent Scope and "Litigation Validity."

The next decision point to consider is how much confidence you have in the marketability of your invention. Of course, the higher your confidence, a proportionately greater investment in patent protection warranted. That is, if you have done some basic marketability research (e.g., professionals like your idea, it is selling on eBay, you see inferior products in the market place, & etc., for marketing ideas read books by Jay Levinson) that is very positive, then you should at least procure the Drafting Basic service (if not a full Utility Patent or a Quality Oriented Provisional Patent Application) that you can afford. Similarly, the lower your marketability confidence, a commensurately lower amount of investment is justified. Some inventors have multiple ideas they wish to pursue patent protection for. Often they do not know which one will be the most well received in the marketplace and cannot afford the cost of procuring high quality Provisional Patent Applications for all of them. Some clients on very low budgets find a good approach in this situation is to procure, for the idea they have the most confidence in, our Provisional Patent Application Drafting Basic Plus service that is then used as a template to pattern Provisional Patent Applications for their other ideas, and use our Provisional Patent Application Revision or Provisional Patent Application Review service to clean up and assure minimum legal validity for each of them.

Is a flat-fee approach right for me?

First, see if your invention is eligible for a Flat-fee quote. Then you should consider if you can provide a clear and complete description of your invention and all its applications and variations such that we can work almost exclusively from your description to draft your application. The goal of our Flat-fee approach is to avoidcostly and time-consuming disclosure meetings, phone calls, emails, and draft iterations that result from errant assumptions regarding misunderstandings or vague disclosures. If we can efficiently draft the whole application based on your clear detailed description of your invention, then we save time, and you save money. Our flat-fee service is ideal for inventors who's inventions are completed (i.e., no significant last-minute changes) and relatively easy to understand, such that only very limited verbal/email communication, if any, is necessary for us to clearly understand every aspect of the detailed disclosure. Furthermore, those who can provide us a clear and coherent plain-English, detailed invention description will benefit the most. In general, you should always provide your Patent Practitioner as detailed, and as complete a description as possible, because this will always translate into a better quality patent application and result in a stronger awarded patent, if one is granted.

Our flat-fee service is not suited for inventors who's inventions are in flux (i.e., significant last-minute changes) and/or requires significant verbal/email communication for us to understand. Furthermore, those prefer to disclose there invention by way of a verbal disclosure meeting (whether on the phone, Internet, or in person) will find hour hourly patent preparation service more amenable to their needs.

Most inventors prefer to do a little extra work in writing a detailed description to save money and limit there patent costs. If you are not sure about your particular situation, please feel free to email us your question(s).

How do I know which Flat-fee category my idea falls in?

For the purpose of assessing a flat-fee for your Utility or Quality Oriented Provisional Patent Applications, we, generally, categorize the complexity of inventions into the following categories:

  1. Very Simple Mechanical
  2. Average Mechanical/ Simple Electrical
  3. Complex Mechanical/Average Electrical/Simple Software
  4. Complex Electrical/Average Software/Simple E-commerce
  5. Complex Software/Complex E-commerce

After you requested a flat-fee quote from us and it is determined that our flat-fee service is right for you, we will provide you a flat-fee quote. However, to help you get a feel for what you might expect beforehand, what follows is by no means definitive, but instead outlines some basic concepts you should consider for each category:

  • Very Simple Mechanical: Generally, these inventions usually have one or two moving parts, one way of implementing it (i.e., one mode, or embodiment), and operate on extremely intuitive principles. Typically the details of these mechanical inventions are something that you could easily explain to a kid so she could quickly understand how make and use it herself. If not, it is likely not a Very Simple Mechanical invention.
  • Average Mechanical/ Simple Electrical/ Simple Software: for mechanical (or electrical, or software) inventions, usually they have few moving parts (or few electrical components, or few software functions), a couple of ways, or modes/embodiments, of implementing it and operate on basic, rather intuitive principles. Typically the details of these mechanical (or electrical, or software) inventions are something that you could explain to a teenager (or an average electrical technician or software programer) so she could understand how make and use it herself. If not, it is likely not a Average Mechanical (or simple electrical, or software) invention.
  • Complex Mechanical/Average Electrical/Average Software: for mechanical (or electrical, or software) inventions, usually they have many moving parts (or many electrical components, or many software functions), more than three ways, or modes/embodiments, of implementing it and operate on non-intuitive, rather technical principles. Typically the details of these mechanical (or electrical, or software) inventions are something only at least an average engineer not trained specifically in the field of the invention could readily understand how make and use your invention. Otherwise, it is likely not a Complex Mechanical (or average electrical, or software) invention.
  • Complex Electrical/Complex Software: usually inventions in this category not only have many electrical components, or many software functions, but they also have novel hierarchical system-level modules that communicate and interdepend on each other. Additionally, there are typically implemented in more than three ways, or modes/embodiments, and operate on very non-intuitive, very technical principles. The details of these electrical or software inventions are something only at least an engineer trained in the specific field of the invention could readily understand how to make and use your invention.
  • Simple E-commerce/Complex E-commerce: a.k.a. business methods are often controversial and, lately, receive special scrutiny by the USPTO during Patent Examination. They require significant attention and effort to draft something that will likely be novel and non-obvious over the prior-art. Simple E-commerce ideas are characterized by methods that are relatively strait forward (e.g., "single click" purchasing) that can easily be explained to a teenager so she could quickly understand how carry out the idea herself. In contrast, Complex E-commerce ideas are characterized by methods that are very algorithmic and interdependent on many steps and conditional variables (e.g., interactive TV targeted advertising) that can be explained to, and understood by at least only a person trained in the specific field of the invention.

The above overview is by no means an exhaustive or fixed characterization of each category, and should only be viewed as a very general guide. When you contact us to evaluate your invention for a flat-fee quote, we will make a judgment on a case-by-case basis according to the spirit of the above characterization. In the end, to make a living, we have to make an accurate estimate of how much time it will take us to prepare your patent application. Generally, the more complex the invention, the more time it takes to properly describe it in detail, and, much more time will be spent to properly claim it.

Could I lump multiple apparatus and/or methods together into one application?

Only if they are based on the same structure or method, or simple variations that would not be patentably distinct. Otherwise, you will get a restriction requirementduring patent examination, which would end up costing you more than if you initially filed the applications separately due to the cost of our time in responding to therestriction requirement and/or having to prepare separate patent applications.

When should I apply for a Design Patent?

Design Patents protect the look, or ornamentation, of an article. If you believe that the appearance of your invention has marketing value, independent of its functionality, then a Design Patent usually makes sense. Unlike a copyright or trademark, a Design Patent protects not only the novel aspects of your design, but also any obvious variations that a would be copyist might come up with to compete against you. For example, a company The Shaper Image is a prolific product designer and often protects these designs with Design Patents. The cost to apply for, prosecute, and be granted a Design Patent is substantially less than the corresponding cost of a Utility Patent Application. The question boils down to determining whether the cost to protect the design is justified by the benefit of blocking (licensing) it from (to) others. If you believe that the look and feel of your product significantly motivates its sale to consumers, then a procuring a Design Patent is usually a good choice. We provide an especially low cost Design Patent Application service, that makes it a much more cost effective proposition than what competing patent firms offer. You should keep in mind that it is common to protect the function/structure of a product with a Utility Patent, and the appearance of the product with a Design Patent.

 

Top



Schedule a Consultation
Need help learning about and determining your company's IP options?  You may want to schedule a consultation with a Bay Area IP Professional to most efficiently and effectively assist you in making your next step, the right one.
 ««September  2019 »»
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293012345



Legal Notice: None of the information provided in this website should be construed as or used as legal advice. The information provided here is for educational purposes only, in order to help inventors learn background information before consulting a practitioner. Since the best course of action in any specific matter will depend on the specific facts of the matter, NOTHING on this site can provide a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel. Consult with a professional for specific advice regarding your particular situation.

Bay Area Intellectual Property Group, LLC. © 2000-2019, All Rights Reserved
 
Information
?
Submit Questions
$
Request a Quote
Request Consult

Call for Free Info::
1.888.89PATENT
(1.888.897.2836) 
 
Case Studies
Home About Us Patent Patent Search Trademark Get Funding News/ Blog Info/ Links Site Map
.