Do I Need a Patent Search?

Most of us like to feel that we were the first to have conceived of our great idea.  Before investing the time and resources into applying for a patent, it is good to know if there are any other patents or publications disclosing something similar to your idea. Ultimately, this information will help you and your Patent Attorney decide if pursuing a patent is a good decision, or if designing around may be needed.  Please note – a patent search is not the same as a clearance search (see My Article about the differences).

Typically, the importance of filing a Provisional Patent outweighs the costs of conducting a professional Patent Search.  This is due to both relatively low costs of Provisional Patent filings and the time sensitive nature of Provisional Patent protection.

Think of it this way – if you only had, for example, $600 to spend, what would you prefer to get with that $600?

1. You can spend that money on filing for a provisional application for patent and gain legal priority to any potential patent rights for your innovation, as well as “Patent Pending” status on your innovation; or

2. You can spend that money to determine if your idea will be patentable in the long run.

For provisional patent applications, we recommend approach (A).  Firstly, provisional applications are never examined for patentability.  Rather, they are reviewed by the patent office for formalities, and then stamped with a priority date.  The longer you delay filing for provisional patent protection, the less likely you are to be the first one to file for patent protection on your innovation – and if you’re not the first inventor to file, you may lose your chances of getting your innovation patented.  As such, a patent search may only further delay and increase the expenses associated with filing provisional patent applications.  It’s not a bad idea to perform a quick ‘knock-out’ search on Google’s Patent Search tool – this will give you a good idea if anything similar to your idea has been patented or patent pending.

Formal, non-provisional patent applications, however, are more costly and resource intensive than provisional patent applications.  For that reason alone, it is usually wise to invest in a professionally conducted patent search prior to undertaking the expenses of non-provisional patent filing.

If you are interested in more detail related to your situation it is best to speak with an attorney.

Yuri Eliezer heads the intellectual property practice group at Founders Legal. As an entrepreneur who saw the importance of early-stage patent protection, Yuri founded SmartUp®. Clients he has served include Microsoft, Cisco, Cox, AT&T, General Electric, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Coca-Cola.

yuri

Source: Smartup Legal

USPTO Issues 700,000th Design Patent

The USPTO recently did a press release about the issuance of the 700,000th design patent.  The patent for the ornamental design for a “Hand-Held Learning Apparatus” was issued to Jason Avery of Berkeley, California and is currently assigned to Emeryville, California-based LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: LF).

In case you did not already know a design patent protects the physical appearance of a product, including software graphics such as user interfaces and icons.  To determine what is protected in a design patent, you would look at the drawings.  The drawings will contain three types of lines: solid lines, dashed lines, and shading lines.  The solid lines indicate the part of the design that is protected by the patent, the dashed lines indicate ‘optional’ parts of the design that aren’t protected by the design patent, and the shading lines indicate the surface and its texture.

You can find all this information by using the USPTO patent search tool.  Just type “US D700000 S1” in the search field, this will lead you to a plethora of information including drawings and patent claims and methods.

This milestone is significant because it shows the size to which our patent office has grown.  Our Intellectual property system is a catalyst grow growth in innovation. “The design area has increased from twenty five and a half thousand applications in 2009 to just over thirty five thousand filings in 2013” said Deputy Director of the USPTO Michelle Lee .

 TLDR

Leapfrog got issued the 700,000th design patent.  Rate of growth for patent issuance has increased by over 30% in the past 5 years.

About Design Patent Number 700,000
The LeapsterGS™, delivers more than 40 different learning and play experiences for children ages four to nine, and features a hi-res finger-touch screen, and Flash and 3D graphics. The device is ergonomically designed with small children in mind, yet is simple, with bold and fun design features. It stores information about a child’s progress and adjusts game and activity challenges in real-time, for learning adventures that keep kids going on their own path, at their own pace. And select titles also let players customize the curriculum, selecting their own spelling words or mathematics skill sets to load into games, effectively “doing their homework” as they play.

 

If you are interested in more detail related to your situation it is best to speak with an attorney.

Yuri Eliezer heads the intellectual property practice group at Founders Legal. As an entrepreneur who saw the importance of early-stage patent protection, Yuri founded SmartUp®. Clients he has served include Microsoft, Cisco, Cox, AT&T, General Electric, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Coca-Cola.

yuri

Source: Smartup Legal

When Should I Do a Patent Search?

Most of us like to feel that we were the first to have conceived of our great idea. Before investing the time and resources into applying for a formal, non-provisional patent, it is good to know if there are any other patents or publications disclosing something similar to your idea. Ultimately, this information will help you and your Patent Attorney decide if pursuing a formal, non-provisional patent is a worthwhile investment.

Typically, the importance of filing a Provisional Patent outweighs the costs of conducting a professional Patent Search. This is due to both relatively low costs of Provisional Patent filings and the time sensitive nature of Provisional Patent protection.

Think of it this way; if you only had, for example, $600 to spend, what would you prefer to get with that $600?

A). You can spend that money on filing for a provisional application for patent and gain legal priority to any potential patent rights for your innovation, as well as “Patent Pending” status on your innovation, or

B). You can spend that money to determine if your idea will be patentable in the long run.

We recommend approach (A). The longer you delay filing for provisional patent protection, the less likely you are to be the first one to file for patent protection on your innovation and if you’re not the first one to file, you may lose your chances of getting your innovation patented.

Formal, non-provisional patent applications, however, are more costly and resource intensive than provisional patent applications. For that reason alone, it is usually wise to invest in a professionally conducted patent search prior to undertaking the expenses of non-provisional patent filing.

If you are interested in more detail related to your situation it is best to speak with an attorney.

Yuri Eliezer heads the intellectual property practice group at Founders Legal. As an entrepreneur who saw the importance of early-stage patent protection, Yuri founded SmartUp®. Clients he has served include Microsoft, Cisco, Cox, AT&T, General Electric, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Coca-Cola.

yuri

Source: Smartup Legal

What Is a Patent Search?

A Patent Search is a search of the United States Patents and Publications (USPP) database to see if there are any Patents or Patents Pending disclosing something similar to your invention. There are two types of searches; keyword searches and a class/art unit search done within the USPP Database. Unlike most Patent Search providers who have ‘professionals’ conduct mere plain language searches, SmartUp® has licensed Patent Attorneys conduct both of these search types.

If you are interested in more detail related to your situation it is best to speak with an attorney.

Yuri Eliezer heads the intellectual property practice group at Founders Legal. As an entrepreneur who saw the importance of early-stage patent protection, Yuri founded SmartUp®. Clients he has served include Microsoft, Cisco, Cox, AT&T, General Electric, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Coca-Cola.

yuri

Source: Smartup Legal