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I have an Invention ... Now What?
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   patenting methods of combining common apperatus
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   Author  Topic: patenting methods of combining common apperatus  (Read 647 times)

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patenting methods of combining common apperatus
« on: May 5th, 2004, 6:38am »
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I am working on an idea which uses a combination of apparatus.  Only one of the apparatus is new and when it is not used in combination with the other apparatus it has limited practical use.
The apparatus can be connected together in several ways each achieving the same general function. However each circuit has unique benefits. To highlight the utility of this family of circuits I need to present these benifits, correct?
How do I patent this?
Note: I plan on patenting the "best" method of constructing the new apparatus separately.
I want to patent the circuits which achieve the general function.  Do I need to include enough circuits to illustrate all the characteristics of this family of circuits? Or can I just include a few? If I include enough circuits to illustrate all the characteristics of this family of circuits, I am looking at a document over 70 pages single spaced.  What circuits of this family should I include?
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Re: patenting methods of combining common apperatu
« Reply #1 on: May 5th, 2004, 10:40am »
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This is a fairly complex question and I don't have much time today, but I'll take a stab at a quick answer.
To get a patent, the minimum you should describe is a basic, functioning implementation of your invention.  The invention is defined by the claims, so you should start there -- with a rough cut at what you want your claims to look like.
To get at that, think of the elements of something someone else would make/use/sell to infringe your patents.  Think of the simplest expression of an infringing circuit and/or combination of circuits.  If your expression describes any existing circuits, you have to be more specific in your expression such that it doesn't describe any pre-existing things.
Once you're there, you have to describe a fully functioning implementation of that.  And, you have to comply with the US's "best mode" requirement -- that is, you have to describe any preferences you might have.  For example, lets assume your circuit uses an amplifier of some sort and you have found that a particular amplifier works well with the other components.  You have to describe that.  If it's an off-the-shelf component, name it, check it off, and move on.  If it's an amplifier that you've designed for the specific purpose of working in this combination, you have to describe that design.
Now, if the amplifier is novel enough for its own patent application, you can file that separately from (but no later than) the other application for the combo and incorporate the amplifier application into the combo application by reference.  So there are ways to minimize the redundancy of multiple applications.
If you have ideas that are improvements on the simplest implementation of your idea and that aren't really part of that implementation (as best mode), you can leave those out and evaluate them separately for possible patent applications -- i.e., do an independent cost/benefit analysis for each of those improvements.
I hope that helps.
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James D. Ivey
Law Offices of James D. Ivey
M. Arthur Auslander
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Re: patenting methods of combining common apperatu
« Reply #2 on: May 5th, 2004, 3:13pm »
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Dear tdwebste,
Just getting a patent may be a mirage, no matter how good the idea is. What is more, even if a patent may not be able to be obtained there may be ways to get the advantage of creative ideas. That is why we have the Reality Check®.
There is a $100,000,000 a year industry getting patents. Only 1 in 10,000 get back more than they pay. I believe that there are even undisbarred attorneys that work on that batting average.
Incidently, having gotten to know Mr. Ivey from postings in this Forum, I do not think that he falls into the class of a Patent Lawyer that would take advantage of you.
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M. Arthur Auslander
Auslander & Thomas-Intellectual Property Law
3008 Johnson Ave., New York, NY 10463
Reality Check® ELAINE's Workshop®
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