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I have an Invention ... Now What?
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   what is the cheapest avenue for a patent?
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   Author  Topic: what is the cheapest avenue for a patent?  (Read 12464 times)
John Lennon
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Re: what is the cheapest avenue for a patent?
« Reply #15 on: Aug 14th, 2007, 4:45pm »
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Regarding:
"If your goal is to get a nifty piece of paper from the Patent Office, go ahead and file your own provisional.  If your goal is to make money from your idea, then the specifics of what comes out of the Patent Office and its entire history through the Office are very important."
 
While I generally agree with that small portion of the larger posting, I think the posting is (all at once) a bit idealistic, cynical, and naive. Within every cynic is an idealist naive enough to want to make the world perfect.
 
The real world is littered with patents having questionable priority claims and other issues impacting their perfection. Imperfect patents effectively protect intellectual property every day. Just the other day, I found a patent having claims that are clearly anticipated by prior art discovered in the same search. Nonetheless, my client was not immediately relieved of concerns with regard to infringing the claims of the patent. Indeed, my client is at least considering staying out of the business space of the patent. It seems the imperfect patent has already provided value to the patentee. My client, a competitor of the patentee, is delayed, is spending money and time, is leaning away from filing a patent application, and may abandon the technology space around the imperfect patent. Imagine that.
 
The same poster, with regard to the difference between an application and a patent writes "When you apply for a home loan, do you celebrate?  Most people wait until the loan is granted."
 
However, once you file a non-provisional patent application, you can generally celebrate that your application will in time be published and may prevent your competitors from patenting related inventions ... and get this ... that protection occurs whether you ever get a patent!
 
Many patent strategies involve cost cutting steps and questionable judgement calls. Are you aware that designing and building automobiles involves cost cutting steps and questionable judgement calls? That's right, real people drive around in imperfect automobiles ... and the world is littered with imperfect patents that provide benefits to their holders ... imagine that. The world is a dirty place. Did you know that there is bacteria under your nails?
 
So go ahead and file that provisional patent application if you've assessed your resources and understand your endeavor. Be informed, but don't be obsessively idealistic, cynical, or naive about patents, automobiles, and the crud under your nails ... unless you are Howard Hughes of course.
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Jonathan
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Re: what is the cheapest avenue for a patent?
« Reply #16 on: Aug 14th, 2007, 5:28pm »
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on Aug 14th, 2007, 4:45pm, John Lennon wrote:
However, once you file a non-provisional patent application, you can generally celebrate that your application will in time be published and may prevent your competitors from patenting related inventions ... and get this ... that protection occurs whether you ever get a patent!

 
So you celebrate the fact that your competitors are potentially free to use the invention your company / inventors produced?
 
Why then bother paying for patent application prep and associated filing fee to the patent office? Just publish the invention via some other means.
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JimIvey
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  jamesdivey  
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Re: what is the cheapest avenue for a patent?
« Reply #17 on: Aug 14th, 2007, 10:16pm »
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Ah, I see.  The world is a dirty place so why try to do good work at all?  There are questionable priority claims and then there are laughable priority claims.
 
I suppose my practice is a bit different from Mr. Lennon's (if that is his real name).  Most of my clients do, or intend to, enforce their patents -- as in through law suit(s).  I think it would be immodest to go into details, but I've had a client referred to me by the litigator for the defendant of one of my portfolios -- the litigator who deposed me.  I can't think of higher praise for a patent attorney.  And the other attorneys representing my client were among the largest, most well-known international law firms -- with rates twice that of mine.
 
I went through the entire enforcement process with a friend of mine who founded IPotential -- he's former Director of Licensing at Intel and former General Counsel at Brocade and pretty clearly among the patent licensing elite.  The defendant's strategy is pretty much what you think it might be -- can we avoid infringment?  Can we break the patent?  The fact that this or that company was scared to continue a business practice in face of a threatened patent is valid anecdotal evidence, but hardly a trend.  If the company was making 8 figures annually from that business, it would have been a no brainer to file a Dec Action and squash the patentholder -- if they could.
 
So, I respectfully submit that little guys do need work of as high a  quality as the defense they might face.
 
Ever been through a portfolio acquisition?  MSFT has bought 3 of my portfolios.  Intellectual Ventures has bought 2.  You think these guys don't care about quality?  I assure you that they do and that it affects the price.  With so many patent hedge funds developing, that's becoming the most likely place for small inventors to make some money for their ideas.  And, I used to work with some of the guys that manage these funds and know that they do, in fact, care very much about quality.
 
So, go ahead, fashion the best boat you can out of cardboard and white glue and set sail!
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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John Lennon
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Re: what is the cheapest avenue for a patent?
« Reply #18 on: Aug 15th, 2007, 7:56am »
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"Why then bother paying for patent application prep and associated filing fee to the patent office? Just publish the invention via some other means."
 
That one is easy:
Because the patent and patent application database of the U.S. Patent Office is the database most available to U.S. patent examiners. If you want an examiner to find your publication, get your publication directly into that database.
Furthermore, the cost of writing and filing a patent application may actually be lower than the total resource cost of having your work published in a scholarly journal.
 
A point I've tried to make is that not every inventor and circumstance can attain air tight protections. An all-or-none philosophy draws an incomplete picture. I see that outlandish metaphors are in use in this thread ... so here is one:
 
If I can't have a twenty-foot high steel wall with machine gun towers around my home, I might as well leave my front door open and leave a trail of cash leading through the house to my jewelry box.
 
An all-or-none approach to physical security doesn't serve all home owners and circumstances, and an all-or-none approach to understanding intellectual property security doesn't serve all inventors and circumstances.
 
Well I'm off to write an imperfect patent application. I've got real doubts about the novelty on this one ... but the client, a business with an experienced in-house patent attorney who is calling the shots, wants a patent application written. Imagine that. Oh well, somebody's gotta do the dirty work.
 
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JimIvey
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  jamesdivey  
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Re: what is the cheapest avenue for a patent?
« Reply #19 on: Aug 15th, 2007, 12:46pm »
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I hope I'm not giving the impression that I favor an all-or-nothing approach.  Far from the truth.  I'm trying to advocate best effort to use the law to its fullest extent to protect a client's intellectual property.  Can it always be perfect?  Absolutely not.  But a lame attempt at a provisional application merely for expediency is absolutely not what I would consider a reasonable effort, let alone a best effort.
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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