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I have an Invention ... Now What?
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kylestephen
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Ideas
« on: Nov 26th, 2007, 4:13pm »
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Can ideas for technology, or improving technology be patented, generally speaking, or must there be the technical steps included by the 'creator of the idea/thought'?
 
Basically, does one need to be a master of electronics to patent the idea for an electronic creation?
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Kaitlin
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Re: Ideas
« Reply #1 on: Nov 26th, 2007, 8:16pm »
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Not sure if I follow your question, but it seems you're asking if you can basically get a patent for an idea of a product without being able to describe how to construct the product.  
 
I'm not a patent attorney, but I believe the patent people on the forum will concur that you cannot just patent the "idea" without being able to describe how the idea turns into a product or a process.    
 
One purpose of the patent is to provide a description of how to make the thing, or work the process, you've invented.  This not only helps in determining whether someone else is infringing, it also ensures that after the patent expires (and with it the inventor's monopoly to make, use, sell, or import the invention), anyone with knowledge in the field can look at the patent and build the invention or duplicate the process.  (This is the trade-off for getting the monopoly rights during the patent term.)
 
Such a description constitutes what is "claimed" -- and protected -- by the patent and every patent must have at least one such claim.  
 
Note also that it takes an experienced patent attorney to draft those claims correctly -- not just someone who knows the science involved.  A great deal rides on how the claims are put together and phrased.  
« Last Edit: Nov 26th, 2007, 9:36pm by Kaitlin » IP Logged
Short Answer
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Re: Ideas
« Reply #2 on: Nov 27th, 2007, 10:13am »
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The OP's last question:
Basically, does one need to be a master of electronics to patent the idea for an electronic creation?  
 
The answer is no.
 
A patent application must sufficiently enable one of ordinary skill in the art to which the claimed invention pertains to make and use the claimed invention without undue experimentation.
 
What does all that mean?
 
It translates to something like this in the real world:
Typical patent applications in electronic arts have flimsy disclosures. Patent application writers typically don't have the skills to prepare engineering specifications toward electronic devices and typically aren't provided much in the way of details from inventors. Quite typically, as in, I do this almost everyday, we write patent applications that describe more what the invention is intended to do, and describe less how it will get done. I wish I had a dime for every time I guessed my way through drafting circuit diagrams and descriptions.  Oh wait, I got a few grand every time come to think of it.  And yes, patents issue under such circumstances. So, apparently, we expect a lot of that "one of ordinary skill" ... meaning, we leave it to the engineers to figure it out.
 
The view I've desribed is a bit cynical ... but I've described common practice.
 
Hopefully others will come and attack the view I've described ... maybe they'll say such patents won't hold up in litigation ... maybe they'll expound on functional versus structural limitations ... maybe they'll tell you that one in ten thousand patents (or some other bloody number) is found invalid for lack of enablement ... maybe somebody will bemoan our troll nation ... and all that jazz.
 
But the short answer to the OP's last question is ... drum-roll please ... No.
 
If you have a new idea, but haven't made the invention and lack the skill to so do ... that's ok.
A good patent attorney or patent agent can hook you up. That's what we do for the money.
 
Ciao
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kylestephen
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Re: Ideas
« Reply #3 on: Nov 27th, 2007, 10:23am »
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Re:  
"If you have a new idea, but haven't made the invention and lack the skill to so do ... that's ok.  
A good patent attorney or patent agent can hook you up. That's what we do for the money."
 
That is what I had initially thought, so your answer has dissolved some of my fears in looking "green" in front of IP counsel. Thank you. Cheers..  
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CriterionD
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Re: Ideas
« Reply #4 on: Nov 27th, 2007, 12:08pm »
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on Nov 27th, 2007, 10:13am, Short Answer wrote:

If you have a new idea, but haven't made the invention and lack the skill to so do ... that's ok.
A good patent attorney or patent agent can hook you up. That's what we do for the money.

 
Just to correct a minor technical inaccuracy - you don't need the skill to do so, just the know how to do so.  Or, perhaps the skill to know how to do so.  
 
And to add, I'll let the attorneys/agents here provide added input as to what you should and shouldn't expect from them - though I'll point out that there are industrial design and product development firms out there which exist more specifically for that purpose.  The attorney/agent's job is to take an invention and put it in writing in the best manner possible, not at all so much to take an idea and turn it into an invention.
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