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(Message started by: smgsmc on Sep 15th, 2007, 6:36am)

Title: Writing complex math equations
Post by smgsmc on Sep 15th, 2007, 6:36am
Hi.  Have any of you had to handle applications with extremely complicated mathematical equations? The inventors use specialized software which is incompatible with MS Word.  I’ve tried a package that claims to convert the equations to a Word Eqn Editor format.  But Eqn does not have enough horsepower.  Questions:

(1)      There are extensions to Word Eqn editor which have more horsepower.  But what happens at the USPTO when they try to print it?  If you don’t have the extensions, you get error messages and print out garbage.

(2)      Some equations are so complex that even the extensions don’t have enough horsepower.  The one consistent, flexible, effective approach I’ve come up with is to go into Word Draw mode and setup the various parts of the equations as text blocks, move them around, and then group them.  Essentially build them by hand.  This works great.  BUT:  (a) Extremely time consuming (wasted 3 whole days) and (b) Will text blocks print properly at the USPTO?  The general question:  If it can be handled by Word, will it be OK? One lingering problem is that later versions of Word have more horsepower than older versions.  Any guidelines from USPTO?  Assuming this is OK, any services that will do this?  This is not a job for a typical draftsman who runs Autocad.


(3)      The classic (old-timer’s) approach is to have a draftsman generate the equations as figures, and refer to figures in the spec:  “Equation 100 in Fig. 1...”   This may work if the equations can be isolated as a block.  Doesn’t work well if you also have a lot of segments that need to be in-line with the text.  For example, : “Where __(complex symbol 1) is defined as __(complex symbol 2), if __(complex symbol 3) is greater than 9.”  I would then need to write:  “Where the expression 200 is defined as expression 202, if expression 204 is greater than 9 (see Fig. 2).”  

Title: Re: Writing complex math equations
Post by JimIvey on Sep 25th, 2007, 9:49pm
I have yet to come across a mathematical equation I can't write up in OOo (OpenOffice.org).  Being largely software-focused, my practice involves equations frequently.  The most complex I've done aren't published yet, so I can't share them.

One-button export to PDF ensures that the PTO at least gets a clean copy through EFS-web.  They seem to be pretty good at accurately representing mathematical equations in patents.

Sorry, can't help with MS Word.  Left it behind in 1991 and haven't looked back.

Regards.

Title: Re: Writing complex math equations
Post by PA on Sep 25th, 2007, 11:25pm
I've used MathType for a few years now.  It fully integrates with MS Word.  I haven't run into an equation I could not generate using MathType, and I have yet to encounter any issues with the USPTO.

Title: Re: Writing complex math equations
Post by Isaac on Sep 26th, 2007, 7:54am

on 09/15/07 at 06:36:26, smgsmc wrote:
But what happens at the USPTO when they try to print it?  If you don’t have the extensions, you get error messages and print out garbage.


Do you send word documents to the PTO?

Title: Re: Writing complex math equations
Post by smgsmc on Sep 26th, 2007, 10:35am

on 09/26/07 at 07:54:55, Isaac wrote:
Do you send word documents to the PTO?

Hi Isaac.  I just realized I've gotten several issues mixed up.  One is the software with enough horsepower to do the job, another is the electronic format that our clients want (almost always Word).  The third is what happens at the USPTO when it comes to printing?  The USPTO obviously has to reformat the application (eventually into two columns).  How is this done if you send them only a paper copy? No one here seems to know.  I assume that they are not all manually retyped by a clerk at the USPTO.  But the attorneys here are of the opinion that if it can be done in Word, I should have no problems.  But if I mess around with text blocks and odd fonts, I might run into problems.  You used to work at the USPTO.  Can you shed some light here?  Thanks.

Title: Re: Writing complex math equations
Post by patag2001 on Sep 26th, 2007, 2:47pm
In Microsoft Word:

First, click on Insert and then Object; and

Next, drag down to Microsoft Equation 3.0.

I hope this helps!

Title: Re: Writing complex math equations
Post by Wiscagent on Sep 26th, 2007, 9:44pm
In some situations your client may be able to help.  Explain the problem to the inventor.  The inventor may be able to simplify the equations, perhaps by defining parts of equation as blocks.  Each block being defined as some combination of simpler terms.

Title: Re: Writing complex math equations
Post by PP on Sep 26th, 2007, 10:59pm
Equations are easily made in latex. Does anyone know if latex files are accepted by the USPTO?

Title: Re: Writing complex math equations
Post by smgsmc on Sep 27th, 2007, 9:19am
I'd like to thank everyone for their input.  But, here is a summary of my situation:

(1) Word eqn. editor does not have enough horsepower for what I need.

(2) Mathtype (which created the simplified Word eqn. editor), believe it or not, does not have enough horsepower for what I need.

(3) The inventors I deal with are not cooperative in simplifying their math.  They expect me to do it.  I have done it in some instances, but that costs me mucho time (which I have to eat, since the jobs are flat rate).  Also, some inventors don't like me redefining their structure and notation.

(4) LaTex  files are what I am getting as input.  It does everything in multi-dimensional universes (real or imaginary) anyone could ever dream up.  I don't mind it because I used to compose my docs via troff on UNIX mainframes.  However, Word is the standard package used here.  I'd have lifetime security because no one else can edit the LaTex files.  But the files need to be editable by others. Also, our clients generally want electronic copies in Word.  I've tried a LaTex to Word eqn converter, but that's not adequate because Word eqn is not adequate.  Also people who have used it claim only ~80% success.

(5) So the open question is:  What process does the USPTO use to reformat the applications and what complexity can they handle before a graphical figure is required?  Thanks.

Title: Re: Writing complex math equations
Post by Jonathan on Sep 27th, 2007, 1:39pm

Maybe the Office of Patent Publication can help you out.

http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/pubs/

I suspect you will need to get past the initial technician that answers the phone but someone there out to be able to give you some insight.


Title: Re: Writing complex math equations
Post by JimIvey on Sep 28th, 2007, 8:36pm

on 09/26/07 at 22:59:58, PP wrote:
Equations are easily made in latex. Does anyone know if latex files are accepted by the USPTO?

I'm almost certain they don't.  But, if you use latex, you have access to a wide variety of latex to PDF converters (perhaps through PostScript as an intermediate format).

They certainly do accept PDF documents.

Regards.

Title: Re: Writing complex math equations
Post by smgsmc on Nov 16th, 2007, 5:26pm
Here's an update that others might find useful.  The latest version of Math Type (6.0) now has an integrated LaTex to Math Type translator.  It's not a stream editor, so you need to have rudimentary knowledge of LaTex syntax (mainly that formulas are delimited by $...$ or \...\).  You cut-and-paste the LaTex code into the the translator and out pops the Math Type graphics rendition.  Works well.  When it doesn't, it's mainly because LaTex has a symbol that's not available in Math Type.  I had one pathological case where the author's LaTeX code was nested three deep.  Math Type choked.  But that was really a case of lousy input code.  Main shortcoming is you have to translate the formulas one at a time.  But sure beats rebuilding them from scratch.



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