Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Contract

A patent is a contract between the inventor and the public. The inventor agrees to make known publicly his invetnion to further the progress of technology. In return, the public (or government) excludes others from practicing the invention for a limited amount of time. In the United States, this limited amount of time is 20 years from the day the patent applicaton is filed.

Note well that a patent excludes others from practicing the invention, and does not give the inventor the exclusive right to practice the invention. This is because practicing the invention may infringe on another's patent.

Imagine for example that 5 years ago a flying car is invented and patented by one of the big three auto makers. Essentially the patent covers any cars which can fly by use of retractable wings.

You notice that an improvement can be made to the wing design so it retracts more smoothly, allowing for better gas mileage. You patent the improvement to the wing design. You can not make and sell cars with your wing design because you will be infringing the original patent which has broad coverage for flying cars. Yet at the same time, that big three auto maker can not incorporate your wing improvement into their car.

This is where licensing agreements and selling of patent rights comes in. And this is not my area of expertise or practice, so I will leave it at that.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

An introduction

I have been a registered as a patent agent with the US Patent and Trademark Office since 28 April 1998. I worked for Pirelli Cables and Systems (now Prysmian Cables and Systems) in Lexington, SC as a patent agent (among other things) until early 2004. Presently I work as a sole practitioner patent agent, writing applications for both corporations and independent inventors.

I hold a Master’s degree in Physics and have worked in industry in research and development for nine years before I started drafting patent applications. I am named as an inventor on two patents myself.

In my years of research and development and in writing patent applications I have gained experience in many fields. However, I do not draft patent applications in all fields, biotechnology and computer programs to name two.

I offer the following patent-related services:

*Drafting of Patent Specification and Claims
*Filing Patent Application with USPTO (both provisional and utility)
*Drafting Office Action responses on a filed patent application.
*If an inventor wants to write the patent application him/herself, I do offer to look it over and suggest editorial changes to make it conform more particularly to the USPTO format.

For the above services I charge reasonable hourly fee with a free initial consultation-not to exceed one hour.

After the free initial consultation I may decide I can not take a client’s case. This may be because the invention presents a conflict of interest for me (too close to the inventions of another client), the invention may not be in my fields of expertise, or I may feel that the invention is not patentable based on the consultation, preliminary searches, or my own knowledge.

I do NOT provide marketing studies, contracts, licensing, or negotiations or advice on starting a business.

In my posts, I hope to provide some insight into the world of patents and inventions.

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