31 Aug Patent Preparation for Regional Inventors
I’m based in Brisbane but I’d say that about a third of the patent specifications I write are for inventors that are located in other parts of Australia. I’ve prepared patent applications for people needing patent attorney help in lots of other towns e.g. Lismore, Melbourne, Townsville, Bundaberg, Caloundra, Cairns, to name a few.
My process for helping inventors that can’t meet with me face to face has gradually improved over the years. If you call me about your invention then there are three main issues that I like to get sorted out initially. Firstly, I want to make sure that your invention is more than a concept. For example, do you know how to actually make the invention or are you still at the stage where you know what you want to the invention to do but you don’t know how it will do it? I’ll ask you if you’ve got any drawings that illustrate your invention and show how it works. If you’ve got a mechanical invention like a new builder’s tool or a component for an engine or a machine for working in a mining environment then the drawings will show a physical object and especially the new parts.
If your invention is in the IT area, for example a mobile phone app or a web based solution then I’ll ask you what your documentation is like. E.g. do you have any screen shots that show what people see on their phone or computer screen? Would you be able to provide any flowcharts illustrating the processes that are involved in delivering the IT product?
The second question that I like to discuss is “what makes you think that your invention is new and inventive or at least innovative ?”. If, for example, you say that it’s new in Australia but you’ve seen the same thing in the USA then I’ll explain that unfortunately the invention must be new on a global basis to be a candidate for patent protection. If you say that as far as you can tell it’s new but you’re not entirely sure then I’ll want to talk with you about searches to get a better idea of whether or not it really is a new invention.
The third issue that needs to be discussed is whether or not you’ve already made non-confidential disclosures of your invention. E.g., have you been selling the invention or have you shown it on your website or told people about it without firstly getting their OK that they understand that it’s confidential. The general rule is that the invention must be kept confidential before a patent application is filed but there are some loopholes to that which are sometimes available.
If your answers to these questions indicate that you’re at the right stage for a patent application and it looks like the invention is new and you haven’t self-published it then we can talk about the cost and the process for preparing a patent application.
The next step is that I’ll ask you to send me some information describing your invention. That information might be photos, drawings, a written description, a hand drawn sketch or any other material that helps me to properly understand your best version of your invention. Once I’ve got that I’ll often mark it up with identifier numbers and send it back to you. Then we can talk about the various parts of the invention with reference to the identifiers so that there’s no confusion.
During our talks I’ll also ask you about the problem that your invention is designed to solve. E.g., what does it do better than older machines or methods? What benefits does it impart?
It might seem from the above that it is a very complex process to get to the stage of having the first draft of the patent application prepared but usually it goes pretty smoothly. Typically it takes one or two weeks to get the first draft back to you.