Common Mistakes to Avoid While Patenting Your InventionA road to gaining significant profits by commercializing an invention begins with filing a patent application for obtaining a patent. There are many common mistakes, which an inventor commits that may lead to undesirable consequences such as failure to obtain a patent even if the invention has potential to bring high value to the inventor. Some of the common mistakes that an inventor can avoid for smooth flow of patent process are: Mistake 1: Not Conducting a Prior Art SearchInventions which are already known or available in public domain are known as prior art. It could be published patents, published pending applications and publically available non-patent literature. When a patent application is submitted to patent office by the inventor, a patent search is conducted by the examiner to find the possibility of patenting your invention. Anyone who wants to patent his/her invention, the first thing to start with is searching for prior art. If the inventor himself conducts a prior art search or consult any patent agent to find patent art, that would be beneficial in terms of economic values.
The outcomes of searches will help in further structuring the patent invention in order to distinctly defines it in public domain after patenting it. Mistake 2: Not Filing the Patent Application at an Appropriate Time. It is essential for all companies or inventors to know about the best time for filing a patent application in order to utilize the IP assets properly. It is found that either the patent application is filed early or too late. Also, people have a tendency to first observe viability of product/service in market and then apply for a patent if some benefits are arising by commercialization. However, this approach should be avoided because if the applicant or the inventor has made any disclosure before filing of the patent application, that will be turned as prior art and may lead to loss of patents rights. Thus, the inventor should first file a patent application i.
e. provisional application and then commercialize the invention or disclose it to public. A time duration of 12 months is provided for filing complete specification and PCT application. In this 12 months time market analysis/public disclosure/commercialization for the respective invention could be done.
So, the best time to file a patent application is usually after the invention has been approved for commercial production prior to any disclosure of invention in public domain. Mistake 3: Poorly drafted ApplicationOne should not draft a patent application in haste. The rush to file patent application with no knowledge of patent system, often makes the inventor to land up with poorly drafted application which does not meet the requirements of law.To avoid this, an inventor should take aid of a professional in patent drafting. The patent application should be presented in such a way that a person skilled in the art will be able to implement the invention by going through the description provided, with reasonable experimentation.
Mistake 4: Not Taking Advantage of “Provisional” ApplicationsIt happens that the inventor, at times have only the idea, but don’t know how to implement it. Or there are chances that the invention is at its early stage and not yet in finished form. In these two cases, the inventor most of the time wait for the invention to get it complete so as to proceed further for patent filing.
The best solution could be provided is that there is no need to wait for the invention to get it complete. The inventor may proceed with filing “provisional application”.A provisional patent application is an initial phase of filing patent application without giving patent claims, before filing of a complete patent specification. The provisional patent application quickly helps in protecting invention by disclosing a substantial part of the invention. A provisional patent application has a twelve month pendency period from the date of filing after which the inventor has to file a complete specification to take advantage of the filing date of the provisional application. If the complete specification is not filed within a year, the provisional patent application is considered abandoned.Provisional applications are also considered as temporary applications. It describes the nature of the invention to have the priority date of filing of the application in which the inventive idea has been disclosed.
The inventor who files a provisional application must file the complete specification within 12 months from the date of provisional application in order to gain benefit of earlier filing of the provisional application. If the complete specification is not filed within the time duration, the provisional application is considered abandoned. Mistake 5: No Usage of Non-Disclosure Agreements:It would be very disappointing to disclose the confidential documents because it will make to suffer repercussions of work. No one wants to disclose his/her hard work and may allow the other person to use it. It’s better to prevent work with an enforceable Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA).
When an inventor discloses any of his/her invention to third party, it is advisable to inventor to first get a sign on NDA by third party so as to be assure that his/her work has not been revealed. If any violation occurs like, the third party, being under an NDA, reveals the inventor’s work in public domain, before any filing of application, the information revealed would be count as prior art. However, some patent laws exist today which gives allows the inventor to file an application after such violation, for a certain duration of time. If the application is filed within the given time duration, the disclosed information would not be considered as Prior art.
ConclusionTo conclude, it is advisable to have a proper knowledge of Patent Laws and patent system while filing a patent application in order to avoid the above mentioned mistakes. It would be good to engage a patent attorney to understand clearly the concept and procedure of patent application