As a patent lawyer talking to clients for over 20 years, one request I see frequently from founders is how to stretch their dollars. In plain English, startup clients who are fund-raising wants to be cost-efficient on everything, including legal fees. On occasions, founders come to me with a typical invention disclosure form that is about two pages in length, half of which is marketing speak on benefit with sparse details on how the invention works, and expect me turn them into a 30 page patent application in a week at the lowest price found on the Internet. These are tough requests and patent lawyers like me strive to make clients happy. However, there is an easier way detailed below that will be win-win and will make your patent attorney love you. Read on to find out the secrets!
How to Help Your patent Lawyer draft Your Software Patent Application
To help your lawyer prepare your software patent application, there are several things you can do:
- Provide a detailed description of your software: Your lawyer will need to know how your software works and what makes it unique. Provide a detailed description of your software, including any diagrams, flowcharts, or other visual aids that help explain how it works.
- Identify the specific features you want to patent: It’s important to identify the specific features of your software that you want to protect. This will help your lawyer focus on those features when drafting the patent application.
- Provide prior art: Your lawyer will need to conduct a thorough search of existing patents and publications to ensure that your software is novel and non-obvious. Provide any prior art you are aware of that may be relevant to your application.
- Provide a list of potential infringers: If you are aware of any other companies or individuals who may be infringing on your software, provide this information to your lawyer. This can help your lawyer assess the strength of your patent and the potential for enforcement.
- Be prepared to answer questions: Your lawyer may have questions during the patent application process. Be prepared to answer them promptly and accurately.
- Be available for consultation: Your lawyer will need to work closely with you to understand your invention and how it works. Make sure you are available for consultation and be prepared to provide additional information as needed.
Remember that obtaining a patent for software can be complex and time-consuming, so it’s important to work closely with your lawyer to ensure that your patent application is complete and meets all the requirements of the USPTO.
Common information that can help your patent lawyer if you give it to the lawyer in advance
Describe the overall architecture of a computer system
For software inventions, the overall architecture of a computer system should not be overlooked. It’s no secret that a computer system is a complex concoction of hardware, software and firmware, all of which must be addressed for optimal performance. In order to keep all of these moving parts from merrily mucking about, the wise inventor must engage with his coder counterpart. Ideally, this should occur during the planning stages, but it’s not always possible.
The best way to do this is to enlist the help of a knowledgeable patent attorney. Among other things, he’ll need to explain to you in plain English the functional efficiencies of various components. A software patent application does not require full-blown coding, but it does require a detailed specification of what you’re trying to achieve. For example, you’ll need to know what type of machine your software is to be written for. You’ll also need to identify the components it’s executing on, such as memory and hard drive space.
If you want to get the most out of your patent application, make sure to delve into the details of the system in detail. This means making a detailed list of the components you’re putting into play, as well as defining a set of guidelines for their use. Not only will this ensure that your software is designed with maximum efficiency, it will also ensure that you’re protected if the inevitable happens.
A thorough analysis of a software patent application can prove rewarding. Among other things, you’ll be able to find out which systems can be augmented with the latest and greatest. In addition, you’ll learn what is most important for securing your software’s coveted patent. Having a clear understanding of the functional efficiencies of different components will allow you to identify and address gaps in the architecture.
Document everything in the application
A software patent is not for the faint of heart, but a qualified patent attorney can help you wade through the red tape. If you’re lucky, you may be able to claim your patent without breaking a sweat. The good news is, your patent will be enforceable for years to come. Of course, you’ll have to pay up. Luckily, the fee is usually nominal, and you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re covered. Regardless of what you choose to do, it’s always best to document everything in the software patent application to ensure you don’t miss anything. Keeping track of your documentation is a worthwhile endeavor, and a no brainer in the long term.
While you’re at it, you’ll also want to take a break from the computer to enjoy a few drinks, or at least read a few pages of a quality novel. Not only will you be in a better frame of mind, but you’ll be rewarded with an improved work-life balance. For this reason, you’ll probably find yourself with more time to read.
Do a comprehensive software patent search
A software patent is an important legal protection against similar software. It prevents competitors from developing and using the same software. However, it is not enough to achieve a company’s goals.
To qualify for a patent, the invention must be unique, useful and non-obvious. For this reason, it is best to do a comprehensive software patent search.
The search can be done by yourself or with a patent lawyer. However, it is best to hire a lawyer. They are better equipped to identify and defend your invention. And a seasoned lawyer can help you draft a patent application.
In order to be eligible for a patent, your software must contain an “inventive step.” This is a step that is significantly different from the ideas already known to mankind. Your invention may be patentable if it meets the criteria, but not every application will be.
You also need to show that the inventive step has a significant impact on the functionality and value of the product. For instance, if your invention reduces the amount of resources needed to complete a computing task, it may be patentable.
Another key element in winning a patent is that the technical effects of the invention must not violate the laws of nature. If the invention violates any laws of nature, the application may be denied.
To ensure that you are not infringing on other’s patents, it is vital to conduct a search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database. Using an accurate keyword search can yield results that can be used to find relevant prior art.
Performing a comprehensive software patent search can save you time and money. Moreover, it can help you identify infringing software from your competitors.
Benefits of Computer Invention Disclosure Software
If the above tasks look daunting, you should consider invention CAD software such as PowerPatent. Computer invention disclosure software can provide several benefits, including:
- Streamlining the invention submission process: The software can automate many of the tasks involved in submitting an invention, such as document generation, data entry, and communication with inventors.
- Tracking and managing submissions: The software can help organizations keep track of invention submissions and the status of each one, making it easier to manage the process.
- Improving collaboration and communication: The software can facilitate communication and collaboration between inventors, patent attorneys, and other stakeholders, making it easier to get feedback and make decisions.
- Enhancing security: The software can help organizations protect the confidentiality and security of invention submissions and related information.
- Improving efficiency: By automating many tasks and streamlining communication and collaboration, the software can help organizations save time and resources.
Benefits of working with patent attorneys who use computer-aided patent drafting tools
There are many benefits to working with patent attorneys who use computer assisted patent drafting tools (CAPDT).
- Increased efficiency: The CAPDT can automate many tasks in patent drafting such as numbering and formatting. This can help to save time and increase efficiency.
- Accuracy: CAPDT can improve accuracy and consistency in the drafting process of patent applications, reducing the chance of errors and omissions.
- Better organization: CAPDT is a tool that allows you to organize and manage all components of your patent application. This makes it easier for attorneys to find and refer to relevant information.
- Improved communication: Some CAPDT tools allow for collaboration and communication. This can make it easier for attorneys to share information with clients and collaborate with other members of the team.
- Improved searchability: CAPDT makes it easier to search for and locate relevant information in the patent applications. This can help save time and improve quality.
- Improved visualization: Some CAPDT tools allow you to visualize the invention and its workings. This can be an effective tool to communicate and describe the invention and make it more appealing to licensees and investors.
- Better compatibility: CAPDT makes it easier to create and maintain patent applications in various formats and languages. This can be advantageous if the application will be filed in more than one country.
- Improved compliance: CAPDT helps to ensure compliance to the laws and regulations relating to patent drafting. This can reduce the chance of the patent application being rejected or invalidated.
- Streamlining communication: if the attorney and the client use the same software such as the PowerPatent software, they can collaborate and expedite the completion of the patent application.
Important to remember that CAPDT tools are not meant to replace the expertise of an attorney. Therefore, the attorney should be skilled in their use to get the best results.