The process of obtaining a patent can be a complex and challenging journey for inventors. While patents can provide valuable protection for their inventions, there are several common mistakes that inventors often make that can result in lost patent rights, wasted time and money, and narrow or invalid patents.
By being aware of these mistakes and taking steps to avoid them, inventors can increase their chances of obtaining a strong and enforceable patent that provides the desired level of protection for their invention. Here are five that we commonly see in our practice:
- Waiting too long to file for a patent: Some inventors wait too long to file for a patent, which can result in a loss of patent rights. Inventors have contacted us years after they started selling or disclosing a product and they were too late. In the US, inventors have one year from the date of public disclosure or sale to file a patent application, otherwise, they may be barred from obtaining a patent.
- Failing to conduct a thorough patent search: Before filing a patent application, inventors should conduct a thorough patent search to determine if their invention is already patented or if there is prior art that could prevent their invention from being patented. Failing to conduct a thorough patent search can result in a wasted investment of time and money.
- Inadequate patent specification: A patent specification is a detailed written description of the invention that must enable a person of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention. Generally, you cannot add to a specification once filed. Inadequate patent specification can lead to a narrow or no scope of patent protection and make it easier for competitors to design around the patent.
- Poor drafting of patent claims: Patent claims define the scope of the invention and the legal protection sought. Poorly drafted patent claims can limit the scope of protection or even result in the patent being invalid.
- Public disclosure of the invention before filing a patent application: In many countries, including the US, any public disclosure of an invention before filing a patent application can prevent the inventor from obtaining a patent. Inventors should always file a patent application or a provisional application for a patent before disclosing their inventions to the public.
By avoiding these common mistakes, inventors can increase their chances of obtaining a strong and enforceable patent that provides the desired level of protection for their invention. If you have additional questions about patents or you would like to discuss your options to protect your invention, our patent attorneys are here to assist clients located anywhere in the United States. Simply contact our law firm at (888) 666-0062 or click here to schedule an Initial Discovery Session online.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.