What to Expect During Your Initial Patenting Session
During the initial patenting session, you will meet directly with one of the partners of our firm so that we can assess the availability of legal protection for your new idea. A variety of critical factors are analyzed at this stage, different protection options are discussed, and a customized strategy is developed for preserving and securing exclusive legal rights to your invention.
We understand that you may be proceeding with patent protection for the first time and may not be familiar with the process. As such, we have prepared the following overview of what you can expect during this important initial meeting.
Preparation of a Written Confidentiality Agreement: As Registered Patent Attorneys licensed to practice before the United States Patent & Trademark Office, we are legally bound by Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations (Section 10.57) to maintain the strictest confidentiality of any ideas disclosed to us. Furthermore, we will provide you with a written Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement signed by a partner of the firm. In addition to providing you with peace of mind, this Agreement will provide written documentation supporting a conception date for your idea and possibly serve as evidence of a reduction to practice.
Determination of Statutory Subject Matter: In order for an invention to be patentable, it must be seen to constitute patentable subject matter as set forth in 35 U.S.C. Section 101. We will review your idea for patentable subject matter during our first meeting.
Review of Critical Statutory Deadlines: Patent rights can be lost forever if any of a number of critical statutory deadlines are missed. During our first meeting, the factual circumstances surrounding the conception and development of your idea will be evaluated to determine if patent protection is still available. If it is still possible to preserve rights in your idea (e.g., you have not already missed any statutory deadlines), we will provide a specific plan for proceeding with obtaining legal protection.
Availability of Foreign Protection: Depending upon a number of factors relating to your specific idea, patent protection may be available outside of the United States. During our first meeting, we will determine the availability of foreign patent protection on your idea and explain the steps necessary to preserve/secure such rights.
Appropriate Type of Patent Protection: There are two major types of patents issued by the United States Patent & Trademark Office, namely, utility patents and design patents. A utility patent protects the utility or function of an invention. On the other hand, a design patent protects the overall look or appearance. By the conclusion of our first meeting, we will have determined which type of protection is appropriate in your case.
Patent Novelty Search: We will carefully review the disclosure of your invention and discuss different search options you may want to consider in order to determine the state of the art in the field of your invention and/or to assist in evaluating the availability of patent protection.
Distinguishing Your Invention From Existing Technology: In order to obtain patent protection, it will be necessary to distinguish your invention from the prior art. During our first meeting, we will review the problems, limitations, and disadvantages associated with existing solutions that are overcome by your invention.
Review of Working Models, Prototypes, or Illustrations: Although a working model is not required prior to filing an application, we encourage clients who have prepared a prototype to bring it to the initial meeting along with any written descriptions, sketches, computer-aided drawings or pictures of their invention. We will evaluate your prototype and/or other disclosure materials to determine whether additional disclosure information will be necessary to provide an adequate description to a professional patent searcher, generate formal patent drawings and/or to commence drafting of a patent application.
Review of Flowchart: If your invention pertains to a method or process, we request that you prepare a flowchart or, alternatively, a description listing each of the steps required to practice the invention. If your invention relates to a software-implemented process, or an internet-based business method, it will be helpful if you provide any available screen shots or the like at the initial meeting to aid in determining what, if any, additional disclosure is necessary.
Review Availability of Trademark Protection: If you have already developed a word, phrase, logo, slogan, design, or combination of these elements to identify your product or service, it may be advisable to pursue federal trademark protection. During the initial meeting, we will discuss the availability of trademark protection in your particular situation.
Review Availability of Copyright Protection: There may be creative components of your idea expressed in sales brochures, advertising materials, solicitation letters and emails, instruction manuals, drawings, pictures, photographs, paintings, graphical images, web-site designs, or any of a wide variety of other items. We will discuss the desirability and availability of copyright protection with you during our first meeting.
Timeline for Patent Pending Status: Based upon the type and complexity of your invention, we will provide an estimated timeline for preparing a patent application and filing the application with the Patent Office to obtain "patent pending" status.
Estimate of Legal Fees and Costs: At the conclusion of the first meeting, we will provide a fixed-fee estimate itemizing the total fees and costs associated with the preparation and filing of your patent application.
Frequently Asked Questions About Our Initial Patenting Session
Question: What is the charge for your initial patenting session and how long does it take?
Answer: There is no charge for the initial patenting session. We believe it is critical that an inventor understand the steps necessary to prevent the permanent loss of patent rights, and to have their idea witnessed and evaluated for patentability by a Registered Patent Attorney as soon as possible. The initial patenting session will typically last 30 minutes.
Please note that we set aside a specific block of time for the patenting session and it is very important that you arrive on time in order to obtain the full benefit of this meeting.
Question: What do I need to bring to the first meeting?
Answer: Please bring any materials that you feel will assist us in understanding your invention. This may include a written description of the idea and any hand-drawn or computer generated sketches. If a prototype is available, please bring it to the first meeting as well.
Question: I do not live close enough to your office for an "in-person" initial patenting session. Can I still participate?
Answer: Certainly. A number of our clients choose to participate in an initial patenting session via telephone after first sending us a description of their invention via email, fax, or regular mail.
Question: What if I am still working on improvements to my invention?
Answer: We suggest having the initial patenting session very early in the inventing process to prevent the accidental loss of patent rights. When possible, it is often advisable to preserve rights in an initial version of an idea even while you are making refinements to the invention, rather than risk the loss of rights to another.
Question: What if all my questions are not answered during the initial patenting session?
Answer: It is our goal to answer all of your questions and address any concerns during the initial patenting session so that you become knowledgeable about the ins-and-outs of preserving your patent rights. Should you desire further clarification on any matter discussed, or have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call our office.
Question: What happens after the initial patenting session?
Answer: Should you wish to proceed with legal protection for your idea, we ask that you provide a 50% retainer towards associated legal fees and costs so that we may initiate further work on your matter.