Thursday, 16 August 2012

Invention update! (long overdue)

Wow, it has been some time since I posted my last blog on protection. When I last posted I was deciding whether or not to apply for a patent for my product.

I decided to go for it and and after spending quite a bit of time with my patent lawyer, he finally sent me the first draft of the application.

Well, on first read I have to admit that it might as well have been written in Klingon as it seemed to be written in another language entirely unfamiliar. On second, third and fourth reads the patent language did start to make some sense, and with my lawyer just a phonecall away to explain things I didn't understand, it became more familiar.

After some tweaking, my patent application was filed and my product status was patent pending which for me was very exciting!!

Some time later I got my first bit of bad news. For the patent to be granted there are several areas that need to be covered.
The idea cannot already exist and be patented.
The idea has to be proven to be novel and contain an inventive step.

I heard back from the examiner at the patent office and was duly sent a huge envelope with lots more Klingon written information regarding my patent. Again, by the fourth time I had read through the information my understanding was that the examiner had listed around 9 objections.

Straight on the phone to my patent lawyer who explained what I could do next.
* Do nothing and not pursue the patent application
* Overcome the objections
* File a new patent that eliminated the issues.

I decided that I would indeed prove that the objections were not an issue.

I will point out that I may have worded some of my information in a way that anyone who understands patents will probably be able to pick holes in. I am writing this with my understanding and as simplified as I can as it is all so very complex!

Throughout the process I did not want my patent lawyer to make all the decisions for me, which if I had not made any attempt to understand the patent process and applications then it would have been very easy to rely on someone else. I wanted to understand everystep of the way what I was doing and what each bit of information meant. To do this I found the easiest way was to keep reading through the information and explaining my understanding to James (my lovely man!)

Eventually I was in a position where I was able to understand the objections the examiner had raised, and I explained these to my patent lawyer who agreed that my understanding was correct. I was even able to demonstrate how to overcome the objections. Ofcourse I still very much needed the help from my patent lawyer as everything I described was in simple terms and whilst I was beginning to understand the patent language there is no possibility that I could write the language myself.

So, another document was drafted and sent back to the examiner. At this point the examiner was going to come back with 3 outcomes:
* More objections that were really not worth pursuing
* Objections to my objections (if that makes sense!)
* No more objections, leaving me in a position to move positively towards patent grant.

I was annoyed that I had paid more money to overcome the objections with the examiner, however I could not have done it alone. It was now in the hands of the examiner and I was back to playing the waiting game.