There is a lot to think about when creating an invention. So much so that many inventors don't consider patentability issues until after a prototype is complete. Inventions must be novel and non-obvious to be granted a patent. Patents are at their heart comprised of claims. A claim is a statement of the legal boundaries of the invention - how it's made, what it does, how it can be used, etc. These claims are the criteria used by the patent office to determine whether to grant the patent, or to determine if another entity is infringing on the patent, thereby allowing the holder to exercise their rights to stop the use or production of an infringing product.
Writing claims is where patent law meets art. If the claims are overly broad it can lead to one or more of several problems. Broad claims, because they can restrict so much of a potential market, are very heavily scrutinized by patent examiners. This leads to more back and forth between the examiner and your attorney, not only driving up costs but also taking up valuable time. Overly broad claims are much more likely to be challenged in court, potential costing thousands of dollars or more. They are also less likely to be valid when held up to scrutiny. On the other hand if the patent's claims are too narrow it makes it very easy for someone to develop a competing product by designing around your patent that doesn't actually infringe your patent, thereby making it virtually useless. The difference between a good patent attorney and a great one is the quality of their claims - if the right balance is struck you wind up with a patent that is enforceable, broad enough to prevent competition and maintain your monopoly on your invention, yet specific enough to stand up to scrutiny. This is where experience is key. This is where Attorney Wheelock shines.
When beginning the process of writing a patent, it is absolutely necessary to do a thorough search of existing patents to make sure that your product is indeed novel and non-obvious. Very often this search turns up existing patents that influence the way claims are written, and in many of these cases a refinement to the invention may be warranted to make it patentable. In situations like these you not only need a lawyer - you need a scientist. Attorney Wheelock is both. He can help you develop and understand the modifications that may need to be done in order to make your invention patentable and bring it to the market.
If you have an idea or invention and want to know if it is patentable or not, please contact us and get your free consultation today.