What is the first to file patent rule?

What is the first-to-file system? US patent laws no longer recognize who was first to invent, but rather who applied first for a patent. It’s basically a race to the USPTO and whoever files first wins the right to apply for a patent on their invention. To be clear, first-to-file does not mean that whoever […]

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What is a priority date?

What does priority date mean? Priority date refers to the earliest filing date in a family of patent applications. Where only a single patent application is involved, the priority date would obviously be the filing date of the sole application. If an applicant has filed a number of related patent applications, the priority date would […]

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What Should Chinese Applicants Know About US Design Patents?

Reasons for Procuring US Design Patents Chinese design patent owners will already know the benefits of design patent protection in the US. Unlike US utility patents, a typical US design patent may be obtained more quickly and for less money. The allowance rate of US design applications, particularly upon a first review by the patent examiner […]

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What are negative claim limitations?

What is a negative claim limitation? A negative claim limitation is language recited in a patent claim that speaks to the absence of a feature, as opposed to a positive claim limitation that recites the presence of a feature. Negative limitations might be recited with words such as “devoid,” “absence,” “without,” “(whatever)-less,” “not including,” “excluding,” […]

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How to Transfer Ownership of Patents

Who owns the patent? Clients applying for patents for the first time often express a hesitation in identifying inventors, especially when they (the principals of the company) are not the inventors. Those concerns are typically allayed when they understand that a patent assignment can easily transfer ownership of the patent rights to another entity. Why […]

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What is prior art?

Drawing the line between old and new The term “prior art” is frequently used in the patent world to refer to what already exists. It’s the old stuff that can’t be patented again. Prior art may consist of documents, things and processes that have been sold or used in the past. When it comes to the […]

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What are Section 112 indefinite rejections?

Office Actions rejecting claims as being indefinite Patent claims must follow certain rigid rules in terms of format and language. For this reason, claims will often read like a foreign language because the grammar and structure seem a bit off. The good news is that, in most cases, indefiniteness under Section 112 may be resolved by […]

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What are excess claims fees and multiple dependent fees?

What are excess claims? Excess claims come into play only in a non-provisional application. There are no excess claims fees in filing a provisional or PCT application. The USPTO initial filing fees for a utility non-provisional application include the basic filing fee, search fee and examination fee. These standard initial filing fees allow an applicant […]

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What is a patentability search (novelty search)?

Why do a patentability search? The purpose of a patentability search is to find out if your invention may be patentable by searching relevant prior art. A patentability search does not consider infringement, so a patentable invention is not necessarily safe from infringement. If you’re concerned about infringement, consider a freedom-to-operate (FTO) search. The main questions answered […]

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