What is a patent application? What makes it good?

Do you need a design or utility patent application? Are you trying to protect the functionality or the appearance of your idea? If the appearance (how it looks) is what matters, then a design patent application may be the right type of patent application. If the unique features of your concept are functional or structural, […]

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What is a good utility patent?

What makes a utility patent good? A patent can be both a sword and shield. Defensively, a patent blocks future applicants from patenting the same invention. Offensively, a patent can be enforced to pursue licensing or to stop competitors from infringing. In this post, we’ll look at what makes for a good utility patent on […]

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What is a preferred embodiment?

What are preferred embodiments? In any other context besides patents, “preferred embodiment” would sound quite strange. Yet, the term is used so commonly and frequently in utility patents that the inexperienced reader might be tempted to gloss it without understanding its meaning. Why does a specification have to repeat it 75 times? What exactly is […]

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What is nonobvious?

What does “obvious” mean in patent language? The everyday colloquial use of the term “obvious” is so simple that it can be hard to define. Both dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster share a common definition of easily seen or understood. You can say that obviousness refers to something that is evident or recognizable. In the patent world, […]

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How does a provisional support a nonprovisional patent application?

What does a provisional patent application do? As suggested in its name, the “provisional” in provisional patent application has a connotation of temporary or conditional. A provisional application is, by nature, short term. Something further must be done to make the temporary patent rights permanent, and that something is the filing of a nonprovisional patent […]

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Fight for broader patent claims?

Broader patent claims: when less is more Before we dive into this discussion, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about what we mean by broader patent claims. When it comes patent claims, broader does not necessarily mean more. In fact, it’s the opposite. Narrow claims state several elements, or claim limitations. Broad […]

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Amended claims: What can go wrong in a patent amendment?

When are marked-up amended claims not required? Patent claims must be amended in a very particular manner. The USPTO has strict marking rules on how amended claims must be shown with respect to prior versions. The format of amended claims are generally called “marked-up” claims. There is no need to show marked-up claims in the […]

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How to understand patent claims

Understanding utility patent claims The claims are often the least understood portion of a utility patent, and yet they matter the most. Attempting to understanding utility patent claims can feel like learning a foreign language. There is a lot of funky claim language like “comprising,” “said” and “wherein,” not to mention the hierarchy of independent […]

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Why file a continuation before your patent is granted?

Why file a continuation application before your patent is granted? “I don’t know what I don’t know.” This axiom rings true especially when it comes to the future. Most patent owners cannot foresee all the ways in which competitors will try to design around their patents. So why file a continuation? It’s simple. A continuation […]

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What are negative claim limitations?

What are negative claim limitations? 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 claim limitations may be recited with words such as “devoid,” “absence,” “without,” “(whatever)-less,” “not including,” “excluding,” […]

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