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Help me with my patent application


I get a lot of inquiries from potential clients asking for me to “review” the patent application they drafted themselves. They are often nonplused to hear that we cannot help them. After fifteen years of patent drafting it still takes me about 5-8 hours to draft a single sentence for the first claim of the patent application.

Just as I would caution someone not to trust an open heart surgeon willing to talk them through the procedure over the phone, I would shy away from any attorney willing to merely review a client’s patent application. It is very likely a clement may indeed get a patent on their own (a little known hint is that the examiners at the Patent Office are supposed to assist inventors in writing acceptable claim language).

The problem is that the patent will be so narrow, that it will be essentially worthless. A patent claim (which defines the scope of protection) is a laundry list of the essential elements which combine to make the invention. If a competitor eliminates even one of these elements, they do not infringe. A client drafted claim, especially one written with the help of a patent examiner, will likely contain too many elements, making it very easy to circumvent.

Even after three years of law school and a year in practice, I could not write a good claim. I could write an allowable claim, but not a good claim. My mentors always had to chisel down my work to get to a claim that was not only allowable, but which actually had some value. It actually took them about twice as long to help me fix my application, as it would have been for them to have written it themselves.

For the same reason, it is easier for me to write a patent application from scratch. There are literally millions of inventions out there that never get patented because the time and money involved in the patent process is just too high. If there was a way for a patent attorney to “review” patents for a smaller fee, they would have so many clients they would be rich beyond their wildest dreams.

While there are ways to defray the costs over a longer period of time, I am not aware of any business savvy avenues to decrease the overall costs. If you have questions about the process, or about ways to delay certain costs, feel free to contact me at trout@bretttrout.com Good Luck!

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