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Patent Basics Stuart J. West, P.E. West & Associates A Professional Corporation 2121 N. California Blvd., Suite 290 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 Tel: 925.465.4603.

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Presentation on theme: "Patent Basics Stuart J. West, P.E. West & Associates A Professional Corporation 2121 N. California Blvd., Suite 290 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 Tel: 925.465.4603."— Presentation transcript:

1 Patent Basics Stuart J. West, P.E. West & Associates A Professional Corporation 2121 N. California Blvd., Suite 290 Walnut Creek, CA Tel: x10 Fax:

2 Topics Presented How Long Does It Take To Get A Patent? How Long Does It Take To Get A Patent? How Much Does It Cost To Get A Patent? How Much Does It Cost To Get A Patent? What Does A Patent Get Me? What Does A Patent Get Me? When Should I File For A Patent? When Should I File For A Patent? Can I Protect My Idea Without A Patent? Can I Protect My Idea Without A Patent? Do I Need A Patent Lawyer? Do I Need A Patent Lawyer? What Can West & Associates Do For Me? What Can West & Associates Do For Me?

3 How Long To Get A Patent The first answer is, as you might expect, it depends. The first answer is, as you might expect, it depends. However, in general most patents are issued within about 30 to 36 months from the date of filing. However, in general most patents are issued within about 30 to 36 months from the date of filing. BUT, patents related to software are currently taking about 4 years. BUT, patents related to software are currently taking about 4 years. BUT, patents related to food and/or mechanical items are currently taking about 18 – 24 months. BUT, patents related to food and/or mechanical items are currently taking about 18 – 24 months.

4 Costs Once again, this can vary depending on the complexity of the invention Once again, this can vary depending on the complexity of the invention However, typical simple inventions have the following approximate average costs However, typical simple inventions have the following approximate average costs Preparing and Filing Application: $3,800 Preparing and Filing Application: $3,800 Corresponding with Patent Office: $1,800 Corresponding with Patent Office: $1,800 Patent Issuance Fees: $1,000 Patent Issuance Fees: $1,000 Maintenance Fees: $500, $1000, $2000 Maintenance Fees: $500, $1000, $2000 Due at 3 ½, 7 ½ & 11 ½ Years after patent is issued. These are required to keep your patent in force. Due at 3 ½, 7 ½ & 11 ½ Years after patent is issued. These are required to keep your patent in force. Costs to Prepare, File and Correspond With The Patent Office Can Vary Widely Depending On the Level of Complexity of Your Invention. Costs to Prepare, File and Correspond With The Patent Office Can Vary Widely Depending On the Level of Complexity of Your Invention.

5 What Do I Get? A Patent IS the right to stop others from making, using, selling or importing your invention. A Patent IS the right to stop others from making, using, selling or importing your invention. A Patent is NOT the right to make or use your invention. A Patent is NOT the right to make or use your invention. Example: Example: Lets say Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and got a patent on it and you invented a telephone with a flashing light (for hard of hearing people) and got a patent on it. In order to make and sell your telephone with a flashing light, you would need to get a license from Mr. Bell for the basic telephone. Mr. Bell could make and sell his telephone (without the flashing light) without your permission. However, he could not make a telephone with a flashing light without your permission. Lets say Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and got a patent on it and you invented a telephone with a flashing light (for hard of hearing people) and got a patent on it. In order to make and sell your telephone with a flashing light, you would need to get a license from Mr. Bell for the basic telephone. Mr. Bell could make and sell his telephone (without the flashing light) without your permission. However, he could not make a telephone with a flashing light without your permission.

6 When Should I File? The simple answer is, BEFORE you make any public disclosures about your invention. The simple answer is, BEFORE you make any public disclosures about your invention. However, if you ONLY want a US patent and are willing to FOREVER GIVE UP all foreign rights, you can file your patent application up to 1 year after you first publicly disclose your idea or after you first sell your idea. However, if you ONLY want a US patent and are willing to FOREVER GIVE UP all foreign rights, you can file your patent application up to 1 year after you first publicly disclose your idea or after you first sell your idea. This does not mean that you should wait until one year passes before you contact a patent attorney. You should contact a patent attorney as soon as you know you want to file a patent application. This does not mean that you should wait until one year passes before you contact a patent attorney. You should contact a patent attorney as soon as you know you want to file a patent application.

7 Alternatives to Patents! Trade Secrets Trade Secrets If you can keep your idea a secret and still profit from it, you could benefit from keeping it as a trade secret. However, once anyone figures your idea out, they can use it and you have no protection. If you can keep your idea a secret and still profit from it, you could benefit from keeping it as a trade secret. However, once anyone figures your idea out, they can use it and you have no protection. Copyrights Copyrights If your idea has some artistic expression (sculpture, design, book, software source code, etc.), you may be able to protect it via copyright. Copyright protections last longer than patent protection, but are generally considered weaker than patent rights. If your idea has some artistic expression (sculpture, design, book, software source code, etc.), you may be able to protect it via copyright. Copyright protections last longer than patent protection, but are generally considered weaker than patent rights. Invention Registrations Invention Registrations An invention registration simply allows you to make your invention public and it puts you on record as the inventor. Invention registrations really do not offer any protection. An invention registration simply allows you to make your invention public and it puts you on record as the inventor. Invention registrations really do not offer any protection. Trademarks Trademarks If you have a name or symbol that is associated with your creation that you would like to prevent others from using, you may be able to protect the name or symbol by obtaining a trademark registration. If you have a name or symbol that is associated with your creation that you would like to prevent others from using, you may be able to protect the name or symbol by obtaining a trademark registration.

8 Do I Need a Patent Lawyer? If you plan on filing a patent application, then the answer is YES! If you plan on filing a patent application, then the answer is YES! The process of obtaining a patent can best be described as a daunting and challenging task for a person not trained in the patent law and the procedures of the Patent and Trademark Office. The process of obtaining a patent can best be described as a daunting and challenging task for a person not trained in the patent law and the procedures of the Patent and Trademark Office. The consequences of making a mistake in obtaining a patent are serious and likely permanent. The consequences of making a mistake in obtaining a patent are serious and likely permanent. Do you know the legal difference between comprising and consisting or the legal difference between wherein and whereby? If you dont know the answers to these questions then you are playing with fire by drafting or prosecuting a patent application without the help of an experienced patent attorney. Do you know the legal difference between comprising and consisting or the legal difference between wherein and whereby? If you dont know the answers to these questions then you are playing with fire by drafting or prosecuting a patent application without the help of an experienced patent attorney.

9 What Can West & Associates Do For You? West & Associates specializes in the preparation and prosecution of patent applications before the United States Patent and Trademark Office and various other international Patent Offices. Our team of experts will competently guide your patent application through the procedural and legal minefields of the United States and/or foreign National Patent Offices. West & Associates specializes in the preparation and prosecution of patent applications before the United States Patent and Trademark Office and various other international Patent Offices. Our team of experts will competently guide your patent application through the procedural and legal minefields of the United States and/or foreign National Patent Offices. West & Associates can also prepare and file Trademark and/or Copyright applications, as appropriate. West & Associates can also prepare and file Trademark and/or Copyright applications, as appropriate. Finally, West & Associates can assist you in negotiating and drafting license agreements to exploit your idea. Finally, West & Associates can assist you in negotiating and drafting license agreements to exploit your idea.

10 Contact Us West & Associates A Professional Corporation 2121 N. California Blvd, Suite 290 Walnut Creek, CA Tel: Fax:


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