ROBERT E. MALM, Ph.D
ATTORNEY AT LAW
CLAIMCRAFTED™ PATENT APPLICATIONS
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO PATENT PROTECTION
A person's right to the protection of his or her intellectual property is provided by the United States Constitution:
The Congress shall have power . . .
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8
Inventions are one form of intellectual property. Inventions can be protected by patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (patent office).
PATENT OFFICE AND PATENT ATTORNEYS
The patent office establishes rules and procedures which govern the issuance of patents. Patent attorneys who can demonstrate a certain level of knowledge and competence may be registered to practice before the patent office. There are now about 20,000 registered patent attorneys.
PATENT ATTORNEYS AND QUALITY OF CLAIMS
The legal specification of a patented invention is provided by the patent claims which are supposed to particularly point out and distinctly claim the subject matter which the inventor regards as his invention. A patent is frequently deficient in the quality of its claims, and the inventor is thereby denied the degree of protection of his invention to which he was entitled. The patent attorney who constructed the claims is, of course, the person responsible for the claims not being of the highest quality.
It is only since I became a patent attorney that I have come to realize that there is such a thing as quality in claims. In my inventing days, I had always assumed that writing claims was more or less an automated response by a patent attorney to an inventor's disclosure. I believed that claims are like cookies—they are basically the same regardless of who wields the cookie cutter.
I now realize that a patent's protection is only as good as the quality of the claims. The common misconception that it makes no difference as to which patent attorney secures your patent is a myth.
WHY QUALITY CLAIMS ARE RARE
Quality claims are those written to include all possible embodiments of an invention except those disclosed in the prior art. Patent attorneys do not consciously avoid writing quality claims. They simply lack the ability or are compelled by their circumstances not to expend the time and effort required to write quality claims and thereby provide the patent protection that their clients deserve. Attorneys are usually not equipped by training or experience to envision the conceptual basis of an invention. A bachelor's degree in engineering, by itself, does not provide a patent attorney with the conceptual capabilities required to write quality claims.
CLAIMCRAFTEDTM PATENT APPLICATIONS
CLAIMCRAFTEDTM patent applications are patent applications with quality claims created by the CLAIMCRAFTINGTM process. The CLAIMCRAFTINGTM process is a process I have devised for writing quality claims. The CLAIMCRAFTINGTM process provides the means for claiming the invention rather than just an embodiment of the invention.
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An understanding of patents requires a knowledge of the patent process, the players that engage in the process, the instrument that provides the focus for the process, the rules governing the process, and the means for providing oversight of the actions of the players.
If you are an inventor or the assignee of an inventor's rights to an invention, then you should also be aware of certain myths concerning patents. Dispelling such myths is a prime objective of this web site.
Hopefully, this tutorial will enable you, as an inventor or assignee seeking a patent, to make choices that will maximize the value of your "prize"—a U.S. patent.
CONTACT INFORMATIONTelephone: 310 459 8728
FAX: 310 573 1781
© 2002 Robert Malm