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Writing a Patent Application

By Andrew

On 01, Jun 2013 | In | By Andrew

Writing a Patent Application

Over the years, I’ve had clients give me invention disclosures in all sorts of forms, ranging from a quick phone call to a complete, written document that looks a lot like a patent application. More often, clients are uncertain at first: “What do you need from me?” they’ll ask, “What is the process of writing a patent application like?”

My philosophy: writing a patent application may be one of the most difficult jobs in the legal world, but it should not be difficult for the client. I usually begin with whatever materials are available — drawings, written descriptions, even wrinkled cocktail napkins with sketches on them. In a first conversation that usually lasts 1-2 hours, I talk with the inventor or inventors, work through the disclosure materials, and try to make sure I understand the invention as completely as possible. As I often say to clients, during that process, I may ask a lot of stupid questions; the faster the stupid questions are answered, the faster I can get to the smart ones.

That initial conversation may cover additional legal and business matters, like who the inventors are, whether or not the invention has been publicly disclosed, who the competitors are, and information about the market for the invention.

Once I understand the invention well, I sit down to write a patent application. That process can be done quickly if there is some reason for filing the application quickly, but it usually takes a few weeks. I also work with professional patent illustrators to turn whatever sketches, CAD drawings, or photographs are available into patent drawings that meet the official requirements. Once a rough draft of the application is ready, I share it with the inventors, and we collaborate on the text until it is ready for filing.

In very rare cases, I may revise a text that the inventor has prepared or work collaboratively with an inventor to prepare a first draft, but I’ve found that the process is faster and less expensive for the client if I prepare a first draft. Of course, no patent application is filed until the client is completely happy with it.