Hello, the invention is an automatic solar powered snow removal system with applications on driveways, sidewalks, gutters, parking lots, stairs, and roofs. They all use the same operational design but each one is a different size so should the patent be in a bundle or have a patent for each application? The driveway application has an additional feature of being able to move cars without ever starting their engines. The gutter functionality works for cleaning debris and preventing ice dams. Im looking to join an investor site but am concerned people could copycat because it is a ridiculously simple design. Thank you
You really need to talk to an experienced patent attorney and come up with an overall patent strategy that makes sense for you IP-wise, business-wise, and financially.
There are methods to this, including benefits to multiple applications, single applications, continuations, continuations in part, etc.
A public forum isn't the place for this, as you need to confidentially come up with a full strategy that meets your specific needs.
Generally, the size of the device will not require additional patent applications or patent claims - not unless there is something uniquely achieved by the change in size. It would be best to speak to an intellectual property attorney to review all of your opportunities.
My answer is general information, neither constituting legal advice nor resulting an attorney-client relationship.
You should not put a description of an invention in a public forum, which is what this is, prior to filing a patent application.
Although there is a 1 year grace period in the U.S., there is no such grace period in many foreign countries, and you may lose the ability to obtain a patent based on your conduct, such as a public disclosure that you may have made.
You should discuss with an intellectual property attorney in a private consultation.
Legal Disclaimer- the information provided herein is not legal advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt by you does not constitute, an attorney / client relationship. Although effort has been made to ensure that the answers are correct, Law Office of Walter Tencza Jr. cannot and does not offer any warranty, express or implied that the answers contained are accurate statements of law. This document is provided for informational purposes only. Viewers must not act upon any information without first seeking advice from a qualified attorney outside the context of this document.
I recommend that you contact a patent attorney -- many of us work nationally and offer free initial consultations. Why not use one?
There are a couple points here, touched on by others.
1. The America Invents Act in 2011 remarkably changed the law. Before 2013 (when the AIA went into effect), an inventor had legal tools that would provide acceptable (not perfect, but acceptable) protection while you shopped your invention around, tested it, perfected it. The 2011 AIA changed all this, so you have no protection until you have a patent application filed. So the intuitions you may have about "the way to do things" has to change.
2. A nondisclosure agreement is essential. NDAs are not cookie-cutter documents; each has to be tailored to a specific use. It it's too weak, you're not protected. If it's too strong, the people you want to talk to will think you're a grabby jerk, and won't talk to you. So talk to a lawyer that has real practical business experience getting deals done.
3. In general, when I have a client with multiple inventions, I bundle all the inventions into a single specification, and then parcel the claims out into separate applications. For an example, look at U.S. Pat. No. 7,065,633 -- the inventors had about 80 inventions, which are all collected into this one specification, and we parceled them out into 25 separate applications. This looks like the approach you should consider. Again, doing this successfully requires the help of an experienced attorney.
4. For the same reasons discussed in item 1, provisional applications are much less useful and protective than they were before 2013. You used ot be able to file a minimal document as a provisional application -- it wouldn't actually protect anything, but it would at least nail down a "date of conception." But "conception" is no longer relevant; the law now demands a full disclosure, even in a provisional application. So to get that, you need the help of a patent attorney.
I'm sorry to be giving you such expensive news. Write a letter to Sen. Patrick Leahy, Rep. Lamar Smith, Rep. Robert Goodlatte, and Rep. Darrel Issa and tell them that the AIA is making it impossible for small startups to get off the ground, and ask them to reinstate section 102(a)-(f) as they stood before 2011.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline