Together, we’ll begin by protecting your product idea.
My professional career as an industrial product designer gives me a unique opportunity to experience the inner mechanisms of intellectual property and patent research and drafts. Protecting your idea isn’t an afterthought for me. It’s how we’ll begin with the end in mind.
Caveat: I’m not a substitute for a patent attorney by any stretch. That being said, during my 25-year-career, I’ve worked extensively with patent attorneys, especially while performing patent research & drafts for clients.
The reward for me, is that I get to help my clients save thousands of dollars during the patent application process. I do this by prepping and researching product design patents and offering my expertise to my clients, or even by helping to craft patents prior to attorney meetings.
Bottom line? I’m here to help my clients in any way I can: your success is absolutely my success.
Do you know the difference between a design patent and utility patent?
It’s an important question that I’m asked all the time. There are indeed a few key differences we’ll talk about. Utility Patents are typically awarded when you invent, discover or engineer a new and useful process or construct. These types of patents are – you guessed it – utilitarian in nature, because your invention must be able to bring utility to the table. Not just talent or innovation, but rather, practical application that gives operational benefits of use to consumers.
As you maybe guessed, a Design Patent is used for when you’ve improved, innovated, or upgraded the style, look, or feel of a product – without upgrading or changing core functionality. It’s a wee bit more complex than it sounds, but all in all, I can help you decide which course of action is best for your idea.
With that in mind, a few places I recommend starting:
The Typical Patent Process – What to Expect
When IP (intellectual property) law is involved, I always tell my clients that it’s important to consult with a qualified lawyer. If you need a referral to a qualified IP attorney, feel free to reach out and I’m happy to provide you with a list of my vetted industry experts.
I should mention that the national average going rate for a patent attorney hovers around $250 to $350/hour, with top attorneys going for upwards of $1k per hour. That said, you can see how I’m able to provide time-saving services to keep costs down while protecting your idea and its value.
For patent research and drafts, the process looks a bit like this:
Typically, we’ll begin with a broad-brush-stroke conversation about your idea for a product design. Specifics comes later. At this point, generalities can help us decide together whether or not we’re a good fit.
Once we decide to move forward, we’ll start by executing a mutual non-disclosure agreement. This is another way we can help ensure your idea remains protected from the very start of development. After we sign the NDA, we can begin to (safely) discuss your idea. I’ll ask you more questions than you’d think would be possible. The reason for this is simple – to ensure that I have the utmost comprehension of your project from the very start, saving time and money.
Once I have a full understanding of your project, the general flow will resemble something like this:
I’ll start by looking into any comparable existing patents that may resemble your project. It’s important to know the ins and outs of what’s already out there, and what’s possible. We live in a world of ideas and those ideas are valuable currency. There may be similar patents already existing. That doesn’t mean your idea is dead in the water. Rather, the nuances of what distinguishes your product – what makes it unique – will help us build a case for its prosecution. Research is key, so I make sure it’s thorough.
This is when I prepare a list of any existing patents that might need to be addressed or talked about. We’ll have a conversation and I’ll help you understand your individual project’s patent potential at this point. You’ll be advised of any possible threats or issues, and I’ll help to point out important aspects of your product’s development that would benefit from additional legal insight. Further research and discussion is always available and ongoing, if needed.
Initial Patent Draft – Prep and Planning
If I’m not the one helping you design & develop your product, I’ll request any sketches, research, claims, or other information regarding your product design. I’ll compile an outline of the initial patent draft, and we’ll review it together. We’ll discuss any needed revisions, and then I’ll execute your finished patent draft.
Submission of Initial Patent Research & Drafts to Your Attorney
We’ll submit the patent research and draft to your IP lawyer, who will begin the review process. Ongoing discussions between you and your lawyer, as well as myself (if requested), can be expected. Your attorney will make legal recommendations and edits to include in your final draft, which can be revised by either them or myself – your choice.
Attorney files with the USPTO
Your IP attorney will directly handle the prosecution of your patent, providing you with updates and insights as your patent is submitted, reviewed, and approved by the USPTO.
Once the patent has been issued, you are now the proud owner of a newly registered patent. Congratulations! Now we can begin bringing your patent to life.