What I’ve Learned

I have filed five provisional patent applications and two nonprovisional applications over the last two-and-a-half years. I took and passed the USPTO exam for becoming a registered Patent practitioner. Based on this experience, here is what I’ve learned as an independent inventor filing his own application.

Pros

  • The availability of the Internet, the relatively low cost and high capability of personal computers, the availability of resources such as
    • Google search
    • DesignCad drawing software
    • FreePatentsOnline.com
    • Google Patent Search
    • Patent It Yourself book
    • Invention Analysis and Claiming book

make “Do-It-Yourself” patent writing within the reach of many inventors at a relatively low financial cost.

  • Writing my own patent applications improved my inventions through an invent-write-improve iterative procedure.
  • Patent application writing is an extremely satisfying endeavor for me.

Cons

  • Writing my own disclosure and claims is risky since the invention has to be protected from:
    • existing prior art that has been uncovered by inventor at filing
    • prior art that surfaces during patent prosecution after inventor has filed
    • others who will attempt to work around or break the patent
    • infringers who violate the patent after the patent issues
  • The claim writing process is very challenging and is difficult for many.
  • Evaluating prior art is tricky, because interpreting the claims, based on complex US patent law, is tricky.

Conclusions

The frugal inventor:

  • Can and should prepare most of the patent application herself.
  • Should consult with a registered patent practitioner for help and guidance as needed to get maximum protection for the invention.