Steps You Can Take to Assist Your Patent Agent
1. Providing Background
Every invention solves a problem. Prepare some background information setting forth what the problem is. Prepare some background information as to what alternative technologies are presently available as prior art for addressing the problem and why yours is a more attractive solution.
2. Providing Drawings
There is a duty upon every person applying for a patent to describe their invention in such a full and complete manner as to enable a person “skilled in the art” to make and use it. We are not to provide fabrication drawings. The patent office is not concerned about exact dimensions and tolerances. The patent office does not want to be shown a plurality of parts drawings. What you do need are as many exterior views as may be required to show important exterior features and as many section views as may be required to show important internal features. With some key assemblies or some key components, individual parts may be shown. Where there is movement, simplified drawings should be provided to show the various movements. With a method patent, the drawing should show the various steps in the methodpreferably one drawing for each step. For a kit patent, the parts in the kit should be illustrated together in one drawing and then the steps in the assembly of the kit should be illustrated in individual drawings. You should provide the patent agent with two sets of drawings. One set has no markings and is for the patent agents use in preparing the patent application. On the other set the parts should be labelled, along with any explanatory notes you feel might assist the patent agent.
3. Claiming the Invention
The job of a patent agent is to “claim” the invention. To do a proper job he must examine the invention and break it down into essential components and non-essential components. All essential components are set forth in Claim 1. Without those essential components the invention will not work at all. The non-essential components all are enhancements that improve performance. For example, although an automobile will operate without any windows, it is preferred that windows be provided for the comfort and safety of the passengers. You can assist the patent agent by indicating those features that you feel are non-essential and stating the reason you chose to include them.
4. Deadlines Arising from Public Disclosure
Some countries do not allow you to obtain a patent if you have publicly exposed your invention prior to applying. Canada and the United States allow you a period of one year from the date of such public disclosure to apply for your patent. You should advise the patent agent as to whether there has been any public disclosure. If there has been a public disclosure you should notify the patent agent as to the date of that disclosure, so he can calculate the one year deadline he must meet. If there has not been any public disclosure, you must notify the patent agent in advance of your publicly disclosing the invention.