We usually begin with a discussion with project leaders to determine what the patent needs are. We then work with management to identify the inventions that require patent protection. We also work with management to determine possible foreign markets where patent protection may be required.
Once the initial framework has been set, we begin to meet with inventors. A “disclosure” meeting with an inventor usually takes about two hours. During this time the inventor helps us determine what the invention is. We also try to make some sketches of the system and how it works. We also work with the inventor to determine whether there is any “prior art” that we need to provide to the patent office. We may also conduct a prior art search to help us determine a strategy around potential prior art.
We then spend a few weeks in our office while we “draft” (write) the patent application. Our attorneys have the training and experience to be able draft patent applications that will stand the test in any country in the world. We also work with a drawing drafts person to make formal drawings for the patent application. See How to write a patent application for more.
We then send the finalized patent application to the inventor for their review. After we receive the inventor’s comments, we finalize the patent application and send it to the inventor again. When the patent application is ready to be filed, we provide the inventor with official forms for signature. We then proceed to file the patent application and report the filing to the inventor and other interested parties.
Following the filing of the patent application, we prefer to follow a path of least intrusion upon the inventor’s time. The patent application is usually examined within 18-24 months. We report each office action that we receive from the Patent Office to the company. We will usually prepare and file a response to an office action without any input from the inventor, although a client may wish to be actively involved in the “prosecution” process.
For larger portfolios we provide a report of the status of all matters to the company. We usually generate the report on a monthly basis, although it is possible for us to generate the report more frequently. We can also generate a docket report that shows all upcoming dates for the portfolio.