Thursday, February 5, 2009

Provisional Patent Application: Patent It Yourself!

Wow. This was a pain in the ass! Today I finished our provisional patent applications for two patents we're hoping to secure. I'll spare you the details. We've been looking to get this up for about a year. And fortunately we held off. Why? Because provisional patent applications only protect the invention for a year before you need to file a full patent application. Those are of the $10,000 variety. With a provisional patent app, you're protected, for just a few hundred dollar filing fee. So, had we filed last year, we'd be up for a fill application filing now. And no, we don't have the $20K necessary!

Part of the reason it took so long was having to figure out how to write the application. Sure, you can look at some online, through the US Patent Office or from Google (here). Google lets you lookup about 7 million patents, which is quite a bit. They only go back to the 70's I believe, but for software technology, this should generally suffice. But it doesn't really explain everything. And yea, you can hire an attorney. But then there are their fees.

The real help here was a book I recently read. Or at least browsed, because it's thick. And wordy. And boring. But it's quite clear on how you can write your own patent application. So it's great for what it does. But a novel it isn't. The book is called Patent It Yourself by patent attorney David Pressman. I'll try to find some time to detail how to go about doing it, without the need for hiring a lawyer. But if you don't want to wait for a day that may never arrive, you can purchase it here.

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