* 17 Seconds #17

Patent tips you should be able to speak in one breath. OK, maybe two breaths.

Going in, your odds of getting a patent are about 50/50. The deck is stacked against inventors. US patent law has confusing requirements (such as “nonobviousness”) and the courts and the USPTO are pretending there are other requirements (such as “subject matter eligibility”). Patent examiners are credited for “disposing of” patent applications, which means that they either issue patents (sometimes) or try to get you to give up (usually). I had one examiner tell me that he hadn’t even read one application until the fourth round of examination (i.e. the fourth “office action”)!

But if you do things correctly, such as always doing a patent search and filing a solid first patent application (whether provisional or nonprovisional), then you can push the odds closer to 55/45. Which may be the difference between getting a patent or not, between the expense (which is comparable to the cost of hiring a summer intern) being worth it or not.

And, breathe.

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