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What is a provisional patent application and why you should file it?

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A provisional patent application in India is generally used to secure an early priority date for an invention. The main advantage of filing a provisional patent application is that an applicant (or inventor) need not spend extensive time and money on drafting it and getting it filed. As an applicant, you can just describe your invention's subject matter into a readable format and file it promptly. There are no hard and fast rules to how the provisional application should be written unlike it's more extensive partner, a non-provisional patent application.  Patent law in India and across many jurisdictions allows this facility so that patent applicants do not loose out on getting an early priority date by getting confused in the intricacies of writing a non-provisional patent application. Post filing the provisional application and securing a priority date, an applicant needs to mandatorily file a non-provisional patent application (complete specification) within 1 year from th

What do patent claims mean in a patent?

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Claims in a patent are essentially clauses that define the extent of protection conferred by that patent. Claims in the patent define the boundary or scope of an invention on which protection is sought by applying for the patent. Whether an invention is patentable or not, is decided based on whether the claims are novel and inventive. This means that the claims must capture both novelty and inventive step of an invention.  A patent application is granted or rejected primarily based on the claims and not based on the description or drawings alone. Additionally,  not only from a patent examination's perspective, the claims are also an important deciding factor from a perspective of asserting your patent against an external entity that potentially infringes your patent. You may want to check out this article that describes how are claims used in checking infringement of a patent .  What are the types of claims in a patent? There are several different types of a claims in a patent. How

Can we have a patent granted worldwide?

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When you think of filing patents, you also think of the coverage provided and the costs of patents. It's only logical to presume that for cost effectiveness, it would be great if you could file a worldwide patent so you won't have to file it in each and every country separately.  But, is there something called a worldwide patent that gives you protection across the globe with a single patent application? The answer is No. There is no such provision in the patent law that allows you to file a single patent and get coverage across all the countries in the world. A patent is a territorial right , which means that the coverage a patent provides is confined to the jurisdiction/country the patent is filed in. This means that if you are a patent owner, you can exclude others from exploiting your patented invention only in the country where you filed a patent.  So, do you have to file your patent application separately in every country always? Not exactly. There are a couple of scenar

What to expect after filing a patent in India?

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Once you have filed a patent application, there are 2 possibilities: 1. The patent application gets granted . 2. The patent application gets rejected . Both the outcomes can take from a few months to several years depending on the backlog at the Patents Office. However, let's look at what you as an inventor can do in these scenarios.   If the patent gets granted, you have to pay a certain maintenance fee (called annuities) each year to maintain the patent until the expiry of the term of the patent (20 years from the earliest filing date).  If the patent, however, gets rejected by the Indian Patent Office, your application enters a patent prosecution phase. This basically includes responding to rejections from the Patent Office and/or attending hearings with the Controllers at the Patent Office.  Once the patent application is rejected, you will receive a document called a First Examination Report (FER) from the Patent Office. The FER lists, in detail, the reasons for the rejectio

Patent Infringement: Apple v/s PanOptis Patent Management LLC

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A District Court in the Eastern District of Texas has recently ordered Apple to pay $506.2 million for patent infringement , to a Patent Management company called PanOptis Patent Management LLC.  Looking at the background of this case, Panoptis (together with some other companies -  Plaintiffs Optis Wireless Technology, LLC; Optis Cellular Technology, LLC; Unwired  Planet, LLC; and Unwired Planet International Limited),  collectively filed a complaint in the District Court of Eastern District of Texas in February 2019. In the complaint, the plaintiff (PanOptis along with related parties) alleged that Apple's (the defendant) line-up of various products infringes 7 of Panoptis' LTE-based wireless standard patents and demanded a jury trial on the matter.  Panoptis further alleged that Apple was responsible for direct, induced as well as contributory infringement because all the alleged patents were standard-essential patents (SEPs), and Apple's line-up of products complied wit

How to read patents quickly?

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There are several situations where you may have to read or skim through patents quickly because of a short span of time at hand or during a research involving reading several patents. The simplest thought that comes to mind is to review each patent one by one but it can be hugely time consuming and daunting.  Below is a technique that can be used during such situations for reading scores of patents fast. While this may not teach you how to read a patent in 60 seconds, it can teach you how to review loads of patents quickly and efficiently.  Let's assume you have several patents to review. Divide the review into the following 3 layers: Layer 1 review : Skim through all the patents to shortlist relevant patents Layer 2 review : Dive a bit deeper into the shortlisted patents to select the most relevant but very few patents Layer 3 review: Throughly review those relevant patents to understand and interpret them in detail Let's us look at the 3 layers in a bit more detail:  Layer 1

How to check U.S. Patent application status

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If you have filed a patent application in U.S., this article will help you check the status of your U.S. patent application.  Before reading this article, you may also think that you can search Google patents  for this purpose. Well, you are correct, however, one downside with Google patents is that it takes some time to be updated and may not reflect the most recent patent data or legal events.  For the latest information, I recommend going to USPTO Public PAIR (short for Patent Application Information Retrieval). You can use USTPO public PAIR to retrieve all documents and related information by doing a patent search by number (application number, patent number, or publication number).  To start with, go to the above-mentioned link and you will see the below screen: Select any type of the provided numbers that are known to you and search for it. For example, in the above image, the application number is entered. Remember to comply with the suggested format in parenthesis.   You will

Idea to Patent: First 4 steps to patent your idea

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If you have an idea that you think can be patented, here are some first steps you should take to nurture the idea and to transform it into a strong patent.  If an idea is well-thought out and well-documented, a great chunk of confusion is taken away and the patent application drafting process is greatly simplified. The following illustration gives a quick overview on how to document your idea effectively and some tips on how to strategize filling an invention disclosure form.   Step 1 Define the problem statement : Although this point seems like something obvious, an inventor must concretely define the problem statement that they are attacking. There are multiple benefits of doing so. To start with, the more concrete the technical problem is, better is the direction for ideating the technical solution. Several times, a feature or a solution may be thought of as a simply 'good to have' feature but it is not necessary that it qualifies to for patentability because it does not so

How to do patent search in India using InPASS?

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Indian patents are not typically available on Google patents. The most relevant platform to search Indian patents or patent applications is InPASS  (abbreviation for 'Indian Patent Advanced Search System'), which is  the  official database of Indian Patent Office . This is an excellent tool and provides features that are either at par with the Google Patents basic search  and  advanced search tools  or are even more impactful than Google Patents search.  You would need to access InPASS for the following 2 purposes: 1. Access a patent publication by Indian patent number or Indian patent application number  2. Search for Indian patents or patent applications with a specific search criteria Let's see how to go about them: 1. Indian patent number search or patent application number search :  If you know either a granted patent's patent number, select the tab titled 'Patent E-register' and enter the number to retrieve the details of the patent. If you don't know

How to search patents using Advanced Google Patents search

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If you are familiar with how to search patents on Google , let's take your prior art search a notch higher by looking at how to do an advanced patent search using Google Patents.  Google patents is a massive but free patent database having over 11 million granted patents and over 6 million patent applications from US alone, to put things in perspective. It additionally covers several patent publications from patent offices across the globe. See the below graphic to get an idea of the patent offices covered (you can find the countries from these codes ).   Let's move on. To start with the advanced patent search, you need to access Google Patents Advanced by clicking on the 'advanced search' option on the Google Patents homepage (highlighted below) Alternative, you can also access  Advanced  Google Patents Search from here . Once, you click the above option, you will see the below page. Carefully observe the fields in the red box below:    Search terms - The first fiel