Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Getting Started

You can’t avoid it.  If you want to get a patent, you have to do the paperwork.  Somebody will have to write an application.  And that somebody should not be you.  While individuals are permitted to represent themselves before the USPTO, don’t do it. 

You won’t be happy with the results. 

Writing, filing and prosecuting a patent application is a technical, complicated and confusing process and mistakes made early in the process can inhibit or even disqualify you from getting a patent.   You really need representation at this point in the process. 

Once you get representation they will have questions.  And to answer those questions, it helps know the components of an application:


This is the heart of a patent.  The basic requirements are that it contains a description and claims.  The description should describe what the invention is, the process for making the invention, and how to use the invention.  The description should also include the “best mode” or the best way known to make and use the invention.  The claims contain specific statements of what a person must do to infringe on the patented invention.  While a specification usually has multiple claims, only one of the claims needs to be violated for the patent to be infringed on.

The expected structure of the specification also includes the title, abstracts and summaries, background information, and references to other related applications.   Program listings, gene sequences, and large data tables can be submitted in a CD format.


With few exceptions, drawings of the invention will be required as part of an application. 

The major requirements are that drawings:  1) must be black and white using an India caliber ink on solid lines;  2) must be on 8 1/2” x 11” paper with empty 1” margins;  3) characters must be 1/8” tall;  4) drawings must be numbered; 5) if used, reference characters must be mentioned in the description; and, 6) if a part of an invention is shown in multiple drawings, the same reference character must be used to identify the part in each drawing. 

Drawings can be difficult because the drawing requirements are detailed and strict.  The goal of these requirements is to insure that the drawings submitted with the application are in condition to be published.  Applications are not processed by the USPTO until all the drawing requirements have been met.

Inventor’s Oath: 

Each patent applicant must complete an oath that:  1) they believe they are the first and original inventor of the invention being patented;  2) they have read and understand the application; and,  3) they understand that they have a duty to disclose all information known to be material to patentability.  In addition, they must provide in the oath their full name and country of citizenship.

Transmittal Letter and Application Data Sheet: 

The transmittal letter is a standard cover letter that is used to identify the application and to inventory the application components being filed.   The Application Data Sheet contains bibliographic information about the application including applicant names, contact information, representation information, ownership and assignment information and priority relationships to other foreign or domestic patent applications.   

Appropriate Filing Fee: 

Get used to it because the USPTO charges a separate fee for almost everything it touches.  The exact fee will depend on how the application is filed.

Below is a summary of selected patents that have been recently issued in textile related classification codes:

Impact distributing mechanism:  A series of plates interconnected to form a protective shield (like a shin guard).  Patent #:  8627512.  Inventor:  Dodd.  Assignee:   Pinwrest Development Group, Llc

Prayer breastplate:  A fabric prayer breastplate with rectangular shapes representing the twelve stones on Aaron's breastplate and have religious significance. The individual representations include at least one item supporting pocket, individually stitched panels or a single graphical depiction.  Patent:  8627513.  Inventor:  Colbert.  Not Assigned

Vehicle ready modular light weight load bearing equipment apparatus:  A modular system for securing tactical equipment (weapons and volatiles) within a transport vehicle.  Patent #:  8627514.  Inventors:  Scoggins and Scoggins.  Assignee:  Spartan Tactical Concepts, LLC.

Method for determining a characteristic of a consumable:  A method of illuminating a flowing liquid at two different depths which can be used to measure physical parameters of the liquid.  Patent #:  8627526.  Inventors:  Dunsbergen, et. al.   Assignee:  Whirlpool Corporation.

Footwear customization kit:  A stand for a footwear customization kit.  The customizable portion can be deformed when heated.  The stand holds the article of footwear in a steam environment.  Patent #:  8627528.  Inventors:  Baker,  Assignee:  Nike, Inc.

Energy-return shoe system:  A spring based shoe system capable of returning impact energy to the wearer.  Patent #:  US 8627582.  Inventor:  Perenich   Not Assigned.

Energy-return shoe system:  Related to 8627582 above.  A shaft based shoe system capable of returning impact energy to the wearer.  Patent #:  US 8627583.  Inventor:  Perenich   Not Assigned.

Liquid-resistant connectors and covers for equipment using the same:  Two plates and a gasket that can be stitched to a water resistant fabric without damaging the water resistance of the fabric.  This allows heavy objects (like DSLR cameras) to be connected to the fabric.  Patent #:  8627777.  Inventor:  Strum and Murdoch.  Assignee:  Think Tank Photo, Inc.

Weaving method and loom for implementing this method:  A method for weaving a woven fabric comprising two layers connected by binding threads.    Patent #:  8627855.  Inventor:  Deschamps.  Assignee:  Ets A. Deschamps Et Fils

Jim Carson is a principal of RB Consulting, Inc. and a registered patent agent.  He has over 30 years of experience across multiple industries including the biotechnology, textile, computer, telecommunications, and energy sectors.  RB Consulting, Inc. specializes in providing management, prototyping, and regulatory services to small and start-up businesses.  He can be reached via email at or by phone at (803) 792-2183.

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