In early 2006, I devised a game format which I thought to be unique. After much research, I couldn’t find anything that matched it. As I began to plan how this concept could be commercialized, it became clear that protecting it via a patent was a critical first step.
I proceeded to discuss the concept with a friend who happens to be a really brilliant patent attorney. He too researched it and could not find any existing patents that my idea would infringe upon. He felt that I had a legitimate chance at a patent.
As the inventor, I drafted the initial language to detail how the game was played and how it was unique. Having a super smart attorney that could translate my words into the legal framework of a patent application and who could cover all the other formal requirements was invaluable. I strongly recommend this path if you’re seeking a patent. I probably could have figured it out myself, but engaging an expert gave me a better chance of expediting the process and a resulting patent that could strongly defend my idea. It was not only a case of my time was better spent on other aspects of the venture but a matter of leveraging an expert for a stronger patent.
A patent application includes pages of details of how the invention is to be used, how it’s different and how it useful. In addition to descriptive text, it includes illustration and diagrams. A very important component of a patent application is the “claims.” In the United States, you can make up to twenty claims, more if you want to pay additional money. These define, in very exact legal and technical language, what you’re protecting and what you want to preclude others from making, using or selling.
We were able to devise twenty claims with the first being the broadest application of my idea. Each of the other nineteen defines and protects more specific variations of a claim that precedes it.
My patent application was filed in September 2006 and was published about a year later. This means that the application was received and acknowledged by USPTO and that it included all the required information. It was made available in the USPTO databases and online for public objection.
In December 2008, we received formal objections from the Patent Office Examiner, all of which my attorney felt we could overcome. We filed our amendments in early 2009 and now it’s simply a waiting game of when my application will get approved. The patent office is required to respond within a given amount of time which means I should have an answer this May.