Interview with Matt Lapple --- October 4, 2015

Q:  What are some of the most common mistakes that an inventor makes that can cost him or her a patent, Matt?
MATT:  Well, the first one -- which may sound like the most cynical -- is not hiring a patent attorney to help with the application.  While it's possible to file a patent application on your own, patent attorneys spend years learning how to write and file applications that comply with the law and do the best job of protecting the entirety of the invention.  Filing an application is a complicated process.  Many pitfalls lurk for the unwary.

Q:  Like what?
MATT:  Like failing to adequately describe your invention, not fully claiming your invention in the "claims " section, and failing to understand the prior art when you apply.

Q: What other common mistakes do people make?
MATT:  Selling or disclosing the invention publicly before filing a patent application.

Q:  That can cut off your ability to get a patent, right?
MATT: Yes. If you have sold, offered to sell, or publicly disclosed your invention more than a year before you filed a patent application, you lose all rights to that patent.

Q:  Is there any way to fix that?
MATT: No.  There's no way to fix that.

Q:  What other mistakes do you see?
MATT: The third is big in the sense of its ramifications: Failing to disclose relevant prior art to the Patent Office during the application process.  To put it another way, as an inventor, you have a legal duty to tell the Patent Examiner if there are similar products or patents to what you are claiming.  If you know of similar products and try to hide that fact, any patent that you get can be found invalid later by a court for "fraud on the Patent Office."

Three Mistakes That Can Jeopardize Your Patent Application

Lapple Ubell IP Law, LLP