The Pros and Cons of Open Source Patent Drawing Software

Patent drawings are essentially very detailed drawings that illustrate the invention to be patented. The drawings, however, don’t begin when you’re ready to submit a patent application. They begin at the beginning of the design process to help you, and the people that work with you, plan out the product in detail. drawing software

In these beginning stages, you may find it useful to plot your basics with open source or limited use free patent drawing software. The type you would choose would depend largely on what project you’re working on. The most popular types are for CAD, which are good whether you need 2D or 3D. Other types that are common are for designing electrical, ship systems, architectural systems, CAD management and animation software.

The huge benefit in using any of these is that they are free to use, so it’s easy on your budget. Most inventors can use this as they work their way through the beginning stages of their projects. In the end, having free software might actually help save money in the planning stages as well because you won’t go through as many materials. In short, the main benefit to free software is that they can help you design your product and get it to a final stage in a cost effective manner.

The pitfalls of free or open source software is that it is often has limited capabilities and functionality. This limit often produces diagrams and illustrations that are great for planning and rough drafts, but can lack a polished finished that is good for both marketing and patent applications.

Meeting the patent specifications is an arduous task when you are dealing with unlimited software. It’s only tougher and more of a headache with limited software capabilities. We can help polish up your rough drafts and work with you to get your ideas marketing and patent application ready.

The Importance of Design Patent Drawings and 3D Models.

One of the most exciting things that can happen to a person is to believe they have an idea for an invention that could change the world.  It’s a moment when they will feel a special kinship with the great inventors from the past such as Henry Ford, Bill Gates and even Steven Jobs.  Then there comes the realization that many people have an idea for an invention, but not everyone has a  3D model or professional drawing of their idea that shows exactly how it works.

Inventors need to realize that patent drawings are required to be filed with a patent application and without a 3D model, it can be difficult to get to the manufacturing stage. The purpose for patent drawings is to provide the examiner with enough information so they can understand exactly how the invention works.  There are special rules and regulations that apply to the drawings submitted with a patent application. The purpose for 3D models is not only to be able to see what your idea would like in real life, but to be able to provide a manufacturer a file of your 3D model for creating a rapid prototype or final product.

Many people have met with success after taking their idea and trust to Inventia.  They soon see the benefits of having a professional patent drawing or 3D model done of their invention.  The people at Inventia are able to prepare utility drawings, design drawings, trademark illustrations and more.  They use all of the latest CAD/design software to create their designs.  They can utilize SolidWorks, Adobe, Creo PTC and Audodesk software to assist their customers during the drawing and modeling stages.

Their drawings will meet all of the requirements set forth by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PTO).  A drawing of the invention submitted with the patent application will ultimately be used on the invention’s registration certificate.

They are able to provide customers with an extremely accurate representation of their invention.  They know how to utilize proper shading to increase the sharpness of an image.  They know how to use the exact shading techniques that can identify and illustrate various textures as well as surface materials.

The design patent drawing submitted with a patent application is important.  Inventors know they can trust Inventia Patent Drafting.  They will be able to see their invention come to life and show others their idea really does work. Contact them today.

Don’t Forget Your NDA When Marketing Your Invention Idea

When marketing your invention idea it is often necessary to discuss some aspect of it as you perform your research and search for interested parties. The best approach is clearly to divulge as little as possible, but sometimes interest can only be generated by providing more details. That is where a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) comes into play.The general idea behind an NDA is to allow an inventor to discuss his pre-patent ideas with third parties without the risk of losing his intellectual property rights. NDA-Blog-300x240

Why use an NDA

Revealing details or even general concepts regarding your invention idea without an NDA is legally considered a public disclosure. Once an idea is categorized as having been disclosed publicly, you must file for a patent within one year or risk losing all future rights to patent it.

Here are some additional interesting tidbits regarding NDAs:

  • Generic NDAs are easily available and may cover you for casual use. However, to fully protect yourself it is recommended that you consult with a patent attorney.
  • NDAs are enforceable by law in most states since they are considered legal contracts. Be sure to confirm the laws in your state before assuming an NDA will fully protect you.
  • For various internal reasons you may find that larger companies refuse to sign your NDA. You may opt to have a specific NDA drawn up to address their issues by having your patent attorney contact their legal dept. directly.

When do you NOT need an NDA

Once you have filed for a patent your idea is legally protected and you may, at your discretion, begin marketing your invention without the need for an NDA. Of course it would be even better to wait until your patent has actually been approved.

What to include in an NDA

An NDA should be as black and white as possible. Gray areas should be eliminated and replaced with clear and explicit language in order to avoid misunderstandings. One of the best ways to enforce an NDA is to make specific individuals liable in case of disclosure. To do so, you must define at least the following:

  • Include the names of corporate officers.
  • Define what you consider to be confidential. There should be no question on anyone’s mind whether a given item can be discussed openly or not.
  • Define what information can or cannot be divulged to third parties (suppliers, vendors, advertisers, etc.).
  • NDAs operate within specific time frames. You can rarely enforce an NDA several years after it was signed. You may want to user your projected patent filing date as the closing date for your NDA.

As you can see, NDAs can clearly help you protect your intellectual property, but to do so they must be properly executed. It is always best to consult with a patent attorney to make sure your NDA provides the coverage you need and contains no hidden loopholes.

Feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to provide you with our general NDA knowledge or we can recommend trustworthy patent attorneys whom we’ve worked with in the past.

Patent Trolls’ Profiteering

This astounding article in the US edition of ZDNet is headlined, “56 percent of all patent lawsuits are made by patent trolls.” The author of the article, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, goes on to explain that while patent lawsuits have always been a business tactic in competitive fields, the filing of patent-troll lawsuits has doubled in the last five years. In 2007, 24 percent of cases were filed by patent trolls; that figure rose to 56 percent in 2012. patent trolls

A patent troll is commonly recognized as someone who buys patents at greatly reduced prices from companies in distress, then proceeds to send a barrage of legal threats to sue any company which is remotely connected in some way to the field in which the patent applies. Because defending oneself against a patent lawsuit is ruinously expensive—costing as much as three-quarters of a million dollars—most companies will settle with a plaintiff to avoid a trial.

Vaughan-Nichols sees the problem as stemming from the Patent & Trademark Office’s practice of granting patents “for ideas that are neither new nor revolutionary.” Such loose patent-granting enables the trolls to continue their shakedown unabated.

However, pushback against the patent trolls has been materializing in the Open Invention Network, “an intellectual property company that was formed to promote the Linux system by using patents to create a collaborative ecosystem”—and freeze out the trolls.

Another company, Rackspace, has countersued patent-troll Parallel Iron, which has made millions off of many companies that simply use computers in their businesses. Rackspace and Red Hat won a decisive court victory recently against patent troll Uniloc, which had attempted to sue anyone using Linux. The case was dismissed when “Chief Judge Leonard Davis found that Uniloc’s claim was unpatentable under Supreme Court case law that prohibits the patenting of mathematical algorithms.”

Keep up with all the latest patent news via Inventia Patent Drafting. Contact us for assistance in your patent drawings today.

The Relationship Between Patents and Innovation

The relationship between patents and innovation has recently been subjected to scrutiny; experts wonder if patents are either contributing to or restricting innovation, and how the level of patent strength can be adjusted to produce a desired effect.Innovation Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

A recent Forbes article explains the significance Tabarrok Curve, which graphs the correlation between innovation and patent strength. According to the graph, the two factors have a positive correlation, until the graph reaches its maximum and from there the correlation turns negative. According to Alex Tabarrok, the creator of the curve and author of Launching the Innovation Renaissance, we are currently passed the maximum of the curve, and with less patent strength, there would be more innovation.

And yet while Tabarrok seems critical of the current patent situation, Tim Worstall, the author of the Forbes article, explains why patents also fuel innovation. According to Worstall, patents that are strongly backed provide monetary incentives for entrepreneurs and researches to make new discoveries and make new inventions, and thus a balancing act is required for the optimal amount of innovation:

“Yet we also recognize that if we provide protection that is too strong then we will be reducing the amount of innovation and invention. Too strong a protection for the initial invention will prevent that ongoing innovation around it. Which is where our balancing act comes in. We want to have patent protection that is strong enough to encourage more invention but not one that is strong enough to deter further invention or innovation.”

So what the Tabarrok curve means is that even though some experts are frustrated with the current patent situation and think that it costs too much money, patents will still hold their value because soon there will be newfound demand for patents. At this point, patents will increase in value because they will be fueling innovation, not hindering it.

Understanding the relationship between patents and innovation requires perspective, and though the patent system is currently under scrutiny, patents are no less important and will remain necessary to promote innovation.

If you’re interested in obtaining a patent, or would like more information about the relationship between innovation and patents, contact us.

USPTO Press Release Announces Patents Now Accessible to the Blind

The USPTO has provided many with the satisfaction of patenting their inventions. By attaining sole ownership to your invention, you claim what is rightfully yours. Unfortunately the process to apply for a patent can be incredibly difficult. It is especially complicated for those with disabilities such as blindness. One of the latest USPTO news related articles, a press release given by the director of the USPTO, covers a historic international agreement that will make patenting and attaining copyrighted materials available to the blind.

On June 27th, a conference in Morocco resolved to adopt an international treaty concerning the availability of copyrighted materials to visually impaired people. USPTO officials attended the meeting and the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled was created. The agreement targets the format of many books that make it difficult for those with print disabilities to access. It is a historic event that those who have impaired vision will finally be able to have access to published works.

This right to claim what was rightfully your creation is regulated in the US by the USPTO. The director of the USPTO, Teresa Stanek Rea, stresses that the access of published works to the visually disabled is of high priority for the US. However, not only will the US be granting the blind this right, but the 150 countries who signed the treaty as well. It is truly an international effort to reduce the difficulty that the visually impaired face when trying to access copyrighted materials.

While there has been a significant advance to make the patenting system easier for all Americans, the process still is very complex. Applying for a patent through the USPTO can be quite intimidating at first. There are many requirements that need to be met. It is important to invest in a company that will protect your idea. By doing so you can enhance the marketability of your product and rest assured that your patent application meets the requirements of the USPTO.

If you are interested in finding an attorney to help you with the patent process, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to direct you to an attorney to patent your idea.

The Improvement Patent: An Easier Way to Get Patent Approval

The Improvement Patent: An Easier Way to Get Patent Approval

Let’s say the invention idea you had in the middle of the night turns out to already be patented. Time to move on and generate a different invention idea, right? Wrong! Examine your idea from a different perspective and perhaps it may qualify to be submitted for an Improvement Patent. johnny_automatic_eyeglasses

The Improvement Patent is the most common patent type issued today. It is also the most profitable. So what’s an improvement patent? Basically it’s an improvement made to an existing patented device. Improvements have to be new and non-obvious and the new improved product must be exceptionally better than the original.

Depending on the scope of the patent your improved device is issued, you may or may not need to negotiate a royalty fee with the owner of the original patent. Obviously, the more extensive your changes, the more likely you won’t be required to pay royalty fees.

Improvement patents are broken down by invention type as follows:

Addition inventions

An addition patent requires that new components be added to the existing patented device. A good example might be the original vinyl record player. Initially it was a one record device, yet at some point someone patented a mechanism which allowed multiple records to be stacked and played sequentially.

Substitution inventions

A substitution patent can be issued to devices that have had major component or material changes which result in a better product. This is perhaps one of the easiest patents to acquire, given the dizzying array of new materials developed annually. A great example of this type of patent is the rubber automotive tire. The basic design remains unchanged, but changes to the rubber compounds and the tread patterns have yielded hundreds of new patents.

New Use Patents

New Use Patents basically provide new uses for old inventions. A great example is the Tempur-Pedic mattress, a very successful product in today’s marketplace. Yet the cushioning material was originally invented and patented by NASA to protect astronauts as they encountered forces of up to 36 Gs as their vehicles re-entered Earth’s atmosphere. In the 1980s NASA released the patent to the general public and a lot of people have slept more comfortably since then.

Improving existing devices is a great and perhaps easier way to develop patents. The Improvement Patent was developed for just that purpose and is the most approved type of patent issued today. If your latest and greatest idea has already been patented, take a closer look at the original patent’s design specifications. Perhaps what you had in mind is different enough to qualify for a patent after all.

Contact us and we’ll be happy to refer you to a patent attorney, help you with your patent drawings or even create a solid model. We will make sure to find a  way to make your dream come true.



New Chapter In “The Clash Of The Titans”

Apple‘s supremacy in the mobile phone and tablet markets has been under assault by Samsung over the past couple of years. Apple has not been passive in its response. Beginning in 2011’ the technology innovator based in Cupertino, CA has launched a multi-pronged assault against Samsung, claiming patent infringement.

Samsung has retaliated with a number of lawsuits of their own. The debate has extended across numerous jurisdictions, from the USA to the UK. Suits are also underway in a host of other European countries, including the Netherlands, France, Germany, and Italy.

Now the UK High Court has rendered a decision in one of Samsung’s retaliatory patent infringement suits. The court has ruled that, no, Apple did not infringe upon three of Samsung’s  patents. These patents specifically pertained to how mobile phones send and receive data over 3G networks. Not too surprisingly, Samsung i ssued a statement expressing its disappointment with the High Court ruling. It further stated that it would consider an appeal.

This defeat for Samsung came just a week after it failed to secure an iPhone ban in Japan it yet another Apple vs Samsung clash.

So, in the early rounds of this “Clash of the Titans,” Apple is prevailing. The stakes are high, to say the least. It is not only the monetary damages that may be awarded. Products that the two giants hope to market in dozens of countries for many years to come will potentially be affected.

Right now, it’s potentially just “a billion here and a billion there.” Long-term however, this Apple v. Samsung clash may affect profits measured in the tens of billions. Hundreds of patents protecting intellectual property could potentially come into play. A consolidation of suits in certain jurisdictions may streamline the process. Such an effort has already been promoted by federal judges in the United States.

At Inventia Patent, we help enterprises both large and small to secure their rights via the patent process. For more information, please contact us.

[Latest] Spring 2013 USPTO News Related Articles

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a number of press releases in the Spring of 2013 the regarding awards, updated patent Patentsrules, and collaboration partnerships. Inventia Patent Drafting offers the following summaries of these announcements along with links to the original press releases.

May 6, 2013USPTO Commissioner for Patents Named Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal Finalist. The USPTO Commissioner for Patents Margaret A. Focarino is among 31 finalists to be honored in Washington D.C. as part of Public Service Recognition Week for her contributions in stimulating job growth and the economy through improvements to the USPTO’s patent operations. Focarino has led a team for the last several years that implemented bold reforms. Those include giving examiners more time and flexibility to handle cases, new incentives for examiners and new performance requirements for examiners and managers. She also increased employee training and leadership development opportunities and developed a comprehensive set of metrics to monitor patent quality.

April 3, 2013USPTO Updates Professional Conduct Rules and Registration Examination for Patent Attorneys. The USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) developed revisions which update the questions on registration examination and more closely align the rules with general legal ethics guidelines. This first major update to professional conduct rules since 1985 brings the discipline rules in the USPTO in line with the Model Rules of Professional Conduct of the American Bar Association. Perhaps most relevant are the updates to the content of the registration examination to include provisions of the America Invents Act that took effect on March 16, 2013. These rule changes will modernize the practice of law before the USPTO.

March 5, 2013USPTO and AutoHarvest Collaborate to Accelerate Advanced Manufacturing. The two organizations today announce the signing of an MOU creating collaboration to spur innovation and generate jobs in advanced manufacturing.  Focused in Detroit and surrounding regional areas, the partnership will help advance manufacturing businesses and individual inventors to obtain patent protection and commercialize their inventions. The partnership will result in an online environment for the exchange of information, technical discussions and encourage entrepreneurial activities.

To view and subscribe to all the USPTO press releases for 2013, visit their site. For professional assistance in trademark and patent drawings, please contact us at Inventia Patent Drafting today.

How to Find a Good Patent Illustrator Part ll

We received a lot of emails asking about our article published earlier this week about finding a good patent illustrator.  I thought a second article would be better than emailing everyone. . .  So here goes.

If you have an invention or design that you would like to patent, your first step (assuming that you have already built a prototype) is to study the requirements for obtaining a patent at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Although the language is a little hard to understand, you will see right away how important the drawings are to the process. Unless you are extremely proficient in illustration yourself, you should not attempt to submit your own drawings. You need professional help.

How do you find a good illustrator? Here are some steps you could take:

Ask for referrals. Many inventors share information on forums which could be helpful to you. However, be cautious about accepting a referral for professional work without checking references. The inventor making the referral may not disclose the personal interest he has in the illustrator he’s recommending. For all you know, it could be his brother-in-law.

Ask to see a portfolio. When you do locate an illustrator, ask to see his work. The artist must demonstrate a proficiency in creating accurate patent illustrations. According to the USPTO guidelines, the details of the illustrations must be discernible when they are reduced to two-thirds the original size. The artist also must demonstrate a mastery of shading when preparing design drawings.

Ask about availability. Good illustrators are in demand, so make sure that the one you choose will commit to having your project done within the time you specify.

Ask about pricing. Once you are satisfied that the illustrator you select has the skills and the time to take on your project, then you agree on a price. Along with the time frame, this is something you should get in writing so that both of you are clear on the terms. Make sure you also specify a timeline for updates on the project.

Inventia Patent Drafting employs skilled artists who use state-of-the-art technology in rendering patent illustrations. With considerable experience in both utility and design patent drawings, we invite you to peruse our portfolio and contact us with your illustration needs.