By securing IP rights, tech companies can establish a competitive advantage in the market and secure a position as a leader in their respective technology sector. Creating a strong, defensible patent is an expensive and time-consuming process. When you have many law firms reporting to you, coordination among multiple law firm IT solutions can be confusing. That’s why companies often provide access to patent drafting and prosecution software to outside counsel to improve the flow of information, patent quality, and consistency of work.
Software Improves Patent Quality and Consistency
Patent software can improve patent quality and consistency in several ways:
- Standardization of processes: Patent software can standardize and streamline the patent application and prosecution processes in your company, ensuring consistency in the format and content of patent applications.
- Improved accuracy: Patent software can assist in the preparation of patent applications, reducing the likelihood of errors and increasing the accuracy of the information contained in the application.
- Enhanced searching and analysis: Patent software can improve the searching and analysis of prior art and relevant information, providing a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of the state of the art and helping to avoid potential infringement issues.
- Faster and more efficient processing: Patent software can automate and speed up the process of preparing, filing, and processing patent applications, reducing the time and resources required to secure a patent.
- Improved collaboration: Patent software can facilitate collaboration between inventors, attorneys, and other stakeholders, enabling a more efficient and streamlined patent application process.
Overall, patent software can help improve the quality and consistency of patent applications by standardizing processes, improving accuracy, enhancing searching and analysis, speeding up processing, and facilitating collaboration.
The quality control process is the most important part of any company’s efforts to achieve and sustain excellence in their work. Creating and maintaining a quality control process requires careful planning and the use of innovative technology. This is especially true for a small or medium-sized business. However, it is no less necessary for a large company. As a result, companies that implement the right quality control process can reap major rewards in terms of increased profits and customer satisfaction.
Software improves the Visibility of the Patent Prosecution Workflow
The visibility into the patent work-in-process is critical for both the inventor, in-house counsel, and law firms.
A conventional workflow begins with a 1-2 page invention disclosure submission by inventors at a company. These submissions are reviewed by an invention manager, who decides whether to send to an outside lawyer for drafting. The outside lawyer renders the first draft in a month and then sends to the inventor(s) to review and then to the invention manager for approval. Typically this process takes 1-3 months and visibility is lacking as to the status of the case.
The use of an online patent workstation software such as PowerPatent’s solution addresses this issue. Inventors can submit invention disclosures that can be quickly converted into full-blown patent applications online. The submission can be reviewed by the invention manager, or can be routed using rules to an invention review board, or can simply go straight to outside counsel for filing. Outside counsel logs in to the secure system to do their value-added work and collaborate with the inventors and the invention manager and file. Once filed, the system automatically tracks status of the case, along with any communications from the USPTO in a docketing system that is visible to the outside counsel and to the invention manager. The online end-to-end solution provides different levels of access and all analytics on invention submissions and patent prosecution are captured within the system.
Software helps inventors and attorneys with documenting the invention
Patent lawyers need to take special care in the drafting of patent drawings as they have to be accurate and technical in nature and conform to the requirements of Section 101 and Section 112.
The best way to avoid antecedent basis rejection for 112 issues is to thoroughly review the patent drafting process and ensure that all claims and specifications are well-drafted. This can be done by performing a thorough review manually or using patent drafting tools that help catch drafting errors such as the “Check Claims” and “Check Terms” features.
For example, a common antecedent basis issue is when a claim refers to the first leg, second leg, or third leg of a tripod without clearly identifying which leg it is referring to. This could lead to an antecedent basis issue, and the examiner might issue a section 112 rejection.
Another way to avoid antecedent basis issues is by using the proper grammatical rules in claims drafting. This is typically accomplished by introducing the term “a” before the word “the,” and then following that with the word “the.”
A lack of antecedent basis in claims can also be avoided by ensuring that any indefinite articles used in the patent claims are supported by the specification. This can be done by explaining how an indefinite article is defined within the specification or by providing a reference to the prior art that supports the definition of the term.
The drafting should be thorough and error-free, and the claims must contain the proper language to back the patent’s merits. A Computer-Aided Design (CAD) patent analysis can be applied to an invention disclosure to ensure consistency in several ways:
- Improved accuracy: CAD analysis can help to accurately represent the design and functionality of an invention, ensuring that the invention disclosure is clear, consistent, and accurate.
- Enhanced visualization: By using CAD, inventors and patent attorneys can create flowcharts and visual representations of their invention, which can help to better understand the design and ensure consistency in the disclosure. A neatly drawn patent drawing makes it easier for a non-technical person to understand the invention and eliminates any ambiguity that may arise due to the language used in claims. In addition, patent drawings help in highlighting the key elements of the invention, thereby aiding in avoiding any possible objections from examiners.
- Faster and more efficient patent application iteration: CAD analysis can be used to quickly and easily iterate on the scope or coverage of an invention, allowing inventors and lawyers to identify and address inconsistencies and improve the overall design of the invention.
- Improved collaboration: CAD analysis can facilitate collaboration between inventors, engineers, lawyers, invention managers, and other stakeholders, enabling a more efficient and streamlined invention disclosure process.
Overall, CAD analysis can help to improve the consistency and accuracy of invention disclosures by providing enhanced visualization, enabling faster and more efficient design iteration, and facilitating collaboration.
Improved Collaboration with Inventors
The software improves collaboration between inventors and patent lawyers, which can significantly improve the work product in several ways:
- Improved understanding of the invention: By working closely together, inventors and patent lawyers can gain a better understanding of the invention and its features, which can lead to a stronger and more comprehensive patent application.
- Better protection of the invention: Patent lawyers can provide guidance to inventors on the best ways to protect their invention and ensure that the patent application fully covers all aspects of the invention.
- Increased efficiency: Close collaboration between inventors and patent lawyers can streamline the patent application process, reducing the time and resources required to secure a patent.
- Enhanced accuracy: Collaboration between inventors and patent lawyers can help to ensure that the patent application is accurate and that all relevant information is included in the application.
- Stronger patent portfolio: By working closely together, inventors and patent lawyers can build a stronger patent portfolio that provides robust protection for the invention.
Overall, tight collaboration between inventors and patent lawyers can lead to a more efficient, accurate, and comprehensive patent application, and can help to build a stronger patent portfolio.
In short, a well planned out and executed patent application preparation plan supported by the proper software is the key to securing strong patents that will help your company move the ball forward in the long term.