Five reasons why clear and detailed figures are critical for a good patent.

1) It is important to include figures detailing each and every novel feature of your invention. As a patent attorney, inventors who have created a mechanical invention will typically only provide me with a couple of figures detailing only the most specific features of their invention without taking into considerations different ways a product could be implemented or how elements are interrelated.

An inventor’s invention may be more comprehensive then what can be shown in 2 or 3 figures. For example, a mechanical invention may have various parts some of which may be removed or changed, may have different layers of elements, etc. By only having a couple of Figures in a patent application, it may be difficult to show each and every feature of an invention. Therefore, the requirement that a patent application include Figures illustrating each and every claimed feature of an invention may not be met.

2)During patent prosecution (discussions back in forth with the USPTO), claims of a patent are only able to be amended based on what is clearly shown in the Figures and what is written in the application. As a patent attorney servicing my clients in Austin, Texas, I do include different wordings and implementations of other embodiments of their invention in the detailed description of the application, but as the saying goes “pictures are worth 1000 words.” Figures showing these different embodiments are great fall backs to differentiate your invention if the Examiner has found similar inventions with similar features the features as illustrated by the Figures may be later used for support for claim amendments.

3) For software/mobile application related patents, it is important to remember that claims have to be tied to a specific machine or apparatus, such as a “memory,” “processor,” etc. By having a Figure in a patent application illustrating the different network components for each software component, this requirement for patentable subject matter may be more easily be met.

4) Flow charts are critical to show a high level overview of your invention and specific details of your invention. By providing flow charts illustrating a general overview and details of your invention, others may quickly determine what the subject matter in your application is directed to.

During patent prosecution, Examiner’s at the USPTO generally do not have a significant amount of time to review each patent application, therefore an Examiner can quickly determine the overarching themes of a patent application by viewing the flow charts of an application.

Additionally, at many patent firms the patent attorney that will be prosecuting your patent application will not be the same patent attorney who drafted your patent attorney.

More so, the patent attorney who drafted your patent application may no longer be at the patent firm you hired. To this end, by having flow charts the new patent attorney prosecuting your patent application may quickly determine the scope of your patent application, which will save you costs associated with attorney fees.

5) For software/mobile application patents, it is also important to include system timing flow diagrams in your application. This is because different computing elements such as a mobile device, a server, a broadcast system, may communicate different signals at different time to different elements. Once again, by including a system flow diagram in your patent application, a patent attorney and examiner can quickly determine a general overview of your invention. Further, the timing of different signal communications may be used as a fall back to differentiate your invention from prior art.

By | 2012-10-29T11:41:14+00:00 October 29th, 2012|Blog, Patent Basics|Comments Off on Five reasons why clear and detailed figures are critical for a good patent.