The COVID-19 pandemic has created economic disruptions as a result of the shutdown orders given by the authorities. This has led many companies to start scaling back on their intellectual property (“IP”) expenses. However, the crisis has also created an opportunity for others to move ahead of the competition. It is so because most patent systems always reward the first investor for filing it.
Obtaining good protection for your intellectual property may involve filing for a utility patent, which is always a long process. However, the following options can be of help to you in safeguarding intellectual property successful:
Getting Your Place in Line; On an Average budget
Most U.S. and other non-US patent systems will always reward the first inventor for filing it. It is therefore essential to put yourself in line before the competition. To reserve your place in line while maintaining the same budget, here are some steps you need to follow.
Consider having a US provisional patent application filing
A provisional U.S. patent application will hold you in line at patent offices for one year, and this provisional application will not require the same levels of formality as compared to a non-provisional patent. Furthermore, you will only get credit for major purposes for the amount of detail you file. It will, therefore, be beneficial to file something rather than nothing.
Also, you can add another one more year to your previous provisional patent filings. This will be useful since it won’t affect your budget even if the subsequent IP budgets are increased. It will also be beneficial to you as all the filed provisional applications within that year will be rolled out to a single non-provisional use patent. However, if you opt to do nothing with one or more filed provisional applications, then they may not be published.
Consider being coached in preparation for the patent application
In an ideal situation, an attorney will always draft a patent request for you at additional charges. However, you may opt to have your attorney to coach you through the preparation process. The attorney will provide an application template or sketch for you to complete, after which the attorney will revise to the extent desired, but, you may risk losing some width in the scope of safeguarding the patent. However, it may still provide a good compromise between bare-bones provisional applications and the ideal fully verified application done by a qualified attorney.
Keeping your Place in Line; On a reduced budget
You may be in line with the patent office, but you also need to maintain the filing budget and date. For you to keep your patent in place, then you may opt for the following:
Consider having narrow claims with a higher possibility of an allowance
Every stage of negotiation with a patent office will incur costs. One way to reduce these negotiations is to amend the claims to be narrow so that the possibility of allowance is reduced. However, such narrowly-drawn claims may be hard to validate than broader applications.
Delay the US patent Examination
The patent office may allow for extensions of time for some responses. When office action is issued, you need to file a response within three months. However, you can delay it for the other three months though at an extra extensional cost. The extensional fees are not due until you file the response. This mechanism for deferring costs may have drawbacks beyond the higher price. Therefore, it is necessary to consult with an IP counsel regarding time extension so as not to lose the patent time.
In an ideal world, you would wish to file all your IP documents at a go, but we don’t live in an ideal world. As biotech players like DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO) will tell you, you have to make do with what you have available, and keep moving up as your circumstances improve.
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