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This is the first draft of a patent, which is usually used for filing a provisional application or for running a patent search. We usually recommend that inventors prepare the provisional draft and then seek guidance on how to properly structure it and whether or not additional information is required.

Regardless of whether you are an individual a startup, a medium-sized enterprise, or a conglomerate, the speed by which your invention is brought to market is paramount to your success. Provisional patents are basically draft patent applications which allow innovators to immediately file an application for their new idea as soon as they come up with it. Provisional patents are tools created to protect new inventions from being copied for a period of 12 months while you are preparing for your full application.
Why do you file provisional patents:
- You benefit from a 12 month period where the patent will not be examined or published
- You can prepare and perfect your patent application and disclosures
- Formality requirements are very low along with the fees, which makes this accessible and affordable for innovators.
- Because there is no examination the turnaround is immediate and you receive a provisional filing number and filing date as soon as you file.
- If you continue to apply for a patent your protection date is the provisional date giving your application priority over other patents filed after it.
- You can use the “patent pending” label as soon as a provisional application is filed
Provisional patents are only available in the United states so innovators choosing this path should plan on filing the Non-provisional patent in the United States or internationally through the PCT.

Regardless of what country you would like to protect your patent in, novelty is a key condition for protection. “Prior art” is a technical term that refers to all the public information, such as research, inventions or granted patents that exists prior to yours. So before you spend countless hours and thousands of dollars to go through the patent process, innovators usually conduct a prior art search. A prior art search is a search which scans all public databases internationally to assess whether or not an idea is Novel and meets the requirements and the conditions of a patent. Such searches are usually conducted at the beginning of the patent process and help guide you on whether or not you should be your precious time transforming your idea to a patent.

Why do you conduct prior art searches;

  • You understand what parts of your idea are patentable;
  • You rely on the outcome of the search to draft and develop strong claims before you file for the patent;
  • You get visibility on the market, the innovators, applicants and parties interested in the technology;
  • You can learn whether your idea is reliant on other technologies;
  • You save a lot of time and money paying filing fees for an application that does not meet the patentability requirements and conditions
  • Understand where your idea fits in the market.

Conducting extensive prior art searches is a key ingredient for drafting strong claims, and challenging questions which may be posed by examiners, thereby saving a lot of time and money to transform an idea to a granted patent.

So before spending your time and money, on drafting and filing a patent conduct a “Prior Art search”

Not all ideas are patentable but that does not mean you are free to use them. You do not want to find yourself setting up a factory and starting production only then to receive a lawsuit because you infringed on someone’s patent! Freedom to operate (FTO) searches are tools which enable entrepreneurs and companies to avoid such situations by scanning the market for protected patents and advising whether or not a project infringes on a protected patent.

Why conduct Freedom to Operate searches?

  • Avoid lawsuits and potential conflicts with owners of previously registered intellectual property;
  • Understand previously available intellectual property and assess weaknesses for possible invalidation action;
  • Understand previously available intellectual property and assess weaknesses for invalidate or further expand it;
  • Reveal opportunities to license existing technology, develop long term partnerships and save time and money.

As patents are granted for each country or jurisdiction at a time, freedom to operate searches are issued on a country-by-country basis. The freedom to operate search (FTO) is sometimes referred to as an Infringement Analysis report and should be completed for projects at very early stages, and in the specific country you are planning to operate in.

Do the Smart thing conduct an FTO and get insights on the competitive landscape!

Many people think that drafting a patent is an easy and straight forward process but unfortunately it is not!!

Drafting a patent is the process of converting the idea you have into words and writing them in a specific format and structure. The time and effort required for drafting the patent is dependent on where you are in the patent process, so we usually advise clients to think of drafting in three main intervals;

  • Provisional drafting – This is the first draft of a patent, which is usually used for filing a provisional application or for running a patent search. We usually recommend that inventors prepare the provisional draft and then seek guidance on how to properly structure it and whether or not additional information is required.
  • Full Draft- This is the full draft of a patent, which will be submitted to the patent office as an embodiment of the idea we are trying to protect. We recommended drafting a full patent after running prior art search and obtaining clear results as this would ensure that the patent application being prepared has taken into account all necessary disclosures and prior art. The Patent drafting should be completed based on the requirement and standards of the patent office you are seeking protection in, in order to avoid unnecessary formal objections.
  • Drawings - Patent drawing which may also be referred to as Patent illustrations or figures are required in many countries, with a main purpose of assisting in understanding the invention. Afterall a picture is worth 1000 words! Drawings can be very helpful, however there are many technical and formatting issues an applicant should pay attention to when submitting drawings.
  • Re-drafting – In some instances following additional disclosure, or requests from the patent examiner a patent or parts of it may need to be re-drafted to accommodate the newly learnt information.

Every patent draft includes 7 main parts in a specific order. The consistency in applications helps patent offices standardize the process and ensure that all patents applied are consistent in format and disclosure requirements. The following order is followed;

  1. Title should be short, precise and specific, technically accurate and descriptive It should be no more than 15 words.
  2. Technical Field, a short description that shows the technical field related to the invention.
  3. Summary of the invention: Is a summary for the patent that set out the nature, operation and the purpose of the invention. The summary should be straightforward and should not be written in complicated language.
  4. Background Information and prior art: Background of the idea, why the inventor worked on it, what problem this patent is trying to solve, or trying to offer. Description of how your invention addresses a technical problem, full description of the patent and what problem this invention is addressing. In this part the inventor needs to put full details related to the idea, with full specification.Also, this part should include the problems that others have faced in this area and how he attempts to solve them.
  5. List of figures- List the drawings giving the figure number.
  6. Detailed description of your invention, a small description about each figure.
  7. Claims: Each patent should include at least one claim. the inventor has to specify in a simple and direct sentence on what he is claiming priority. Patent claims are difficult to read and harder to write (this is the part the inventor will need help the most in order to build hard and good claims).

A well Drafted Patent is the recipe for a successful patent application so take your time, cover all your bases, and we are here to guide you each step of the way.

A patent is a document which embodies an invention. Time, effort and money spent on transforming an invention from a mere idea to a patent document with proper disclosures.

So no, the answer to your question of whether your idea can be protected the answer is a no, your idea has to be drafted and embodied in a patent then filed and then granted in order to be protected. To obtain rights to exclusively use the invention, a patent has to be granted in the country (jurisdiction) of interest. The patent protection process, which is referred to as the patent prosecution process starts with filing (depositing) the patent at the patent office in the country of interest.

Filing is technically the process of submitting the patent document to the patent office you choose.

In order to file a patent, an innovator should have a couple of matters cleared up;

  • The prior art search should be clear
  • The patent draft should be finalized
  • The countries which the patent may be used or sold or license should be identified. You should always keep in mind “Potential Market” and “Risky Market”.
European Patent filing /Validation:

How can I protect my patent in Europe? Is there any way to protect the patent in several countries through one application?

There are several routes to take in order to protect the patent in more than one jurisdiction at the same time, one of the main is filing through the European Patent office (EPO):

  • The European Patent office provides inventors with the opportunity to file a patent application in 40 different countries: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom.
  • The official languages of the EPO are English, French and German but applications can be filed at the EPO in any language.
  • After the patent application is filed, a request for examination should be submitted within 6 months. The examination may take around 12 months.
  • After the examination is completed the application is published in the European Patent office Bulletin. https://www.epo.org/searching-for-patents/legal/bulletin.html
  • Once the application is published in the Bulletin, the European patent should then be validated in each of the designated countries. The validation request along with the required translation has to be submitted to the national offices within three months from the publication of the grant. In some countries, an additional extension of 3-6 months can be requested to validate the patent.
  • The application can be granted within 3-4 years from filing,

While the patent will be granted by the European Patent office one of the benefits offered by filing a patent at the EPO is the ability to validate patent in non-European countries.

The European Patent Organization has signed validation agreements with non-member states including; Morocco - Republic of Moldova - Tunisia - Cambodia – Georgia.

Soon after you come up with your genius idea and decide you want to explore protecting it as a patent, you have to decide which countries to apply for patent protection in, as patents are` granted for each country or jurisdiction at a time. Depending on the countries chosen, you may need to submit the patent application in the language you drafted the patent in or in other languages, and therefore you will need to translate the patent.

As patent applications are technical in nature and stem from genius ideas created by inventors, translating them into different languages requires the involvement of technical experts in the field with command of two languages the language the initial draft is in and the language you would like to translate the patent to. In a nutshell, translating a patent is a pretty extensive process.

Our portal aims to transform the time consuming technical and extensive translation process to an easy and smooth one by providing automation and translation tools and professionals to help manage the process and improve the outcome of the translation. With Easy Patents, no claim will be lost in translation!

Can I protect my Patent Internationally? When should we choose the international route? How we can do it, and where do we start?

These are very simple questions we frequently get from Inventors once they see that the invention, has a great potential and can be used all over the World. When that is the case, inventors can benefit from the Patent cooperation Treaty (PCT) by filing an international patent application.

This treaty provides inventors with the possibility to seek patent protection internationally covering many countries who have signed the treaty. The key however is to do so within a timeframe of 30 to 31 months. This treaty is instrumental in patent protection as it simplified and standardized the process for obtaining patent protection internationally. Making patent protection more efficient and economical for users of the patent system (applicants and inventors).

Who can benefit from filing a PCT applications?

In order to seek protection for a patent using the PCT, an applicant needs to be a national, a resident or have an address in one of the contracting countries, there are 153 contracting states.

What is the process of filing an international application?

  1. Filing an international patent application starts with filing the international application at a receiving office, (the patent office of the country you are a resident, national, or applying from).
  2. The receiving office examines the application, to ensure the patent follows the main criteria of being Novel, useful and non-obvious.
  3. Once the examination is complete, the examining office issues an ISR (International search report) with recommendations on whether or not the subject matter is patentable or not.
  4. The applicant is free to take the recommendation of the ISR report, and update the patent draft or not.
  5. The patent will be published through EPCT the patent publication bulletin.
  6. Once the patent application is published; the applicant has 30 months from the first filing date to designate and pay the fees of all the countries that should be covered in terms of protection.

The process can be summarized as follow:

Different countries have different requirements for patent filings however most commonly these requirements are a deed of assignment from the inventors to the applicant and a power of attorney to whoever is representing you. You can refer to the resource center to learn more.

There are two types of national filings depending on whether or not you have an international application:

  • National phase based on an PCT application
  • National filing
Everything You Should Know about Patent Annuities:

You have invested countless hours and thousands of dollars to draft and prosecute an amazing idea which you have embodied in a patent, and it was finally granted! Your investment and commitment do not stop here, as a patent owner you have to pay patent annuities in order to maintain your rights.

Simply put patent annuities are renewal fees which are:

  1. Essential to ensure that your patent application stays active
  2. Vary in amount based on the country and year the patent renewal is for
  3. Differ in due date, in some countries you should pay annuities before having a granted patent in others after;
  4. Vary in frequency they are often due on an annual basis, hence “Annuities” but this is dependent on the local law.

When thinking of annuities as yearly maintenance fees it seems pretty straight forward and easy, but the truth is because of the dependency on local laws, annuities can be tricky and any mistake or lapse may lead to the loss of your patent rights. We have therefore built a platform and systems to provide our clients with transparent, reliable, secure and efficient solutions to manage patent annuities.

Annuity payments were put in place to promote ingenuity as they incentivize patent holders to continuously reexamine whether or not the idea protected by the patent is worth paying for. If not, then the idea becomes available for the public to promote exponential innovation.