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How much Detail in the Patent ?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by PhilJ, Jun 20, 2007.

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  1. PhilJ

    PhilJ Guest

    I'm about to submit an application for a Patent to the UK patent
    office, but am unsure as to how much detail to include regarding the
    physical side of my 'invention'.

    Basically, what I have is mainly electronics, housed in a plastic
    casing. My query I suppose is as follows;

    If I include drawings of every component on the PCB, and also the
    drawing of the final product, including battery component, screw
    etc etc....will this preclude me from changing the final design at
    some future date ? eg I may change a component, or even decide to
    the final shape slightly different.


    Do I just not put any detail in other than a 'block' diagram....won't
    this allow more scope for someone else copying the idea and designing
    it slightly different ??

    A quandry - any advice or help much appreciated.

  2. MooseFET

    MooseFET Guest

    Did you invent some electronic circuit?

    If yes, then this is what you are patenting. The actual unit you made
    is "one embodiment" not what you are patenting.

    You should include the details needed to explain your idea. Basically
    for a patent to be any good some other engineer should be able to
    understand what you are patenting. An example circuit that does what
    you suggest is a good way to explain things.

    It is likely that you are providing too much detail about your
    specific embodiment if you go this far. Remember it is the idea you
    are patenting not the specific case of using it.
  3. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

  4. J.A. Legris

    J.A. Legris Guest

    Start here:
  5. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

  6. J.A. Legris

    J.A. Legris Guest

    Maybe so, but obviously the long-term return is of secondary
    importance for gamblers, otherwise Las Vegas would go out of business.
    I suspect the same is true for many patent-holders. So, go for it -
    you''re unlikely to get a patent if you don't try.
  7. Robert Baer

    Robert Baer Guest

    In the US, all that is required is sufficent detail so that one
    SKILLED IN THE ART can make the device (whatever it is).
    That does not mean that the information is sufficent for sucessful or
    complete or useful implimentation.
    Drawings, descriptions, etc are "window dressing" of the patent; what
    is covered is in the claims (the legal part).
    I will make up a ridiculous example.
    Say your item is a method to use relays to amplify microwaves, and
    you found that certain patterns do that function and that there is a
    commonality in those patterns that allow it to work, but you are not
    positive other patterns would work or work better.
    So you can make a simplified description of one of those patterns
    (not the best one, naturally) and make some citation concerning possible
    alterations of that pattern that makes it *possible* for someone skilled
    in the art to deduce a few of the other patterns.
    Your descriptions per se are not covered; it is what you say /
    describe in the claims that are the legal pins of coverage.
    In this case, one could describe the implimenation with latching
    relays, when simple reed relays may be a better medium.
    Mixing of relay types is "obviously" allowed, but you carefully do
    not hint of that fact in the descriptions ("window dressing").
    The wording of the claims should say that any type of relay or
    switching device can be used = = broad claim, and other claims say 1)
    latching relays, 2) reed relays, 3) stepping relays, .... n) switching
    device similar to a relay (tube, transistor, etc) = = each one a narrow

    If i remember right, once applied for here, one has a year to do a
    pro-forma european application.
  8. Robert Baer

    Robert Baer Guest

    ....and pay thru the nose, *especially* of that patent attorney has no
    electronic background.
    To keep costs down, do your own patent research and read patents
    closest to what you are doing (descriptions and claims).
    Create your own claims; be imaginative, go wild - it is only paper
    until it is filed.
    Whittle, prune and polish as needed, but be careful that some crazy
    claim that might be polished to useability does not get tossed out just
    because it looks nuts.
    If you are extremely lucky, a number of those patent claims may
    discuss "Z" that also does "Y" with the emphasis on "Z" because they
    were focused on "Z".
    But (say) with your approach, focusing the claims on "Y" where "Z" is
    a side-effect (that cannot be avoided) has implicit advantages.
    *Those* claims are unique and un-assailable and kick ass, nevermind
    that with present techniques the practical results may be identical.
    Look at my oil lifter patent and notice that reversal.
    Have fun.
  9. Robert Baer

    Robert Baer Guest

    No, not really.
    It takes a few kilobucks to file, and can take numerous megabucks to
  10. krw

    krw Guest

    It also must describe the "best mode", I.e. the best known way to
    design/make the device at the time of the filing. The "teachings"
    must actually teach what you know.
    Drawings cost $$ too.
    You must show the best one, known at the time of the filing. The
    words can allude to better possibilities, though. The problem is
    that someone else may patent the better implementation, later,
    keeping you from using it.
    Yes, what you *claim* is what is protected. What is "taught" is not.
    That's where many people get hung up in patents; thinking that the
    obvious stuff in the teachings is the patent. Much of it is often
    background to help explain the idea.
    If you know that a reed relay is the better solution, you must teach
    it. Though you don't have to mention that it is the best.
    Right! Try to protect all sorts of combinations; claim everything.
    Always try to throw as large a net out as the patent office will
    There is also a "bar date" issue. In the US, once an invention has
    been published (or any "commercial advantage" taken), a one-year
    clock that starts. After that year, one cannot file a patent.
    Europeans have no such clock. Once published you are barred from
    filing a patent.
  11. MooseFET

    MooseFET Guest

    You can make them yourself in something like Qcad and then print them
    on a laser printer. They need to be clear and fairly neat.

    In the US, you usually have a prefered embodiment. You can show a
    nonprefered embodiment "to make the explanation clear". Explaining a
    digital design with an analog circuit is an example of this.

    A good patent lawyer will make sure that you say you know of many
    variations on the design.
  12. krw

    krw Guest

    My point is that the patent office charges for them, no matter how
    they're drawn. Sure, anything that works. The lawyer took my crude
    FrameMaker drawings for one. He also lifted 90% of my words. I wish
    I got paid 9x what the lawyer did.
    Absolutely. The point is that a "preferred embodiment" must be shown
    if there is one. The inventor must disclose the "best mode" of the
    A good lawyer will help expo lore alternatives that the inventor
    might not think of.

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