Patenting the Patent Process... !

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From: Rohit Khare (
Date: Mon May 01 2000 - 11:41:15 PDT

May 1, 2000

Product Designed to Ease Patent Process Wins Patent

Patents that cover methods of doing business may be controversial,
but perhaps only one patent is genuinely redundant. A Dallas company
has won a patent for a method of applying for a patent.

The company, Kernel Creations Ltd., says this is the first time the
patent and trademark agency has awarded a patent for a technology for
preparing a patent application. And it says that inventors have
already been awarded patents based on applications prepared by use of
the software.

There are any number of how-to and do-it-yourself books and manuals
offering inventors guidance through the patenting process. There are
videos and software that advise applicants.

Some people are skilled enough in the arcane language of patent
applications to prepare their own; they can even produce technical
drawings that meet the exacting standards of the patent and trademark
agency. But applying for a patent is an ambitious undertaking that
requires knowledge of patent law, agency regulations and examiners'
procedures, as well as a draftsman's steady hand.

If anecdotal evidence is any measure, many inventors who submit their
own applications end up turning to a patent attorney or agent after
their documents are rejected as inadequate. That requires the
inventor to explain his invention to the attorney so the application
can be made as legally binding as possible. And the lawyer's
expertise costs money.

James D. Petruzzi says inventors can avoid some of that trouble and
expense with his software. Petruzzi is a patent attorney himself --
but he does not believe his invention will harm those in the business.

"We found in our practice that a lot of people don't have the
resources to pay a patent attorney to go through the process, and
they're being cut out," Petruzzi said. "This software enables a lot
of people to get into the system and apply for patents."

He also thinks the software will enable patent lawyers to avoid
complications that can arise when they try to write a patent
application without enough consultation with the inventor.

"I've seen many patents drafted by attorneys, and once they got into
litigation, I saw that the inventor was not involved in the drafting
process, and that caused problems down the road," he explained.

The software divides the task of writing a patent application into sections.

"A patent application is sort of like a short story, not a
fill-in-the-blanks process," Petruzzi said. "The software takes you
through the sections of the application to build an entire document.
It starts with a central analysis of the invention, and from that it
generates other fields, claims and abstracts.

"The real key to the patent and the process is the fact that the
sections are interlinked. As you do Section 1, it creates something
in Section 2, and 1 and 2 build Section 3. As you go through it, it
builds the format commonly used in patent applications, and then you
can go through and edit it."

The software draws words from the inventor's title and primary
descriptions to write the application in the prose and format
particular to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

"When you think about a patent, 95 percent of it is a technical
description of the invention," Petruzzi said. "That doesn't require
legalese, but for the inventor to disclose what the invention is, how
it works, what are the significant modifications, we really push the
fact that the claims need to be written in a clear manner."

The company is already selling the software under the name PatentPro

"A lot of people use the program to prepare a draft application and
give it to their patent attorney and reduce costs," Petruzzi said. He
and his partner, Robert M. Mason, won patent 6,049,811.

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