Utility Patent Applications Attorney in Houston, Texas
A utility patent may be granted to an inventor of a new, useful and nonobvious process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter. Utility patents are the most widely known and sought type of patent. An issued utility patent enables the patent owner to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing any article of manufacture (“device”) that includes structure or functionality described by the claims of the patent.
A utility patent application must contain a written description or specification that describes the invention in sufficient detail to enable a person having an ordinary level of skill in the art to make and use the invention without undue experimentation. Accordingly, the specification is a detailed technical document that must convey that the inventor had a clear understanding of the invention at the time of filing the patent application. The patent application must also include any drawings that are necessary to fully disclose the invention. For example, if an invention had multiple physical components, the patent application must include drawings that illustrate each of the physical components and how those components relate and/or interact with each other. The number of drawings and the number of views of the invention will vary as required to fully disclose the invention. Of course, each drawing must also be described clearly and fully in the specification using accepted terminology that supports the claims.
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The claims of a utility patent application describe the scope of legal protection that the inventor or applicant is requesting the Patent Office to grant to them. The claims can be amended during prosecution so long as the subject matter of the amended claims is supported by the originally filed specification. So, it is important to coordinate the claim terminology and claim strategy with the preparation of the specification and drawings.
Utility patent application are subjected to a rigorous examination process. An examiner with technical expertise in the relevant field of technology performs a prior art search of any document or source of information that was publicly available “prior to” the filing date of the patent application. The examiner may use any of these documents or sources as the basis for rejecting the claims. Essentially, the examiner attempts to support an argument that one or more of the documents or sources provides a disclosure of every element in the claims and/or would be understood by a person having an ordinary level of skill in the relevant art as suggesting every element in the claims. Such arguments or rejections may be based on multiple documents or sources if the documents or sources are from a technical field that a person of ordinary skill would consider when addressing the problem solved by the invention.