Now it’s time to write that utility patent, the most complex document in America’s legal system. First off, read John Denver’s “Fly It Yourself” before trying to Patent It Yourself. Most million dollar patent lawsuits revolve around no more than three words out of ten thousand in a patent. For example, does the term, “horizontal rotation means” include the limits of when a rotating searchlight stops rotating? At the highest patent appeals court (CAFC) two judges said they couldn’t find the word “stop” in horizontal, but the oldest judge chided his two younger bench members that they just couldn’t read English! Of course if it rotates it has to stop somewhere and whether it stops at 352 degrees or over 360 degrees is implied as part of the limits of the invention! Three little words.
Every patent like every diamond has a flaw in it when it gets to court. Hire a pro with at least a hundred patents behind him with several valued in the millions. A little trial experience helps, too, to experience the grinding down of three little words into a fiveyear litigation, with millions of dollars at stake.
Keep the bloody patent lawyer to a fixed budget. Cram several related inventions into one filing. Write twenty claims on the main invention and one claim for each sub-invention. String the whole herd of inventions out for years until the products either succeed or fail in the marketplace. Remember when your patent gets to court, it will not matter if yourpatent lawyer has a doorman in his building, a lobby, an elevator, a pretty receptionist, a shiny conference room and a gorgeous view from his office. Three little words and the ability to craft the right words are all that counts. Hemingway did not work in an office at all. He wrote his best in a walk up studio in Key West, Florida.
If you don’t like your patent lawyer’s writing style, boot him. Remember it is the juror, having only a driver’s license as a qualification, who will be the major decision maker in the life of a contested (meaning valuable) patent. Tell it like it is, Harry, don’t mush it up with lawyer language. Which do you prefer? A horizontal member protruding from a wellhead pivotally connected to a reciprocating shaft? Or just “a pump handle.” Don’t pay for the words. Pay for the clarity.
The majority of litigated patents are basic (easily knocked off) mechanical devices. So a thirteen-year-old should be able to build the water pump after reading the patent. When it comes to exotic magnetically induced hypnotic trances, forget it, you need to rely on your propeller head inventor to screen the language down “to one skilled in the art,” but remind him that a few pages on the background of magnets and hypnosis would really help the inventor’s mom’s nursing home companion, who might be on the jury.