Draft my own patent – TIPS

Many inventors contact us for tips to draft and register their own patent.

Tip 1: Use our DIY provisional patent toolkit
This includes a template for drafting a provisional patent, and fillable patent forms for registering the DIY patent.

Tip 2: Move beyond the benefits
Most inventors get stuck on the benefits of their invention – it is cheaper, lighter, more rugged, “greener”, etc. The problem is that “benefits” cannot be patented.

To find whether a patentable feature exists, ask: “what feature did you add to the product to yield the benefit?” i.e. to make it cheaper, lighter, more rugged, “greener”, etc. – it is only these new features that you have added that may be patentable.

If your answer is: “I used a new type of plastic recently launched by 3M”; “I made it out of aluminium instead of plastic”; or “I made the connections stronger”, you have not added a new feature – the feature you are referring to already existed, and there is nothing to patent. The new feature you are adding cannot be a common substitute of an existing feature.

Remember: the benefits merely point you in the direction of the potentially patentable feature.

Tip 2: Ignore how energy is provided
Often inventors claim to have created a more mobile gadget (… with lots of benefits). On questioning, the inventor has merely plugged a battery with solar panel charging unit to an existing gadget. And, in so doing, has managed to disconnect the gadget from the mains.

Again, there is nothing patentable here. The gadget requires electricity. Whether it sources the electricity from the mains, a wind turbine, a solar panel, a hydrogen cell or battery is not relevant. These are obvious alternative sources of energy. Sure, having severed the dependance upon the grid may have improved mobility and yielded significant advantages (which may even save lives), but despite these wonderful advantages, there remains nothing patentable here. No new, non-obvious feature has been added.

Tip 3: Ignore new applications for an existing thing
Many “inventions” are merely new applications of an existing thing. For instance, no-one may previously have stored oil in coke bottles, but by doing so, you have not added anything new – coke bottles existed. Bottles store a range of fluids. Oil is a fluid. There is nothing patentable here.

Tip 4: Merely putting a combination of things in a box is not inventive
The first person to come up with the 3-in-1 copier merely took a fax machine, scanner and photocopier and put a box around them. He did not add anything new. The next person who decides to add a coffee machine, may have “invented” a 4-in-1, but he similarly has added nothing that is patentable. Sure, these items may need to be interconnected, and a single power cable may be able to power all components, but you are adding nothing new.

Tip 5: Optimising a system
Merely optimising a system is not patentable. For example, you may be the first person to achieve an 85% efficiency for a solar heating system by marrying the perfect PV panel with the most suitable battery and heating element / heat pump, but have you added anything new? No. Many people have previously coupled these elements together. You have merely perfected the specification. Although your spec may have taken a long time to calculate and may yield significant benefits / advantages, you have not added a new feature. So, there no nothing patentable here.

Where to from here? After having identified the new, non-obvious feature that yields the benefit, conduct a patent search to confirm that this feature is in fact new.

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