To file the best possible application, you should be able to explain your idea with written text and patent drawings. By educating yourself on the anatomy of a patent application, you’ll be able to maximize the quality of your patent application.
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The text and drawings from your patent application will tell your idea’s story.
Just like every great story, the story of your idea requires careful planning and word choice. As part of your idea’s story, you’ll also show the reader why your idea is unique. You can let your idea shine through strong writing and carefully constructed drawings.
But reader, beware: a full patent application and a provisional patent application have two different sets of requirements. Your goal in the provisional patent application text and drawings is to give a detailed description of your idea, how your idea works, and how your idea is unique.
If you’ve done your homework from the previous steps (creating a well-defined idea, competitor research, patent search), then you’ll be ready for the final exam: the provisional patent application. Your final exam will require three parts:
Part 1: The Cover Page
Part 2: Drawings
Part 3: Written Text
Everyone’s favorite part of an exam (aka the easiest part) is the cover page. You can download the cover page from the US Patent and Trademark Office here.
Your invention will need a title (it doesn’t need to be too creative—just accurate). You’ll also specify the names of the inventors, whether your invention was made by an agency of the US government, and how you intend to pay the filing fee.
The cost of filing depends on whether you’re a large or small entity, as well as the length of your application (if your text and drawings over 100 pages, you’ll have to pay more). This part of your final exam should be the easiest!
Drawings are great tools to help you explain your idea (you should know this perfectly well if you’ve ever played Pictionary), if they’re done effectively. While you don’t need to worry about perfecting your painting skills, the USPTO still expects to be able to understand your idea better through your drawings. Patent drawings don’t need to be complicated—boxes, lines, and arrows for software ideas will suffice.
Drawings are truly the core of your patent application because they give you the opportunity to explain the inner workings of your idea in another way.
If you have a system or hardware idea, the easiest way to start creating your drawings is by categorizing all of your hardware and software components. Then, you can begin mapping out how your components work together (complete with labels for each piece).
What is the relationship between the different components of your idea? How do they communicate with each other to form your idea?
Pro Tip: Even if a component interaction seems obvious to you, a patent examiner may lack the same technical background as you. Be overly cautious and over-explain interactions that may appear obvious to you.
No matter what kind of idea you have, you’ll also want to submit a process patent drawing, which summarizes how your idea works in action. A process can be as simple as a few different shapes and arrows—as long as its adequately explaining how your idea works in a visual way.
Drawings aren’t as hard as you may think, but it helps to strategize with a patent expert who knows what types of drawings patent examiners are looking for in your category of idea.
The final part of your “exam” is to create accompanying text to your drawings, as well as an overall descriptive text of your idea. This is why it’s helpful to sit down and define your idea before diving into the provisional patent process—there’s nothing worse than getting writers block at the very end of an exam!
You can include how you thought of your idea, the problem that it solves, why your idea is important, and what makes your idea unique. The goal of the text in a provisional patent application is to tell the patent examiner the full story of your idea without you being physically present in the room. The better the text, the better the provisional patent application.
Then, after your description, you’ll include the accompanying stories behind the drawings that you’ve provided, and provide context for the fluffy clouds, arrows, and boxes that you’ve likely included as part of your drawings.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even include a summary of the main features of your idea.
Pro Tip: Use the text and drawing portion of the patent application to make sure that every single feature of your idea that’s important is also included in your drawing.
Finally, just like any exam, we advise you to review your work, proofread, and make sure that you’ve included all of the necessary information so that a complete stranger can fully understand your idea. When preparing the drawings and text of your provisional patent application, it’s a perfect time to reflect on your idea’s features and components, and take a step back to see what makes your idea truly unique.
So, open up your laptop and start writing! If you get stuck during the writing or drawing process, we’re always available to help. We have fantastic fixed-price packages, so there are no surprises along the way.
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