Write Your Own Patent?

Should You Write Your Own Patent Application?

Writing your own patent is sometimes worth considering, especially for relatively low value inventions where you do not expect to enforce, sell, or litigate the patent.

Often, I consult with inventors who are considering writing their own patents or those who have already done so. In general, these pro se patentees are looking to save some very valuable cash and are willing to invest their time and effort into learning how to write and file a patent.

The best thing about these pro se applicants is that they begin to get a good feel for the intricacies and nuances of patent applications and can converse on a different level about the process than a typical inventor. I enjoy working with them because they can appreciate the specialized talents that a patent attorney can bring to the process.

I have a rule of thumb for pro se applicants, and that is if the patent is protecting a product that could generate up to $100,000 per year in revenue, go ahead and write your own patent because the likelihood than anyone would sue over the patent is very small. If the product is generating over $1,000,000 in annual revenue, there is an increasing likelihood that a patent contest may involve enough money to spark a lawsuit, and the inventor really should have an investment-grade patent to survive.

Because a pro se patent applicant does not have the experience, it is easy to make a simple mistake that appears harmless at first glance, but may be an easy target to invalidate a resulting patent in a subsequent lawsuit. Simple things like failing to properly disclose search results to the patent office, improperly characterizing prior art, making improper admissions in a response to an Office action, or inadequately describing the invention may make the resulting patent much more difficult to get and more vulnerable to attack.

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