September 30th, 2013 ERA Tech Series

On Monday, September 30, 2013, OLC attended ERA Tech Series featuring Fatih Ozluturk, author of Patents Simplified. Entrepreneur’s Guide to US Patents and Patent Application.

“ENIAC is the mother of all digital computers,” Ozluturk began. ENIAC was built at UPenn in 1943 to 1946, which took an approximate $500,000 to build. It was installed in a 8x12 feet deep room, and could compute 5,000 addition and subtraction equations a second. It was the first all-digital computer. “This monster took 150kW to run. The best part was that it was programmable. It served a general purpose. ENIAC was used in the hydrogen bomb calculations.” Ozluturk explained the connection between ENIAC and patents. “The transistor was already patented in 1925, so the engineers of ENIAC couldn’t patent it. So Shockley, Brattain, Bandeu, couldn’t do it. It turns out that to get a patent, you don’t need to build it. You just need to be able to describe it in detail, explain how to build it and use it.”

“Sperry Rand was sued by Honeywell and so Rand countersued. The case was later ruled ‘unenforceable’ because of the delay in prosecution, not dealing with the USPTO in a straightforward manner, and the patent was invalid because investors took too long to file after ENIAC went on sale, after the invention was published.” Ozluturk joked, “Don’t do any of this.”

“Intellectual property is your most valuable asset when you file for a patent, so you should work with an attorney or an agent who actively practices patent prosecution,” he said.

According to Ozluturk, the US Patent Office is the oldest in the world, its very first formation embedded in the US Constitution. “A patent is quid-pro-quo between government and the inventor. You are teaching people to build stuff for society and so, the government gives the patent owner monopoly over it for 20 years, because you created it for the benefit of society.”

There are three types of patents in the United States: Utility, which consists of 95% of patents; design, which apply to only ornamental features of a product; and plant, which are asexually produced plants. To create a patent, one must draw up specifications, drawings (if required), and claims. “Do add as much information as you can with drawings. Describe in detail that it can teach a person skilled in the art to make and use your invention. Include the best mode and describe all variations and modifications you can think of,” Ozluturk said. “The more thorough you are, the easier it is for the attorney to draft up a patent.”

He moved on to patent entitlement and what criteria makes the applicant ineligible. “You’re entitled to a patent unless if it was before you invented it, more than one year before you applied for a patent, patented in a foreign country, if it’s in someone else’s patent application, you are not the inventor, or you abandoned the invention,” Ozluturk said.

“You should develop a strategy to protect your invention,” he said. Apparently, the USPTO used to be first to invent, but they have since recently changed their policy to first to file. “Don’t sit on your ideas for too long in areas where it’s contested,” he suggested.

“Most patents get rejected because there is something similar to it. Obviousness is n the eye of the examiner!” Ozluturk said.