Tuesday, March 18, 2008

USPTO Chat Transcript

I just came across a transcript of an online question and answer session during which Patent and Trademark Office staff fielded questions from the public. They posted the questions that were general enough to be of interest to more than one person here.

The questions were the same sorts of questions we get in the library every day. For instance:

Can I get a design patent for a fashion design
USPTO Expert3: (Feb 28, 2008 2:28:34 PM)
Birdy, A fashion design may receive a design patent. The appearance of the entire article, like a dress, can be patented, or even just a portion of the article, such as a collar, can be patented. Your claim would consist of clear ink drawings of your design with any unclaimed portions shown in broken lines.
It's not always clear what type of protection applies to certain types of intellectual property. Clothes, for instance, can be an artistic expression, which could translate to copyright. According to the UPSTO staff person on the receiving end of this Q and A, though, clothes designs can be protected by a design patent (The issue has much more nuance than I can give justice in this space. Copyright protection, which is generally the IP protection that applies to art, lasts much longer than patent protection, which could make it much more valuable. Read a report from the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property here.)

Another favorite:

Comatson: (Feb 28, 2008 3:02:34 PM)
I am a new inventor, How do I start the patent process, should I sign with a "patent agency" and if so, how do I know that my idea is protected. Also, If I use a google search for patents, is that good enough?
USPTO Expert: (Feb 28, 2008 3:02:37 PM)
The Office strongly suggests you review information we have that all inventors should be aware of before doing business with any invention promotion firm, go to http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/iip/index.htm. As far as moving forward get information from our Office about the patent process, consider the public library for self help books or look for a local inventors group at www.uiausa.org Also visit a PTDL for assistance with searching, http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/ptdl/index.html

Notice the very gentle steering away from Google Patent Search towards the library, books, and inventors' groups. "USPTO Expert" is ok in my book.

There is another chat session scheduled for April 15th. To find information about that and many more resources please visit the UPSTO's Inventors Resources and Information site.

No comments: