Claiming an Invention, not a Product

US patent attorneys sometimes suggest removing description of the related art or even the advantage from a patent application.  I understand the idea, but I disagree.  Let’s start from basic principles.

Attorneys prosecuting predictable technologies often argue an Examiner’s cited references would not have established a prima facie case of obviousness.  The question, though, pertains to what is allegedly obvious.  Specifically, I think patent practice subtly recognizes a distinction between a claim being obvious and a claimed invention being obvious.

A claim can be drafted to cover any product or process, especially those that are known and/or truly would have been obvious.  Still, an Examiner would conduct a search the same way and reject the claim the same way.

So, the difference between a claim to a known product and a claim to an invention must be that there is, in fact, an invention behind a claimed invention.  And a clever attorney can probably argue an advantage to any claim, even those that are truly obvious.

So, a claimed invention is somewhat distinguishable because there is an underlying invention.  An attorney should be able to present previous evidence of such an invention, not evidence conjured only after an Examiner rejects the claim.

The best previous evidence of an invention is that described in the specification at the time of filing.  Attorneys can rely on this evidence as pre-dating the Examiner’s conclusion of obviousness by several years in many cases.  So, I suggest maintaining the description of the related art or the advantage in a patent application.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.