TeamPatent: A building block fordeveloping a patent application
Anew online patent application drafting program may provide in- ventors with an easy-to-use application developer that automates much ofthe process.
Professional patent filers and inventorscan now set up their applications quickly inan application skeleton that organizes andassociates claim terms, part numbers anddrawings. The program, called TeamPatent,enhances productivity and quality by reducing errors, by reducing the cost of employing an attorney to assess the finished application and by eliminating the need for adraftsman to interpret the drawings.
Formulated in 2005 by Rocky Kahn, an
experienced patent filer, the system was
made available to the public in April.
Kahn, who heads TeamPatent LLC, has
written 23 patents, including a modern op-
tical mouse for a handheld solid-state
scanner. He believes that the program,
Foundation, is due for an easier and up-
dated service provider that will help when
applying for a patent.
“While filing patent applications usingMSWord and a drawing program such asVisio or Canvas, I’ve found the process incredibly expensive, tedious and archaic,”he said. To overcome these problems, hedevised an economical, motivating wordprocessor.
“TeamPatent has streamlined my workflow,” said Barry Rabin, CEO of SageTechnology & Development LLC and adeveloper of four patents using the system. He said it has allowed him “to focuson the technical aspects of creating a newpatent application rather than having toworry about the tedious tasks of formatting the document or worrying aboutwhether claim terms have been properlysupported.”
There is no software to be downloaded
because the program works entirely on-
line. Clients can create a user name and a
password-protected account that keeps all
documents secure, and all communication
on the server is encrypted. The Web ad-
dress is www.teampatent.com.
The first step of the process is to eitherintegrate an existing application documentinto an application skeleton or to build onefrom scratch on the Web site. Inventorsare prompted to include the title of theproduct, an abstract and summary, anyfederally sponsored research, prior art,claims, advantages of the product and descriptions of figures.
Images can be uploaded into the system, and a drawing editor enables users toplace call-outs – numbered labels to identify specific components – for each individual part. By clicking on a call-out,users can move from a drawing to thepart reference located in the text. A part-manager pane, which shows a completelist of all components, allows for easierdetection of a component within the textand drawings.
After incorporating the text, the systemautomatically identifies part and figurereferences by marking them blue for valid,supported items, or red for invalid, inconsistent items. When a part reference is red,it may mean that two part names conflict –e.g., coil 15 and heater 15 – letting usersknow that they can rename or renumberone of the references. If both items are thesame part – e.g., optical amplifier 15 andamplifier 15 – the user can change thename of one of the items to make themsynonymous.
Other facets of the site include a claimsoutline for easier reading and editing, afigure manager for viewing all drawingsand part references, and a preview menuthat illustrates what the final applicationwill look like. When the application iscompleted, inventors can export the fileinto MSWord or Adobe Acrobat as a pdfversion.
Once an inventor has learned how touse it, it can really speed things up, according to Erin-Michael Gill, a formerpatent examiner and author of the IP man
SLICES FROM THE
Visitors to TeamPatent LLC’s Web site can examine their patent application before using the company’s draftingprogram. Presented is a specifications pane (left), which comprises a detailed report of an uploaded drawingof the invention (in this example, a massager). A figure manager pane (top right) shows the actual drawing ofthe referred description, and a part manager (bottom right) lists each part called out in the drawing. Part references that are valid – having supported and consistent names – are automatically displayed in blue, while invalid terms are in red, notifying the user to rename or renumber the components.