Given the information gap, how can you know what to protect and what to let go? There are a number of factors, but I suggest you consider the generality of the invention. After all, if the invention is too specific in how it solves a problem, competitors can provide another solution without infringing the patent. You also should consider who has this problem, and the likely time frame of the problem.
To understand these principles, imagine you are a painter, and that your task (which has never been done) is to paint a floor without getting paint on your shoes. But before you can start one of your competitors begins. Not knowing better you decide to watch him. He begins quickly, but somehow paints himself into a corner. He is trapped ...what now? In a blaze of understanding he conceives his invention:
A method of painting a floor without getting paint on shoes, comprising:Gee, you say, I wouldn't have thought of that-- does that make the invention non-obvious? Maybe, but who would want to use this? ... Tarzan. Yes, he would want to do this at the end of each job. How about the scope of the patent? It has the Tarzans of the world on the "ropes."
painting the floor; and
if trapped in a corner grabbing a rope anchored to the ceiling to traverse from the trapped corner to the exit door.
Well having seen all of this you pick up the brush, think about it, and come up with your invention:
A method of painting a floor without getting paint on shoes, comprising:This invention is general in its terms because it solves a problem that many will need to solve for the forseeable future. Forget my examples, they are silly, but don't forget the principle-- generality. It can speak before the marketplace can clear its voice.
painting the floor so unpainted floor is maintained as a path for the painter to an exit door.
Copyright © 2011 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.