Erin Englehardt is the partner and president of Ovodenovo Inc., an agency that assists small companies and independent inventors obtain patent protection and develop their portfolios. The patent system can be used creatively to help investors and inventors position and protect themselves for success. On the flip side, understanding the patent portfolio of a company is critical for investors during due diligence.
Erin specializes in the areas of pharmaceutics, biotechnology, chemistry, chemical catalysis, green chemistry, nuclear technology, computer and operational systems, energy, electronic security, investment, wearable technology, apparel, mechanical devices, mining, and polymer chemistry.
What to Expect
- Serendipity towards the patent industry
- How patents work
- Priority Application
- International Patent application
- It’s not so obvious
- Erin’s favorite inventions
- Different patents available
- The most important part of a patent application
- Do you need an agent to apply for a patent?
- Patents went bad
- Cases and examples of different patents applied
- Royalty pay for license use
Applying for a Patent
Erin shared with us why and how inventors should request a patent. For someone who has an excellent idea and came up with something that works uniquely, it’s important to protect that idea. Anyone can copy your invention and take away any potential profit that comes with it. Filing a patent application is a way of putting a notice out to the world that you have created something new and exciting and it is yours. You get at least 20 years of protection to prevent anyone from practicing your invention without your permission.
Here are the initial steps to apply for a patent:
- Priority Application. (First patent application). You have one year to decide whether you want to protect locally or abroad.
- International Patent Application. You have 1 1/2 years before you want to decide if you only want to protect in US and Canada or other countries. For any country you want to protect your idea, you have to apply for an application.
It’s Not so Obvious
ErinEnglehardt shares that her most favourite inventions are those that have an environmental remediation. The innovations that catch her eyes and get her excited are the ones that look so simple. The steps may look very small, but they create a massive impact on a particular system.
A lot of the inventors that Erin talks with always say their inventions are so obvious. What they don’t realize is that it may have been obvious to them, but it is certainly wasn’t obvious to the rest of the world! For anyone who created something new, you should never think that anyone can come up with it because you never really know. You may be extraordinarily creative in putting yourself down. When in fact, you are the very first person in the world to think of this.
Tips on Applying for a Patent
Anyone can apply for a patent himself and draft his application. However, Erin Englehardt advice that it’s worth the investment to work with patent agents who know what they are doing. The patent system is not a straight forward language. There is an art to creating a patent application, and the words used can be shredded in court.
The most important part of an application is The Claim. This is the part that states what the invention is about and the inventor owns it. There are different types of claims, and each depends on what is the invention all about. Here are some examples of what it can cover:
- A piece of hardware
- A method for making something
- Things that have a physical effect on an object
- Process for dealing with data that has a positive impact in the world
- “In a way, you just have to follow what you like now. Doors will open if you enjoy what you are doing and you keep on following on that path.”
- “Somebody can have a great idea and come up with something that works in a way that no one has ever described before, and they want to do a business out of it.”
- “Unless inventors protect the idea, someone can copy it and take away any potential profit.”
- “It’s worth the investment to work with a patent agent who knows what they’re doing.”
- “The invention may have been obvious to that person but it certainly wasn’t obvious to the rest of the world.”
- “Never say ‘anyone could come up with this’ because you really don’t know.”
- “The innovations that catch my eye and get me excited are the ones that look so simple, and the steps look very small but have a massive impact on a particular system.”
- “If you have a very good idea, don’t ever throw it away. Pursue it, because a very small change can sometimes make a big difference.”
- “Go out, dream, invent. If you have a very good idea, don’t let anything stop you.”
Dream big and just go for it. You can make great changes in the world.