Appropriate Level of detail to describe patents process and invention

0

BACKGROUND

An American novel invention features a new industrial measurement process and is implemented by configuring COTS (commercial off the shelf) computers and COTS software to measure and calculate a utilitarian result. Hardware is not modded in any way, however, in the course of integrating COTS hardware components, software was developed to control the COTS components and produce the result.

QUESTIONS

There are 2 components to be patented: a process that drives the novel measurement device (invention) functionality of the measurement process.

1) Process disclosure: Is it sufficient to disclose a flowchart diagram of how the end user shall utilize the invention to perform the measurements? It will be obvious how the measurement is electronically performed and recorded. The utilitarian results are calculated from the recorded data and 'obvious' to someone skilled in the art.

2) Device disclosure: Given that the device (invention) is a COTS software configured, is it sufficient to flowchart the software instructions so that the claim can be generalized to any COTS hardware and software language?

3) Is there an expectation that the patent application provide the how-to build the device? i.e. Provide the software code and the COTS hardware specification?

Any questions or edits to the above to sharpen the question is appreciated.

gatorback

Posted 2017-12-05T18:30:14.263

Reputation: 843

Answers

1

It sounds like you are trying to obtain a "software patent". I'm not a lawyer, and there is a lot going on with respect to patentability of software so you really should consult with a patent attorney with experience in the field. That said, I do have a few patents which are based on the application of algorithms to solve a specific problem so I'll attempt to answer your questions.

1) Process disclosure: Is it sufficient to disclose a flowchart diagram of how the end user shall utilize the invention to perform the measurements? It will be obvious how the measurement is electronically performed and recorded. The utilitarian results are calculated from the recorded data and 'obvious' to someone skilled in the art.

First of all, a caution about using the term "obvious". In patents, "obvious" is a special word as it can be the basis for rejection. Several patent attorneys have cautioned me to avoid its use at all times. In any case, I do believe that the use of flowcharts is adequate so long as someone skilled in the field could take your flowcharts and other description and implement the invention. In my case, the patents also include some mathematical formulae.

2) Device disclosure: Given that the device (invention) is a COTS software configured, is it sufficient to flowchart the software instructions so that the claim can be generalized to any COTS hardware and software language?

Yes, you want to the greatest extent possible to avoid specifying the software language at least in claims. You want to describe the logic. I've seen flowcharts and I've seen pseudo-code. Either can be acceptable. It is ok to describe specific implementations in examples.

3) Is there an expectation that the patent application provide the how-to build the device? i.e. Provide the software code and the COTS hardware specification?

You certainly don't need to provide source code. In examples, you could specify the particular computer hardware and software products used, but thats for the specification only, not the claims.

The main thing to remember is you are enabling someone with normal skill in the field to implement your invention. You aren't providing source code anymore than a mechanical patent is providing dimensioned CAD models.

Eric S

Posted 2017-12-05T18:30:14.263

Reputation: 7 963