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  • 23-Sep-2020 1:31 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    Contributed by Dave Bassett - Bassett IP Strategies 

    How Do I Get a Patent in the United States?Let’s talk about the process for getting a patent on your invention here in the United States of America.  Overall, the process can be pretty daunting, but that’s okay. You can make this happen.

    How Do I Get a Patent in the United States?

     Let’s talk about the process for getting a patent on your invention here in the United States of America.  Overall, the process can be pretty daunting, but that’s okay. You can make this happen.

    Idea

    The first thing you need to do is the toughest part: you have to invent something.  Quite often that comes from wanting or needing to do some task but not having the right process, tool, machine, material, or component to do the job efficiently or maybe to even do the job at all!  Like the old saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”  Once you’ve had that eureka moment and have come up with a novel idea, then you can start down the road towards patenting it.

    Perfecting Idea

    After you’ve come up with the idea, you then need to perfect the idea.  You can do this in one of two ways:

    • 1.      You can actually reduce the invention to practice (i.e. make and use the invention).
    • 2.      You can constructively reduce the invention to practice (i.e. know how to make and use the invention well enough that you can teach somebody skilled in that field how, “without undue experimentation,” to make and use the invention).

    Patent Search

    While, you’re perfecting the idea, it is good practice to perform a patent search to see if somebody else has already invented something that is essentially the same as your idea.

    • ·        The process of getting a patent can be quite time consuming. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) the process takes about three years from initial submission to patent issuance, but it can and does often take longer than that time.
    • ·        The process of getting a patent can be quite expensive. Except in very rare cases, it generally costs several thousand dollars to obtain a patent, so it would be a good thing to know what other “prior art” is out there.
    • ·         It may be the case that somebody else has already come up with something so similar to your possible invention that it isn’t worth the time nor the effort to obtain a patent.  Even if they didn’t patent their idea, if the idea was in the public domain, it can count as prior art against your idea.

    Patent Application

    After performing a search, if you still believe your idea is truly an invention, you can begin the process of applying for a patent.  The way to do this is to put together a patent application and submit it to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  When you receive a patent, the U.S. government, through the patent office, grants you a limited monopoly to exclude others from making or using your invention. This limited monopoly typically lasts a period of 20 years from when you submitted a non-provisional patent application to the USPTO.  That limited monopoly is where you get value from the patent. 

    The government gets value from the patent as well. In order to receive a patent, you have to tell the world how to make and use the invention “in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art … to make and use the same … without undue experimentation.”  When you have done this in your application, you are said to have “enabled” your invention.  Because you’ve told the world how to make and use your invention, anybody and everybody else can try to come up with ways to improve upon your invention and actually invent something even better than yours.

    To enable your invention, your application will include a specification or description of the invention and will also include at least one claim regarding what you believe your invention is and does.  The application will also almost always include drawings to help clarify the description of the invention.  (The old “a picture is worth a thousand words” mantra getting put to good use.)  It is very important to get your invention enabled via the specification and the drawings. If you don’t, then you don’t really have a patent application.

    Patent Application Review

    After you have submitted your patent application, the USPTO will assign a patent examiner to review the application and the “prosecution” of your application begins.  Once you have submitted your patent application, you can claim that your idea is “Patent Pending” while the prosecution is ongoing.  By ongoing, I mean that you haven’t abandoned the application nor has the patent issued. 

    The examiner will review the application to ensure that it does enable your invention and will also review your invention to determine if it is novel, useful, and non-obvious compared to the prior art that was available at the time you first submitted your application.  Anything that was in existence prior to the date you submitted your application is considered prior art.  Subsequently, the subject matter of your application is prior art for anything that comes into existence after you submitted your application.

    Office Actions

    Once the patent examiner has reviewed your application and compared it to the prior art, you will receive what is known as an “office action.”  The first office action you receive will nearly always have a reason, or reasons, why the examiner doesn’t believe your idea is worthy of having your claims allowed.  Don’t get depressed. Just because the examiner decides to reject, or object to, your claims doesn’t mean that you can’t get a patent issued.  But it does mean you have some more work to do.  You can overcome rejections in several ways, the details of which are beyond the scope of this blog. Primarily, by altering the claims and/or by making arguments convincing the examiner that although he/she initially believed that your claims similarly describe another invention or inventions, there are subtle (and not so subtle) differences between what you’ve invented and the prior art that existed at the time you submitted your application.

    Oftentimes, it may take several tries to get a set of claims allowed.  Sometimes you may decide that the changes you’d have to make to your claims would limit the scope of your invention so much that you don’t see the value in continuing to pursue a patent, so you stop the prosecution of the application and the application is said to be abandoned.

    Patent Issued

    But, far more often than not, you can reach a point where your claims are determined to be allowed and that you can have a patent issue.  At that point, you pay an issuance fee within the appropriate time limit.  A month or so later, you’ll get a nice heavy soft-covered booklet stating that your invention has met all the requirements to be patented and the invention will be described via your own words inside.

    Congratulations!  You are officially an inventor when your patent is given an eight-digit patent number.  Through the past 200+ years over 10,000,000 patents have been issued!

    Please note that this is merely an overview of the typical process. There are many additional items to be aware of, but this gives an overview of the process to get a utility patent issued in the United States of America.

    If you’d like to learn more about patenting or get help in patenting an invention, please contact me at Bassett IP Strategies.

    About the Author

    Dave Bassett is President of Bassett IP Strategies. He can be contacted at dbassett@bassett.pro or (585) 739-9726. Dave has been registered with the USPTO since 2004.

     

     

  • 20-Jul-2020 5:13 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    Contributed by Melanie Watson - Melanie Watson Design

    Sometimes it isn’t possible or cost-effective to hire a professional to design your marketing collateral. For those moments when you’re on your own, here are five tips to help your project look more professional.

    5 Tips to Improve Your Graphic Design

    5 Tips to Improve Your DIY Graphic Design 
    from a professional graphic designer

     Sometimes it isn’t possible or cost-effective to hire a professional to design your marketing collateral. For those moments when you’re on your own, here are five tips to help your project look more professional.

    1. FONT CHOICES

     Only use two or three different font families. Look at your copy and determine its hierarchy. Ideally, you’d choose one font for the body text, one for the main headlines and maybe an accent or subhead font. Another thing to keep in mind is to not use multiple serif fonts or multiple sans-serif fonts.

     And make sure your text is easy to read. People need to be able to read your message if you want them to act on it. Choose fonts that are clean and clear. Never use a script with all uppercase text. If you are using a script, make sure the point size is large enough to read it easily. Small text should always be in a sans-serif font for easier legibility.

     Think carefully about your audience and your message and use fonts that support that message. If you are a B2B, you may want to stick to a font that is more professional instead of a childish, handwritten font. Script fonts can come across as elegant or overly casual.

    2. IMAGE QUALITY

     Appropriate, high-end photos and graphics will help illustrate your message and help your audience to remember it. Make sure to use images that are of a high enough resolution for your project because a pixelated image will make you look unprofessional. Never use images created for a website on a piece that will be printed. If using stock art, always download the largest file so you have the flexibility to use it across all media. Second, don’t use a photo at larger than 100%.

    3. USE OF WHITESPACE

     One thing that will instantly transform your design to something more professional is using plenty of whitespace. When items are too close, it creates a tension that the viewer will feel. Always allow for breathing room around each element in your design, including borders.

    4. USE OF COLOR

     When deciding how to apply color to your design, you want to be very careful. Don’t feel like you have to use color on everything. There’s no reason to hit your viewer over the head with your design. Be choosy and remember color is used to make things stand out. If you make everything colorful, nothing will stand out. For smaller body text, black is best for legibility. And make sure if you use colored text on a colored background that you have a significant amount of contrast. Otherwise it will hard to read and may as well not be there to begin with.

    5. PROOFREAD!

     Last but most definitely not least, proofread everything. Proofread it twice.

     I hope these tips will help you craft a more professional-looking piece.

     About the Author:

    Melanie Watson, owner of Melanie Watson Design, is at heart a problem solver, working closely with clients to become clear on the message they want to convey and the audience they want to reach. She creates clean, bold designs that serve to communicate, not overpower. She can be reached at melanie@melaniewatsondesign.com.

  • 20-Jul-2020 5:10 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    LinkedIn isn’t just for finding a job. Your business can reach prospective customers on LinkedIn. Many people on this business networking platform say they are likely to buy from a company they engage with on LinkedIn.

    Creating an Engaging LinkedIn Page for Your Business

  • 20-Jul-2020 4:54 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    To receive a patent on an invention, your invention needs to be new, useful, and non-obvious. In an earlier blog, I told you about three actions to take to help ensure your invention is patentable, such as get an enabled patent application submitted; keep your invention out of the public eye; and use non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) when possible. Today, I’ll tell you three more things you can do to increase your chances of getting a patent for your invention.

    3 More Good Practices to Help Keep Your Invention Patentable

  • 20-Jul-2020 4:51 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    Are you considering the expansion of your business outside of the United States? “Being a global business is an impressive accomplishment, but not every business is cut out for the challenge.”1

    Customer Documentation and Training Concerns in a Global Business

  • 20-Jul-2020 4:49 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    There should be a company vision and discovery sessions to determine what motivates the customers to use the product/service. Developing a product that people really want and reaching those particular people who will use it are the target goals. The company must also create a method for continued improvement over the life of the product/service.

    3 Actions to Help Create a Winning Product

  • 04-May-2020 9:00 AM | Robert Manard (Administrator)

    Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the single most important part of a successful digital strategy.  Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that lets you customize the way you appear to customers searching for something you provide.  GMB lets you create a profile for your business to help you get in front of the people most likely to do business with you.  You can add photos and videos to establish a good first impression and help you stand out from the competition. 

    Google For Your Business

    By Bob Manard of Faces That Work

    Bar, Ipad, Mockup, Business, Computer, Tablet

    Be Found…  with Google My Business

    Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is the single most important part of a successful digital strategy.  Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that lets you customize the way you appear to customers searching for something you provide.  GMB lets you create a profile for your business to help you get in front of the people most likely to do business with you.  You can add photos and videos to establish a good first impression and help you stand out from the competition.  You can help people connect with you by specifying your location and service, area, displaying your business hours, and providing a phone number.  You can even create posts to promote products, offers, news, and events.  GMB is like having a free advertisement in Google search results.


    Be Seen…  with YouTube

    People watch videos.  Whether they’re looking to be entertained or informed, more and more people are turning to YouTube.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is easily worth ten thousand.  You can reach a larger audience with video -- and you can have a much deeper impact on that audience.  Videos can help you build credibility, providing a free service and promoting your business at the same time.  If you’re ready to start producing video content, then YouTube is the most logical place to start.  It is the place most people turn to when searching for videos and you can integrate it with your Google My Business listing.


    Be Powerful…   with G Suite

    G Suite is the perfect tool for running your business.  With GMail, you can send professional emails and build trust with your customers by giving everyone in your organization an email address like bob@facesthatwork.com -- or create group mailing lists, like sales@facesthatwork.com Drive makes it easier to collaborate with remote teams, enabling access to your files from anywhere, at any time, and on any device.  This can help you make decisions faster and focus more on the work -- instead of the process. Most common file types are supported like Docs (Word), Sheets (Excel), and Slides (Powerpoint), along with extended capabilities such as Forms, which can be used to generate surveys on the fly.  Google Calendar offers an integrated way to share calendars, allowing you to schedule meetings with ease. With one click, you can turn your meeting into a Google Meet video conference and make decisions on the spot


    Be Better…   with Google Analytics

    If you’ve ever wondered how many people are actually visiting your website, then Google Analytics is the tool for you.  You can find out not just how many visitors you’re getting, but what time they visited, how long they spent there, and how they found your website in the first place.  If they got there through a search result, you’ll see what search terms they used, so you can adjust your website content accordingly.  You can also learn a great deal about your visitors, at least the aggregated demographic and psychographic info Google is able to share with you.  You can find out what kinds of visitors are just “lookie loos” and what kinds are actually converted into customers. This can help you tailor the website experience to appeal to the people who will help you achieve your goals.

    About the Author

    Bob Manard is a Digital Marketing powerhouse at Faces That Work.  A past president of RPCN, Bob is also active in several local organizations, including App Rochester, Google Rochester, and WordPress Rochester. He is also a member of the Tech Committee for the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors and the Chair of RPCN's Digital Marketing committee.

    Bob holds a BS in Computer Science from St. John Fisher College and an MBA in Electronic Commerce from the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester.

    Find more from Bob at:  https://facesthatwork.com/blog/


  • 02-May-2020 3:00 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    In the 1990s, it became evident that software development was unlike other engineering development processes. Up until that point, most engineering development was done in a more linear mode known overall as the Waterfall project delivery process.

    What is Agile?

    In the 1990s, it became evident that software development was unlike other engineering development processes. Up until that point, most engineering development was done in a more linear mode known overall as the Waterfall project delivery process.

    The Waterfall process didn’t move fast enough to ensure that customer’s software demands and requirements were being met. This is because the completed software generally was not available to the customers until at least three years had passed. The software needs may have changed by then. Something had to be done!

    Agile came about due to a meeting of 17 individuals in Utah in early February, 2001. These individuals were “representatives from Extreme Programming, SCRUM, DSDM (Dynamic System Development Method), Adaptive Software Development (ASD), Crystal, Feature-Driven Development, Pragmatic Programming, and others sympathetic to the need for an alternative to documentation driven, heavyweight software development processes convened.” (1)

    A Manifesto for Agile Software Development was developed and signed by each of these representatives and the Agile methodology was born. The values of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development are listed below.

    The values on the left side of each statement are more important than the values on the right in Agile methodology. Remember that when you deliver software and other products using the Waterfall methodology, everything is front-loaded, decided upon, and signed off on prior to development beginning. That’s not the case with Agile.

    Values

    1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
    3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    4. Responding to change over following a plan
    Principles
    • Customer satisfaction through early and continuous software delivery
    • Accommodate changing requirements throughout the development process
    • Frequent delivery of working software
    • Collaboration between the business stakeholders and developers throughout the project
    • Support, trust, and motivate the people involved
    • Enable face-to-face interactions
    • Working software is the primary measure of progress
    • Agile processes to support a consistent development pace
    • Attention to technical detail and design enhances agility
    • Simplicity
    • Self-organizing teams encourage great architectures, requirements, and designs
    • Regular reflections on how to become more effective

    Those who apply any type of Agile methodology adhere to these values and principles. The manifesto offers a good overview of what is expected when it comes to the Agile development life cycle practices.” (2)

    Based on my own work experience as a cross-functional project manager in a large multinational corporation, I would say there are a lot of advantages to the Agile methodology. These advantages exist not only for the software development community but also for any other projects and deliverables that are iterative and incremental.

    For instance, my organization’s deliverables were translation, documentation and training. Agile project management made the software translation process much more manageable and effective.

    • Instead of getting ALL of the software at the end of the development cycle and then having to translate it into the required number of languages just before a product Launch, as we had done using the Waterfall process, we would now receive software iterations every few weeks. Each software iteration would be translated into the required languages when complete.
    • The Software Development Team and the Translation Project Team would meet on a regular basis (sometimes daily) in the meantime to ensure both teams were synchronized with one another and to answer one another’s questions.
    If things fell behind on either side, the two groups would come up with a remediation plan and present it to the Product Delivery Team (PDT) to show their plans to get back on track to achieve a multinational Launch on schedule

    • If this had happened when we were using the Waterfall process, it would have happened closer to Launch and the responsibility for the remediation plan would have been on the Translation team.
    • Under the Waterfall process, the Translation team would be blamed and held accountable for a missed Launch, even if it was a glitch in the software or a shortfall in the ability of the graphical user interface (GUI) that caused issues displaying some of the longer translated languages.
    • These difficulties would not happen when using Agile methodology.

    Similarly, the documentation and training team was also working with the software development team in an incremental and iterative mode using Agile decision making.

    • The two teams would be working in concert with one another in the development of the various product features’ software, documentation and training.
    • The two teams would frequently meet prior to the handoff of the tested software to the documentation and training team.
    • Questions were answered and decisions were made in a real-time mode versus weeks or months down the road when the completed software was delivered in its entirety.
    • Contingency and remediation plans could also be developed by the two teams in real time if something came up along the way that might jeopardize the Launch schedule or the budget.
    • Those contingency and remediation plans could then be reviewed with the PDT and decisions made as soon as possible, before the effects of the issues became insurmountable.

    The Agile Values and Principles are the most important things for the teams to remember and follow. The teams’ practices to achieve those values and principles may change over time, from Scrum to Kanban or others. It’s up to the teams to decide what’s the most effective to use.

    About the Author

    Sandra Glanton is the owner and managing consultant of Projects Accomplished! She spent 23 years working in various phases of product development at a local multinational corporation. She also was a cross-services project manager for 11 years in an organization that specialized in documentation and translation services. She can be reached at sglanton34@gmail.com or (585) 230-0649.

    1 Highsmith, Jim, Agile Alliance. 2001. Manifesto for Agile Software Development, History: The Agile Manifesto, http://agilemanifesto.org/history.html

    2 Muslihat, Dinnie, Zenkit blog’s content extraordinaire and productivity pundit. 2018. Agile Methodology: An Overview, https://zenkit.com/en/blog/agile-methodology-an-overview/


  • 01-May-2012 4:44 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)

    by Chris Swingle Farnum

    How closely have you reviewed your LinkedIn profile and all of the words on your website? Do you proofread the proposals, documents and professional letters you write? Misspellings, typos and errors hurt your image. It's critical that you check your work or have someone reliable do so.

    How to Proofread


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