Patent Mistakes Commonly Made By DIY Inventors

By: Michael J Foycik Jr. 
October 24, 2013
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

There are some very common mistakes made by do-it-yourself (DIY) inventors when it comes to patenting. There are two main patent types, Provisional Patent Applications (PPAs) and Utility Patent Applications.

The worst mistake: trying to hide the invention. This happens when inventors recite all the advantages and benefits, but do not show enough structure to support those functions. The rejection that occurs in those situations is an “insufficient disclosure” rejection, and it is a serious matter in the patent world.

Drawings: color drawings are a mistake. Only black-and-white line drawings are accepted, except under relatively rare conditions such as a biological micrograph.

Also a mistake: drawings without proper margins of one inch at the top and left, 5/8 inch on the right, and 3/8 at the bottom.

Another mistake is failing to show enough features in the drawings. Many inventors seem to think one or two good drawings are enough. Many times it is necessary to have cross sections shown, enlarged detail views, and diagrams showing a change in position or condition. Also, front views of mechanical systems are often not enough. Other views may well be necessary: side, rear, bottom, perspective, and assembly drawings all find good use in patent drawings.

For Utility Patent Applications, mistakes are very often made in the claims. Anything claimed must also be present in the drawings. It is normally not possible to change the drawings. Therefore, make sure anything that should be claimed is clearly shown in the drawings.