Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Welcome, everyone, to the Bold Inventor Show. I’m your host, JD Huer, owner, founder, and patent attorney here at Bold Patent Law Firm. I’m excited to be with you all here today. So, we’ve got a good show lined up. I’m going to discuss why one patent is often not sufficient, okay? That’s our topic for today, and why a portfolio, a family of patents, should be what you aim for when looking to secure an invention. We’ll explore the differences and what parent and child applications entail.

If you’re interested in seeking legal consultation, please click the link above, highlighted below. It’s our weekly live link for scheduling a free Discovery call to see if our firm is a good fit for you. You’ll also receive a copy of the book behind me, available for PDF download, where you can learn all about patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.

So, let’s dive into our first topic: why one patent is not sufficient. Now, I don’t want to come off as greedy, like “file all your patents with us, we’re just after your money.” The goal here is to protect your invention. It’s not just about the invention itself, but what you’re selling. At a high level, the idea behind getting a patent is to ensure that you, the inventor, are rewarded for your innovation, for bringing your product to market first. The U.S. government promises to give you 20 years of protection, allowing you to be the sole player in the market to make, use, or sell your invention during that time. So, it’s crucial to ensure that what you’re selling aligns with what you’ve patented.

It’s common to rush through the patent process with an early version of your design. However, after receiving customer feedback and making changes, sometimes the final product ends up being significantly different from what was initially patented. Features and benefits that customers want may not be protected, leaving room for competitors to offer similar products without infringing on your patent. So, how do you prevent this? By obtaining more than one patent.

Let’s take a look at a patent portfolio guide together. A patent portfolio simply means having more than one patent, covering many inventions. There are two types of patents we’re discussing here: parent and child applications. A parent application is the first one filed, whether it’s a design, utility, provisional, or non-provisional application. A child patent application is anything filed before the parent application issues. It’s important to note that any child applications must be filed before the parent application issues.

There are four main types of child patent applications: divisionals, continuation applications, continuation-in-part, and design applications. Divisionals are filed when an examiner at the patent office determines that you’ve submitted more than one invention in a single application. After a restriction requirement is issued, you choose one invention to proceed with and reserve the right to file and protect the other inventions separately. This ensures that they share the same filing date and benefit from the earlier filing.

Continuation applications allow you to add something new without changing the core patent application. Continuation-in-part applications involve adding new matter. Design applications are filed to protect the appearance of a product, which can be powerful for consumer products or three-dimensional objects.

Having multiple patents offers several benefits. For instance, once your parent application issues, you still have other child applications pending. This allows you to modify your patent application while it’s pending, enabling you to keep up with competitors even after your parent patent is granted.

So, there you have it. Building a portfolio of patents can provide comprehensive protection for your inventions and help you stay ahead of the competition.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at https://boldip.com/contact/