An Experimental Course On Ip And Patent Application


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An Experimental Course On Ip And Patent Application

  1. 1. An Experimental Course on IP and Patent Application Drafting at Auburn University By Dr. Paul Swamidass and A.J. Gokcek, Esq. Auburn University
  2. 2. The need <ul><li>Engineering and business students with original ideas fit for commercial use </li></ul><ul><li>Need protection of ideas of commercial exploitation—Patenting is one viable method </li></ul><ul><li>Hidden need </li></ul><ul><li>Colleges do not address this need </li></ul>
  3. 3. Ignorance and cost <ul><li>Students with ideas are deterred by the patenting process—unknown </li></ul><ul><li>Prohibitive cost of the services of a patent attorney </li></ul><ul><li>Demystify the process, simplify it, and make the application drafting doable by students with original ideas—costs become manageable </li></ul>
  4. 4. Economic value <ul><li>Manufacturing is tapering off; We need new ventures to fill the gap </li></ul><ul><li>IP protection through patents enables students with original ideas to embark on commercial ventures </li></ul><ul><li>Entrepreneurial thinking wakes up once students see their IP is protected through patents </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Course <ul><li>Cross-listed in business and engineering colleges, UG and grad students </li></ul><ul><li>Target course size 15; we have 16 including 2 grad students </li></ul><ul><li>Text: Inventor’s guide…Joy Bryant </li></ul>
  6. 6. Class composition <ul><li>Business (2 students) </li></ul><ul><li>Mechanical Engineering (3 students) </li></ul><ul><li>Computer Science (2 students) </li></ul><ul><li>Finance (1 student) </li></ul><ul><li>History (1 student) </li></ul><ul><li>Polymer & Fiber engineering (1 student) </li></ul><ul><li>Civil Engineering (1 student) </li></ul><ul><li>Aerospace Engineering (1 student) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Inventions 1 <ul><li>1. Computer system (computer engineering) </li></ul><ul><li>2. Media device (electronics) </li></ul><ul><li>3. Network security (computer science) </li></ul><ul><li>4. Textile product for divers (textile/materials engineering) </li></ul><ul><li>5. Business method for organizing an enterprise (marketing/business) </li></ul><ul><li>6. Media device (electronics) </li></ul><ul><li>7. Lifting apparatus (mechanical) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Inventions 2 <ul><li>8. tethering/toy device (mechanical) </li></ul><ul><li>9. Writing instrument (industrial/mechanical) </li></ul><ul><li>10. Ergonomic knife (industrial/mechanical) </li></ul><ul><li>11. Air purification (environmental) </li></ul><ul><li>12. IC card and system (electronics/computer science) </li></ul><ul><li>13. Material for a walkway (materials science/engineering) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Course Schedule <ul><li>First Part: IP introduction – Differences between Physical Property and Intellectual Property, including copyright, trademark and trade secret </li></ul><ul><li>Second Part: Patent Process, patent searches and prior art </li></ul><ul><li>Third Part: Teaching each section of a patent application, including in-class claims drafting exercises </li></ul>
  10. 10. In-Class Exercises <ul><li>First Exercise: JAVA JACKET™ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students worked in groups </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Second Exercise: Auburn invention </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The actual inventor presented his invention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students worked in groups </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Auburn patent class vs. law school patent class <ul><li>1a. Law school course: inventions provided to the students </li></ul><ul><li>1b. Auburn class: students have their own inventions </li></ul><ul><li>2a. Law school course: prior art provided to the students </li></ul><ul><li>2b. Auburn class: students research the prior art themselves </li></ul>
  12. 12. Auburn patent class vs. law school patent class <ul><li>3a. Law school course: two three-unit semesters – with adjuncts teaching break-out sections </li></ul><ul><li>3b. Auburn class: 1 hour class, no break-out section </li></ul><ul><li>4a. Law School course: no licensing or commercialization interest </li></ul><ul><li>4b. Auburn class: students want to license or form start-up company with their inventions </li></ul><ul><li>5. Law school course: More emphasis on law </li></ul>
  13. 13. Auburn Class vs. Patent Practice <ul><li>1. Auburn students have better understanding of the invention, but less legal training obviously </li></ul><ul><li>2. Auburn students perform prior art search; practitioner searches if client allows </li></ul><ul><li>3. Practitioner drafted applications reviewed by partner and client; Pro-se inventors lack this safeguard </li></ul>
  14. 14. Evaluation of Auburn student claims <ul><li>Three criteria for assessing students’ claims: </li></ul><ul><li>A. Are the Claims clear; </li></ul><ul><li>B. Was proper terminology used – “terms of art” – preamble, transitional term and body; and </li></ul><ul><li>C. Are Claims proper in Scope or Breadth </li></ul>
  15. 15. Evaluation of Auburn student claims – Criteria 1 <ul><li>Students did well on this criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Claims were clear </li></ul><ul><li>This wasn’t a problem since students could articulate their own inventions </li></ul><ul><li>Average score was 9.5 out of 10 </li></ul>
  16. 16. Evaluation of Auburn student claims – Criteria 2 <ul><li>Students had some problems with the terms of art </li></ul><ul><li>Some Claims included no transitional terms, but all included a claim body </li></ul><ul><li>Average score was 8.5 out of 10 </li></ul>
  17. 17. Evaluation of Auburn student claims – Criteria 3 <ul><li>Students experienced some difficulty with the scope or breadth of their Claims </li></ul><ul><li>Most Claims were too narrow </li></ul><ul><li>Also, not enough alternative embodiments were included to avoid easy “design arounds” </li></ul><ul><li>Average score was 3.5 out of 5 </li></ul>
  18. 18. Patent/IP basics the students should know <ul><li>1. Patents are property rights to exclude </li></ul><ul><li>2. Claims define the “metes and bounds” of the property right </li></ul><ul><li>3. Claims have to be clearly drafted </li></ul><ul><li>4. Specification (body) has to be described so others can practice the claimed invention </li></ul><ul><li>5. Claims have 3 parts: preamble; transitional clause and claim body </li></ul>
  19. 19. Patent/IP basics the students should know <ul><li>6. Examiners at the USPTO review patent applications </li></ul><ul><li>7. Concept of a Quid Pro Quo with the government </li></ul><ul><li>8. Inventorship is based on conception </li></ul><ul><li>9. Patentee does not necessarily have a right to practice the invention </li></ul><ul><li>10. Inventor can decide between patent or trade secret protection </li></ul>
  20. 20. Why are they enrolled? <ul><li>Law career (5) </li></ul><ul><li>Want to start a business based on their inventions (5)*** </li></ul><ul><ul><li>what could NCIIA do for them? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thanks to the course, we have located them </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Want to learn about protecting IP </li></ul>
  21. 21. Conclusions <ul><li>We need similar courses in universities! </li></ul><ul><li>Get a patent attorney to team-teach </li></ul><ul><li>We found one-credit course adequate </li></ul><ul><li>Give access to course to all majors </li></ul><ul><li>We have provided adequate information for other universities to try an offer their version to students </li></ul>
  22. 22. Conclusions 2 <ul><li>At the end of the semester, we will evaluate future offerings. </li></ul><ul><li>We see a continued need for the course. </li></ul>
  23. 23. End <ul><li>Thanks </li></ul>