Medical Patent Mistakes: Two Ways Physicians Sabotage the Profitability of their Intellectual Property
Are you a doctor with an idea for an invention that could change the face of modern medicine…treat patients better, faster or cheaper…and (hopefully) fill your pockets with riches beyond the dreams of avarice?
If so, then you should know about a little "loophole" in the patent law that could negate the patentability of your inventions.
Here’s the story: "John" is a doctor who has an idea for a product that will lower blood pressure. After a few months of tinkering in his garage, John has his invention in working order.
For two years John tests and improves his invention. During this time he also writes a few articles on the benefits of his new invention. And outlines a case study on his website. After John gets everything in working order, he decides to patent his invention…only to find out the patent is denied.
Why Patents Get Rejected
According to patent law to qualify for a new patent, inventions must be "novel". This means it does not exist in the "prior art," which includes publicly available written information or products that have been publicly used or sold.
The problem is that "prior art" is a very vague term.
Anything that could put your invention into the public mind (including simply publishing articles or using it in public) could be enough to qualify it as "prior art" and prevent you from exclusively cashing in on your idea.
With that in mind, here are the two mistakes John made.
Mistake #1: Publicly Using the Invention – You should be particularly careful regarding public use, as the law does not require a high level of public exposure.
Mistake #2: Publishing the Inventive Idea – "Prior art" includes (among other things) any publication describing an invention that was published more than one year before filing a patent application covering the invention.
Even though the United States permits a one-year grace period in which to file a patent application, it is still prudent to file a patent application before selling, offering to sell writing about or publicly using the invention.