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Category Archive: IP expenses

Common Patenting Mistakes: Filing Too Many Applications

Each time you file a patent application you are committing to a long series of future expenses. If you do not control the rate at which those future expenses accumulate, you will wind up in a “Homer Price and the Doughnut Machine” situation. Early stage start ups are typically cash poor. Delaying IP expenses till a future time when a revenue stream is expected makes good economic sense.

The law says that a patent shall be granted on only a single invention. However, the worst result of describing several related inventions in a single application is deferment of future expenses related to applications claiming the second and subsequent applications.

The best result of describing several related inventions in a single application is the ability to combine different features in order to get around a rejection based on prior art.  If you file the features in question in separate applications, you lose the ability to combine them in the future.

If you go to a meeting with a patent attorney to disclose an invention and they suggest filing two or more separate applications, you should ask “Why?”  The answer should include more than an explanation that “more applications look better”. Any serious due diligence will do more than count the number of applications in your portfolio. In addition, filing a single application with multiple inventions now may lead to multiple applications/patents in specific countries several years in the future.  It definitely saves money at the international (PCT) stage one year after your initial filing.