Robert O. Richardson, a former examiner in the U.S. Patent Office and a patent attorney for over 25 years, holds a law degree from George Washington University. Richardson has represented both the Navy and Army, as well as a large number of corporations and individuals in patent cases. Over 500 patents have been issued because of Richardson's work. He has now written what is unquestionably one of the best books ever published for the inventor. I see but few areas in this book to disagree with Richardson.
One such area, however, is with the table of contents of the book, which lists, in addition to the book's nine chapters, a separate section titled "Questions to the Patent Office," on page 5. But page 5 is headed "Questions and Answers About Patents." The titles should be the same. The 12 pages in that section, however, are a real gold mine for any inventor. They are extremely useful answers to questions that the average inventor usually wants to know about.
Chapter 1, "Should I Get a Patent?," unfortunately contains a most misleading section under the title "A Patent Search." The author states that "you may decide to license the already patented item and make or market it instead." It's not always quite that easy. Some patent holders may want more than one can afford to pay for the manufacturing and marketing rights to a given patent. Perhaps it would have been better to say that an interested inventor should try and obtain some form of a license from an already patented item of interest. In this case, he or she should certainly obtain the services of a good patent lawyer to work out all the details before signing such an agreement.
Richardson, in telling about patent searches, fails to state that a search, to be really complete, should also be made of all literature and foreign patents one can afford to check. Unfortunately, such a search can be rather expensive. It can cost hundreds of dollars or more. The U.S. Patent Office has both foreign patents and literature that one can search through. The inventor should be sure the searcher fully understands what he wants and exactly what the search is to cost. A good patent searcher will be willing to give a fixed-fee quotation on the cost.
It should also be realized that there is more than one kind of patent search. First, and most common, is the novelty search, a search to find if there is any similar invention already patented. Then there is a collection search, which is a search listing every patent and/or piece of literature relating to a given invention. There are infringement searches, often a very difficult search as one must read through patents already granted to see if there are any infringements on the invention at hand. The validity search is even more difficult and is usually made by registered patent attorneys or agents to see if the patent is valid..
Richardson has overlooked the fact that the right to a patent may possibly be carried all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, although this is very seldom done nowadays. This statement should have been included at the end of Chapter 5, on appeals, of his otherwise fine book.
While Appendix Three, "A Historic View," contains a selection of miscellaneous patents granted over the years, including the cotton gin, typewriting machines and the electric light, and is interesting, it's hard to see how patents like the chewing gum locket or oscillating bath tub or power steering for a vehicle with the help of wind vanes can be of any practical value to the serious applicants of a patent.
Also, it is regrettable that Richardson did not say anything about the writing of specifications and claims for chemical or electrical patents, particularly the chemical patents, since they often contain very complicated formulas.
Patents granted recently to residents of Maryland and Virginia: Maryland
Catherine Zarbos of Baltimore, Torso Garment Incorporating Removable Hand Coverings. U.S. Patent No. 4,297,746. 7 Claims.
Humbert Olivari of Randallstown. Debris Picker and Bagger. U.S. Patent No. 4,297,760. 12 Claims.
William F. Donovan of Hartford City. Projectile. U.S. Patent No. 4,297,948. 3 Claims.
Philip A. Wozny of Cambridge, and Jerome L. Wonzy of Omaha, Neb. Solar Heat Collector. U.S. Patent No. 4,297,989. 5 Claims.
Richard A. DeVierno of Kensington. Separator and Storage Box. U.S. Patent No. 4,298,147. 1 Claim.
Danny H. Jinkins of Bel Air. Seal. U.S. Patent No. 4,298,204. 5 Claims.
Roger H. Lapp of Silver Spring. Pivotal Support With Independent Adjusting Elements and Locking Means. U.S. Patent No. 4,298,248. 16 Claims.
Joseph Lindmayer of Bethesda. Method of Purifying Silicon. U.S. Patent No. 4,298,423. 9 Claims.
Terrence P. McGovern of Bowie, and Carl E. Schreck of Gainsville, Fla. Insect Repellents. U.S. Patent No. 4,298,612. 9 Claims. Virginia
Bernard A. Semp, Daniel M. Teng and Gus D. Keritis, all of Richmond. Method for Recycling Cellulosic Waster Materials From Tobacco Product Manufacture. U.S. Patent No. 4,298,013. 19 Claims.
Merle A. Jamison of Salem. Hitch Pin. U.S. Patent No. 4,298,212. 10 Claims.
Milton F. Brown, Jr., of Virginia Beach. Vehicle Safety Restraint Device. U.S. Patent No. 4,298,214. 14 Claims.
Paul G. Thayer of Staunton. Hermetic Compressor Having a Value to Drain Liquid Accumulations From its Cylinder Head. U.S. Patent No. 4,298,314. 3 Claims.
Richard I. Shimp of Waynesboro. Split-Band Redundant Amplifier System. U.S. Patent No. 4,298,844. 3 Claims.
Claim: Defines the invention and sets forth the bounds of the property rights granted the inventor.
Copies of any of the above patents can be obtained from the Patent & Trade Mark Office for 50 cents each by addressing orders to the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, Washington, D.C. 20231.
Evans has extensive experience in engineering and patent work.