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Business Law

Poor Man’s Patent?

For many years – whenever someone had a great idea, they would: describe the idea in writing, seal the description in an envelope, and address and mail it to themselves. The postmark could thereafter be used as proof of a conception date and ultimately inventorship.

While the courts generally looked upon the practice unfavorably, it did nevertheless ‘stand the test’ in certain cases. Patent fights (a process called ‘interference’) have indeed turned in favor of an inventor proving a date of conception by a ‘poor man’s patent’.

As the did not like this practice so much, the United State Patent and Trademark Office created the “Disclosure Document Program” as a replacement for the ‘poor man’s patent’. Under this program, an inventor could submit and document she wanted in any form whatsoever for a small fee.

Documents submitted under the Disclosure Document Program were not examined nor processed in any way. Rather, they were merely kept on file for a two year period – after which they were automatically destroyed. Unless they were cited in a later filed patent application – that is filed before the expiry of the two year period. The program provided an inexpensive and durable proof of conception for all individual inventors. It was easy to use and highly successful as described on https://www.harlemworldmagazine.com/why-inventhelp-is-such-a-valuable-resource-for-inventors/.

However as of 2007, the USPTO has quit and discontinued the program – in favor of the provisional patent application program. While the provisional patent application program provides excellent benefits, it remains complex, expensive, overly burdensome and not readily accessible to those without special skill in patent practice and procedure. Accordingly, inventors generally hire an expensive patent attorney to prepare and file a provisional patent application.

Cancellation of the Disclosure Document Program left inventors again without good options for establishing a date of conception in a quick inexpensive manner. Accordingly, inventors are forced back to the ‘poor man’s patent’ practice of sending self addressed envelopes through the postal service.

One very good alternative exists to provide even better date of conception witnessing. Professional invention services offered by InventHelp can serve to firmly establish your date of invention. In just a few minutes, you can lock-in forever the actual date of your idea.

Further, InventHelp has both Patent and Engineering professionals available to review, witness and document your submissions. While the poor man’s patent is subject to manipulation by the inventor, Idea Vault is a secure means of establishing a date of conception by way of a third party witness. Now, there is now longer any question as to when you came up with your $$$ million dollar ideas.

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