Patent logic tree identifies key decision steps for filing

The crucial decision whether to file a patent should follow a logical, six-step decision process, explains patent attorney Marshall Honeyman.

Say your company uses LED flood arrangements to illuminate billboard signs. Since most road signs are remotely located, the floods have conventionally been powered using a battery/solar panel arrangement. During the day, the panels charge the batteries, and during the night, the LED floodlights drain the power. This works great for a few hours of operation, but after that the batteries drain completely, and the sign remains invisible until the dawn. This dead time has long been accepted in view of the high cost of adding solar cells and battery arrays.

That is, until now. Your product development engineer Jones has envisioned a concept you see as viable. The Jones concept incorporates a sound-recognition system that is able to (1) identify the sound of a vehicle (e.g. a truck) and then (2) turn on the LED f loods only when a vehicle is present. Thus, the floods illuminate only when needed (i.e. a vehicle is present). You think Jones’ idea is one that will give your company an incredible edge over the competition. Besides immediately ramping up for production, you think you also need to file for a patent – now!

But maybe not.

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This article was published in the May/June 2008 issue of LEDs Magazine.

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