Patent Applications

                      a.  Requirements

      In addition to a summary of the relevant prior art and the invention, the PTO
requires a detailed narrative description of the preferred embodiments of the invention
referring to the figures and the numbered parts in the figures that accompany the patent
application.  The description should be detailed enough to enable a person skilled in
the pertinent technology area to make and use the invention without undue
experimentation (the "enablement" requirement).  The description must also set forth
the best mode of making and using the invention (the "best mode" requirement).  The
enablement and best mode requirements require that we not attempt to keep secret or
otherwise suppress any of information that is provided to the PTO when filing a patent
application.  The description must provide clear support for all terms used in the
claims, which define the scope of the patent protection for the invention when
comparing the patent to prior art and any future similar products (i.e., infringement
analysis).  Typically, more than one claim is presented, either in independent or
dependent form.  An independent claim is a broader claim that stands alone.  
Dependent claims refer to and are dependent on an independent claim.  

b.  Duty of Disclosure

      All individuals involved in any substantive way with the preparation or prosecution
of a patent application, including the inventor and his or her attorney(s), have a duty to
use candor and good faith in all communications with the PTO.  This duty requires
these persons to disclose to the PTO any and all information that they are aware of
which is material to the examination of the patent application.  Information is material if
there is a substantial likelihood that a reasonable Patent Examiner at the PTO would
consider the information important in deciding whether to allow the subject application
to issue as a patent.

      The patent attorney relies on the inventor to fully inform him or her of the
information pertaining to the duty of disclosure.  To accomplish this, the inventor must
supply the patent attorney with true and complete copies of all relevant documents and
monitor communications between the attorney and the PTO to ensure that any relevant
information is fully and accurately disclosed in a timely manner.

c.  Typical Patent Process

  Date of          Reduction to      Filing                    Office     Response       Notice of        Issuance         Life of Patent
Conception          Practice           Date                    Action      to PTO       Allowance