Why Combine Multiple Inventions Into A Single Utility Patent Application?

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In some situations, a single patent application covers several inventions. It may be done strategically to include several inventions, some of which may be connected, in a single patent application. However, a single inventive concept or invention may be claimed in a patent application in the majority of nations

One of the key requirements for a successful patent application is “unity of invention,” or the assertion of a single idea in a single patent application. A patent application may be rejected during examination because it lacks unity of innovation if it makes multiple claims of the invention. A single inventive claim can be added to the patent application, often known as the “parent application,” to get around this denial. By submitting “divisional application(s)”, the additional innovations that were previously claimed or included in the patent application may be claimed. A divisional application can be submitted willingly by the applicant in addition to a response to a patent examiner’s refusal. 

Inventors frequently inquire, “Can I put more than one invention into my patent application?” about patents. “Yes” is the obvious response. Yes, but the patent examiner might later urge you to separate them into separate patent applications, which is the less simple answer. You must pay the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) “filing fees,” “search fees,” and “examination fees” when you submit your patent application. 

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Methods To Submit A Patent Application?  

There are two ways to submit a patent application. The first strategy is a simple one, and the second is a comprehensive one.  

Straightforward Method  
If you use the straightforward method, each innovation that you have is submitted as a separate application. Therefore, this essentially means one invention, one application.  

Consolidated Method 
The consolidated method groups several inventions under one application. Another name for this strategy is an omnibus specification. But many inventions need to be connected to one another. Before filing a single patent application for several ideas, you must keep in mind that there must be a “Unity of Inventions”—that is, the inventions must all be part of a single inventive notion. 

Only if the claims in the patent specification pertain to a single invention may you submit a single patent application. The Examiner will require you to partition the innovations and submit separate divisional applications for each invention if you file unrelated inventions under a single application.  

Why Include Several Inventions In A Single Application?    

Cost reductions are the key driver behind the desire to include many inventions in a single patent application. If you have several inventions, one way to reduce costs is to group them together into one application so that you only have to pay one filing fee (you will still have to pay for attorney time). You can either wait for the examiner to make you separate them or go back and do it afterward. * Take note that you can and should file the variants in a single application if the inventions are all the same invention with distinct variations. 

Let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of the consolidated strategy now that we are familiar with the straightforward and consolidated approaches. 

Mertis Of Multiple Inventions In A Single Application  

Monetary Benefits 
Saving money is the main advantage of combining several inventions in one application. What if you could only afford to patent one invention? The integrated method ensures this saving. The expense of filing an application would be high if you had to submit one for each invention.  

Different Versions 
Occasionally, your inventions may have various iterations or designs that accomplish the same goal. You do not want to divide the several versions in this situation. Therefore, the best course of action is to submit all of the versions in a single application. 

Foreign Protection 
A PCT patent application must be filed after a local patent application if you want your invention to be protected internationally. You only need to submit one related foreign application if you have filed several inventions under one application. Less hassle and more money are saved as a result.  

Claims 
A unified strategy may result in claims that are more varied. For instance, let’s say you want to apply for a patent on inventions X and Z. You are able to file for patent protection on both inventions X and Y independently as well as jointly. If you submit separate applications for both inventions, you cannot do this. 

As a result, including numerous inventions in a single patent application provides the major benefit of enabling you to frame claims that are more broadly based. However, you must make sure that the inventions are related to one another and follow the adage about the “unity of inventions. The combined strategy may reduce cash flow temporarily, but in the long run, the costs of both strategies end up being in the same general range. Omnibus specifications eventually force you to file several continuing applications to pursue claims that were not pursued in the parent application since USPTO examiners generally dislike considering claims directed to more than one invention in a filing. 

Demerits of Multiple Inventions In A Single Application     

Term of Patent 
A patent has a 20-year duration of validity. When many inventions are included in a single application, the patents for each invention expire simultaneously. Your income from the inventions will halt instantly under this condition.  

Asset Reduction 
Having more patents often boosts your company’s credibility. The consolidated approach will decrease the number of patents you possess by grouping numerous inventions under a single patent’s protection. For instance, having several patent applications can help you as a startup and will help you obtain funding rather than having only one patent or patent application. 

Length 
It is asserted that the description in the consolidated approach will be longer and contain more illustrations. It might be a little more difficult to write the patent specification because of this increase.  

Inventions must be tied to one another in order for the integrated method to be successful. If not, there is a good probability that you will be required to file divisional applications once your application has been reviewed.  

As a result, including numerous inventions in a single patent application provides the major benefit of enabling you to frame claims that are more broadly based. However, you must make sure that the inventions are related to one another and follow the adage about the “unity of inventions.” 

Conclusion  

Always create your patent portfolio with your company’s objectives in mind. Generally speaking, submit numerous applications if you can. In some circumstances, it can be a wise move to include subject matter associated with several related creative concepts in a single patent application. Such a plan might assist a patent applicant in delaying the costs associated with submitting the patent application. Additionally, the applicant may choose to divide the patent application into one or more divisional applications based on the viability of the inventive notions in the market. It could not be successful to attempt to reinstate claims of an abandoned application that might contain a single creative concept by means of divisional application provisions. 

If you have any queries, feel free to reach out to us.   

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