Start with the figures!

Say that you got a brilliant idea that you believe is novel and inventive. Now you need to write an invention disclosure, which is a confidential document for use by a company’s patent department, or by an external patent attorney, to determine whether patent protection should be sought for the described invention. But how to write such an invention disclosure?

I used to say, start with a flow chart (or block diagram). I have, during my professional career reviewed many invention disclosures with a huge amount of text; long background, long summary  and a long description, but it was quite hard to understand what the inventor believed to be novel and inventive.

By starting with a flow chart or block diagram (or other drawings depending on what type of invention) and pin pointing the “combination of boxes” in the flow chart, or block diagram that might be novel and inventive, and then writing the text document and highlight these parts, you will gain two things;

  1. It will be much easier for you to write the entire invention disclosure
  2. It will be much easier for the patent engineers/boards or patent attorneys to review the disclosure and by that determine whether patent protection should be sought on the invention.

Below I show an example based on a fictive invention:

You have realized that to determine an estimate of a characteristic of a received signal comprising of two received signal streams, you need to perform a compensation of a mean value estimate over the two received signal streams, where the compensation value is a function of the received signal to noise ratio. The characteristic value of the received signal is then used in the further processing of the received signal.

Then, the flow chart in your invention disclosure might look like the below example

(100) receive the first and second signal stream

(110) compute an average value over first and second received signal stream

(120) estimate signal to noise ratio, SNR

(130) determine compensation value based on SNR

(140) determine characteristic value of received signal based on average value and compensation value

(150) use characteristic value in further processing of the received signal

Here, (120) “estimate SNR” is not new, but I believe the combination of (100), (110), (130), (140) is the really novel and inventive thing. Adding further a block diagram over the different blocks involved with then further give insight over your idea.

Hence, the quote; “A picture is worth a thousand words” is valid also in the area of inventing and patent creation.


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