Metro Detroit patent attorney Brent Seitz spoke to Michigan Lawyers Weekly in a Sidebar article about the patenting process for entrepreneurs and what it felt like to have his client, Max Feber, appear on Shark Tank to pitch the product that he helped patent.
The process to obtain a patent for Feber’s product, a cold brew coffee filter system sold under the company name Bruw, began in a similar way as most other inventions: client and attorney flush out the ideas and decide which elements are worth protecting with a patent. Seitz also searched through other issued patents to determine which features of Feber’s product were unique and would therefore be the focus of his patent application.
Due to the first-to-file nature of the U.S. patent system, Seitz drafted a provisional patent application to hold his client’s spot in line with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. After a year, they converted the application into a regular utility patent application, which the USPTO reviewed about 12 months later. This is a normal timeline, Seitz assures.
Next, a USPTO Examiner responded with objections about which features could be patented, and the examiner and Seitz debated back and forth in a process generally known as patent prosecution. In June 2018, Seitz was able to secure the granted patent to protect Feber’s product.
As for working with Feber, who is currently a sophomore in college, Seitz describes the experience as “great. He was very excited. Most of our clients are larger corporations, and we work with engineers who are filing patents on a completely different level than an individual inventor like Max.”
“The patent process is a huge part of the groundwork for commercializing and selling an invention,” Seitz added, “so we were happy to be able to help him with that stage so he could move forward. He was certainly very excited to work with us, and he was very helpful and responsive.”
For entrepreneurs getting their start, Seitz offers this tip: Having an application on file with the patent office before you go out and publicly disclose your invention is imperative. Whether it is a trade show, a local farmers market, or a nationally broadcasted television show like Shark Tank, it is important to at least save your filing date with a provisional patent application before sharing the details of your invention with the public.