7 Years to Patent Pay Dirt

 

  • It’s a satisfying feeling to invent something as an improvement over what currently exists, and then get confirmation through getting a patent awarded that nothing like it existed beforehand.  It was also nice to deal only with questions regarding its authenticity, not the invention’s patentability, with the government reviewer.

How long does a technology patent take to be processed by the US Government?  In May of 2003 I filed a provisional patent application for my Online Job Tour™ invention.  At the time only 60 million had a high speed Internet connection (today that number is approaching 2 billion) and I envisioned a day when we all would have broadband and be tapped into the “virtual Internet.”   What I invented was a development system of placing content in categories traditionally-needed by jobseekers onto a single website – as a medical recruiter I wanted to both make the jobs I was representing more attractive and deliver needed information quickly to jobseekers in order to shorten the hiring timeline.

As technology changed regarding the use of digital photography, video and web design, and through a test market among hospitals in 13 states, my company, Promo Web® Innovations, has grown the Invention while staying true to its design and concept.

The results of our work have been remarkable and also make sense – there are obvious benefits in providing a “virtual visit experience” for both sides – from photo tours of the hospital’s service area to testimonials – in our latest Online Job Tour we feature 50 people in Elko Nevada, as well as 37 videos totaling more than 2.5 hours.  On a website, jobseekers can “visit” an Online Job Tour as often as they need. It is mistake-free and with no time or money limitations (unlike the real interview, which must be limited to only a few candidates).  Unlike other recruiting products, like DVDs and streaming videos, Online Job Tour can be updated and added to – it never gets old and requires being remade/repurchased.

Our new website has more details, samples of our work, a demonstration of our software, which is in development, our surveys, and our patent application materials:  www.onlinejobtour.com

  • We have received news from the patent office within the last month, almost seven years from the official May 2003 application date, of our “Notice for Allowance,” which means a patent award is forthcoming.

The patent application and following waiting period has been a truly remarkable “journey.”  It takes “forever.”  Due to the changes in technology, by the time the government finally got to reviewing my invention, technologies and the widespread use of the Internet, and its influence into our culture, had changed dramatically.  The patent reviewer therefore never had the opportunity to evaluate my work at the time it was applied for – he would have seen and viewed it entirely different than today.

As an example of what I mean, when I first introduced healthcare employers to my invention, they viewed it with skepticism and they did not yet put together how our culture was evolving toward the use of the internet as a “web solution” to many of our problems.  Most all websites were nothing but text (due to Internet speed and few website development tools as web design was in the hands of “geeks” (I use that word with affection) who needed to understand math, code, etc.  Instead of my work looking like many robust websites that cannot be differentiated at first glance due to robust home pages and images, in 2003, and certainly for job search, which was nascent on the Internet, the invention would have been a real eye opener. Today, my work is viewed as a “make sense” approach and not like it was eight years ago, which was “eye opening and totally different.”  Back then, it took a “visionary person” who had characteristics of being “out of the box” while today a person with good business sense is all it takes to appreciate the benefits of my work.

As a result of my invention taking so long to get to a patent reviewer, another issue is he was confused about what it is – a good part of our dialogues and responses were explaining to the reviewer – carefully and without seeming insulting in any way, that he continually had problems differentiating the invention from online job boards themselves.  In the early 2000s there were many job board services.  However, their advertisements – or the job postings on them, were text-based, appearing like newspaper ads.  There are a lot of reasons for this – first and foremost that slow Internet speeds were dictating how the job boards were designed and images and robust web content would bog down job search for most users.  Thus, my invention wasn’t really made for that time but for the future when Internet broadband speed would be omnipresent.  Even today I am not sure the reviewer had an appreciation for that.  Fortunately for us, there are legal rules of patentability he followed and those rules, which my invention adhered to and qualified under, promoted the patent being awarded.

When I began introducing my work to employers, many questioned whether it was patentable – I got that out of the way early with my patent attorney, who guided me through the unusual steps of what can be patented: a technical process that has qualifications.  And whether a product can get a patent is another issue entirely, requiring the government to research for prior patents or applications that may have come before it (called “prior art”) – which my lawyer also researched.  It’s a satisfying feeling to invent something as an improvement over what currently exists, and then get confirmation through getting a patent awarded that nothing like it existed beforehand.  It was also nice to deal only with questions regarding its authenticity, not the invention’s patentability, with the government reviewer.

I used the timeframe, as well as the general lack of how to harness the Internet by employers, to test-market the invention, and over time, it has worked out well – it is an invention that has been thoroughly tested and it not only has a positive financial, time, and competitive benefit to customers, but we have also done surveys with them and with jobseekers.  As a result, we are better prepared to market it to others now that the patent award is forthcoming.

Unlike many who create and invention which peters out over this timeframe because it lacks viability because time has changed, in my case the online classified employment advertising industry will grow to $11 billion in 2010.  A 7-year journey for any invention like this certainly needs this kind of luck at the end of it!

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