Clients of mine know that one of my mantras is: ‘pendency is your friend’. There’s no such thing as “a” patent application – not if you care about staking out meaningful IP rights on technologically demanding subject matter. The minimum “unit” of practicable IP protection is not a patent, it’s an application chain that is kept pending. If you get a patent issued, that’s great, especially if it has strong claims. But whatever the claims, if a patent is worth paying maintenance fees on, it’s worth the (relatively) minor cost to keep the application chain pending.

In this post I’ll explain why. (I’ll leave the details of “how” for another time, except to say that you simply make sure to file a continuation or continuation-in-part application before the current application gets issued as a patent.) More »