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Is Your Idea Patentable?

A Four-Part Series Describing Patenting Criteria.

Eating the frog.

For most founders, filing a patent causes a world of pain. It takes 20+ hours for a lawyer to write your app (longer if you’re DIY), average costs exceed $10K, and you’ll still write 60% or more of your app yourself even when using a lawyer. Only around 10% of applications will get through on the first try.

Still, most founders believe that you need a lawyer because it’s too hard to navigate alone.

We disagree, of course and feel founders are perfectly capable of figuring it out themselves.

We’re writing this guide to help you eat your frog — the tasty IP protection frog, that is.

Why you should care.

Some of our peers estimate that having just one patent can help you close a funding round up to 76% faster and attain valuations up to 10x higher in the long run.

We’re not lawyers but we’ve studied the US utility patenting process in excruciating detail. We’re lowering the drawbridge and handing you the castle keys because we believe innovation assets should be easily accessible to all.

The team at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (Who Becomes an Inventor in America?) inspired us to action with this finding:

“If women, minorities, and children from low-income families were to invent at the same rate as white men from high-income families, there would be four times as many inventors in America as there are today.”

How this series is structured.

The rules, procedural steps, formatting, and claims drafting requirements are numerous but just four general criteria need to be met:

  • be useful

  • comprise of eligible subject matter

  • be novel

  • be non-obvious

In practice, each of these has a nuanced meaning. Each part of this series covers just one criteria and describes it in great detail, including:

  • what it means

  • how examiners evaluate whether the criteria was met

  • ways an examiner might support their acceptance or rejection of an patent application based on this criteria

  • What it means for you, the startup founder

Part One covers the “Usefulness” criteria and is coming soon. Stay tuned!

Find us at or send us an email at

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