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What topics can I ask about here?

The 3 types of questions you can ask here are those about:

  1. Prior art for a US patent application, whether anyone knows of any that might exist, or whether something you’ve found would qualify. See How to Write a Prior Art Request For a US Patent Application

  2. US patent law or the patent approval process

  3. Specific aspects or interpretations of a particular patent claim

Before asking, please look around to see if your question or a similar question has already been asked. And, remember, it’s OK to ask and answer your own question.

If you have a question about the site itself, please ask it in meta.

Some good example questions:

… About specific examples of prior art:

Important: All prior art questions must show that you have put in effort to find and understand the prior art that you are looking for. Questions like, “US8675309 - any prior art out there?” will be closed unless they also include details of what you’re looking for, or what you’ve already done to search.

A list of current PRIOR ART REQUESTS can be found here: PRIOR ART REQUESTS

  • "PRIOR ART REQUEST: Have you seen anything (published before December 09, 2010) that describes the transparency degree setting in this US Patent Application from Nintendo?"
  • "PRIOR ART REQUEST: Have you seen anything (published before September 12, 2011) that discusses (1) scale factors; (2) scale factor sets; AND (3) pixel density range in the manner described in this US Patent Application from Microsoft?
  • “PRIOR ART REQUEST: There must be prior art for US20120093958. I have done Google ArtFinder and Keyword Searches at the USPTO. Where can I find it?”

… About the US Patent Process:

  • “What is the difference between a disclosure document and a provisional application?”
  • “Are there guidelines to determine what makes a patent obvious?”
  • “Can a YouTube video qualify as prior art?”

… About specific patents or applications:

  • “What is the key inventive step of US5640541?”
  • “How is US493841. not an obvious improvement upon US3306512?”
  • “What is novel about the invention described in application US20120093958?”
  • “Why does claim 1 of US493841. say the invention is ‘edible’ if it is later described as being made of “webbed” or “laminated” paper?”

For more help, see "What types of questions should I avoid asking?"