Ok, so I was examining plenty of patents on Google Patents to determine how I am going to write mine. From reading and watching Youtube provisional patents tutorials, they all say the same thing. Add anything and everything you can think of. If you have a futuristic ideam add it into the detailed description of the invention. I have some ideas that I am going to implement in my iOS mobile app. They are easy to implement and I do not care if those specific ideas get robbed since they are not novel and any application can have those. I just do not want to add them now.

Should I go ahead and add them in my PPA and say "in the future" the software will support this or should I say the app "may" have and then list those futuristic ideas? Keep in mind that some of my ideas can be done and others cannot be done at the moment because they require higher processing power.

So, how can I sort those ideas out. Should I say "may" for all the futuristic ideas regardless of how applicable they are? Should I say "may" for the ideas applicable and say in the future for non applicable ideas.

The futuristic ideas are theoretically sound and not abstract. They are not applicable now because of hardware limitations.


1 Answer 1


Should I add futuristic ideas to my provisional?

You should add a futuristic idea if:

  1. You can describe it in enough detail that a reader could put it into practice.

If the reader could not put it into practice, the description would be non-enabling. A claim to it would therefore not be allowed.

  1. It could influence the overall patentability of the claimed subject matter.

If so, then there's no point disclosing it. Moreover, it obfuscates the actual invention, and may make prosecution more difficul

  1. There is some synergy with your actual invention.

If the feature is entirely unrelated to your invention, it should probably go into its own patent application.

If you satisfy these three criteria, you would ultimately be able to form a potentially patentable claim using the futuristic idea. This would provide you additional options in prosecution, and therefore is a strong benefit.

What if one of the criteria isn't met?

In this case, you would be disclosing the idea without any upside. That is, your disclosure would not give you the chance to have a claim.

However, the disclosure would still count as prior art (both against you and against others). This may be problematic if you later on decide to try to patent some further development of the futuristic idea in a separate application. Your half-hearted disclosure may be sufficient to prevent you from receiving a patent (even if it does not support a claim itself).

Am I obligated to implement all ideas in the patent?

No. While in some countries there is an obligation to work the claimed invention (or else another party may obtain a compulsory licence), this only applies to what is claimed. If it's only described, there is no issue.

How should it be phrased?

You would say something like "in some embodiments, the method* may include ___". In this respect, a futuristic idea is no different from the rest of your embodiments: in both cases, you are trying to describe the different embodiments of your invention.

Mentioning "in the future" seems to imply that, at the time of the application, it is not possible. That is, it seems to undercut any purpose of mentioning it in the first place.

* I have mentioned a method, since I would be a little reluctant to talk of "software" in a patent application, due to the subject matter eligibility issue.

  • I am a little confused to what you are describing as the downside to mentioning a futuristic idea. I have two categories of future ideas. The first category is the ones I can do at any given time and the other category which require a far superior hardware and not possible at the moment. Is not the idea of mentioning the future ideas is expanding the scope of the patent and not sticking to a narrow idea. That is what I understood from all the tuts. Am I obligated by my patent to implement "all" the ideas at the patent?
    – Rick James
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 11:17
  • @RickJames I've tried to rework my answer to make it more clear: hopefully I've succeeded. If not, please do let me know.
    – Maca
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 12:37
  • So, how about this. I am describing an idea that can be implemented with details on the implementation on a hardware that is not available yet. Though, the idea itself is doable if it was not for the current hardware limited processing power. Let me give you an example. Let us say I am developing a program to help agencies decrypt encrypted data that would take all life itself to decrypt. My new novel decryption technology has all sorts of details and everything. Though, in order to achieve the actual result I would need a CPU at 500Ghz (theoretically) for example. You get my idea?
    – Rick James
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 12:58
  • @RickJames That's an area that's far from clear in the law. While sometimes that sort of thing is ok (particularly if you're giving sufficient pointers such that a reader could in principle perform it), it sometimes lacks enablement (since it can't actually be performed). It turns tightly on the facts of the case. Whether you should try for something like that depends on your appetite for risk.
    – Maca
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 14:36

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