I am writing this post from a faraway international airport, listening to a bad rendition of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” followed by “You Were Always On My Mind”, beginning a twenty-something-hour-long journey home from a set of patent disclosure meetings. I do not get fully reimbursed for my travel expenses, nor to do I get reimbursed for the travel time, jet lag, or other inconveniences. I could just as well take the disclosures using a fancy web conferencing system, and I could save a lot of time and money, but I feel that it is worth doing.
There is a very big benefit to meeting the inventors on their own turf. Part of the experience is seeing where they work, smelling the air, tasting their food, and getting to know them in ways that does not happen over the phone.
The most important aspect of writing a patent application is communication. My primary job is to learn the invention. Part of that is working with the inventors to understand what is important about it and what is optional. This process often involves some critical analysis of their invention. Sometimes, I have to call their baby ugly to delve into the critical elements of the invention. This cannot happen without the inventor’s trust in me.