The Knowledge Gap: Engineers not understanding the patents

Minneapolis patent attorney Steve Lundberg, founding shareholder of Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner addresses the problem of the knowledge gap between the client and the patent lawyer — specifically, the problem of engineers, product managers and inventors not understanding the true coverage of a patent on an invention.

Contact Steve Lundberg

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (612) 373-6902


Another problem is the engineering people not understanding what the patent means, and a lot of time that’s because the patents are written in very hypertechnical terms and the claims that actually define the monopoly granted by the patent are extremely difficult to read. So if we can make that more understandable to the inventors, to the marketing people, then they will better understand what the patent actually covers. And if it doesn’t cover what they think it should cover, they can alert the patent attorney before the patent’s been issued and get the coverage corrected. Or if the patent’s been issued and it’s been issued with the broadest of claims, if it turns out the patent really doesn’t cover what they think it covers, they won’t be going around making business decisions based on the false premise that they’ve got strong patent coverage when in fact they don’t have any coverage at all. And that’s a very typical problem, is that the inventors and marketing people often don’t know what their own patents cover.