Identity Theft, Fraud & How It May Affect YOU

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America today. It happens more often than you think. In fact, you most likely know someone or are someone who has been affected by a telephone scam, credit card theft, or even identity theft. Now, with technology on the constant rise, the risk of theft becomes even more likely. It could happen to you.

Millions of people have been affected by such scams, and the number of reports are only increasing. In 2017, Javelin Strategy & Research reported that an estimated 16.7 million people were impacted by identity theft. (

It may seem that there is nothing that you can do to prevent this type of theft from happening to you. One thing you can do when you find yourself in a possible scam scenario is to reach out for help. Do not be afraid to ask questions. There are numerous resources that exist to guide you towards finding an answer.

Scam artists might email you, call you on the telephone, write you a letter, or simply research your name online (e.g. social media, google) to get information they need. If a scam artists calls you on the telephone, they will most likely use your emotions against you. A scam artist may reference that a loved one is in need of help. If this happens, don't forget to fact check the situation. Although it may be difficult if they are saying that your loved one is lost in a foreign country or has been put in jail and they need money fast, take a step back and ask yourself, "Does this really make sense?". When was the last time that you spoke with this loved one? Would it make sense for him or her to be in the situation as alleged?

In order to avoid possible data breeches that help scam artists get your information, take precautionary measures in your privacy settings on social media and other networking sites. Be proactive in throughly checking your credit history, mail, and online data to avoid the simple ways that scam artists can get information. For a small fee, our office can help you with the steps necessary to freeze your credit report.

Remember, should you find yourself part of a scam – It is OK to seek help. Don't be afraid or embarrassed to ask questions. It can happen at any time. Identity theft can cost you thousands of dollars and countless hours to fix. There are answers waiting for you, as long as you aren't afraid to look for them. Protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft.

For more information, please visit the Indiana Attorney General's Office website.

If you find yourself in a situation where you feel as if you may be part of a scam, take a step back and assess the facts of the situation. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule a free one hour consultation.


Can I change my patent application after it is filed?

Once a patent application is filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, it is a recognition of what the inventor has at the time of filing. Invariably, the application will get rejected within the 1st two years. After a rejection, an inventor does have an opportunity to make modifications to the application. However, there are important restrictions to making any amendments. One is the prohibition against adding new stuff to your invention.

Making a change after you as the inventor have revealed what you know to the patent office could change the scope of what you said was your invention. Any change to your previously filed patent application could expand upon the contents you originally disclosed at the time of filing. This upsets the assumption of the examination process, i.e. that you fully disclosed your invention at the time you filed your application. Thus, the patent laws prevent an inventor from amending a patent application after filing that would add new matter to that application. 35 U.S.C § 132 ("No amendment shall introduce new matter into the disclosure of the invention.")

This problem is based on the idea that when an inventor makes an application for patent that application is considered a statement by the inventor that the invention itself "was made at the time the application was filed" Automatic Weighing Mach. Co. v. Pneumatic Scale Corp., 166 F. 288, 293 (1st Cir. 1909). Adding new matter means that the inventor could not have completely disclosed the invention when the application was filed, which would have made the examiner's work on that application a waste of time and effort.

So, yes an inventor can change the patent application after it has been filed but cannot add new matter in so doing.