Posts by stevehansen

Patentability Searches versus “Right to Use” Searches

Clients often ask us to perform patentability searches to determine whether it’s worth seeking a patent for an invention. The focus of a patentability search is to determine if an invention is novel, i.e., whether all of its features have been disclosed in a single prior art reference. The purpose of a patentability search is…

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How to Protect Slogans

I know this blog is called “The Business of Patents,” but this is a trademark post. One thing a lot of people seem to be interested in is how to protect slogans. They want to know how to protect those catchy phrases you hear sometimes like, Nike’s “Just do it”, Kentucky Fried Chicken’s “It’s Finger…

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Drastically Increase Your Chances of Getting a Patent

Today, we want to discuss something you can do in your patent applications to drastically increase your chances of getting them granted as patents. In order to get a patent, an invention has to be novel, and it has to be non-obvious.  An invention is “novel” when no single piece of prior art discloses all…

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The Power of Continuation Practice

One very powerful aspect of US patent law is its continuation practice.  The patent statute allows applicants to file an additional patent application based on an earlier still-pending application and pursue different claims as long as those claims are supported by the first application.  The key is that in order to file a continuation there…

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5 Strategies for Valuable Patents

Over the years, we’ve seen what works and does not work for companies who are trying to develop a valuable patent portfolio, meaning one that actually enhances their market share.  We recently published a list of 5 key strategies that we have seen successful companies use to do just that.  If you would like a…

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Developing an IP Strategy

With many businesses closed or having scaled back operations, now is a good time to revisit your intellectual property strategy. One good starting point is to look at how you distinguish yourself from your competitors. Here are some key questions to ask: 1. How does your company create value and differentiate its products or services…

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This is the Time to Get Creative

During times of crisis, innovation tends to rise because unique problems call for unique solutions. In addition, if you are currently not working, you have some additional time to engage in creative problem solving. If you think you have come up with something unique, you may want to consider filing a provisional patent application. A…

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Defending the Patent Case: Using Section 112 Defenses Against Overly Broad Claims

Many, if not most, patent infringement lawsuits involve a patent owner asserting that its claims cover accused products that differ from the specifically described embodiments in the patent at issue. Patent owners typically want their claims construed broadly by the court so that they “read on” or encompass the defendant’s accused products.  Depending on the nature…

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Design Patents Versus Utility Patents

Clients often ask about the differences between design and utility patents. The phrase “design patent” confuses some people because in everyday usage, the term “design” frequently connotes the structure, function, and properties of a product.  Not so with design patents. Design patents protect the “ornamental appearance” of an article of manufacture. Utility patents protect the…

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Patenting New Methods of Treatment Using Known Compositions

One question that comes up from time to time is whether you can get apatent on a new method of treatment (sometimes called a new “indication”) using an existing chemical composition.  The answer is “possibly.” If a chemical composition is known, you cannot obtain a patent to the chemical composition itself.  The US Court of…

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