Posts by stevehansen

The Hazards of Joint Development

It is very common for companies to work with their customers or suppliers in developing products. For example, if you are a supplier, you may work with a customer to provide a component that fits and meets the needs of that customer’s products.  The auto industry is full of these types of interactions.  A supplier…

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Some Key Reasons to Conduct a Patentability Search

When we first meet with a client who is interested in getting a patent, we ask whether they have conducted a patentability search and whether they wish to do so before incurring the expense of preparing a patent application. Many are reluctant to do so because they think they “know” the market for their invention….

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Dangers of Discussing New Inventions at Industry Meetings or Conferences

Companies often want to discuss some of their latest innovations at industry conferences to establish their technical prominence and build their brand. Inventors who are academics often want to describe their work to their peers to develop their reputations in their chosen fields. While such activities are commonplace, they need to be coordinated with patent…

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Pitfalls of Patent Cases Involving “Paradigm” or “Representative” Patents and Claims

Every patent claim in every patent is its own invention and stands on its own.  An accused infringer is liable for patent infringement if it infringes at least one patent claim in one asserted patent.  Some patent cases involve large numbers of patents and/or large numbers of asserted claims.  Patent holders are generally quite happy…

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Monetizing Your Patents – The Dangers of Declaratory Judgment Jurisdiction

Now you have your shiny, new issued patent, and you want to go forth and profit from it.  To do that, you need to let all of those “infringers” (okay, “potential licensees”) know that you have a patent and that they should pay up. Not so fast.  Are you prepared to be sued by the…

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The America Invents Act: This Isn’t Your Father’s On-Sale Bar

With the implementation of the America Invents Act (AIA), the United States went from a first to invent to a first inventor to file system of determining priority of patent rights. However, that was not all that changed with the implementation of the AIA. The AIA includes some significant changes to the on-sale bar which…

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Employees Who Assign Patent Rights to Employers May Have Standing to Challenge Omission as Inventors

Employers do not automatically obtain legal ownership of the patent rights to their employees’ inventions simply because of the employer-employee relationship.  Thus, it is a standard practice to require employees to assign their patent rights to their employers in an employment agreement.  This practice raises the following question: Can an employee (or ex-employee) file an…

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En Banc Federal Circuit Clarifies Divided Infringement Rules

Last week, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated the May 13, 2015 panel opinion in Akamai Technologies, Inc. et al. v. Limelight Networks, Inc. (Fed. Cir., Slip Opinion Case No. 2019-1372, -1380, -1416, -1417) and issued a new en banc opinion.  A copy of the en banc opinion can be found here. We discussed…

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Federal Circuit Decision Concerning “Means-Plus-Function” Claiming

When drafting patent claims for a device, it is often desirable to describe the device based on how it works instead of how it is structured.  Describing a device based on how it works is often referred to as “functional claiming.”  Claims that make use of functional claiming are frequently broader in scope than those…

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Active Inducement of Infringement: A Good Faith Belief in Invalidity is Not a Defense

On May 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., (Case No. 13-896, May 26, 2015). A copy of the slip opinion may be found here.  Active Inducement of Infringement: A Good Faith Belief in Invalidity is Not a Defense  U.S. Patent Law recognizes both direct…

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