Patents

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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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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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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Federal Circuit Clarifies Entire Market Value Rule

Determining patent infringement damages is complicated and often borders on the metaphysical.  Under U.S. law, a patent holder is entitled to damages adequate to compensate for the infringement, but in no event less than a “reasonable royalty.”  In some cases, patent holders can establish damages through lost profits.  However, when that is not possible or…

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Heading Off Obviousness Rejections

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Clients often assume that they are entitled to a patent because no single piece of prior art shows all of their invention.  In that case the invention may be novel. However, it does not mean that it is non-obvious.  To qualify for a U.S. patent, an invention…

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Patenting Improved Articles That Use Proprietary 3rd Party Materials

Under U.S. law, improved articles of manufacture may be patentable if they are novel and non-obvious. Sometimes, an inventor comes up with a new article that is faster, stronger, more flexible, more rigid, lighter, etc. by using new materials to make the article. If the article has never been made with those materials, and if…

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Have Your Cake and Eat It Too – Obtaining Broad Claims That Define a Device or Apparatus Based on How it Works

Pros and Cons of Apparatus and Method of Use Claims Devices or apparatuses can often be protected by using two kinds of patent claims: apparatus and method of use claims. Each approach has its benefits and drawbacks. In general, apparatus claims expand the class of direct infringers relative to method of use claims but are…

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Are You and Your Patent Attorney Challenging Each Other?

Since we have been living with managed medical care for some time, many people have become accustomed to the idea that they need to act as their own advocate when dealing with medical professionals.  Thus, we have become more comfortable with questioning our doctor’s opinions and the bases for them and with the idea that…

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