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Category Archives: Intellectual Property

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Keeping Your Application Aloft: Fighting Obviousness Rejections at the Patent Office

Posted in Intellectual Property

While the likelihood of a mass post-election American migration to Canada seems less likely, trying to move to the northernmost regions of Canada can be difficult. Canada may be a land of friendly locals and breathtaking scenery, but much of Canada’s Arctic territory is not served by paved roads. The only transportation in these areas… Continue Reading

Fighting Patent Application Rejections with Market Information: More Than Just “Nobody Else Sells This”

Posted in Intellectual Property

An inventor lament that every patent attorney eventually hears is, “I’m the only one selling this, so how can the Examiner think my idea is obvious?”  The argument makes sense from an inventor standpoint.  If an idea is so obvious, why is no one else making it?  Shouldn’t first to market equate to first to invent? … Continue Reading

An Inventor Walks Into a Bar: Risks of Filing a “Bar Napkin” Provisional Patent Application

Posted in Intellectual Property

Inventors come up with ideas at the strangest moments. For example, an inventor in 1937 wrote down concepts for what is considered one of the first modern computers on the back of a cocktail napkin. After a bourbon, he came up with an electronically operated machine that used binary numbers, condensers for memory, a regenerative… Continue Reading

Going Global: Tips on Building a Patent Portfolio Outside the United States

Posted in Intellectual Property

I occasionally hear an inventor or businessperson talk about how his or her company has a “global patent” or an “international patent.” Unfortunately, there is no such thing. While some companies have filed patent applications around the world (or at least in many corners of the industrialized world), most of the time these statements refer… Continue Reading

Using Utility Models to Protect your Intellectual Property in Taiwan

Posted in Intellectual Property

A new “green” attitude is pervading Taiwan. Besides ongoing environmental efforts, Taiwan is home to multiple green technology companies. While revenue results for some Taiwanese solar cell manufacturers declined this year, Taiwanese companies like Motech are still prominent in the green technology sector. Taiwan’s continuing presence in the green technology sector can be seen in… Continue Reading

New Email Alert System Allows for Patent Publication Monitoring

Posted in Intellectual Property

On April 24, 2014, the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) announced the release of the Patent Application Alert Service (the Service). The Service provides free, customized email alerts when U.S. patent applications are published. Additionally, the Service offers direct access to the published applications for convenient review. How the Service Works An account… Continue Reading

Discovery Orders May Threaten Traditional Notions of Trade Secret Protection

Posted in Intellectual Property

Historically, confidential and proprietary information, such as the formulas for Coca-Cola and Pepsi, is trade secret information that will not be made available to the public during litigation. While Coke and Pepsi are probably the two most famous examples of protectable trade secrets, many companies in varying industries rely on trade secret protection for financial… Continue Reading

Teamwork Can Benefit Your Company’s Research, but Verify Inventors on any Resulting Patent Application

Posted in Intellectual Property

Much of today’s innovation is a collaborative process. In the past few weeks, stories were in the news about breakthroughs involving groups of researchers working on aluminum batteries, carbon electrodes for lithium-ion batteries, wearable power generation, and wireless power transmission. The prevalence of collaboration in research is reflected in U.S. intellectual property trends. A study… Continue Reading

Patenting Your Basement Fusion Reactor: Utility Requirements Under U.S. Patent Law

Posted in Intellectual Property

Multiple projects are currently underway to demonstrate feasibility of fusion energy. The goal of the ITER multinational project in southern France (of which the United States is a participant) is to deliver ten times the power that is consumed during operation. Back in the United States, Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works is working on a more… Continue Reading

Speeding Construction of Your Company’s ‘Great Wall’: Protecting Green Technology in China with Utility Models

Posted in Intellectual Property

The Economist recently reported on a World Intellectual Property Organization study that the number of Chinese patents filed abroad is rising. China’s patent office was the busiest in the world in 2012. Coupled with this growth of IP, China is now the world’s largest economy, has a growing solar industry, and is leading the world… Continue Reading

Take Off Every Zig: The Risk in Tesla’s “All Our Patent Are Belong to You” Message

Posted in Intellectual Property

With a title parodying a classic Internet meme, Elon Musk announced on June 12, 2014, that “Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.” Musk plans to continue filing additional patent applications and will make subsequent patents freely available as well. This benefits the planet, future… Continue Reading

Advantages of Paying Patent Maintenance Fee Before March 19

Posted in Intellectual Property

A new fee schedule from the United States Patent and Trademark Offices (USPTO) will take effect on March 19, 2013. As a result, most of the patent related fees—including maintenance fees—will increase significantly. For example, patent maintenance fees for large entities due at 3.5 years, 7.5 years, and 11.5 years will increase by 39 percent, 24 percent,… Continue Reading

Another Piece of the Patent Puzzle Going Into Place

Posted in Intellectual Property

Since the passage of the America Invents Act (AIA) in September 2011, many of its provisions (such as prior user rights, false marking provisions, inter-partes review proceedings, etc.) have already been implemented. On March 16, 2013, another key provision will take effect—the change from a first-to-invent system to a first-to-file system. Cleantech companies, both large… Continue Reading

Licensors Beware! Second Circuit Decision Confirms Patent Law Trumps Contract Law

Posted in Intellectual Property

A recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, holding that private contract agreements must yield to public policy concerns in patent law, may well require a reevaluation of the risks in technology licensing. A common provision in license agreements, particularly those negotiated after a patent owner has asserted its patent… Continue Reading