Patent

Patents

What is a patent, and how can our office help you in your patent claim? Please read the information below to find out how our firm can be of service to you.

What Is a Patent?

A patent is a government document giving the inventor a temporary monopoly over the use of a particular claimed invention. A patent can be considered an agreement between the inventor and the public. If the invention is both “novel” and “non-obvious,” then, in return for fully disclosing the invention, the inventor is given a temporary monopoly over it by the government. Patents can be difficult to obtain but can offer strong protection for an invention if drafted properly.

Why Do You Need a Patent Attorney?

The complexity of the patent system created by the courts and patent offices throughout the world creates a situation where (having seen many patent applications drafted by inventors) we find working with a registered patent attorney or agent essential—there is simply too much at stake.

In a 2013 lawsuit, for instance, one patent that included the claim language “program code configured to” in the preamble resulted in no damages, while another patent with claims that instead included the language “computer instructions to implement” resulted in a $345 million damage award. Versata Software, Inc. v. SAP America, Inc., 717 F.3d 1255 Fed. Circ. (2013). These fine claim drafting distinctions are exactly the kind of details inventors might be unaware of and that can make the difference between an extremely valuable patent on one hand and a relatively worthless patent on the other.

Three Kinds of Patents

There are three kinds of patents: utility patents protect useful inventions, design patents protect the ornamental design of an article of manufacture, and plant patents protect asexually reproduced plants.

The following are two types of applications initially available for utility patents:

  • A “non-provisional” patent application is a formal application with claims and description examined by a patent examiner that can mature into an issued patent.
  • A “provisional” patent application is a disclosure document that is not examined by an examiner and serves as a one-year placeholder to establish a filing date. It cannot issue as a patent, but it can be a cost-effective way to hold a place in line for a year while testing the market or engaging in further development before deciding whether to file a nonprovisional application.

Each type of patent and each type of application can be a powerful asset when strategically acquired and used properly.

Whether you are an established business with extensive patent experience, a startup with moderate exposure to patents, or an independent inventor with a single idea for an invention, we can help.

Patent Services

We offer the following patent services:

  • Prior art searches and patentability opinions
  • Drafting, filing, and prosecution of U.S. patent applications before the USPTO
    • Including provisional, non-provisional (utility), design, and plant patent applications
  • Negotiation and drafting of patent-related licenses, assignments, nondisclosure agreements, and other contracts
  • Preparation and filing of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications and applications in foreign countries through the Paris Convention
  • Patent infringement, non-infringement, and invalidity opinions
  • Pre-litigation counsel and enforcement/defense measures related to patent infringement, including opinions of likelihood of success in an infringement suit, communication with opposing party to increase likelihood of early stage settlement, and the like
  • Design-around opinions
  • Other consulting and general assistance related to patent matters