Innovation helps your company maintain its competitive advantage.  Protecting the value of your company requires preserving that advantage, and a well-drafted patent may provide that protection.

Recognizing the vital role that innovation plays in a robust economy, the Framers of the Constitution authorized Congress “to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 9, Clause 8.  The United States Patent and Trademark Office, an agency of the Department of Commerce, grants patents for protecting inventions.  A patent is a grant to the inventor(s) “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States or “importing” the invention into the United States.  Often, the term of a patent is twenty years from the application’s filing date.  Sometimes, the term may be twenty years from the filing date of an earlier application. 

The patent process typically begins with a conference between inventors and one or more patent attorneys to develop a comprehensive understanding of the invention.  You may elect to have our firm provide a patentability opinion, where we commission a search of related patents and published patent applications and analyze them to determine the likelihood the invention is patentable.  These opinions can provide more certainty when determining whether to invest in the patent process. 

Working closely with the inventor, our patent attorney prepares the patent application.  Ultimately, a patent is only as strong as the patent claims.  Our experienced patent attorneys take care to draft the claims to achieve the broadest possible protection for your invention.  We then file the patent application at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 

After several months (and sometimes years), a patent examiner will examine the application to determine whether the claims are allowable.  To be allowable, a claim must identify an invention that is a new, useful, and non-obvious process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter.  If the patent application meets the substantive requirements, and other formalities are attended to, a patent will issue.  More typically, the patent examiner identifies one or more grounds for refusing the application.  The patent examiner sends correspondence — called an Office Action — setting out the grounds for refusal.  Our patent attorney formulates the best response to the refusal, which sometimes includes amending the claims in a way that overcomes the refusal but also preserves meaningful patent scope.  This important period of back-and-forth with the patent examiner, commonly called the patent prosecution phase, can last months or even years. 

Our firm is an ideal size for being both flexible and able to handle a wide variety of patent related matters.  We have a broad range of technical and industry experience, and many of our patent attorneys have had extensive industry experience before becoming attorneys.  Our firm provides patent counseling to a wide range of clients, including large, medium, and small corporations, individual entrepreneurs, and venture capital firms.  Our patent counseling often includes initiating or improving invention identification programs, conducting state-of-the-technology searches and patentability opinions, preparing and prosecuting patent applications, investigating infringement and validity with respect to competing patents, preparing and negotiating patent licensing agreements, defending against patent infringement, and enforcing client patents.  We frequently work with foreign patent counsel to assist our domestic clients with foreign patent matters, and we assist foreign patent counsel with their U.S. patent matters.

Each of our attorneys is licensed to practice before U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  Our attorneys have years of extensive experience in obtaining and enforcing patents, and analyzing and defending against patents.  We have extensive experience with utility patents, which generally protects the way an invention functions, and design patents, which protects the appearance of an article of manufacture. 

The law imposes time restrictions on your ability to obtain a patent.  If you want to protect your inventions, please contact us soon.