Patent

04Mar 2021
Seal of the SCOTUS

A fascinating aspect of the law is that something can be standard practice, or settled law, until a creative lawyer or court pulls it apart, turns it on its head, and a new paradigm is born. Think of Brown vs. the Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona, or Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Each of these decisions […]

18Feb 2021
Designs for patents

After the patent examiner issues a decision (an ‘office action’) on a patent application, the applicant has the right to an ‘interview’ with the examiner.  The interview can be in person, by video or by telephone.  During Covid-19, in-person interviews are out, but video and telephone interviews are available.  In the interview, the applicant can […]

21Jan 2021
patentable-invention

Utility patents protect what things are, how they work, or ways of doing things.  An example is the guillotine mousetrap that works by, well, the name says it all.  Design patents protect the ornamental design of a product, for example this mousetrap that looks like a demented cat.  The topic this month is design patents. Let’s say that […]

10Dec 2020
Patent Examiner Interviews

The patent application process is essentially a negotiation  between the patent applicant, represented by his or her patent attorney or patent agent, and the Federal government, represented by the patent examiner.  Most communications between the applicant and the examiner are written, in the form of the application itself, office actions by the examiner, and responses and […]

05Nov 2020

Walking fast, you round the corner of an urban street and collide with — a clown — the greasepaint, the red, bulbous nose, oversized shoes, fright wig, exaggerated clothing, exaggerated smile, exaggerated eyes.  Immediately you feel nausea, your hands sweat, you struggle to breathe, you feel panic, anxiety and dread.  Your mouth goes dry and […]

08Oct 2020

The USPTO’s trial arm, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (‘PTAB’), cancels patent claims so frequently that the PTAB is usually the copyist’s first stop in defending against patent infringement.  Before the PTAB cancels the claims, the patent owner has a valuable (and expensive) asset, namely the patent.  When the PTAB cancels the patent claims, […]

10Sep 2020
USPS Application

The US Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application on August 13 owned by the United States Postal Service (‘USPS’).  The disclosed invention would incorporate Blockchain technology into a vote-by-mail system.  Blockchain is the technology used to implement cryptocurrencies and other types of secure transactions. Blockchain allows digital information to be recorded and distributed, but not altered, which […]

20Aug 2020
patentable-invention

Let’s say you’ve developed a valuable machine, one that lots of people want to use.  You obtain patents for the machine.  An infringer learns about the patent and copies the patented machine.  You sue the infringer for patent damages. There is no question* that you can collect patent damages for the period of time after […]

02Jul 2020
COVID-19

Responding to Covid-19 requires innovation, and nothing encourages innovation like a functioning patent system. The USPTO has launched a program to quickly review Covid-19 related patents and to waive the fees usually required for prioritized review of those patent applications.  The average time for review of a  patent application by the USPTO usually runs a bit over […]

11Jun 2020
Chalk Pencil

Lanyard Toys created a popular ‘chalk pencil’ that looked like a stubby pencil but that holds chalk.  Lanyard protected the invention with a design patent.  Remember that a design patent protects the appearance of a product, but not what it does or how it does it.*  Lanyard began selling its chalk pencils through a distributor to Toys-R-Us.  […]