Although I am a big supporter of patents, there are times when patenting is not the best option. It can be a little strange for my clients to hear me say that they should not file a patent application, but many are unfamiliar with alternative ways to obtain protection. Especially in cases where patenting would most likely be unsuccessful (despite having a lot of resources to navigate through patent prosecution), it would be smart to explore one or more of the following options.
Many of us express ourselves through style. For example, some of us wear shirts with funny sayings, and some of us drink coffee out of mugs with meaningful quotes. Naturally, many people want to protect sayings that they come up with so that they could be the only one to put certain sayings on certain items (usually t-shirts). How can you protect these sayings? Can you trademark sayings on shirts/mugs/accessories? Depends on whether these sayings can serve as a source identifier.
One of the most gratifying moments of my practice is when I receive a thick, heavy, manila envelope in the mail from the USPTO. By now, I know, just by the feel of an envelope, that inside of it is a registration certificate of an issued patent printed on premium grade paper, beautifully bound like an old-school magazine. So imagine my heart burn when I have to file a reissue application.
A reissue application is generally filed to correct an error in the patent. MPEP 1402. The most common bases for filing a reissue application are:
Apple unveiled its Series 2 Apple Watch almost two weeks ago, on September 7, 2016. If you were late to a coffee meeting because you were watching the entire keynote like me (and mentally calculating how much you were going to spend on all the new gadget), you know about the water expulsion feature of the new Watch. Today, the USPTO granted Apple its patent for this feature, again about two weeks after the unveiling. How did Apple obtain the patent just in time (pun intended) for the release of its product that is claimed in the patent?
Apple filed a patent for a paper bag. On its face, the bag looks pretty ordinary. Detailed description of the patent application reveals that the bag is indeed ordinary. Anyone could have invented such simple invention. What is the point of patenting a bag? Is this patent going to be of any value to Apple? Presumably, this patent would be of some value- otherwise, Apple would not have hired a big law firm in New York to prepare and file yet another patent application. So, the question is, what value does this patent application bring to the table for Apple?
Civ Pro (or Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) for non-lawyers and non-law students out there) was one of my least favorite law school courses and one I didn't appreciate much until I became an attorney. It's one of those classes where you don't really understand the context and the implications of the rules until you see it in action.
Like many rules, FRCP is a living document and its rules change from time to time. Recently, there were changes to rules 26, 37, and 84. These rules, while not directed specifically towards patent litigation cases, help curb the activity of non-practicing entities (NPEs) or "patent trolls." In other words, good news for defendants.
Let's take a look at each of the rules and determine what it means for plaintiffs and defendants in patent litigation cases.
On average, patent applicants generally see two office actions per each prosecution round. The second office action is usually the "final" office action, and most applicants are usually really confused by what they should do next.
I like to start out by telling my clients that final does not really mean final, and prosecution isn't really over unless you want it to be over. So what comes next? Here are the options that I lay out- easiest to hardest:
A while ago, I talked about how to prepare a PCT-EASY .Zip File. Lately, I've noticed a trend from the receiving office (USPTO), here is a follow up on what happens after you file a PCT application and what to do if you are invited to correct any defects. Just as a disclosure, when I talk about the receiving office (RO) here, I mean the USPTO. I haven't submitted PCT applications to other ROs. And another side note- remember that at least one applicant has to be a US national or resident in order for you to designate the USPTO as the RO. If that is not the case, then you cannot use the USPTO as the RO.
Now, what happens after you file a PCT application? Just as you receive an e-receipt after filing a normal US patent application, you will also receive one for your PCT application if you use EFS-Web to file. Then it should take you about 1-2 weeks to receive something in the mail from the RO.
A while back, my friend interviewed me for her article on revenge porn. (She writes for Vivala and runs her own blog Zenfulie.) At first, you may be scratching your head and asking yourself what revenge porn has to do with IP. Well, there's an important copyright issue to consider. Check out her article on Vivala to find out!!!
Full disclosure here, before I dive into this article, I've never played World of Warcraft and would be considered a "noob" (which is equivalent to rookie I guess). Nothing against World of Warcraft - I'm just terrible at video games and this game is way beyond my skill level. But today, one of my contributors sent me this article and I found it pretty interesting, so here we are.
As you may know, World of Warcraft (WoW) has been around for a while. Blizzard launched WoW back in 2004, so as you can imagine, the game has evolved and updated significantly over the last 12 years. Apparently last year, a group of gamers launched Nostalrius, which was a server devoted to running an early version of WoW (some versions are not as good as previous ones). As of earlier this month, however, Blizzard shut down Nostalrius... Reason? To protect WoW's Intellectual Property (I guess some combinations of patents, trademarks, and/or copyrights). To allow Nostalrius to continue running would be to basically allow them to infringe upon Blizzard's IP, and Blizzard was not willing to grant a license to a pirate server.