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An Introduction to Copyright Law

Posted by Isabel Fox | Jan 31, 2023 | 0 Comments

The first in a series on copyright law, this article provides a high-level introduction to copyrights. It explains what types of works can be copyrighted and some of the benefits of pursuing protection through copyright registration.

A Brief Explanation of Trade Secrets

Posted by Isabel Fox | Jul 29, 2022 | 0 Comments

Unlike patents and trademarks, trade secrets are not as widely talked about and are not as well known or understood. However, trade secrets are an essential type of intellectual property, and it is vital to learn how to take appropriate measures to keep trade secret information confidential.

The Americans with Disabilities Act and E-Commerce: Be Sure Your Website is ADA Compliant

Posted by Stanton Braden | Jun 27, 2022 | 0 Comments

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the “ADA") passed prior to the popularization of e-commerce, it's important to consider the standards outlined by the ADA when setting up your website to ensure accessibility for all potential customers. Failure to meet ADA standards can result in legal action, in addition to lost sales.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT): Part 1

Posted by Isabel Fox | May 30, 2022 | 0 Comments

The Patent Cooperation Treaty, or PCT, is a popular path for pursuing patent protection in more than 150 member countries. The first article in this series will provide a brief overview of the PCT and some of the benefits of using the PCT, rather than direct national filings, to pursue foreign patent protection.

Public Disclosure Without IP Protection: A Common Startup Oversight

Posted by Isabel Fox | Apr 28, 2022 | 0 Comments

Public disclosure of an idea or product without having IP protection in place can cause serious issues for your startup company, including potential theft of your idea or product and losing your opportunity to later apply for a patent. The timing of both your public disclosure and filing a patent application is of the utmost importance and should be discussed with an IP attorney or agent as soon as you plan to publicly disclose your idea or product.

Why Investing in Intellectual Property is Essential for Startup Companies

Posted by Isabel Fox | Apr 26, 2022 | 0 Comments

We know that there are many aspects to consider when forming your startup company, and we encourage entrepreneurs to also invest in protecting their intellectual property. Obtaining IP protection may seem like a daunting, and expensive, task to take on in an already busy and cash-strapped time, but there are several ways to make IP protection more affordable than you may expect.

Similarities & Differences Between Trademarks, Trade Dress, and Design Patents

Posted by Isabel Fox | Mar 30, 2022 | 0 Comments

Trademarks, trade dress, and design patents are each exclusionary intellectual property rights that protect non-functional aspects of an owner's business operations and product lines by giving the owner legal rights to prevent others from using them. While each of these routes to protect an owner's intellectual property is somewhat similar and overlapping, differences exist. Each intellectual property right will be discussed here and then compared and contrasted with one other.

Brief Considerations of the Business Side of Intellectual Property

Posted by Isabel Fox | Feb 28, 2022 | 0 Comments

The goal of this article is to briefly acquaint individual inventors, particularly first-time inventors, and businesses that have little experience with the patent process, with several aspects of the business side of owning IP, as well as to refresh these concepts in the minds of those more experienced with business matters.

How to Combat Copycat Products on Amazon: Amazon Brand Registry and the Neutral Patent Evaluation Procedure, Part 1

Posted by Isabel Fox | Jan 26, 2022 | 0 Comments

In an effort to address the issue of copycat products, Amazon established two options for IP rights owners to combat infringement of their IP: the Amazon Brand Registry and the Neutral Patent Evaluation Procedure. This article will focus on the Amazon Brand Registry, and a follow-up article will discuss the Neutral Patent Evaluation Procedure.

How and Why to Get a Design Patent

Posted by Isabel Fox | Nov 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

A design patent is granted to an inventor who creates “any new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.” The protection for a design only applies to its ornamentation, regardless of whether that ornamentation has a practical use as well. In any case where an invention has a practical use and an original ornamentation, we encourage the inventor(s) to seek both design and utility patent protection. Unlike plant and utility patents, design patents are only valid for fifteen (15) years from the filing date (increased from fourteen years of protection on May 13, 2015).

How is a Design Patent Different than a Utility Patent?

Posted by Isabel Fox | Nov 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

At the most basic level, any patent (utility, design, or plant) is an intellectual property right that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, selling, offering to sell, or importing an invention using that patent for a period of time. Utility patents are typically related to inventions or discoveries of a utilitarian nature, and protect the functional aspects of the invention or discovery. In contrast, design patents are granted for the ornamental features of an invention and do not protect any functional aspects of the invention.

Don't Forget to Patent Your Product

Posted by Isabel Fox | Oct 26, 2021 | 0 Comments

It’s a pity, so many developers of great new consumer products never reap the full benefits of their hard work because they delayed applying for a patent until it was too late. Protection begins as soon as a patent application is filed. Accordingly, it is crucial to file an application once an inventor conceives the product idea and definitely by the time the product reaches the final stages of development. Filing a patent application is a must before releasing a unique product on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or other crowdfunding platforms. When preparing a budget for launching a product, it’s critical to account for the cost of acquiring a patent, which includes hiring an experienced intellectual property attorney with a track record of success.

File History Estoppel and the Doctrine of Equivalents

Posted by Isabel Fox | Oct 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

File history estoppel is, like the doctrine of equivalents, an equitable doctrine developed over the years by the federal judiciary in its consideration of patent infringement cases. File history estoppel prevents patent owners from alleging infringement (either directly or under the doctrine of equivalents) on the basis of an unclaimed element, or elements, of a patented invention, where the allegedly infringed element(s) were surrendered during patent prosecution.

Evolution of the Doctrine of Equivalents through Case Law

Posted by Isabel Fox | Sep 30, 2021 | 0 Comments

The Doctrine of Equivalents is an equitable, common law, judge-made principle developed by the Federal Courts over years of litigation. This article explores some of the key cases that have defined and re-defined the Doctrine of Equivalents, including Winans v. Denmead (1853), Graver Tank & Mfg. Co. v. Linde Air Products (1950), and Warner-Jenkinson Co. v. Hilton Davis Chemical Co. (1997).

What is the Doctrine of Equivalents, and How Can It Prove my Patent Infringement Claim?

Posted by Wes Schwie | Sep 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

The Doctrine of Equivalents is an equitable, common law, judge-made principle developed by the Federal Courts over years of litigation. Under the doctrine, an accused product or process must practice each claim limitation or its equivalent. Where direct (or literal) patent infringement does not exist because an accused product or process fails to practice one or more claim limitations, the patent owner may still prove infringement by showing the accused product or process practices the equivalent of the patent absent claim limitations. Furthermore, the patent owner must consider equivalency at the time of infringement, not when the patent is issued.

What is Trade Dress?

Posted by Wes Schwie | Aug 30, 2021 | 0 Comments

Trade dress, like a trademark, serves to identify and distinguish sources of goods and services from each other. Trade dress encompasses non-functional aspects of physical objects such as packaging design,[i] overall product line designs,[ii] and even building designs[iii] or restaurant décor.[iv] Trade dress can be pretty straightforward but still be distinctive and recognizable to the general public, with the red wax on a Maker's Mark whiskey bottle being an example. While trade dress is protectable under federal and common law regarding trademarks, most businesses tend to focus on protecting their trademarks and brand names/logos and focus less on their trade dress, sometimes to their detriment.

Can you Lose your Trademark Rights if the Mark Becomes Generic?

Posted by Wes Schwie | Aug 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

Always use your trademark as an adjective and never as a noun for the good or service. For example, a brand owner should use the trademark (adjective) followed by the good or service (noun) it modifies (e.g., “APPLE computer”). Using the mark as a noun indicates the mark is a good or service rather than the source of the good or service, which is a hallmark of trademark law.

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