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Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

Old Dec 29th 2014, 6:04 am
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Default Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

Hello all you good people,
Having used the search function on here I only found this from 2008 http://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-5...-572470/page3/ and didn't find it too helpful.
After nearly 5 frustrating years of being under-employed, under appreciated or generally screwed over in the land of opportunity, I'm considering going it alone. I'm wondering if anyone reading here has any experiences to share with regards to protecting intellectual property, timelines, patent attorney recommendations or just insights on starting up from scratch.
Just to save anyone some time I have befriended Google so no need to type that line out, I'm more interested in any personal or professional experiences people would care to share.
Thanks for your time..and have a happy new year!
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Old Dec 29th 2014, 7:52 am
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Default Re: Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

Originally Posted by _Clueless$y$t€m_ View Post
Hello all you good people,
Having used the search function on here I only found this from 2008 http://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-5...-572470/page3/ and didn't find it too helpful.
After nearly 5 frustrating years of being under-employed, under appreciated or generally screwed over in the land of opportunity, I'm considering going it alone. I'm wondering if anyone reading here has any experiences to share with regards to protecting intellectual property, timelines, patent attorney recommendations or just insights on starting up from scratch.
Just to save anyone some time I have befriended Google so no need to type that line out, I'm more interested in any personal or professional experiences people would care to share.
Thanks for your time..and have a happy new year!
Are you trying to patent something or copyright something? Source code can't be patented but only copyrighted but the concept can be patented. Copyrights are normally limited to source material (books, source code, etc.) and can be registered or copyrighted just by placing a copyright notice on the material.

I've been involved with a couple of patents but that was for a company that I worked for. The company wanted concepts to be patented so they paid employees bonuses to write up the concept. Then the lawyers took over and filed the patent. However many concepts are very hard to enforce. I never wrote up the concept but others in my group did and everyone in the group got bonuses, awards, and invited to the companies annual patent party with plane tickets and hotels paid for by the company.

The problem with patents is that you have to determine who is infringing on the patent and then negotiate with the company or sue the company and that usually is very expensive. If the patent is very unique, it's usually easier and cheaper to enforce the patent since companies are more willing to negotiate.

Complex patents like Apple's and Samsung's patients cost a lot to go to trial and have a judgment rendered but there we are talking about big awards.
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Old Dec 29th 2014, 12:19 pm
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Default Re: Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

Originally Posted by _Clueless$y$t€m_ View Post
Hello all you good people,
Having used the search function on here I only found this from 2008 http://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-5...-572470/page3/ and didn't find it too helpful.
After nearly 5 frustrating years of being under-employed, under appreciated or generally screwed over in the land of opportunity, I'm considering going it alone. I'm wondering if anyone reading here has any experiences to share with regards to protecting intellectual property, timelines, patent attorney recommendations or just insights on starting up from scratch.
Just to save anyone some time I have befriended Google so no need to type that line out, I'm more interested in any personal or professional experiences people would care to share.
Thanks for your time..and have a happy new year!
What sort of information are you looking for? I have a patent but wouldn't know where to start telling you about it. In terms of your general question, in my case it took about 4 years to go from idea to patent but I am pretty sure it can happen a lot faster. In terms of attorneys, I went through a university IP office so not relevant to your question. I am pretty sure we have at least one member who deals with patents as part of their business.
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Old Dec 29th 2014, 1:58 pm
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Default Re: Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

I have been doing a little work with a patent law office based in Houston, Conley Rose, intellectual property law is all they practice. It would depend on what you needed to achieve as always but I have been dealing with Amy Lavalle and Greg Maag and they are excellent. They are preparing to help us defend several physical design and process patents in the US and also to file US patent extensions of our EU patents. I must clarify however that as the guy at the US sharp end it fell to me to find the lawyers, take the initial meetings and then pass them off to the guys in Germany so actual technical details are beyond me.
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Old Dec 29th 2014, 2:00 pm
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Default Re: Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

It depends on what you want to know. I am not a patent agent or attorney but I have many years of experience in examining and analyzing patents.
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Old Dec 29th 2014, 8:25 pm
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Default Re: Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

Thank you for all your replies so far..massively appreciated, especially given the vagueness of my original post. Obviously I wouldn't want to go into detail in an online forum so for you to take time out and reply is appreciated all the more. It's still very early days and I'm exploring what options and processes to obtain a patent for an idea relating to areas of professional and amateur sports. There are also possible applications in the medical/therapy fields which probably add a whole different host of problems. I'll keep researching!
Thanks again for your time!
Happy new year ....Cheers!!
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Old Dec 30th 2014, 9:40 pm
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Default Re: Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

It's expensive stuff...but if you're in Boston, I know one guy who's in patents and another who deals with software start ups for the most part that's a patents kind of person, but would probably know folks in the practice he could refer. Could probably find their deets if you need them.
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Old Dec 31st 2014, 3:37 am
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Default Re: Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

Thank you Bob, that's super helpful..I'll PM you if that's OK?
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Old Dec 31st 2014, 5:09 am
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Default Re: Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

You could also try the LegalZoom patent web site and see if you can do it yourself. Generally Legal Zoom is pretty good and you don't pay unless you finish. You'll probably save you $5K-$15K over using a patent attorney. Most are utility patents so that is probably the one you should try.

Protect Your Invention with a U.S. Patent | LegalZoom.com
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Old Dec 31st 2014, 1:49 pm
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Default Re: Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

On that front, I've heard the Nolo books are ok.
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Old Dec 31st 2014, 2:56 pm
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Default Re: Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

If (as appears to be the case) the OP does not have much experience with the US patent system I would advise the OP to think very carefully before taking a DIY approach.

Patents have a language of their own which, superficially, looks like English but really isn't. Reading patent claims requires some practice; drafting them is much more difficult.

Brown & Michaels - writing claims
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Old Dec 31st 2014, 3:11 pm
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Default Re: Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
If (as appears to be the case) the OP does not have much experience with the US patent system I would advise the OP to think very carefully before taking a DIY approach.

Patents have a language of their own which, superficially, looks like English but really isn't. Reading patent claims requires some practice; drafting them is much more difficult.

Brown & Michaels - writing claims
Agreed.

That's quite a good list of common errors.

I would add that if going the pro route, make sure they have good specific subject experience. If your invention is computer based and most of their experience is in writing sports equipment inventions it can be tough to make sure they get it right.
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Old Dec 31st 2014, 4:54 pm
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Default Re: Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
If (as appears to be the case) the OP does not have much experience with the US patent system I would advise the OP to think very carefully before taking a DIY approach.

Patents have a language of their own which, superficially, looks like English but really isn't. Reading patent claims requires some practice; drafting them is much more difficult.

Brown & Michaels - writing claims
The legalese and format of a patent would be provided by the LegalZoom web site or a patent attorney. The description of the patent is provided by the patent inventor. Generally with any complex patent, a patent attorney is not versed in the technical part of the patent (the invention) and couldn't give advice concerning that part. The LegalZoom web site breaks the technical part of the patent into many sections that the inventor must answer about the patent so that it can be formatted according to the way the patent has to be formatted. It also tells the inventor how long or short each entry should be.

The only difference that I can see between the LegalZoon web site and a patent attorney is that LegalZoom describes with an example what is supposed to be in each entry and a patent attorney is telling the inventor what is supposed to be in each section of the patent document and with a patent attorney, the inventor is possibly seeing and getting confused by the legalese but the legalese is not seen by the inventor in LegalZoom.

If someone wants their hand to be held by LegalZoom so the inventor can ask a patent attorney to explain in more detail what is required in each section or review the patent to see if the answers have the correct punctuation and grammar, they can pay extra for that service. However only the inventor knows how much detail is needed to describe a utility patent (design patents are similar to each other and therefore a patent attorney can possibly be of more help in the technical part).

In the description section of the patent, LegalZoom has the inventor describe the patent in numbered steps in as many steps that is required to describe the patent and then after the steps are entered, steps can be linked by number to each other in the following section. If an inventor's mind is not organized enough to describe the patent, neither LegalZoon nor a patent attorney will likely be able to make a patent valid and then the inventor would likely have to hire a technical consultant with patent experience that is versed in that field that can understand the invention to make the patent valid

Last edited by Michael; Dec 31st 2014 at 5:28 pm.
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Old Jan 1st 2015, 6:00 am
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Default Re: Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

Thanks again to all who have replied so far, especially Michael, md95065, sir eccles and Bob. The information shared has been extremely enlightening and overwhelming at the same time, legalese is not a language I'm familiar with right now and who'd have thunk a period in the wrong place could cause that much aggravation?(Thanks again for that link md95065)
I hope you enjoyed seeing the New year in...Cheers chaps!
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Old Jan 1st 2015, 10:36 am
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Default Re: Anyone with experience of patents and intellectual property protection?

Couple of things I recall from my experience getting a patent:

As Michael said, the attorney may know nothing, or very little, about the principles behind the invention or idea. He/she needs you to help him/her translate the idea into the patent description. As part of this, I found the attorney we used was very good at continually asking questions about "Can it do this?" and the like, so it was very much an iterative process. He also talked to us about the kitchen sink principle - include ANYTHING the device is likely to be able to do, even if your current thinking is not for a particular use.

The other thing, which isn't patent-specific is thinking about what you want to do with the patent/IP/idea. You may already know this, but I didn't. I knew what the device could do, and that it was very unique, but I didn't know how we would get from idea to market (we're still struggling with this a bit). You can make and sell it yourself, but this can be very, very expensive. You can go into business with a partner who will fund this bit and take some of the share of the profits. Or you can simply license the idea to a commercial company and they will make and sell it but the idea remains your property.
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