Practice Areas

Patent

Patent

The diverse technical backgrounds of TechLaw’s patent attorneys and agents allows us to effectively pursue patent protection in virtually every field of technology. This encompasses biotech, pharmaceutical and inorganic chemistry discoveries, as well as medical devices and electrical/mechanical matters, Internet, software and telecom inventions.

What is a patent?

A patent is a document which excludes others from making, using, selling, offering to sell, or importing into the U.S. the invention covered by the claims of the patent without the patent owner’s permission.

Where does it come from?

Patent rights in the U.S. originate from a clause in the United States Constitution and the rules regulating the issuance and enforcement of patent rights are set forth in a series of federal laws and regulations.

What is patentable?

Any new and useful composition of matter, for example a compound, a device, or a method using a composition or a device, that is not obvious.

What is not patentable?

Already-known ideas or those that are obvious variations of what is already known are not patentable. Also, ideas that monopolize the use of the laws of nature are not patentable.

What rights are protected?

Patent rights provide the patent owner with the ability to stop others from making, having made, using, selling, have sold and importing into the U.S. something that falls within the scope of the claims of a patent. These are negative rights. That is, patent rights do not grant to the patent owner the right to practice the claimed invention.

What advantages are there to obtaining a patent?

Owning patents has many benefits. First, patents can give the owner a competitive advantage in the marketplace by preventing others from offering the product or service the patent owner offers. Second, patents can create a new revenue stream through licensing the rights to others who pay royalties on the products or services they sell that are covered by the patent. As the result, intellectual property rights, especially patent rights, are viewed by many as very valuable and drive the value of a business enterprise A very good strategy is to develop and manage a portfolio of patents in the United States and abroad to maximize the value of what is then known as a “patent estate.”

How does one file a patent application?

While any individual can prepare and file a patent application his or herself, we strongly recommend working with a reputable patent attorney to help you through this process. Each patent application consists of a specification which describes the invention and a set of claims that establish that which is covered and owned exclusively by the patent owner once the claims are granted.

What are the formalities for obtaining a patent?

Patents are obtained by submitting a patent application to the United States Patent & Trademark Office. The application is then examined by a patent examiner who decides whether or not the invention defined by the claims, which appear at the end of the application, and described in the specification, i.e., the body of the application, is patentable in light of the prior art (that material already in the public domain or already covered by existing patents. The examiner will also determine whether the claims of the application are written in a clear manner and that the specification fully describes the manner the invention is made and used.

How long does patent protection last?

Patent protection lasts for 20 years from the date of the original filing of the patent application. Patent terms can be extended if it takes an extremely long time to make its way through the examination process before granting.

What are the limits of patent rights?

The limit of patent rights is directly related to the breadth and scope of the claims that are ultimately granted in the issued patent as well as whatever remains of the patent term.

What are the consequences of patent infringement?

If one is found liable for patent infringement, the damages are typically a reasonable royalty or lost profits that would have been received by the patent owner on the products sold by the liable party. If the liable party knew about the patent owner’s rights and still sold the products or services in question, then the damages can be tripled for what is known as intentional infringement.