A patent is an official document issued by the United States Government giving the owner (either the inventor(s) or his/her assignee) the right to exclude others from making, using, offering to sell or selling his or her invention in the United States for the life of the patent. The life of a United States patent is typically twenty (20) years from the day that the application for the patent was filed. The United States grants this exclusionary (legal monopoly) property right to encourage the public to fully disclose technical advances and improvements so that, through this disclosure, further technical innovation can be undertaken. While developing new technological advances, and obtaining United States patent rights can be costly, the expense is offset by the exclusionary rights granted by a patent that give the patent owner the opportunity to profit from the valuable and innovative work.
The Witherspoon Law Group, with a team of trusted, licensed intellectual property legal experts is experienced and prepared to assist patent owners in the enforcement and procurement of patents. The complexity of the United States patent laws and regulations, as well as the formal application requirements for a patent can be misunderstood or misinterpreted by persons who are untrained or unfamiliar with patents. To minimize these misunderstandings, patent owners and inventors often retain the services of a patent attorney to assist in the enforcement or in the procurement of patents. Using techniques and knowledge acquired first-hand through invention sessions pioneered by a few select Fortune 500 companies and large patent aggregators, we can prepare, coordinate and lead focused inventions sessions to help our clients “push” the envelope in their respective field in a way that will normally yield several strategic high value patents in areas clearly identified beforehand.
Here is a typical description of the types of patents through initial preparation and prosecution through Final Office Action at USPTO
Design patents protect the ornamental features of your products (How they look)
*Depending on complexity
Non-Provisional applications utility patents to protect the functional features of your products and processes (How they work)
In today’s global business environment, inventors must consider international markets in order to reach maximum market potential for new technologies. An “international” Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) patent application streamlines and provides more flexibility in the filing and expenses of international patent applications. (Where they reach and how the work)
U.S. grants plant patents to any person who first appreciates [discovers] the distinctive qualities of a plant and reproduces it sexually. (How the plant was grown)
Patents that claim a method, apparatus, or operation used in the practice, administration, or management of a financial product or service.
(How the business process works)
Trademarks are a type of intellectual property, which is used to identify a source and standard of quality of products. Likewise, Service Marks are used to identify a source and standard of quality of services. Trademarks and Service Marks can be words, names, symbols, designs, phrases or sounds or any combination thereof that identifies or distinguishes the goods or services of a manufacturer or merchant from the goods or services manufactured or sold by others. Trademark/Service Mark rights can arise by either filing an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office based on a good faith and honest intent to use the mark on a product or in association with a service that will soon be offered to the public, or by actually using the mark in commerce on a product or in association with a service. The owner of a Trademark/Service Mark may file an application for registration of the mark based on the actual use of the mark in commerce or on the good faith and honest intent to use the mark in commerce. The registration of the mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office gives the owner the benefit of a nationwide priority as of the date of filing, except as to certain prior uses or prior applicants. It also provides the owner with procedural advantages in a lawsuit for Trademark infringement. A Trademark Infringement action may allow the owner of the mark to recover profits, damages and costs and possibly an award of treble damages and attorneys’ fees. Owners of a mark may use the symbol ® once a federal registration has issued from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The symbols ™ (for trademark) or SM (for service mark) are often used with unregistered marks to give notice to the public that the owner is staking out a claim in that mark.
The Witherspoon Law Group, with a team of trusted, licensed intellectual property legal experts is experienced and prepared to assist Trademark/Service Mark owners in the enforcement and procurement of Trademarks/Service Marks.
Like with patents, the complexity of the United States Trademark laws and regulations, as well as the formal registration and renewal requirements for a Trademark/Service Mark can be misunderstood and overwhelming for persons who are untrained or unfamiliar with Trademarks.
A Copyright is a statutory property right which grants to creators (authors) certain exclusive rights with respect to their creation for a limited duration. Essentially, a Copyright protects original works of authorship which are fixed in a tangible medium of expression, i.e., it protects the expression of ideas, but not the ideas themselves. For example, a Copyright may protect a work such as a book, a picture, a graphic, a sculptural work, music, photographs, movies, and computer programs. While registration of a copyrighted work is not required to establish the existence of a copyright, it is a prerequisite to filing a Copyright infringement lawsuit and provides certain other legal remedies and advantages.
The Witherspoon Law Group, with a team of trusted, licensed intellectual property legal experts is experienced and prepared to assist Copyright owners (whether an individual inventor or a large company) in the enforcement and procurement of Copyrights.
Unlike Patents, Trademarks/Service Marks or Copyrights, a Trade Secret is a type of Intellectual Property for which the owner does not seek registration or a grant from the United States Government. A Trade Secret typically consists of a formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which is used in the trade secret’s owner business and which gives the trade secret owner an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know or use the trade secret. A Trade Secret may be a formula for a chemical compound, a process of manufacturing, treating or preserving materials, a pattern for a machine or other device or a list of customers. As the name of this Intellectual Property suggests, trade secrets must be kept secret. Matters which are generally known or commonly known to the trade in which the trade secret owner is engaged cannot be protected as a trade secret. If a trade secret has in fact been maintained as secret, a trade secret owner may be able to recover damages for another’s inappropriate possession (e.g., improper discovery) and use of the trade secret. The law protecting trade secrets was developed because the owner’s commercial advantage can vanish once a competitor learns of the trade secret. Thus, the law protects the trade secret owner’s efforts to keep his achievements secret and gain a commercial advantage over his competitors.
The Witherspoon Law Group, with a team of trusted, licensed intellectual property legal experts is experienced and prepared to assist in the enforcement of Trade Secrets.
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