This is an unsettled and truly unprecedented time for companies and for individuals. We are each being confronted by COVID-19 in different ways. The pandemic affects our everyday lives, our businesses and our unpredictable futures. We have to live with uncomfortable restrictions on our usual movements and lack of certainty about when things will return to a “normal” that might not be like the “normal” we knew before.
Companies that develop solid IP portfolios during downturns – especially severe downturns – stand to emerge from hard times in much better positions than do those that simply “hunker down and endure”.
Many inventors do not understand a very basic prerequisite to getting a patent: the duty to fully disclose to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) how to make and use the inventor’s invention. The rationale for this requirement is deeply embedded in the U.S. Constitution—through amplifying statutes and case law—the implication of which is this: “You (the inventor) tell us what you know and we (‘the people,’ more specifically, the government) will give you exclusive rights to your invention for a certain duration.”
The government’s implied social contract is that it will, first and foremost, take care of its citizens. So, as the U.S. and the world in general strive to resolve the coronavirus crisis, governments around the globe are motivating their citizens to offer solutions.
Government contractors must proactively negotiate rights among co-collaborators prior to beginning the collaborative process and recognize that the government’s interest in the collaborative workplace may not be aligned with that of each collaborator.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 37 CFR Rule 1.56: How Should Patent Applicants Approach Compliance?
All companies should be aware of the Rule and determine at an early stage how inventors should be educated regarding compliance. Often, companies and their patent counsel train inventors to avoid attempting to perform prior art searches or compare their inventions to “what is out there.” This is prudent for a couple reasons.
Trade secrets are often the catch-all category of intellectual property (IP) protection. Patents cover inventions, copyrights protect creative works of expression, trademarks focus on branding and trade secrets… well, they cover the rest.
Why should research and development (R&D) teams or organizations care about patents? The answer might surprise you. A recent report by Forbes states that each year R&D introduces more than 250,000 new products into the marketplace. Of those, 66% will fail within the first two years.
In Part 2 of this series, we discussed the need to valuate your IP assets as well as the methods you can use to achieve this end. This final segment focuses on the rubber-meets-the-road question of what kinds of protection should be used for each IP asset and how much should be spent on that protection.
Whether a company is a start-up or a large enterprise, there are a few basic truisms in running a successful business. Controlling costs and recognizing returns on investments are high on that list. Running a business, be it large or small, is a balance of risks and...