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Patents Archives

What is a Patent Search?

If you have a brilliant idea for an invention, you'll want to undertake a patent search right away. A patent search can clarify whether your invention is truly new and non-obvious so you don't waste money and time protecting and developing something that has already been invented.

Innovation Act: Congress To Stand Up to Patent Trolls?

Patent law in the U.S. might change once again: as of February 2015, Congress is reconsidering the "Innovation Act," a bill that could implement several changes, including making it difficult for non-practicing entities (also known as "patent trolls") to claim their patents have been infringed upon. Patent trolls usually buy up patents and then use them against unsuspecting businesses, without contributing anything to the economy themselves. Often, defendants will simply settle the case as a way to avoid further costly litigation. It is easy to see, then, why many argue that patent trolls engage in abusive litigation tactics, which harms the economy and wastes resources.

Patent Infringement Claims and Attorney Fees

If you bring a claim for patent infringement, a recent case from the U.S. Supreme Court has made recovery of attorneys' fees easier than ever before. Typically, the party that wins the lawsuit in a patent infringement case has a right to seek attorneys' fees if a case is considered "exceptional" under a particular statute. These types of fee arrangements are meant to serve as a deterrent to parties who want to bring unwarranted suits on invalid or unenforceable patents.

Patent: First to File

When it comes to claiming rights over patentable technology, the United States recently joined the rest of the world in adopting a "first to file" system. This change, part of the sweeping America Invents Act ("AIA"), went into effect March 16, 2013. As many have noted, the law significantly impacted the way intellectual property is protected. Under the new system, even if an inventor is the first to invent something, she must quickly file a patent application on her invention before anyone else files or could lose out to an inventor who thought of the idea after her, but filed before her. Thus, the new federal legislation creates a risk for those who are silent or secretive about their invention-and encourages inventors not to sit on their rights.

Protecting Your Patent Portfolio

Your business's patent portfolio, or the list of patents owned by your company, contains the fruits of your labor, so to speak. Managing your patent portfolio and comparing it to those of other companies is essential to helping you better determine the economic value of your own patents and maintaining your competitive edge in the marketplace. It also helps you keep an eye on potential copycats, which can be an irksome and costly issue to deal with.

How Do I Obtain a Patent?

While "intellectual property" may sound like a complicated area of the law, its basic principles are simple: at its core, intellectual property law is about who owns property that is the result of mental efforts. The owner of this type of property has rights based on federal laws concerning patents, trademarks, and copyrights, as well as state laws concerning trade secrets.