How To Make Money With Your Ideas As A Startup

By: Carlos Silva M.

Ideas can come from anywhere: a part-time hobby in someone’s garage, exciting planning over the kitchen table, or even at the local university’s funded incubator. 

In fact, ask any venture capitalist and he or she will tell you ideas and people to work hard are easy to come by. However, the process of maturing an idea, no matter how brilliant, into a successful business is exceedingly complex, challenging, fraught with risk, and expensive. 

Unfortunately, a great majority of startups fail. But, what attributes separate the few successful startups from their less successful counterparts? 

Very often, the difference between expansion and extinction comes down to the ability to raise additional capital. It’s not uncommon for startups to have little or no revenue, large research and development expenses, and few tangible assets. 

For these companies, especially, the primary and most valuable assets are their ideas and the IP that protects their ideas -- patents, trade secrets, design rights, trademarks, and copyrights. 


Patent Application – What to Expect After You File One

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
July 18, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

So you're an inventor with a patent application!  What happens now that it has been filed with the US Patent Office?  Here's what to expect. 
First, you'll get your Official Filing Receipt – it is actually pretty important.  Sure, you'll get an electronic filing receipt if you filed it online.  But, that's not what matters.  The Official Filing Receipt is the easiest and fastest way to get your foreign filing license.  And you'll want that, if you ever intend to file in other countries and need your US priority date. 

If the US Patent Office has any objections to the drawings, specification, or abstract, they'll (usually) notify you at the same time they send the Official Filing Receipt.  Formal drawings are the main type of objection – you'll need those.

After a period of time, typically anywhere from six months to two years, you'll get your first Office Action.  That's typically where the patent examiner reads the case, searches for the claimed invention, and applies the prior art to the claims.  This is also where the examiner can make objects, for example objections to claim language, to errors in the specification or drawings, or other things.

The first Office Action could, of course, be an allowance.  Those are not that common.  If your application is allowed, there is an Issue Fee due that varies depending on your inventorship status (micro entity, small entity, or non-small entity).  There is also a publication fee due, too (if the application was published). 

Assuming you didn't get an allowance, then you'll have the option to respond to the First Office Action.  Typically, your Response would meet any objections by amending the offending parts.  And, your Response typically would provide remarks in support of patentability, such as explaining how the invention as claimed differs from the applied references.  Your Response likely will also include an amendment to the claims to recite a feature not found in the applied reference, and this is one way to overcome an applied reference.  


Intellectual Property Rights and their types explained

By: Kumar Hemant

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protects the most valued of all creations — the human mind. The human mind invents, creates, and develops a new product. IPR protects the creator’s interests and sees to it that they get exclusive rights over their products and receive the benefit from their product. The product can be anything from a new invention to a literary work or even symbols.

IPR is necessary for the protection of the products and thus help in a country’s economic growth while striking a balance between private and public interests.

Intellectual property rights have been around since medieval times. Following are the primary laws and agreements that have established the basis of IPR.

> The Stature of Monopolies (1623) is seen as the first law on patents. The act gave the inventor exclusive control over an invention created by him, for 14 years.
> The Statute of Anne (1710) gave the first copyright law. This act granted a 14-year renewal of the exclusive rights after fulfilling certain conditions.
> The Paris Convention (1883) was a first intervention to ensure that the works are protected in other countries.
> The Berne Convention (1886) provided minimum protection and special provisions to works of writers, musicians, painters, and many other professions.
> The Madrid Agreement (1891) provided for an international registration that can be used for the broader protection of the trademark.
> The United International Bureaux for the protection of Intellectual Property (1883) was formed by the merging of the Paris and the Berne Conventions.


Why Worry About Infringement – Things To Do First

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
July 16, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

You've seen the topic of patent infringement in the news.  Should you be worried?  If you are, here's some things to do that should minimize your risk.

If your product needs a component that is patented, you have two options.  One is to buy that component from the patent owner or from an official licensee.  Why?  It carries an implied license.  The other option is to contact the patent owner and negotiate a license, in which case fees may be small.  

What if there's nothing out there like your product, how will you know if you should worry?  You can do a right-to-use patent search.  This is different from a normal patentability search, because you're not worried about patentability – you're worried about infringement.  In a right-to-use patent search, you will search for patents that are expired, meaning more than 17 years old.  If you can find the component or feature that is of interest, then you can rely on it and have a right-to-use.  For a quick and easy patent search, try going to any patent site that allows searching, such as the official uspto site or Google® patents. 


How Do Intellectual Property Laws Apply to Online Content?

By: Aditi Ramesh

Intellectual property refers to creations from the mind that can be legally owned. They are intangible assets. All businesses will have some form of intellectual property (IP) they wish to protect. Therefore, intellectual property laws protect a business’ new creations and ideas. Your ideas and creations are important for the long-term prosperity of your business. Hence, it is important to know how to protect your intangible work. The best way to do this is by registering your IP. You can do this by applying for a trademark or a patent. These will stop your competitors from using your ideas and will give you a competitive advantage in the market. On the other hand, you are dealing with copyright laws when you are dealing with internet content.

What is internet content?

Internet content refers to anything that has been published on the internet. This includes articles, websites, music and more. A company called Interparty has argued that “users of the internet have been conditioned to believe that everything is free”. This is because this content is so easily available to internet users. There are numerous sites that make it easy to download music and movies for free. Moreover, people use information from online articles without referencing them. These are all breaches of people’s intellectual property rights. Although internet content is free, this does not mean that these creations cannot be protected. Illegal downloads are a huge breach of copyright laws.


Costly Misconceptions About Trademarks

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
July 14, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

Getting a trademark is a great idea, but things may not be that simple.  There are some misconceptions that can cost time, money, or even loss of rights. 

One common misconception is that a registered trademark is necessary to have enforceable trademark rights.  We are all familiar with registered trademarks – the kind with the ® registration symbol.  But, trademark rights normally arise from actual use, even for unregistered trademarks.  State courts can enforce such rights arising from actual use, even in the absence of a federally registered trademark.  No registration, no problem – sometimes.

Getting a registered trademark requires filing a trademark application.  Choices need to be made right at the start: actual use or intent-to-use; type of goods/services; logo or word mark.  These choices can have profound consequences.  Even the U.S. Trademark Office recommends having an experienced trademark attorney help with those choices – you'll see the warning for that in the online trademark  application filing forms and elsewhere.

Actual use sounds better than intent-to-use.  Maybe so - unless there is a conflict with another trademark filed on an intent-to-use basis.  Then, surprisingly, the owner of the intent-to-use to application is permitted to introduce evidence of events that show an intent-to-use that has occurred before the application's filing date.  The actual-use applicant does not have the same rights.  Such evidence of intent-to-use can be scant: a mere mention at a business meeting, or an order for design of the mark, for example.  This is peculiar to federal trademarks; state courts can apply their own standards and might well decide specific cases differently. 


Everything You Need to Know About Intellectual Property

By: Erik J. Martin

You can safeguard your business’s physical assets like the office, goods and equipment with an insurance policy. But how do you protect intangibles like your company’s name, logo, content, creative ideas or original creations from being stolen? The answer is to secure trademarks, copyrights, patents and other intellectual property rights.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, intellectual property refers to “creations of the mind,” like artistic or literary works, names, images, symbols, designs and inventions used for business purposes.

“These are comprised substantially of ideas and know-how, which are incapable of being locked up for safe keeping but vulnerable to being grabbed and republished by anyone else who may know of them,” said Maribeth Meluch, registered patent attorney and partner with Isaac Wiles Burkholder and Teetor.

Consider how easy it is for your intellectual property to be infringed upon. If you’re a homebuilder, a competitor could copy or emulate your floorplan design. If you run a website that offers self-help articles, another site could reproduce some of your content without your permission. Or, if you own a store, a rival may decide to open a store with the same name within a few miles of yours.


Three Things You Should Look For In A Patent Attorney, With Handy How-To Guide

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
July 10, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

Getting a patent attorney or patent firm?  Get the name of the individual attorney who will personally do the work on your case.  You'll wish to know whether the patent attorney is registered; is qualified in the relevant technical arts; and has a successful track record.  The following explains how.

Why do we care about this?  Because once a patent application is filed, it will be examined by a patent examiner.  Most applications receive an official action with some kind of rejection or objection.  Many such rejections and objections can be overcome, some more easily than others.  Not every patent application is allowed, and therefore the skill of the individual patent attorney comes into play.  The patent attorney must be capable of making convincing legal and technical arguments in support of patentability.  And, the patent attorney must be skilled at claim drafting: amending a claim skillfully may overcome a rejection or objection.  Failure to skillfully respond can result in greater expense and may fail to result in obtaining an issued patent.   

Is your attorney/firm experienced, with many good results?  Since the attorney or law firm name is printed on the front of issued U.S. Patents, you can easily find out what type of patents they handle, and how many have issued.  You can find out by using the patent search feature on the site; type in the name of the attorney in the top blank.  It should find all issued patents with that name in it.  You can do this more precisely at the official U.S. Patent Office site, by going to that site and in the upper right corner click the button “search for patents” where you'll get several databases to choose from.  Select the first one, and a search box comes up allowing clicking on the “all fields” button and changing it to “attorney or agent.” 


Did You Say “Intellectual Property”? It's a Seductive Mirage

By: Richard M. Stallman

It has become fashionable to toss copyright, patents, and trademarks—three separate and different entities involving three separate and different sets of laws—plus a dozen other laws into one pot and call it “intellectual property”. The distorting and confusing term did not become common by accident. Companies that gain from the confusion promoted it. The clearest way out of the confusion is to reject the term entirely.

According to Professor Mark Lemley, now of the Stanford Law School, the widespread use of the term “intellectual property” is a fashion that followed the 1967 founding of the World “Intellectual Property” Organization (WIPO), and only became really common in recent years. (WIPO is formally a UN organization, but in fact represents the interests of the holders of copyrights, patents, and trademarks.) Wide use dates from around 1990. (Local image copy)

The term carries a bias that is not hard to see: it suggests thinking about copyright, patents and trademarks by analogy with property rights for physical objects. (This analogy is at odds with the legal philosophies of copyright law, of patent law, and of trademark law, but only specialists know that.) These laws are in fact not much like physical property law, but use of this term leads legislators to change them to be more so. Since that is the change desired by the companies that exercise copyright, patent and trademark powers, the bias introduced by the term “intellectual property” suits them.

The bias is reason enough to reject the term, and people have often asked me to propose some other name for the overall category—or have proposed their own alternatives (often humorous). Suggestions include IMPs, for Imposed Monopoly Privileges, and GOLEMs, for Government-Originated Legally Enforced Monopolies. Some speak of “exclusive rights regimes”, but referring to restrictions as “rights” is doublethink too.


Trade Secrets - Better Protection Than a Patent for New Products and Inventions?

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
July 8, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

You can establish a trade secret overnight, but not a patent.  A patent takes longer.  And, even if you could, would it really provide much protection against copying by distributors, retailers, developers, or investors?  Here's a surprisingly useful answer. 

 A trade secret has some big advantages.  It is effective against anyone you have direct dealings with.  The damages for a trade secret violation are not limited to direct damages – they can be large enough to justify legal action against even a small or token violation.  This is very unlike a patent, where it is necessary to show actual, direct damages; those damages tend to be somewhat small; and where it can be quite difficult to obtain punitive damages.   

 So, why isn't there a “trade secret” office?  And, why doesn't everyone go after a trade secret first, instead of a patent?  Excellent questions.  A patent protects your invention after it is no longer secret, and it affects strangers who may innocently infringe patent rights.  So, a patent is very worthwhile, once you've gotten a good start.  But until then, all you really have going for you are your trade secret rights.

Let's see why there's no “trade secret” office.  First, you can easily establish your trade secret rights yourself.  How?  Start by documenting the materials you regard as your trade secret, and mark the pages “confidential.”   You can just mark the cover page as confidential, but more is better.  Whenever you show the materials to anyone, document that: write a note to yourself stating who saw the materials and when they saw them; and put a copy of the exact materials shown in an envelope.  If you have witnesses, write down their names.  If there were telephone calls or emails, note those; and so on.


Women must have greater participation in Intellectual Property

By: Christian Vázquez

There is no doubt that there is currently a much-needed crusade in favor of gender equality in every sector of human life. A crusade to promote equality, respect and the development of equitable conditions so that men and women can carry out any activity without their gender being an impediment to it.

Unfortunately, the above is still far in many aspects. It is enough to take a magazine, watch a newscast, ramble through social networks or read articles on the internet (regardless of the branch they belong to), to realize the amount of articles that inform about the still existing gaps between men and women … salaries, opportunities and recognition. Regarding Intellectual Property, this is not an exception.

We’re going with some hard data. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ─Patent and Trademark Office of the United States, for its translation into Spanish─, recently published a report highlighting that the number of patents with female participatio) has increased from 7 to 21% of the total in your country, from 1980 to 2016, which clearly represents growth but still leaves much to be desired in terms of percentage. In addition, in that same 2016, only one 12% of the patents had as owner or creator a woman.

Another nation where the voice has already been raised on this issue is Spain. One of its most important media, El País, published an article last year stating that only one patent application is submitted under the signature of one woman for every 10 petitions registered by men. But this means does not stop there, also highlights that the applications submitted by women, either as holders or as a majority within the group that claims the patent, has less chance of obtaining it according to a study cited in said article and made by researchers from Yale University.


What Happens After Filing a Utility Patent Application

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
July 5, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

One of the important but little-discussed subjects for inventors is what happens after filing of a Utility Patent Application.  Here's a brief guide.

Initially, the US Patent Office studies the application papers for formalities.  These formalities include such things as the signed forms, whether the drawings are sufficiently formal, whether specification required information is provided, and so on.  If any problems are found, a Notice is sent to the applicant, and a period for response may be set for those problems that can be corrected.  

The next stage is the patent examination itself.  This is where the patent examiner takes up the application for study.  Usually the patent examiner is an expert in the subject matter of the application.  The examiner will search the prior patent art, including patent publications, to locate the most relevant references to the invention as described in the claims.  The result of this will be a first Office Action, which is usually a statement of objections and rejections, but can sometimes be a first action allowance.

The applicant can respond to the first Office Action, and is normally given a set period of time to do this.  The response can include changes to the specification, drawings, and/or claims.  Such changes are usually to overcome objections and/or rejections, and to further emphasize the novel features of the invention.  Additionally, the applicant can provide remarks in support of patentability.

Of course, many other things might occur beyond those described above.  Those are less common, and though important, are not discussed in detail herein for the sake of brevity.  A short and incomplete listing is: restriction requirements, election requirements, statutory double patenting rejections, and/or non-statutory subject matter rejections.


How AI will revolutionise trademark searches

By: Tim Lince

> Long predicted rise in artificial intelligence to improve efficiency of sorting big data
> Researchers find AI drastically aids similar searches during trademark examinations
> Exclusive guest post looks at how AI should be considered at national IP offices

There is little doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) will transform many industries across the globe. Now, researchers from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel have looked at how advanced AI tools will transform how trademark searches are conducted in the future – and, in an exclusive guest post, expand on what it means for trademark practitioners.

WTR has written before about how artificial intelligence could change the status quo for those working in the trademark industry. Indeed, late last year, we cut through concerns about how the development of AI technology could impact legal, and specifically trademark, practice.

One of the primary areas that AI could significantly improve the trademark ecosystem is through improved search. In research released in the past few weeks, it was found that IP office examinations could be a game-changer, especially when it comes to more efficiently identifying trademark similarity. 

Now, in the exclusive guest post below, the authors of the study, Idan Mosseri, Matan Rusanovsky and Gal Oren from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, explain some of the key findings from their research and why IP offices should consider how AI could improve their internal processes. All three academics are co-founders of AI tool TradeMarker, while Rusanovsky is also a researcher at the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, and Mosseri and Oren are researchers at the Nuclear Research Center - Negev. 


Myths and Misconceptions About International Patent Applications

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
July 3, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

Wondering about filing an international patent application?  There are some myths and misconceptions about international patent applications, including what that phrase even means.  Let's talk about that.

Myth: an international patent application can be filed that, when granted, turns into a patent giving patent rights in all countries.  Fact: there is no such thing.  This is probably the biggest patent myth.

Misconception: a PCT application is like a US patent application, and can turn into an issued patent.  Fact: a PCT application is more like a bookmark in time, holding the date for other, later applications called “national stage” applications.   A short explanation about PCT applications is in the following paragraph. 

Most would think “PCT application” (Patent Cooperation Treaty application) when talking about international patent applications.  Yet it is not a traditional application in the usual sense of that word, and so is a little tricky to understand.  A PCT application is like a US patent application in some ways: it grants “patent pending” status; it confers rights to its filing date as a priority date for filing other patent applications; and, it grants a period of time in which to file other patent applications.  However, it is unlike a US patent application in that it does not directly mature into a patent, and the time period conferred is different.

Misconception: a foreign patent is equivalent to a US patent.  Fact: the protection afforded by a granted patent differs widely among countries.  For example, a US patent confers protection that is considered very broad, and legal rights are as strong as other property rights.  In some countries, a granted patent may have little practical value, or may be costly to enforce, or may only cover what is specifically shown and not variations.  It is important to know the legal rights conferred in a specific country, before filing a patent application there.  


JMB Davis Ben-David Launches Startup Springboard Program, Offering Qualifying Startups Reduced Rates for IP Services

By: Jeremy Ben-David

JERUSALEM, Israel — JMB Davis Ben-David (“JMB”), a Jerusalem-based IP law firm, announces the launch of an initiative designed to make patents more affordable to emerging startups. Through its Startup SpringboardTM Program, JMB will offer qualifying startups significant subsidies towards basic patent-related services, including patentability searches and patent application preparation, at a fraction of the industry-standard costs. In addition, participants will have access to JMB’s worldwide network of professionals, to whom they will have the ability to showcase their innovations and plans for expansion.

The initiative was originally developed by the head of JMB’s US division head, Dr. Mike Hammer. Dr. Hammer believes that in today’s competitive startup environment, startups face a barrier to entry in the form of a lack of funds for taking the initial steps to secure their inventions through patents. In addition, he felt that some startups were not even aware of the value of patenting their inventions until they approached investors and discovered that they were missing a large piece of the puzzle. “It doesn’t matter whether you are pro-patent or anti-patent, the reality is that startups that do not have a patent pending or a clear path to owning or licensing intellectual property are less attractive to potential investors. Sometimes, new entrepreneurs don’t even realize how important owning intellectual property can be to investors until after they present their company to potential investors,” said Dr. Hammer.


Why Your Startup Company Might Need an International Patent Application; an Attorney's View

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
July 01, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

Your startup company has a valuable invention, and you're considering filing a US Patent Application.  But, you're wondering whether or not to file an International Patent Application.  The answer to that depends on various factors, as follows.

Worried about foreign competitors sending infringing products into US market?  Your US patent application can stop them at the border if your file a complaint with the US Customs Service and meet the requirements.  So, if your market is strictly the US market, then you might not need an international patent application.  That might include a PCT application or an EU application.

Expecting a big success, or have investors expecting a big success?  Then you might just need an international patent application.  That's because you may be exporting goods into other countries, and would want patent protection in those countries. 

When going after international patent protection, there are several ways to go.  There is a PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) filing, which gives a kind of patent pending status in any designated foreign countries for roughly 30 to 32 months.  This will require a national stage patent filing in the designated countries during that pendency. 

Then there is an EU (European Union) patent filing, currently similar to the PCT filing.  The EU application is changing for the better in the coming year, by including all EU member countries for a single filing.  That is expected to represent a great cost savings.  Previously, I might not have recommended an EU filing in all cases, but I expect to highly recommend the new EU filing once it is available. 


How to Staff Your Startup Team

By: Arlen Meyers

Every entrepreneur who has succeeded or failed (is there a difference?) has advice about how to get the right people on the bus. What questions should you ask at the interview? What character traits should you seek and how do you do that? How much is science and how much is just going with your gut and whether you click?

What Google found was that interview scores had no correlation with performance, of those who got hired.

Likewise, advisors or potential employees want to find the right fit as well. The rules are somewhat different when it comes to the board of directors, the management team, employees, consultants and advisors.

Maybe flipping a coin or a job lottery would save a bunch of time and money and get the same results.

I’ve been on both sides of the table so allow me share my two cents on how to staff your startup:

> Hope for the best and expect to fire fast. Give yourself lots of wiggle room.

> Don’t hire hood ornaments (doctors with fancy credentials that you parade on your website and pitch deck) unless you simply need one for credibility and really don’t expect them to do much more.

> Clarify expectations, timelines and benchmarks

> Rent advisors, don’t buy them

> Barter, don’t rent, if possible

> Expect most people to put a hand up, not show up


How to Make Money from a Patent

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
June 28, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

Attorney Advice on:  How to Make Money from a Patent
by Michael Foycik, registered US patent attorney 
April 18, 2013   

I am often asked how to make money from a patent, and that is an excellent question.  There is the commonly known answer, and a lesser known but more important answer.  The common answer is, a patent can be licensed or assigned.  A license is similar to renting the patent, whereas an assignment is a sale of the patent.  A license can be sold to more than one company, for example.

The less commonly known answer, though, is far more important to inventors and businesses.  This answer concerns the patent application, which is not issued as a patent but instead is still pending.  Thus, it is known to provide “patent pending” status.  The question of how to make money from a patent then becomes one of how to make money from a patent pending.  This too is done by license or assignment.

Surprisingly, a pending patent application is easier to sell or market, and many companies prefer a pending patent.  The reason for this is simple, if considering a company's reasons for obtaining a patent.  A company makes the most profits from having a family of related products rather than a single product.  A pending patent application give its own the right to file related patent applications for related products, usually through continuation-in-part applications, and so can end up protecting whole families of related products. 


Microsoft gives 500 patents to startups

By: Frederic Lardinois

Microsoft  today announced a major expansion of its Azure IP Advantage program, which provides its Azure users with protection against patent trolls. This program now also provides customers who are building IoT solutions that connect to Azure with access to 10,000 patents to defend themselves against intellectual property lawsuits.

What’s maybe most interesting here, though, is that Microsoft is also donating 500 patents to startups in the LOT Network. This organization, which counts companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix,  SAP, Epic Games, Ford, GM, Lyft and Uber among its close to 400 members, is designed to protect companies against patent trolls by giving them access to a wide library of patents from its member companies and other sources.

“The LOT Network is really committed to helping address the proliferation of intellectual property lawsuits, especially ones that are brought by non-practicing entities, or so-called trolls,” Microsoft  CVP and Deputy General Counsel Erich Andersen told me. 

This new program goes well beyond basic protection from patent trolls, though. Qualified startups who join the LOT Network can acquire Microsoft patents as part of their free membership and as Andersen stressed, the startups will own them outright. The LOT network will be able to provide its startup members with up to three patents from this collection.


What is the Meaning of “Patent”

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
June 26, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

Attorney Advice on:  What is the Meaning of “Patent”
by Michael Foycik, registered US patent attorney 
April 18, 2013      

An important legal question is, what is the meaning of “patent” and, how is it relevant to inventors and businesspersons.  The simplest answer is that a patent is a monopoly for a limited time, which is granted by a governmental entity. 

In the US, there are several main types of patent: design; utility; provisional.  But, what is the meaning of “patent” when there are several types?  Again, a short answer will be helpful, explained as follows.

A design patent covers the ornamental features of an invention which are non-functional - imagine an unusual perfume bottle shape as an example.  A utility patent covers only features which are functional, rather than ornamental – think of a car engine as an example.  A provisional patent is somewhat like a utility patent application but exists for only one year.   So, the answer to the question what is the meaning of “patent” is that it depends on the type of invention and the type of protection needed.

The lifetime of a US patent also differs, depending on the type.  A utility patent provides patent protection, typically, for 17 years.


AI Patents Increase Your Startup’s Valuation—But How?

By: Dr. Dvorah Graeser

In our last two blog posts on AI, we covered AI and Patents 101, plus the increasingly hot AI patent wars. We talked about how important it is for you to file fast, before someone else files first – and blocks you.

As a startup, it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually look to gain more funding to continue working on all of your cool AI projects, or even grow your customer base. When you’ve maxed out all of your crowdsourcing funds, where do you turn? You’ll likely end up seeking funding from a venture capital firm (VC).

However, many entrepreneurs are unsure what VCs will ask when it comes time to pitch. With all of the resources floating around the internet, it may be hard to discern facts from fiction. Here’s a straight-forward guide to VCs, valuation, and AI. No sales pitch involved, we promise.

Let’s get down to business. So, what is it that VCs are looking for? Naturally, VCs care about your company’s valuation—and with valuation, the question of assets is on the table. A patent is an asset.

You may have heard us say in previous blogposts that VCs “love” patents. But let’s break that down.  Let’s start with the word “VC” – it stands for venture capital, or venture capitalist in this case. These are the people who take a big risk and fund your startup, hoping for a big return. VC’s love patents because they are real property in a virtual world and because they have a multiplier effect. They allow your startup to “punch” above its weight, and compete with the big-time tech players. 


What is Trademark

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
June 24, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.


 > protection
 > application
 > infringement

A trademark is any mark, logo, or phrase that serves to distinguish one source of goods from another. 

When a trademark is in actual use in commerce, common law trademark rights can often exist even without a registered trademark. These can be enforced in state courts. 

A federally registered trademark can be enforced in federal courts. To get a registered trademark, it is necessary to first file a US Trademark Application. 

Such an application needs the information noted in the query form shown on this page. 

A trademark search is strongly recommended. Skill is required in interpreting the results, since even identical trademarks can be registered if they are in sufficiently different classes of goods/services. 

To get started now: 
No money is needed to get started. Once we receive the above-noted information for a trademark application, we perform a free, informal search of the trademark records and advise if a serious obstacle exists in the form of a prior similar trademark application. There is no cost or obligation for this. An experienced trademark attorney interprets the results of the informal search. 


5 Things Startups Need To Know About Trademarks

By: Chris Heer

Trademarks are key brand assets for every business. Your customers associate them with your company and its reputation and they help distinguish your products and services from your competitors in a crowded marketplace.

For startups, it’s important to establish and protect your trademarks right from the beginning. Otherwise, you risk major headaches down the road.

Here are five things new business owners need to know about trademarks.

1. Your Company Name Is Not Automatically Your Trademark

In the process of incorporating your business, you were probably required to register a corporate name under which you would be doing business.

A corporate name approved as part of the incorporation process allows your company to operate a business using that name within the province or territory registered, or across the country, if registered under federal legislation.

If your corporate name is not identical to the name of your business as it appears to your customers, you would have also needed to register the latter as a “business” or “trade” name.

Note that neither of these registrations relates to the use of your name as a trademark. To claim an exclusive right to the use of your name as a trademark, you will need to file an application to register your mark with the intellectual property office in the jurisdictions in which you do business.

2. Registration is Important

For some startup companies, trademark registration may not initially be seen as a top priority. Having not yet acquired a reputation to protect, and having limited financial resources, companies may be reluctant to incur the expense. If you’ve done research, you may think you can rely on the common law to protect your mark.


What is Infringement

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
June 21, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

There are three main types:

 > trademark infringement
 > patent infringement
 > copyright infringement

Trademark Infringement 
This occurs when one party uses a trademark that is confusingly close to a trademark owned by another. It is simple to decide in cases where one party has a registered federal trademark and is the senior user. 

A federal trademark confers nationwide rights, and can be enforced in federal courts. A non-registered trademark may nonetheless confer common law trademark rights. Common law trademark rights are enforced in state courts. 

It can sometimes be that simple, and trials tend to be relatively short. Often, however, the situation is not clear, and sometimes – especially where both trademarks are common law trademarks and are not federally registered - it is hard to determine who is the senior user. In those cases, it can also be hard to tell whether or not the senior user's rights are substantial enough to stop a competitor. 

Contact us if you are concerned about any trademark infringement matter, for a free initial consultation. There is no risk or obligation. 

Some common questions are: what kind of damages can be awarded; how much does a trademark infringement lawsuit cost; what kinds of risks exist. 


Protecting IP assets key to success of startups

By: Ritika Agarwal

Recent efforts by the government, investors and innovators have helped facilitate the growth of budding businesses in India. While the initial plans for any business involve indispensable demands and priorities, protection of intellectual property (IP) is often overlooked, mostly due to the costs involved. However, IP may prove to be a crucial asset for a startup on its road to success. 

A preliminary search for IP assets such as patents, trademarks, copyrights and designs can give entrepreneurs an idea about the chance of success for their startup and its underlying business model. For example, if a similar patent, trademark, or design, which forms the key basis of the business model already exists, the entrepreneur is in a better position to evaluate the business model and ascertain whether a modification is required to avoid future conflicts. They can then decide on the amount of investment to be made, or whether to go ahead with it at all.

The protection of IP assets may also save a startup from future conflicts and litigation, creating legal security for its business and allowing it to channel its resources towards business development. Entrepreneurs often ask IP attorneys about protecting their “business ideas”, which is not possible. However, a well-planned IP protection strategy may be one way to successfully protect their business models from being copied.


The AIA And Its Impact On The Independent Inventor

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
June 19, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

The AIA And Its Impact On The Independent Inventor
By Michael Foycik ©2011
Used with permission. 

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, AIA for short, proposes sweeping changes to the U.S. Patent legal system and to the U.S. Patent Office itself. The “first to file” provision is of the greatest importance to independent inventors. Most of the other changes are, more or less, administrative in nature, and will be covered in future articles. This article takes a brief look at the issues affecting the independent inventor, and especially the “first to file“ provision of the AIA. 

Simply put, the “first to file” law would mean whoever is first to file a patent application will be deemed the true inventor. Sounds simple, but the law also provides for a possible “derivation proceeding” which would have a very limited scope. 

What does this mean for the independent inventor? For one thing, it means even the best confidentiality agreements and NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) will have questionable value. It will be difficult, and very costly, to contest inventorship under the AIA. How costly? It depends, but even now the costs of contesting inventorship may be out of reach of most independent inventors; under the AIA, far greater hurdles will exist, and the cost will be higher. 

Under the AIA, independent inventors would be well advised to first file a patent application (provisional or utility, either will suffice) before showing the invention to anyone. 

This is already my recommendation to inventors: file a patent application first! Do this before you show it. Do not trust in agreements or contracts to protect your rights. Too costly, you say? Not true! A provisional patent application is very cost effective, gives substantial rights, and the government filing fee is relatively low. And, if you can’t afford the government filing fee, there are even some work-around solutions for that, which I may write about in a future article. 


VW breaks with Amazon-funded autonomy startup for one backed by Ford

By: Sean O'Kane

Volkswagen Group has ended a partnership with Aurora Innovation, the autonomy startup founded by former Google self-driving head Chris Urmson, as was first reported by the Financial Times. Aurora was supposed to provide Volkswagen with a full tech stack it calls the “Driver,” which would enable completely autonomous cars, not a driver assistance system (like what’s available on Audi’s cars).

Volkswagen was one of Aurora’s first customers. The two companies announced the deal at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, though they had been working together for at least a year before that. The deal was supposed to end this June, according to two people familiar with the terms, and Volkswagen declined to sign a new one.

To keep its self-driving efforts moving forward, Volkswagen is reportedly pursuing a new deal with Ford-backed startup Argo AI. Volkswagen and Ford announced a “global alliance” in January that’s centered on trucks and vans, though both companies said collaborations on electric and autonomous vehicles were possible. Volkswagen was also rumored to be investing nearly $2 billion in Argo earlier this year, though no deal has gone through. (It also reportedly tried to buy Aurora last year.)


US & USPTO Trademark

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
June 17, 2016
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.


Preparing a US Trademark Application

To start, the trademark owner will have chosen a word, phrase, or design as their trademark. The trademark is what is applied to the goods or services, and is NOT usually the company’s name. For example, a company named XYZ which sells garments will attach a label to those garments with a trademark such as the fashion designer’s name, and NOT with the name of their company. To claim trademark rights, the symbol “TM” can be used, preferably as a superscript after the trademark. Alternatively it can be written in parentheses after the trademark. Example: If the trademark is “Wise“, it can be written as Wise™.

A US Trademark Lawyer, also called a US Trademark Attorney, can prepare a US Trademark Application for filing with the USPTO. The US Trademark Lawyer will draft a trademark application using a description of the goods/services together with a drawing showing the trademark, where the “drawing“ is often just the typed word in capital letters. That format encompasses all variations of that mark, within the laws pertaining to how marks are used. For example, the typed drawing in all capital letters will encompass an infringing use of the mark in script letters, or as part of a larger drawing. 

The draft application is sent to the owner of the trademark, and changes can be made if necessary. We do not add any additional charge for making changes to the application at this stage. When the draft is finalized, the owner signs a form claiming ownership of the trademark application. Once it is filed, it receives a Serial Number and an Official Filing Receipt, and thus becomes an official US Trademark Application. 


Enforcing your Trademark Rights in Korea: IP Protection Strategies for Korea

By: Sean Hayes

Please register all of your trademarks and other intellectual property in Korea.  Yes, your “international filing” is not good enough.  You must, before engaging in any additional consideration of doing business in Korea register your IP in Korea.  Don’t even read further.  Contact us and we will happily advise a good patent/trademark agent to utilize.  No need to get a law firm to do this for you – the agents are, typically, adequate for most non-complex filings. 

After registering all your IP in Korea, please follow, at a minimum this simply advise.  

> Do a Comprehensive Intellectual Property Audit.  Form a team to audit all your intellectual property including your patents, trademarks, servicemarks, books, manuals, videos, software, know-how, and trade secrets.  The purpose of this Audit is to determine if all of your IP is registered and properly safeguarded.  This is discussed more at: Protecting Your Intellectual Property in Korea.  Register if you find additional IP.
Educate Korean Customs
A few professionals in Korea, including professionals at IPG, do presentations to Customs informing Customs agents on how to spot counterfeit products.  If you don’t do this good luck.  Customs is overburdened and are unlikely to be able to determine a decent fake from real a product.
> Engage Actively Customs and the Prosecution
Speaks for itself.  If you are no on-the-ground in Korea, get a local company to assist.


Do I Need A Patent?

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
June 14, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

When – and why - do you need a patent?

You need a patent:

> If you wish to stop others from copying your invention.
> If you wish to protect yourself from competitors who may copy your invention and then try to patent it themselves.
> If your product is in stores and you are challenged by a competitor who claims they have patent rights of their own.
> If having a unique new product would allow you to set a much higher selling price.
> If it is important to impress potential investors, customers or retailers.
> If you want to stop illegal copies of your products from entering the U.S.
> If you hope to sell your business for a profit. Patent rights are often the most important asset of a successful business.
> If you hope to license your patented product to others.
And, there may be other reasons, in particular cases, for having a patent.


Why Intellectual Property is Important for Your Business and What You Should be Doing Now to Protect It

By: Darren Heitner

Intellectual property comes in various formats, including trademarks, copyrights and patents. While most large businesses have created and maintain enforcement on a large intellectual property portfolio, many small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) wait too long into their development to get serious about intellectual property protection. You want to be proactive with intellectual property in the early stages of your business, but protection alone can cost a lot of money in dealing with lawyers specialized in the space.

To make matters worse, the cost and difficulty in enforcing intellectual property rights can place a large burden on SMEs that would rather focus on growth-related opportunities and scaling their business at the lowest cost possible. As a lawyer who handles a lot of intellectual property matters, from trademark filings to infringement litigation, I understand the complexities that many small business owners face in this difficult area of the law.

Here are a few things you should consider in the realm of intellectual property.

What are the biggest challenges with intellectual property protection?

I have worked with many companies in protecting their valuable intellectual property within the U.S. After filing for protection in the U.S., they often realize that, as they grow internationally, a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office trademark registration only goes so far. Specifically, it only goes as far as the borders of the U.S.


Steps For Getting A Patent

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
June 12, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

Steps For Getting a Patent

These are the basic steps for getting a patent.

First, file a patent application which describes and claims the invention. 

Then, respond to any official actions received from the U.S. Patent Office. If the official action is a rejection, then a response will provide arguments in support of patentability and possibly changes to the claims. 

Assuming the application is deemed patentable (the majority are), then a Notice of Allowance and Issue Fee Due is sent. Upon payment of the issue fee, a patent will issue. 

It is that simple. This whole process can take anywhere from 12 months to 36 months, depending entirely on the U.S. Patent Examiner to which the application is officially assigned. 

A more detailed explanation is as follows. 

Preparing the patent application
First, you provide details about the invention, and we prepare a draft application together with draft drawings, for your review. This draft includes the claims, abstract, summary of the invention, background of the invention, and detailed description of the invention. We make any changes or additions you wish to make, at no additional charge. We charge half of the fixed service fee in advance for this draft. 


Startup Pre-Seed Funding - 5 Steps to Successful Pre-Seed Funding


5 Steps to Successful Pre-Seed Funding

Pre-seed funding is becoming increasingly popular for entrepreneurs as investors’ expectations for emerging companies continue to rise. While all means of raising capital for your business ventures can be viable, this particular one requires a specific type of preparation to set yourself and your business up for success. Adhering to the following standards can make your startup more attractive to pre-seed investors.

1. Have a quantifiable path to profitability

The pre-seed round is set apart for many reasons, one of the most prominent being that most pre-seed stage companies are not yet profitable. This can make some investors, those who don’t specialize in one specific round, nervous. Put investors at ease by clearly outlining your business’ path to profitability.

A thoughtful plan that serves as a long-term roadmap can be more important than a shortcut. Keep your estimates attainable and concise. Don’t force investors to go hunting for the profitability statements, either. Emphasize strategy and transparency in this tactic. To win investors you need to build trust and credibility. Including this information in an executive summary and expanding upon it in financial statements is essential to achieving both trust and credibility.

2. Show proof of concept

Similar to path to profitability, proof of concept is key in winning over investors. Whatever your business has done to test your ideas, assumptions or products needs to be communicated clearly and transparently to your potential investors. Consider bringing in actual test models or results and sharing your expanded takeaways.

If your original tests led you to make changes, communicate these updates with investors. Demonstrating that your business can pivot toward a more successful offering will show investors your ingenuity and flexibility within the grand scheme of your business plan.


International Trademark Classes

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
June 10, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

International Trademark Classes

Class 1 - Chemicals 
Chemicals used in industry, science and photography, as well as in agriculture, horticulture and forestry; unprocessed artificial resins, unprocessed plastics; manures; fire extinguishing compositions; tempering and soldering preparations; chemical substances for preserving foodstuffs; tanning substances; adhesives used in industry.

Class 2 - Paints 
Paints, varnishes, lacquers; preservatives against rust and against deterioration of wood; colorants; mordants; raw natural resins; metals in foil and powder form for painters, decorators, printers and artists.

Class 3 - Cosmetics and cleaning preparations 
Bleaching preparations and other substances for laundry use; cleaning, polishing, scouring and abrasive preparations; soaps; perfumery, essential oils, cosmetics, hair lotions; dentifrices.

Class 4 - Lubricants and fuels 
Industrial oils and greases; lubricants; dust absorbing, wetting and binding compositions; fuels (including motor spirit) and illuminants; candles, wicks.

Class 5 - Pharmaceuticals 
Pharmaceutical, veterinary and sanitary preparations; dietetic substances adapted for medical use, food for babies; plasters, materials for dressings; material for stopping teeth, dental wax; disinfectants; preparations for destroying vermin; fungicides, herbicides.

Class 6 - Metal goods 
Common metals and their alloys; metal building materials; transportable buildings of metal; materials of metal for railway tracks; non-electric cables and wires of common metal; ironmongery, small items of metal hardware; pipes and tubes of metal; safes; goods of common metal not included in other classes; ores.


Twitter bags deep learning talent behind London startup, Fabula AI – TechCrunch

By: Viralamo

Twitter has just announced it has picked up London-based Fabula AI. The deep learning startup has been developing technology to try to identify online disinformation by looking at patterns in how fake stuff vs genuine news spreads online — making it an obvious fit for the rumor-riled social network.

Social media giants remain under increasing political pressure to get a handle on online disinformation to ensure that manipulative messages don’t, for example, get a free pass to fiddle with democratic processes.

Twitter says the acquisition of Fabula will help it build out its internal machine learning capabilities — writing that the UK startup’s “world-class team of machine learning researchers” will feed an internal research group it’s building out, led by Sandeep Pandey, its head of ML/AI engineering.

This research group will focus on “a few key strategic areas such as natural language processing, reinforcement learning, ML ethics, recommendation systems, and graph deep learning” — now with Fabula co-founder and chief scientist, Michael Bronstein, as a leading light within it.

Bronstein is chair in machine learning & pattern recognition at Imperial College, London — a position he will remain while leading graph deep learning research at Twitter.

Fabula’s chief technologist, Federico Monti — another co-founder, who began the collaboration that underpin’s the patented technology with Bronstein while at the University of Lugano, Switzerland — is also joining Twitter.


How to Patent a Design

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
June 6, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

A design 
Each “how to patent” subject is discussed in detail below. Here are ways to get a patent. 

A design is anything which is not functional. A casing or cover for a working device can be a design. Other things can be designs too. A design can best be protected by a design patent application, and usually costs much less to file than a utility (“regular“) patent application. Even the government filing fee is much lower for a design patent application. 

What is needed to get a design patent application? You will normally need drawings showing the design from six different orthogonal views. The application itself is very short, and has text naming the invention, describing the drawings, and ending with a claim. The drawings do not need to be like blueprints; instead, they are simplified. And, it is not necessary to have a working model. 

Once filed with the US Patent Office, the design application is examined, and if granted, can mature into a design patent. But why get a design patent? For one thing, a design patent protects not only the design itself, but all obvious variations that are not within the public domain already. 

By contrast, a copyright only covers copies made, which must be exact copies. And, a copyright does not cover any design, even if identical, which was not copied. So, if two inventors both make the same exact design by sheer chance, and one inventor gets a copyright, that copyright would not be usable against the other inventor. The reason is, a copyright only covers copying. 

A design patent covers any design that is sufficiently close so as to infringe, even if there was no copying. A design patent is therefore valuable, yet different from a copyright. 


Futurus Group Files First Ever Patent to Predict Gratitude Using Artificial Intelligence

By: Zoltan_Tundik

Futurus Group, an affiliate of Gobel Enterprises and a full-service consulting firm focused on artificial intelligence, today announced that it is seeking a patent for its proprietary gratitude prediction machine learning model.

G2G (Gratitude to Give), Futurus’ flagship product, currently utilizes this patent-pending algorithm and is the first artificially intelligent product on the market focused on predicting gratitude specifically in a healthcare environment.  Early results have revealed promising insights.  One client using G2G prioritized a list of 500 high-gratitude patients and 500 high-wealth patients.  Forty-seven percent of the high-gratitude patients became donors, surpassing the ten percent of high-wealth patients who did.

“We conceptualized this idea a few years ago,” said Chad Gobel, CEO and founder of Gobel Group.  “We felt that the way philanthropic organizations were finding prospects was incomplete, and we wanted to develop an algorithm that could dramatically improve the methodology.  We’re so excited to see such great preliminary results, and the filing of the patent is an exciting milestone for us.”

This patent-pending technology is the first and only artificially intelligent algorithm that accurately predicts gratitude.  It involves the use of various machine learning models in order to generate a gratitude score that characterizes the likelihood that patients will make a donation to the healthcare organization in the future.


How to Patent a Program

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
June 4, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

A program 
Each “how to patent” subject is discussed in detail below. Here are ways to get a patent. A computer program can be copyrighted, but it can also often be patented. The types of protection are very different. Specifically, the inventive steps of the program can be patented, and because of this the patent can provide protection far beyond just the specific program language used. 

First, a drawing is made showing the most important steps of the program as a flowchart diagram. It is usually not necessary to give every detail of the operation of the program; instead, the main features should be illustrated. The program should be protected by a utility patent application, since that will cover any type of program language. This is also sometimes called a “regular” patent application. The program steps can be explained in words and by the flowchart drawings. The drawings do not need to be like blueprints. And, it is not necessary to have a working program, as long as the steps could be followed by a skilled programmer. 

This is a good point to mention that there is also something called a “provisional patent application” that gives patent pending status for one year, permitting a utility patent application to be filed at any time during that year. This is much less expensive, and is recommended when there is an urgent need to get something one file, for example just prior to a trade show or publication. Further below, there is a section called “How to patent using a provisional patent application.” 

Here's a simple example showing how to patent an idea for a simple and amusing invention, where a computer program is used. The program determines sequential prime numbers and activates a light for a time corresponding to the prime number. Here, the blinking light is connected to a pencil eraser. For the moment, we aren't concerned with whether it has been done before, it is just an example. For now, the idea would be expressed in words, written just as above. Let's say the steps are: determine prime numbers in sequence from 1; wait until that number of seconds has elapsed; then blink the light ON for a number of seconds equal to the value of the prime number that has been reached. These steps would be shown in a simple flowchart. And, since it is possible to illustrate the idea in a drawing, we would also add a sketch showing where the light should be placed on the eraser. What else should be shown? The light should have a power source, for example a small solar panel or a small battery, and connecting wires should be shown connecting the power source to the light. 


Implementation of the EU "Trademark Package" In France

By: Claude-Étienne Armingaud

Further to the adoption of the so-called Trademark Package at European level, comprised of Regulation no.2015/2424 (as codified by Regulation no.2017/1001 dated 14 June 2017) on EU Trademarks (the “Regulation”) and Directive no.2015/2436, harmonizing Member States’ trademark regime (the “Directive”), both dated 16 December 2015, France was due to update its internal regulatory framework.

The PACTE Act no. 2019-486, adopted on 22 May 2019, implemented the Trademark Package at long last. While the Regulation addressed EU aspects and is of direct enforcement within Member States, the Directive provided Member States with some leverage on the internal implementation.

These new aspects aim at simplifying the enforcement of intellectual property rights (“IPR”), for both trademarks and the patents, by creating administrative procedures, rather than having to introduce a judicial action before the courts.

1. Implementation of administrative revocation and invalidity procedures

While IPR owners had the possibility to oppose an application by a third party prior to a registration before the French Trademark Office (Institut National de la Propritété Intellectuelle or “INPI”), revocation and invalidity procedures had to be filed before the civil courts.

Articles 121 and 201 of the PACTE grants the French Government the authorization to implement a simplified procedure allowing, respectively, patent owners and trademark owners to petition INPI for revocation and invalidity. Such procedure, more affordable and also, faster, will likely facilitate the enforcement and protection of existing trademark portfolio.

Such implementation is expected to occur within the next nine months for patents and six months for trademarks.

2. Statute of limitations for IP rights

The implementation of the Trademark Package also allowed the French legislator to clarify the applicable statutes of limitations for actions based on infringement. While the duration of the statutes remains five years, the starting point for that duration has been clarified as “from the day the right holder gained knowledge, or should have been aware, of the last iteration of a fact creating the cause of action.”

This welcome solution will allow right holders to introduce an action as long as the acts of infringement are perpetrated. It is also interesting to note that this statute of limitations has been adopted in similar terms for business secrets. While not considered intellectual property rights per se, this approach materializes the proximity of the two.

In addition, the PACTE Act explicitly prevents any statute of limitation for an action grounded on invalidity of an intellectual property right.


How to Patent

By: Michael J Foycik Jr.
June 2, 2019
The author is a patent attorney with over 28 years experience in patents and trademarks. For further information, please email at, or call at 877-654-3336.

An idea or any useful device or method 
Each “how to patent” subject is discussed in detail below. Here are ways to get a patent. 

Introduction and types of patent
Many types of ideas can be patented. Anything that has a function or use can be patented. Also, patent protection can cover many (but not all) types of business methods, most types of computer programs, new methods and processes, new chemicals and compounds, and new materials or new uses for old materials. Where the invention is for a design feature or an ornamental cover or casing, for example, then a design patent is the best way of protecting the invention. How to get a design patent, and how to patent a design, is explained in a separate section below. 

How to Patent an Idea 
An idea can best be protected by a utility patent application. This is also sometimes called a “regular” patent application. The idea can be explained in words and, if possible, by drawings. The drawings do not need to be like blueprints; instead, they are simplified and do not usually have to show conventional features. And, it is not necessary to have a working model. 

Before getting into the details, we would like to mention that there is also something called a “provisional patent application” discussed hereunder. It gives patent pending status for one year, permitting a utility patent application to be filed at any time during that year. That is another way to get a patent. The provisional application is much less expensive than a utility patent application, and can be recommended when there is an urgent need to get a patent application on file with the US Patent Office. For example, just prior to a trade show or publication of the invention, there is an urgent need to have the idea on file with the US Patent Office. For further information, see the section below called “How to patent using a provisional patent application.” 

Here's a simple example showing how to patent an idea for a very simple and amusing invention. The simple idea: add a blinking light to a pencil eraser. For the moment, we aren't concerned with whether it has been done before; we could find that out using a patent search if we wished. For now, the idea would be expressed in words in the patent application, written just as above. And, since it is possible to illustrate the idea in a drawing, we would also add a sketch showing where the light should be placed on the eraser. What else should be shown? The light should have a power source, for example a small solar panel or a small battery, and connecting wires should be shown connecting the power source to the light. Then, text is added to the patent application by describing the parts shown in the drawings, explaining possible uses and advantages, and mentioning possible alternatives that are included in the invention such as various types of light sources such as LEDs, incandescent bulbs, phosphorescent lighting, and so on.