Technology Law Blog

Showing 14 posts in Patents.

Provisional Patent Applications

I get a lot of questions from clients about “provisional patents." Let me just start this blog by clarifying once and for all that there is no such thing as a “provisional patent” anywhere in the Patent Act. However, since 1995 the USPTO has offered inventors the option of filing a provisional patent application under §11(b) of the Patent Act. Provisional applications have some interesting advantages of which you should be aware. Read More ›

Categories: Patents

Why do I have to mark my product with the patent number?

We have all seen patent numbers marked on all kinds of products. In fact as I sit and write this article I can report that there are several items in my office with patent markings including my hole punch, stapler, Dictaphone and the insoles in my shoes.

So why is that? There has got to be a reason, right?

The reason is that if products are not appropriately marked before they enter the stream of commerce, the damages that the manufacturer can receive in a patent infringement action against someone that has copied that product are reduced. 35 USC §287(a) provides: Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Patents

Why Can't I Plant My Own Seeds?

Soybean fieldAmong the many recent Supreme Court decisions, one decision regarding patents and self-replicating technology has a huge effect on farmers and the agricultural industry. 

Monsanto is an agriculture company headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. Specifically, Monsanto genetically engineers seeds to yield herbicide-resistant plants that produce higher yields for farmers. One of its more popular products is its "Roundup-Ready" line of soybeans, which has been planted in over 50 million acres to date. The seed is attractive to farmers because it is herbicide-resistant.  Monsanto was recently challenged on its Roundup-Ready product patent ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Patents

Is the End Near for Patent Trolls? Vermont Passes New Law Targeting Patent Trolls

Patent stampPatent-trolling is a growing nuisance for business owners, particularly start-ups. Patent trolls will buy numerous patents – or buy struggling businesses just for the patents – for the sole use of threatening infringement claims on businesses. Most of the time, the threats are unfounded and rarely state which patents are being violated or how the target's use of that patent amounts to infringement.

Vermont has passed a new law that targets these patent trolls and allows their targets to pursue lawsuits against them. The law allows for a cause of action against "bad faith assertions of patent infringements," but does not define what this phrase means. Instead, it provides the courts a list of characteristics to consider when determining if an infringement assertion was made in bad faith. Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Patents, Regulatory

Did Newegg Save Online Retail?

Online shopping cartIn 2007, Newegg adopted a strategy to deal with patent trolls: Never settle – ever.

One of the first times it applied this new strategy was against Soverain Software. While Soverain's website appears legitimate, it has never made a sale. Instead, it targets large, online retailers that use shopping cart checkout technology. Soverain claimed that through two patents, numbers 5,715,314 and 5,909,492, it owned the "shopping carts" present in nearly every online retailer's website. Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Patents

Intellectual Property Rights and the Crowdfunding Platform

Intellectual Property words graphicCrowdfunding, some would say, is the new social networking platform of raising money from people online.  While crowdfunding is a relatively new term and concept, traditional principles of law still apply.  Artists, startups and online creators using this new platform are governed by Intellectual Property principles.

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to the creations of the mind; and most commonly include ideas or inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols that identify your brand, names, logos and/or competitive business ideas or information.  Under this broad umbrella of Intellectual Property, there are generally four categories that govern the use of Intellectual Property:

  1. Trademarks
  2. Patents
  3. Copyrights
  4. Trade Secrets

Before pitching or disclosing your concept to an online crowdfunding community to raise money these four categories of protection and the potential resulting consequences should be thoroughly examined.  Failure to do so could result in the inadvertent theft, infringement or forfeiture of your IP rights.  Let's take a deeper look at these four categories. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Crowdfunding, Intellectual Property, Patents, Trade Secrets, Trademarks, Venture Capital/Funding

Supreme Court Holds that a Patent of the Process of Administering a Drug is Invalid

Recently in the case of Mayo Collaborative Services v Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., the Supreme Court of the United States found two patents invalid because they claimed subject matter that was not patentable.  The patents in this case covered processes that help doctors who use thiopurine drugs to treat patients with autoimmune diseases determine whether a given dosage was too high or too low. Read More ›

Categories: Patents

Listen Up - Foster Swift Attorneys Discuss Interplay Between Intellectual Property and Your Business

Intellectual property is a valuable asset for any business.  Recently, on the Michigan Business Network Legal Impact Hour, Foster Swift intellectual property attorneys, Sam Frederick and Zach Behler, discussed the interplay between intellectual property and business success. Listen to podcasts of the discussion:

If you have a question regarding intellectual property, please contact one of Foster Swift's IP attorneys

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property, Patents, Trade Secrets, Trademarks

Part 3 - U.S. Patent Reform: False Marking Claims

This is the third and final post in a series (Part 1: First-to-File; Part 2: Post Grant Review Proceedings) summarizing the most significant changes created by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (the "Act").  As you know, the Act was signed into law on September 16th.  Although hyped as a major change in the U.S. Patents system, the Act does not affect many of the fundamental tenants of U.S. Patent law.

This blog post focuses on: (1) new limitations on false marking claims, and (2) USPTO funding and fees. Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Patents

Part 2 - U.S. Patent Reform: Post Grant Review Proceedings

As noted in my previous post (Part 1: U.S. Patent Reform: First-to-File), the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act has been signed into law.  The America Invents Act has been sold as "the biggest change in the U.S. Patents System since the 1950s."  The hype, however, is far from reality – as the Act does not affect many of the fundamental tenants of U.S. Patent law. 

This is the second of multiple blog posts that will summarize the most significant changes created by the America Invents Act.  My previous blog post addressed the adoption of a "First-to-File" system.  Today, I will discuss "Post Grant Review Proceedings." Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, Patents