Many entrepreneurs, trademark owners, technology startups, and local business owners may experience conundrums on a daily basis, and wonder whether or not to hire a patent lawyer. Patents can be tremendously helpful to the success of a business by protecting a business’s competitive advantage, unique selling proposition, and overall innovations, and require competitors to license the patent for a fee.
For example, in connection with the launch of the First Apple iPhone by Apple, Patently Apple reports Apple was awarded 57 patents covering various technologies that make the iPhone one of the top-selling smartphones in major markets around the world.
Patent Law for Hardware and Software Technology Startups
Prosecuting patents include the process of drafting, filing, and working with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to establish patent protection over the rights to a unique invention. Patent prosecution begins with a unique idea or design. Prosecuting a patent can be complex, depending on the patent type. Consulting on a patent filing strategy will protect a start-up’s unique rights over its technology.
Cease-and-desist letters, and less aggressive notice letters, can open licensing negotiations, serve as warnings to competitors, create notice for damages, and establish knowledge for indirect infringement. Sending these letters involves risk, therefore, working with an experienced patent attorney to send legally effective cease-and-desist letters2 while also avoiding DJ jurisdiction is important.
The question of whether or not a patent is implicated in a startup is complex. Patent law is covered under Title 35 of the United States Code. Patents in the United States must be filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office to be valid. These patent filings include patent filings for utility patents, design patents, and provisional patents. A licensed patent attorney will be able to consult and execute proper patent protection for your company, as well as explain the various patent protections in existence. These definitions are highly important to keep in patent protection strategies for hardware startup companies, and software innovation companies.
A patent lawyer has many duties in analyzing, consulting, and protecting the unique creations of entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators, and other creative geniuses. A patent lawyer in Los Angeles or elsewhere in the country primarily advises technology startups companies by prosecuting patents, consulting on patent filing strategy, and enforcing patents across the United States. The attorney will also represent the client in patent-related matters such as infringement, licensing, and re-examination.
The following definitions are highly important to keep in patent protection strategies for hardware startup companies, and software innovation companies:
(a)The term “invention” means invention or discovery.
(b)The term “process” means process, art, or method, and includes a new use of a known process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or material.
(c)The terms “United States” and “this country” mean the United States of America, its territories, and possessions.
(d)The word “patentee” includes not only the patentee to whom the patent was issued but also the successors in title to the patentee.
(e)The term “third-party requester” means a person requesting ex parte reexamination under section 302 who is not the patent owner.
(f)The term “inventor” means the individual or, if a joint invention, the individuals collectively who invented or discovered the subject matter of the invention.
(g)The terms “joint inventor” and “co-inventor” mean any 1 of the individuals who invented or discovered the subject matter of a joint invention.
(h)The term “joint research agreement” means a written contract, grant, or cooperative agreement entered into by 2 or more persons or entities for the performance of experimental, developmental, or research work in the field of the claimed invention.
(1)The term “effective filing date” for a claimed invention in a patent or application for patent means—
(a)if subparagraph (B) does not apply, the actual filing date of the patent or the application for the patent containing a claim to the invention; or
(b)the filing date of the earliest application for which the patent or application is entitled, as to such invention, to a right of priority under section 119, 365(a), 365(b), 386(a), or 386(b) or to the benefit of an earlier filing date under section 120, 121, 365(c), or 386(c).
(2)The effective filing date for a claimed invention in an application for reissue or reissued patent shall be determined by deeming the claim to the invention to have been contained in the patent for which reissue was sought.
(j)The term “claimed invention” means the subject matter defined by a claim in a patent or an application for a patent.
Next Steps to Prosecuting a Patent
To discuss patient protection issues in connection with your software technology startups, or patent issues for hardware technology startup companies, whether those U.S. Patent filings are design patents, utility patents, and other patent and intellectual property protection strategies, consult with an experienced nationwide patent lawyer in Los Angeles. All brand and business owners are well-advised to consult with an experienced marketing trademark attorney and intellectual property law firm in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Miami, or Dallas.