Real inventions are not on Shark Tank

Big shark in the oceanarium

On Tuesday evening, I went to a “shark tank” event at TechNexus in Chicago. Thanks to my friend and colleague Nancy Fallon-Houle, the startup business lawyer, for inviting me. Here’s what I’ve learned about inventions and Shark Tank. If you’d like to know more about how to profit from your inventions, this article is for you.

Continue Reading

When Presidents Signed Patents


On Presidents Day, it is my pleasure to share with you the Beem Presidential Patent Collection. The collection comprises historic original patents and an original copyright, dated between 1800 and 1843, signed by U.S. presidents (also British monarchs), U.S. secretaries of state, and U.S. attorneys general. Also in the collection are original letters signed by famous inventors between 1776 and 1907. Last but not least, the collection includes a historic patent model of a brick-making machine. The collection—all originals—is displayed in the offices of Beem Patent Law Firm, in the Monadnock Building (circa 1893), in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Continue Reading

East Texas Patent Litigation, Part 3: Essentials for Victory

Man in suit addressing jurors in courtroom

In this third and final part of my current series on East Texas patent litigation, I will discuss essentials for victory in Texas intellectual property (IP) trials, again, based on my exclusive interview with noted blogger and Texas lawyer Michael C. Smith. Contrary to popular impression, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas is not a backwoods court but a sophisticated trier of patent cases. Credibility, collegiality, advocacy, time limits, and predictability are essential characteristics of the venue. Local rules and standing orders must be observed. That all sounds easy, right? But read further for the essentials as applied in victory. Continue Reading

East Texas Patent Litigation, Part 2: How to Win!

Capitol Building, Austin-Texas

It takes skill to win a patent case. You must marshal the evidence so judge and jury will follow you to the right conclusion. See Abraham Lincoln School of Patent Litigation. Lincoln, born in Kentucky and called to the bar in Springfield, Illinois, knew how to try a case quickly. Juries could relate to him. He was real. Abraham Lincoln’s wisdom applies with equal force in East Texas, as the reader will see from my interview of modern day Texas jury trial lawyer Michael C. Smith. Continue Reading

Why patent defendants hate East Texas (Part 1)

Texas Law Legal System Concept

Why do patent defendants say such bad things about the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas?

I asked this question of Michael C. Smith, the noted lawyer and blogger from Marshall, Texas.

To prime the pump, I noted Texas Monthly calls his hometown “the intellectual property equivalent of a speed trap, a place where juries smack Continue Reading

Triumph of Genius

Studio Lifestyle Portrait Of Two Best Friends Hipster Crazy Girl

If you’re an inventor, engineer, or programmer—if you’re an entrepreneur, owner, or prime mover in a business—if you use technology to make better products for your customers—

Here’s a toast to you!

More than a toast, my gift to you today is Continue Reading

Of patents and prizes, or are your engineers smart enough to invent?

Businesswoman Has Won A Trophy

Let’s say you own a business that makes something, whether it’s a software product or a hardware device. Your success depends on filling your customers’ needs better than anyone else. You innovate to make your products better, faster, cheaper. You solve your customers’ problems. That’s what your engineers and coders do. But you’re stuck on a plateau. Your sales are flat. Your new product pipeline is dry. Your competitors are stealing your customers with new, low-priced products.

Where will your help come from?

Continue Reading

Patent Incentives, Innovation and Profits

Lucky Architects Celebrating A Success

“We’ve run out of big ideas,” the Wall Street Journal wails. The voice of Corporate America paints a bleak picture without offering any path forward. In this article, I will provide a simple formula for innovation, market leadership, sales and profits. Continue Reading

Grow your business by amending your company agreement

Two Business Partners Sitting In Cafe And Discussing Contract.

Business people: If you are regrouping to take your business to the next level, your form of legal entity and your company documents can be a help or a hindrance. This may be a good time for a check-up, and perhaps a tune-up, of your business structure and operating agreement.

This article is based on real world situations that I see confronting businesses in Illinois and in Texas. The businesses typically are organized as Continue Reading

3 criteria for @realDonaldTrump for new Director of Patent Office

US Capitol dome detail with flag

The President-Elect @realDonaldTrump and his transition team @transition2017 are working on appointments to his new Cabinet. One of the chairs is reserved for the new Secretary of Commerce. Following close on Commerce’s heels will be appointment of a new Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Patent Office or simply Office). That imposing title—yes, that’s all rolled into one job—is Continue Reading