Category Archives: General Counsel

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Why patent defendants hate East Texas (Part 1)

Texas Law Legal System ConceptWhy 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 … Continue Reading

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

Businesswoman Has Won A TrophyLet’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 … 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

3 steps to patent success

3 Success Steps, Business ConceptIn the last six weeks, as in the last four decades, I have attended intellectual property (IP) and patent litigation conferences across the country and around the world. Many advanced topics for IP/patent lawyers are discussed in detail at these conferences. I often present on such topics myself. But as in many fields, it’s the basics that… Continue Reading

5 Ways to Protect Your Proprietary Software after Oracle v Google

Programming concept: Java on Torn Paper backgroundNine billion dollars. That’s what Oracle wanted from Google for the unauthorized use of 37 Java APIs in Android, which runs most of the world’s smartphones. Zero. That’s what Oracle has been awarded by a California jury, which decided on May 26, 2016, that Google’s use of the APIs is “fair use” and thus permitted … Continue Reading

How long should a patent claim be?

Hand Holding Wooden Folding  RulerHouse counsel for a large software company has written an open letter to me titled Pursuit of Extremely Short Patent Claims. He has thrown down the gauntlet in a public forum. Here’s what he said to me, followed by my response. … Continue Reading

Three Takeaways from Computer Chip Patent Wars

Circuit womanOn April 25, 1961, Robert Noyce, then of Fairchild, was issued U.S. Patent 2,981,877 for the first silicon-based integrated circuit. The earlier-filed patent application of Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments (TI) was still in the queue at the U.S. Patent Office. In the end, Intel would become Fairchild’s heir and boast annual sales of over $50 billion, leaving … Continue Reading

What everyone should know about Apple slide-to-unlock patent vs. Samsung

Slide To UnlockIn the last inning of the Apple-Samsung game of smartphone hardball, Samsung slid into home. Apple failed to make the tag. “Samsung is safe!” cried the umpires. The inning was umpired by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which held Apple’s slide-to-unlock U.S. Patent 8,046,721 invalid. See Apple v. Samsung (Fed. Cir. Feb. 26, 2016). … Continue Reading

How to Profit from Patents While Apple, Samsung Weigh In At Supreme Court

Money making idea. Light bulb with Dollar symbol.The Supreme Court has granted Samsung’s appeal of a $500 million dollar judgment rendered on the latter’s infringement of Apple’s smartphone (iPhone) design patent. If your company owns patents, you may wonder: What effect will Apple-Samsung have on your patent program? More practically, how can you and your company make money on your patents starting now, in the “incubation period” of … Continue Reading

What should you patent?

WheelhouseIn this part 2 of a series on 4 W’s of patent, we will consider the what of patent, specifically, the reasons to focus on patenting inventions that are “in your wheelhouse.” In this article, we will address three “what” questions: What is a patent? What kinds of inventions should you patent? (Are they in your … Continue Reading

Patent — Picture or 1,000 Words?

Rich Beem, Johnny Kilpatrick & Patco ReelIn a patent, which is better: A picture or 1,000 words? For patent purposes, it’s important to provide considerable detail in drawings and descriptions. Some foresight is required, because support is required as of the filing date for the originally filed claims and for amendments that may become desirable during prosecution. In this article, we will consider … Continue Reading

Patent World Convenes at IPO in Chicago

This week the world of corporate intellectual property (IP) converged in Chicago for the Annual Meeting of the Intellectual Property Owners (IPO) Association. A record 1150 IP lawyers and patent and trademark attorneys attended from the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, Latin America,  Australia and Africa. See attached photo (from left to right): Ray Ricordati, Renata Righetti, Richard Beem, … Continue Reading

Samsung loses bid for rehearing in $500 MM patent award to Apple

In my recent blog post, I reported that Samsung, backed by Google and other tech giants, was seeking rehearing of the Federal Circuit’s decision affirming some $500 million in damages to be paid by Samsung to Apple for design patent infringement. Hundreds of breathless reporters wondered whether Samsung would succeed in… Continue Reading

Patents: Buy, Sell, or Practice? What Google Learned May Surprise You!

Google has made a big splash with its patent purchase program. It says it wants to keep patents out of the hands of those who might be tempted to assert them against Google. That sounds fair enough, but there is more at stake than meets the eye. Google is trying desperately to build a large patent portfolio. … Continue Reading

High Court Bites Spider-Man Patent

A patent endows its owner with “superpowers,” but “only for a limited time,” held the U.S. Supreme Court in Kimble v. Marvel (June 22, 2015). The time-honored formula for action is “ready, aim, fire!” Here, as in many less-than-perfect business/legal cases, the parties reversed the last two steps. To their credit and profit, at least … Continue Reading

Beem Asks USPTO for Better Quality Patent Examination

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has proposed a new patent quality initiative. See Director’s Blog and Federal Register. In response, I have submitted a formal comment, Tracking Number 1jz-8ipa-7jnk, as set forth below. I contend that any discussion of quality patents should take into account the need for… Continue Reading

Quick and Easy Intellectual Property (IP) Audit

To conduct a quick, easy, and effective intellectual property (IP) audit, start with the business, not with IP or legal considerations. IP has little value apart from the business. Legal issues have no meaning apart from the business. How does your company make money? Identify key products, revenues, and margins. Relationships. Customers. Key people. Market leadership. Competitors. Vulnerability. … Continue Reading

#HIMSS15 Health IT, IP & Software Patent

As I write these words, I stand among 41,000 health information technology (HIT) professionals gathered in Chicago for  HIMSS15. As an intellectual property (IP) lawyer, I am here because my clients are here. If you’re at HIMSS15, you are probably engaged in electronic health records (EHR) software, hardware and/or medical devices. Your organization is likely to be active … Continue Reading
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