Category Archives: Patents

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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

More Words, Less Patent Clarity

Absolute ClarityThe Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has announced that in her zeal to prevent substandard patents from issuing, she will insist on clarity of the record. Every word of every patent will have to be defined. And every word stated in the patent process—in the give and take (or “prosecution”) between applicant… Continue Reading

Some Kind of Patent Trial

Beem Goes to CourtPatent jury trials reached their zenith in the mid-1990s. The stakes remain high, though the drama has faded. Now, even if it’s called a trial, what you get is “some kind of hearing,” as Judge Henry Friendly once called it in his seminal lecture and law review article. Some kind of hearing: That’s all you can expect in … Continue Reading

Eight Tips to Protect Your Patent and IP in China

Beem and BuddhaLast week, I went to Washington and came back from China. In D.C., I attended the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) Annual Meeting, where I met with lawyers and patent attorneys from the U.S., China, and other countries, and I have continued meetings with the Chinese even after returning to my offices in Chicago. … 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

Why Samsung will pay half billion to Apple for design patent infringement

In a saga of epic proportions, sprawling across the globe, Apple and Samsung have been duking it out over smartphone design and features. That’s billion, with a “B” District Judge Lucy Koh of California entered judgment in favor of Apple to the tune of… Continue Reading

Improved product? Patent it for profit.

You own or run a niche business that makes value-added products. Yes, that still happens in America, the Number 2 manufacturing country in the world, according to a comprehensive new study by the Congressional Research Service. (Read further for details.) American manufacturers spend far more on R&D than any other country in the world. What’s more, … Continue Reading

Unitary patent: Why select Greece over Turkey?

Greece and Turkey are in the news. I visited both countries in May. Both are pleasant. Of the two, Turkey seems to be the more serious candidate for new business investment and related patents and intellectual property (IP). Greece notoriously has defaulted on its debt and is in danger of exiting the European Union (EU). Economically, the nation is not a major … 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

Fear of Patents Incited by Lobbyists

Patent law promotes the progress of technology by rewarding inventors who patent their inventions. From the beginning, the Constitution empowered Congress to pass a Patent Act, and President George Washington called for it in his first State of the Union address. Congress acted affirmatively in 1790, with periodic updates ever since. As Abraham Lincoln said, the patent system adds … 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

Patent System under Attack: Interview with USPTO Director Michelle Lee

This morning, my fellow leaders of the Chicago Intellectual Property Law Association (IPLAC) and I met with Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and several of her fellow USPTO executives, including the impressive Dr. Christal Sheppard, Director of the Detroit Office. Director Lee has excellent qualifications. Unfortunately, as discussed below, … 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

Build Your Patent Portfolio: Preparation, Prosecution, Appeals

USPTO Alexandria HeadquartersAre you General Counsel, Patent/IP Counsel, or an executive of a company that owns valuable proprietary technology? If your company or your client files patent applications, you’re probably encountering rejections. You may be wondering how to deal with the cases at hand and how to improve your strategy, procedures and execution for preparation and prosecution of patent applications. … Continue Reading
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