Patents, Trademarks & Copyrights
An inventor has the right to exploit commercial opportunities that result from his or her new idea. If you have created an invention or improvement, then a patent may be the only realistic path for the legal protection you need, so you can benefit from your invention or discovery. I have more than 30 years’ experience helping inventors at all stages of patent filing and defending your patent rights from infringement.
Types of Patents
There are three different kinds of patents, regular utility patents, design patents and plant patents. We can discuss which one may work best for you:
- Utility patent – such as a machine, a chemical agent or compound, and industrial process or manufactured article
- Design patent – original, ornamental design for a useful article
- Plant patent – a new variety of plant capable of being asexually reproduced, e.g., rose, wine grape, fruit tree
Conducting patent research
To qualify for patent protection, your invention or improvement must be:
- Novel – not previously known
- Unobvious – not a form that seems to be a predictable solution to a problem.
- Useful – has a function or purpose, and has to be capable of actually working (see my Blog post on perpetual motion).
- Patent Eligible Subject Matter — Your invention has to fall within one of these categories: process (or method); machine (apparatus or set of mechanical or electrical elements that work together); useful article (like machine, but perhaps without moving parts); or composition of matter (chemical compound, mixture, pharmaceutical, etc.). What is not eligible would be a scientific principle, law of nature, or a process that consists only of mental step, or a method that involves only human activity, e.g., square-dancing or playing Frisbee golf.
I will carefully review your invention for patent eligibility based upon the these factors. I then conduct a thorough patents search to determine what relevant prior art (patents and publications) exists.
Applying for a patent on your invention
If your tool, process, machine, composition, or design appears to be unique, I walk you through the complex process of preparing your application, including creating the required patent drawing figures, claims and detailed description. While waiting for the issuance of your patent, you can mark your invention patent applied for or patent pending, thereby warning off competitors about possible infringement. After a thorough examination by a patent examiner, the U.S. Patent Office grants you the exclusive rights to what it is that you have invented. The patent examination process may a few years, but there are programs for expedited handling and accelerated examination, which we can discuss with you.
Defending your rights
If another person or company attempts to infringe upon your patent rights, we can pursue any available legal remedies. An infringer may be subject to an injunction and you may also receive an award of damages for patent infringement. You may also challenge a competitor’s patent, using a Reexamination procedure or an Inter-partes Patent Review, if the patent claims to cover more than it should.
Registering your Trademark
You can prove your ownership of a trademark by registering with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. At the time of your application. To obtain final registration, you must also supply proof that your are using the mark in commerce. I conduct a thorough search of trademark databases to determine if your proposed mark is eligible to register, and then file to register for the broadest use of the mark on the goods or services it represents.
Defending your business image from trademark infringement
If you are concerned that a competitor or another company is using a trademark, or brand, or product presentation that seems to mimic your trademark, and which can lead to lost profits or a tarnishment of your own brand, we can help. We can fight against the unauthorized use of your trademark by obtaining an injunction, and in some cases, money damages, for trademark infringement or unfair competition.
Once you have created an original work, i.e., book, story, play, film, sculpture, architectural work, or computer program, we can apply on your behalf to register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Registration prior to any infringement provides substantial advantages when fighting infringement cases. In addition to providing potential financial benefits, copyright protects the integrity of your work, allowing you to direct the manner in which it is used.
Contact me today
If your business has intellectual property to protect, call the office of attorney Bernhard P. Molldrem today at 315-565-2866 or contact him online to set up an in-person consultation in my Syracuse office.