Trade Show Pitfalls

Introduction

In many industries, trade shows are a way of life, largely because of the value and benefits that come along with attending.  Among other things, a trade show is a great way for a company to raise awareness of itself, its products, and brand.  Trade shows also allow for face-to-face interaction with respective and prospective clients, partners, and customers.  But attending a trade show can also be a trouble spot.  Careful reflection should be directed to anything that might result in a disclosure of anything proprietary.

Effective Patenting (Part 2 of 2)

Introduction

In a previous post I discussed a number of relevant points related to a business perspective on patent protection, or what I like to refer to as Effective Patenting.  As a point of significance I noted that before filing a patent application, it is first important for a business to determine what its objectives are for doing so.  Seeking a patent just for the sake of a patent is hardly ever fruitful.  I identified three primary objectives for consideration as: Excluding Competition, Marketing Tool, and Revenue Stream. Once objectives are identified, it is time to consider strategy.

Effective Patenting - A Business Perspective (Part 1 of 2)

Introduction

The first step in considering patent protection has nothing to do with patents, or the law.  Instead, it involves a thorough analysis of your business and a determination of what your goals are.  There are probably very few decisions that are made in business that don’t involve a cost-benefit analysis; obtaining a patent is no different.  Patents are assets for your business that could pay huge dividends if properly orchestrated.

There are many reasons why businesses want patents, ranging from protection of core technologies to ownership for use as a marketing tool.  Odds are that your goals are a hybrid of those two aims.  Analyzing your business and determining your direction will often result in an intelligent and effective approach to building a patent portfolio resulting in a true and viable long-term asset.

Trademarks: Should I get a Registration?

Introduction

In a previous post I discussed the ‘in use’ aspect related to a federal trademark registration, and how this ‘use’ has a relationship to actual ‘use in commerce’.  But what if you don’t have (or don’t want to get) a federal registration - can a you still obtain rights?

Luckily the answer is ‘yes’!  The acquisition of federal trademark rights under the Lanham Act (at least here in Texas, and more aptly the 5th Circuit) is established by use, not by registration.[1]  The State of Texas has a similar provision (“Trademark" means a word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination of those terms, used by a person to…”).

So just what are the benefits of going through the rigor of obtaining a Registration?

Inventor Series: What are patent claims?

In my previous ‘inventor series’ post here, I discussed some of the factors and considerations that go into an answer for the question “Should I get a patent?”  In order to receive a patent, an inventor must first start with a patent application.  The most important part about the patent application - that which defines the legal boundaries - is the claims.  Why? Because patent infringement (or non-infringement) is based on an assessment of the claims of an issued patent.  Whether it is drafting claims for a new application or amending claims after examination, how the claims are treated during the patent application process is of criticality.

Trademarks: Use in Commerce Requirement

As a law firm that specializes in intellectual property in the Houston-area, we are asked quite frequently about patents and trademarks.  While we routinely liaison with companies that have been successful in business for years, we also hear from startups and new entrepreneurs - we are happy to speak with startups and entrepreneurs, and even offer a free consultation with one of our IP Specialists.

With individuals or companies that are new to or have not previously considered intellectual property, I often hear the phrase “I want to trademark something.”  After a bit of discussion, what becomes apparent is that what was meant was: “I want to register my trademark”.  Or put another way, the user has already acquired a trademark by using a ‘mark’ in connection with a good or service ‘in commerce’.  This common law trademark protection can be enhanced by seeking a federal registration.

Inventor Series: What is a Patent, and Should I get one?

As a law firm that specializes in intellectual property in the Houston-area, we are asked quite frequently about patents.  While we routinely liaison with companies that have been successful in business for years, we also hear from startups and new entrepreneurs - we are happy to speak with startups and entrepreneurs, and even offer a free consultation with one of our IP Specialists.

Individuals or companies that are new to or have not previously considered intellectual property often start with the most obvious question: Should I get a patent?  The answer is not always straightforward, and no matter what the conversation can quickly become complicated.  Still, there are at least a few aspects that are routine to any conversation.