IPWatchdog.com founder Gene Quinn has recently spoken at several events. On Tuesday, November 11, 2014, he gave the ethics lecture at the PLI Patent Litigation 2014 program in New York City. On Monday, November 17, 2014, he gave a presentation titled Dark Days Ahead: The Patent Pendulum at the Orange County Bar Association in Newport Beach, California. These powerpoint presentations are available below. If you would like Gene to speak to your group or at your event let us know by using this contact form.
Posted: Saturday, Jun 4, 2011 @ 7:38 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 1 Comment »
You have entered the innovation market taking your first steps. You had an idea, which matured to become definite enough to be characterized as an invention. Now what do you do? Many inventors will find a patent attorney or patent agent that they will work with, and still others will try and represent themselves. Representing yourself can be a dangerous undertaking because drafting a patent application and engaging in patent prosecution (i.e., working the patent examiner to identify patentable subject matter) can be a lot more difficult than it otherwise seems. There are many pitfalls and archaic rules to navigate. But even if you are going to choose to work with a patent attorney or patent agent you should do whatever you can to understand the tasks associated with obtaining a patent. The more informed you are as an inventor the better the resulting patent. The more you know the better the information you can provide to your patent attorney or patent agent, which only makes for a better, stronger, more detailed and broader patent once issued.
One big mistake I see inventors make frequently relates to understanding the full scope of their invention. This is not to suggest that inventors do not understand their invention, quite to the contrary. In my experience when an inventor has an invention (and not just an idea) the inventor will know what they have done in great detail. Sometimes there is a challenge to convey everything to the patent attorney or patent agent, but the inventor has that information it just needs to be liberated from the inventor and put on paper.
Posted: Friday, Jun 3, 2011 @ 12:12 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 2 comments
What’s in a name? Well likely far more than most businesses realize. Your business name is how people will identify with your goods and services, so you want to have one identity that is all your own. Simple enough really, at least in concept, but making a mistake at the selection stage will prove costly.
Back in the day, not so many years ago actually, attorneys would recommend that businesses conduct a trademark search before selecting a name. Then as the Internet became more a part of our business and personal lives you had to make sure that you could obtain an appropriate domain name to host your website. Now we are at the point where merely selecting a good name that gives you the opportunity for a good domain name is not enough. You really need to make sure that you can control not only the domain name associated with the business name you choose, but also the Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn account names associated with your business name.
Posted: Thursday, Jun 2, 2011 @ 8:27 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 22 comments
Unfortunately for small businesses and start-up companies, some patent owners are becoming far more litigious. Once upon a time small businesses might be able to fly under the radar screen even if they were infringing because the cost associated with going after such folks was prohibitive. But welcome to the brave new world of the patent troll, where certain nefarious bad-acting patent owners seek to enforce dubious patent rights against those who are engaged in a business vaguely related, but who are almost certainly not infringing. These bad actors, who seek to extract licensing payments with threatening letters or lawsuits if necessary, know that because it can be expensive to fight most will simply fold and pay what amounts to extortion. See Extortion Patent Style.
Despite the gathering storm, some businesses would prefer to pretend that patent infringement is not a problem for them and they won’t be sued. The graph below shows that since 1980 the number of patent lawsuits filed has only gone up, with a record number (3,301) being filed in 2010. Add the frequency of the “dime a dozen” threatening letters sent by those seeking to extract licensing payments to the number of lawsuits filed and you can readily see that patent infringement litigation, and the associated threats thereof, are a growth industry.
Posted: Thursday, Jun 2, 2011 @ 3:31 pm | Written by Jeanne Albrecht | 3 comments
A few weeks ago, I took an afternoon Internet off-the-main-road cruise with the hope that a few unplanned detours would cure my midday highway hypnosis. The following item at Bloomberg.com caught my eye: Land Rover, NFL, Citadel: Intellectual Property.
Seeing those organizations lumped together piqued my interest: What could each have happening in the Intellectual Property domain that was significant enough to be blurb worthy?
Silly me. While the NFL and Citadel items were ho-hum (a clothing company nailed for selling unauthorized Steeler’s merchandise; Citadel Broadcasting using a copyrighted photo on its webpage), some of the other items made me feel sorry for people in the olden days (like me), who once had just had soap operas and gossip rags for entertainment.
Posted: Wednesday, Jun 1, 2011 @ 2:01 pm | Written by Mark Nowotarski | 38 comments
Getting Your Invention off of the Ground with Crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding is a newly proven way to get initial funding for the commercialization of an invention. Crowdfunding involves posting a project description on the internet, asking for pledges to complete the project, and if the minimum amount of pledges are received by a certain deadline, having the funds transferred to the project. If the minimum isn’t reached, no one gets charged.
Crowdfunding addresses the two biggest challenges many inventors have. “What is the market for my product?” and “How do I get initial funds to produce it?” Conventional sources of funds include yourself, “friends and family”, and angel investors. Crowdfunding adds a new source of funds, the initial consumers. Inventors get committed funds and guaranteed customers. Backers get to be the first to get an exciting new product. If the funds are raised, you know you have a market and you have the resources to produce the product. If the funds aren’t raised, you have valuable market feedback.
Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 8:34 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 17 comments
President Obama announces of new Commerce Secretary. Secretary Gary Locke (left) and Secretary Designate John Bryson (right).
Earlier today President Obama announced the nomination of John Bryson as the next Secretary of Commerce. Bryson, the former CEO of Edison International and co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, will replace current Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke who has been tapped as the next United States Ambassador to China. Meanwhile, earlier in the day Secretary Locke continued to work patent reform, sending letters to Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), who is Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and to Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, which set forth the Administration’s position on patent reform.
Notably, but not surprisingly, Secretary Locke explained: “The Administration continues to strongly support the bipartisan efforts of Congress to enact patent reform legislation that will accelerate innovation, and create new jobs, new industries and new economic opportunities for Americans.” Secretary Locke went on to elaborate more specifically about some of the specific provisions of the America Invent’s Act, explaining the Obama Administration supports first to file provisions, supports giving the Patent and Trademark Office the ability to set fees and keep the fees collected to be used to run the agency, supports post grant review and supports allowing individuals to submit prior art references to patent examiners. Unfortunately, however, Secretary Locke explained that the Administration generally supports prior user rights given that it is, on balance, a good policy. I respectfully dissent!
Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 7:01 pm | Written by Ron Katznelson, Ph.D. | 15 comments
The “America Invents Act,” H.R. 1249, contains several provisions that raise substantial questions of constitutionality. Discussed in this article is an important aspect of the “first-inventor-to-file” provision that received no prior public attention because its drafters have concealed its meaning ever since its introduction in previous sessions of Congress. A day after the Senate voted to pass the bill (S. 23), a “clarification” for this poorly drafted section was entered into the Congressional Record as a fabricated “colloquy” that never actually took place on the Senate floor. The colloquy substantially changes the ordinary meaning of the bill to a meaning that had never been discussed publically – Senators had no opportunity to either learn of the “intended” construction or to debate it. While it is uncertain whether the courts would actually interpret the new statute as the colloquy intends, this paper analyzes H.R. 1249 under a construction which the bill’s drafters and the colloquy purport to achieve.
Posted: Monday, May 30, 2011 @ 9:44 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | Comments Off
Ted Olson at UNH Law, 5/26/11
Several days ago I flew to New Hampshire to visit my alma mater, the University of New Hampshire School of Law, to attend an ABA Task Force hearing on the state of the judiciary. More precisely, the ABA Task Force is about the crisis in the judiciary. The co-chairs of the Task Force are Ted Olson and David Boies, who are undoubtedly the two most famous attorneys in the United States. I had the opportunity to do an exclusive interview with Olson and Boies immediately prior to the start of the hearings. Indeed, it was an honor and a privilege to sit down for a discussion with these two icons of our industry.
The pair were famously on opposite sides of Gore v. Bush at the United States Supreme Court, with Boies representing Vice-President Gore and Olson representing then Governor Bush. More recently they teamed up to collectively fight the California ban on gay marriage. Even more recently, and currently ongoing, they are on opposing sides of the NFL lockout and labor dispute, with Olson representing the players and Boies representing the NFL owners. Whatever your position on these and the many other high-profile cases they have been involved with, it is clear that Olson and Boies are legal royalty.
Posted: Friday, May 27, 2011 @ 2:29 pm | Written by Beth Hutchens | 15 comments
I am being asked more and more frequently how one figures out when a work will go into the public domain. Theoretically (and that’s a big theoretically), copyrights are only supposed to last for a limited time before they go into the public domain for everybody’s use. But trying to figure out when a copyright for a particular work will expire is confusing at best. The short answer is “it depends”. Sorry to give that dreaded two word answer that makes all non-lawyers snort and roll their eyes, but bear with me, I promise it really does depend. And I’m addressing this today because, with the increasing aged population, I think we’ll see in the coming years a large collision between copyrights (well, intellectual property in general) and decedents’ estates.
The first place to start is figuring out if the work still merits copyright protection. I’ve distilled the various Acts down and tried to make the idea as digestible as I could. But some of the dates infra may seem a bit random. They are mentioned in various Acts and Amendments, but the article just wouldn’t flow well trying to address every little nuance. So there are some aspects you’ll just have to take on faith (or dive head first into United States copyright term history and dig around for yourself. Have fun with that.)
Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2011 @ 3:49 pm | Written by U.S.P.T.O. | 2 comments
Washington – Today the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it is carefully studying the important en banc decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the case of Therasense v. Becton, Dickinson to assess how it may impact agency practices and procedures. The agency also announced that it expects to soon issue guidance to applicants related to the prior art and information they must disclose to the Office in view of Therasense.