As the dust settles after the storm caused by the conversion of the United States patent system from a first-to-invent system to a “modified” first-to-file system through implementation of the America Invents Act (AIA) on March 16, 2013, it is essential that companies and inventors avoid inadvertent disclosures of the company’s or inventor’s inventions on social media networks and the company’s website.
Social media websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, have changed the manner that businesses communicate and market their products and innovations. Although these tools may be beneficial by creating market “buzz” for new products through rapid information sharing, they may also be detrimental to a company’s patenting practices for the same reason. If disclosures of up and coming products are made on social media websites without the company first filing for patent protection, and the disclosures are then copied by a second party who then files an application based on the company’s social media disclosures, before the company does, then the first-to-file law could bar the company from patenting the invention, whereas the second party could then obtain patent rights to the invention disclosed on the social media site.
Lexington Technology Group (LTG), an intellectual property management firm, announced on Monday that its wholly owned subsidiary, Bascom Research, filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Salesforce.com in the Northern District of California.
Bascom Research is a software development company focused on building solutions for the management of complex and distributed data in healthcare and other fields. The company owns patents that relate to social networking and aspects of enterprise networking. In 2012, Bascom Research brought claims for patent infringement against five defendants. To date, Bascom Research has entered into a settlement agreements with two of the five original defendants in the litigation for effective royalty rates of 4% and 5% of infringing use. In addition to the newly-filed case against Salesforce.com, Bascom remains in litigation with Facebook, Inc., LinkedIn Corp, and Novell Corp in the Northern District of California. A Markman hearing for the cases against Facebook, Inc., LinkedIn Corp, and Novell Corp is scheduled to be heard on October 2nd, 2013.
The patents Bascom alleges that Salesforce.com infringes are: (1) U.S. Patent No. 7,111,232 (“the ‘232 Patent”), entitled Method and system for making document objects available to users of a network; (2) U.S. Patent No. 7,139,974 (“the ‘974 Patent”), entitled Framework For Managing Document Objects Stored On A Network; and (3) U.S. Patent No. 7,158,971 (“the ‘971 Patent”), entitled Method For Searching Document Objects On A Network.
On May 9, 2013, IPWatchdog’s very own Gene Quinn will be attending and presenting at the Business Development Institute’s Social Media Marketing Summit for Law Firms in NY. When they first reached out to IPWatchdog to ask Gene to present at this event, I offered to speak as the Social Media Diva, but given that the program specifically targets Law Firms, they declined my offer expressing their desire to have an attorney who not only knows and understand the importance of social media but one who also utilizes social media on a regular basis as part of the work he does each day! So Gene is definitely their guy!
The summit was put together as a result of increased awareness of social media by law firms and how these platforms can be used to attract new clients and to expand business with existing clients. According to the Summit’s Event Summary, “Most lawyers use social media networking tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter and most firms have at least one blog. Many firms now recognize that blogging and social networking have helped produce new client leads.” Gene himself gets all of his client work as a result of his blogging and other social media efforts. So BDI recognized that he is the perfect person to present at the Summit.
Whether you are just getting your feet wet in the wild world of inventions and patents, or you already have your business up and running, social media can help expand your business. Everywhere you look, there are Facebook “Like” buttons, LinkedIn “Share” buttons and Twitter “Tweet” buttons. Even Google has entered the social sharing game with Google+ allowing you to “+1” content. Social media can help catapult your business into overdrive – if you know how to use it effectively.
Here are some tips to using social media to expand business.
1. Choose which social platforms you want to use
There are many social networks out there – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, the list seems to be constantly growing. You want to channel your hard work into a select amount of platforms, and make sure that they are the right ones for your business. But with so many choices, how can you be sure which is right for you? Well that depends on what your goal is. Twitter is very up-to-the-minute, a place that provides short blurbs about news, insights and just about anything else. Facebook will allow you to post pictures, talk about events and what’s new with your business. LinkedIn caters to the professional crowd and will allow you to highlight your business credentials, but there is a social side to it that is beneficial for businesses.
On Sunday March 25 and Monday March 26, 2012, I attended the Second Annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium (WES) in Shreveport, LA. The event was hosted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office(USPTO) in Honor of Women’s History Month and was put together in collaboration with U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu(D-LA) and the city of Shreveport, Louisiana. WES was held at the Shreveport Convention Center and focused primarily on women entrepreneurs, innovation and the importance of intellectual property to business. I was honored to accept an invitation to present at this year’s event on social media and the importance of developing and leveraging online business relationships.
The program featured Senator Landrieu, who is chair of the Senate’s Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurshipas the symposium’s keynote speaker as well as the Mayor of Shreveport, Mayor Cedric B Glover who gave the welcoming remarks on day 1 of the event. The program additionally included the Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Teresa (Terry) Stanek Rea, Director of Inventor Education, Outreach and Recognition (USPTO) Elizabeth Dougherty, Director of Research and Policy at the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) Julia Kurnik as well as successful entrepreneurs and other experts in the field of intellectual property law and small business.
Having a brand is not just for big corporations and well-known products. Big businesses, small businesses, law firms, entrepreneurs and anyone else wanting to make a name for themselves can do so by building a brand. The way you portray your business, your products and yourself; in other words your image, is your brand.
Thanks to social media everyone has the ability to connect with like-minded individuals all over the world. But if you want to exploit social media you need to have an effective strategy. It does not take an enormous amount of time each day. In fact with only 15 minutes per day, you can really make quite an impact. Like everything you hope to succeed with in life, it does take planning and forethought.
Here are suggestions on how you might be able to use social media to develop your brand, monitor quality, engage customers, expand upon ideas and connect with others within your industry.
There’s only one thing more disheartening to an online retailer than knowing that a lot of customers are going to abandon their shopping carts before completing a purchase. And that’s the discovery that a whopping three out of four of them will actually turn around and leave the website rather than endure the hassle of registering a new account.
A new technology called “social login,” however, can alleviate both problems. Offered by multiple vendors (including Facebook) or custom built in-house, social login allows website visitors to log in using their Facebook, Twitter, or other social media identity and avoid registration and password hassles entirely.
This is no small matter. A friend of mine was in a Cost Plus World Market retail location recently and spotted a coffee table he liked. A salesman noted that if he signed up for their online World Explorer rewards program, he could get the table for 25 percent off. So he tried signing up via his iPhone while in the store, but found it too frustrating to awkwardly thumb-type all his personal data — let alone create a unique 10 digit reward program ID — on the iPhone’s tiny virtual keyboard. So he left the store without completing the purchase.
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