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Posts Tagged: "mark nowotarski"

The Power of Policing Trademarks and Design Patents

It’s amazing how fast a successful product is counterfeited and how brazen the copying is. The figure above illustrates what counterfeiting looks like. Counterfeiters copy everything….except price and quality. They copy the shape, the color, and the style of the product. They copy the images straight from your Kickstarter campaign. They copy the packaging you designed and the name you developed. They cut your price anywhere from 10% to 1,000%. Their quality is at best sub-standard and at worst dangerously defective. I’ve personally purchased counterfeits that have broken on first use and I’ve read reports of counterfeits catching on fire when plugged in.

Musings on Justice Scalia and the Hard, Dull Patent Cases

Just over one week ago Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court was interviewed by Piers Morgan of CNN. See Scalia transcript.  During the interview Justice Scalia said that the hardest decision he has had to make in his time on the Supreme Court was in a patent case. I received a few responses from those who did not opine as to what case Justice Scalia might be referring to, but rather commented generally about the interview and what Justice Scalia said relative to patent cases being difficult, dull and insignificant.  What follows below are those musings from industry insiders.

Getting a Loan with Your Patents

An assignment indicates who owns an issued patent or pending patent application. They are registered with the USPTO and available for public inspection. There is a special type of assignment called a “security agreement”. A security agreement indicates that a patent owner has used its patents as collateral for a loan. The security agreement says that the lender will get ownership of the patent if the current patent owner defaults on the loan. The security agreement also restricts what the patent owner can do with its patent so that the value of the patent is preserved. A patent owner might be obligated, for example, to pay the maintenance fees for an issued patent. Once the loan is paid off, the security agreement is released. If the loan goes into default, however, the ownership of the patent is transferred to the lender.

Making it Easier to Get a Patent

Contrary to popular belief, things are getting much better in business methods. Applications filed in 1999 had prosecution times of over 10 years (lower green arrow). These and subsequent applications jammed up the system leading to excessive delays to first office actions. Applications filed in 2004, for example, had delays to first office action of 6 years (middle red arrow). Sometime around 2010, however, things started to improve. A lot more patents started issuing and the delays to first office action dropped to around 2 years (upper red arrow). That’s not to say that it’s easy to get a patent in business methods, but at least examiners and applicants are making much better progress in reaching agreement on allowable claims in a reasonable amount of time.

Accelerated Examination is Better Examination

I spoke to five patent practitioners (attorneys and agents) who filed successful 12 month accelerated examination cases in 2011 to get their input on how the process went for them and what subjects should be considered by applicants and their patent counsel before embarking on it.

A Special Thank You to Our Guest Contributors!

Over the years IPWatchdog.com has continued to try and add additional perspectives from a wide variety of guest contributors, ranging from well respected practicing attorneys and agents to high profile academics to inventors and pro-patent lobbyists. It is hard to imagine providing such depth of analysis on such an array of topics without having truly wonderful guest authors. So we take this moment to say a very special thank you and to shine the spotlight on them. Each deserve to share in any recognition of IPWatchdog.com. Without further ado, here are the guest contributors in alphabetical order, along with their contributions for 2011.

First-to-File and the Speed of Technology Evolution

22% of social network patent applications are filed within one year of the youngest prior art cited against them. So speed of filing counts. If these applications had been filed a year earlier, then 22% of them would have avoided the youngest prior art cited against their independent claims. The applicants would have had correspondingly broader claims allowed. They would not have had to argue or amend around this prior art or abandon their applications altogether.

Funding Your Invention: Get Started with Crowdfunding

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.

Increasing Patent Allowance Rates by Selectively Targeting a More Technological Patent Class

Class matters. Technology class, that is. In some of the more rapidly growing areas of our economy, like Social Networking and Mobile Phone Apps, it looks like you can almost double patent allowance rate by making sure your patent application is classified in the more technological patent office art units. For entrepreneurs, a faster allowance rate and earlier acquisition of patents can directly translate into better fund raising, more secure commercialization and more profitable licensing. For large corporations, it means substantially reduced patent costs. And with some forethought you can probably influence which class your application is placed in while at the same time creating a more comprehensive patent application.

Don’t Steal My Avatar! Challenges of Social Networking Patents

What do you think of my jumping buddy over there? Let’s call him “George”. George is just one example of the enormous number of inventions being made to serve our newly emerging social networking economy. George was created using a patent pending process called Evolver. He’s an avatar that can be transported to any number of different full immersion virtual world networking sites. Many new companies are forming to commercialize these new social networking innovations. They are also filing patent applications. They have many challenges ahead of them to get those patents.

IPWatchdog 2010: ABA Blawg Tops + Over 2 Million Visits

I am pleased to announce that IPWatchdog.com was selected by the readers of the ABA Journal as their favorite IP Law blog for 2010 ABA. I am also pleased to announce that for 2010 we had over 2,000,000 visits, delivered nearly 11.8 million pages, our homepage was viewed 3.06 million times and we averaged over 67,000 unique monthly visitors! Thanks to all our readers for coming back day after day, and thanks to all of our Guest Contributors!

Making Progress with Difficult Patent Applications

Some patent applications are difficult to get agreement on. The examiner won’t allow and the applicant won’t abandon. The net result is that office actions and responses go back and forth with no apparent resolution in sight. We propose that progress with these difficult patent applications can be tracked by looking at two separate but interrelated metrics, “applicant effectiveness” and “examiner effectiveness”. These two metrics can then be used to diagnose and correct problems in patent prosecution and examination.

IPWatchdog.com Chosen as one of the ABA Journal’s Top 100

I am pleased to announce that the Editors of the ABA Journal yesterday announced they have selected IPWatchdog.com as one of the top 100 best law blogs by lawyers, for lawyers. Now readers are being asked to vote on their favorites in each of the 4th Annual Blawg 100’s 12 categories. IPWatchdog.com is in the “IP Law” category. To vote, please visit The 2010 ABA Journal Blawg 100.

Breakthroughs & Abandonment: Patent Abandon Rate is a Reliable Measure of Speculative Portfolios

Abandons per action can be interpreted as a level of speculation in applications. Applications that have high abandon rates are highly speculative. Most of the inventions described in these applications ultimately have little value and the applications are abandoned quickly. If a portfolio of speculative applications as a whole, however, has value, then that value is concentrated in a few “breakthrough” applications. For some investors, this is a very desirable characteristic and they may wish to seek out portfolios with high abandon ratios.

Reducing Patent Backlog and Prosecution Costs Using PAIR Data

Patent applications as a whole over the past 10 years have had an average allowance to rejection ratio of about 0.3. We arrived at this ratio by generating a list of 300 randomly selected application serial numbers in the 10/, 11/, and 12/ series, and individually reviewing the transaction histories for each serial number. An allowance to rejection ratio of 0.3 corresponds to about one allowance for every three rejections. First office actions have a somewhat lower allowance ratio than the average. This is consistent with the common knowledge that applicants will take a more aggressive position with the claims that they file relative to the amended claims they present after a rejection. The allowance to rejection ratio for second and higher rejections remains relatively constant. This has the somewhat disturbing implication that practitioners and examiners are not getting any better at understanding each other as prosecution progresses. If practitioners and examiners were learning from each rejection – response interchange, then the allowance ratio would increase for each succeeding office action.