Tag: Intellectual property

Patents May Protect Improvements to An Existing Invention

Intellectual property can be one of your company’s greatest assets. This is often not a priority at first, and many business owners may not realize the importance of copyrights, trademarks, and patents until they are in the midst of creating something, or realize they are onto something big—and perhaps even internationally.

While much intellectual property is centered around branding mechanisms such as logos, slogans, and products delineating what you may provide for the public, patents are usually even more important as they represent inventions. And while copyrights are technically registered as artistic expressions, the patent often represents something along the same lines that may be exponentially more creative or innovative, and a product that endures through many decades to come. Because of that, it is critical to protect such works for the long term.

But what if you want to make an improvement on an existing patent, whether it is your own or someone else’s? Improvement patents are extremely common today and are often known as ‘addition patents’ or ‘substitution patents.’ These often include much smaller but vital inventions that could be a tipping point for the success of a product overall. Many improvements occur today as new technology is becoming so readily available and may offer significant benefits over conventional methods such as greater affordability, better performance, and less labor needed when operating a machine or a system.

If you are interested in registering to improve a patent, begin by searching for it through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. File your temporary patent while you complete the formal application process and expect to have to make revisions. It is highly recommended that you work with an intellectual property attorney as applying for a patent of any kind can be a lengthy, complex process; however, it is well worth it to make sure any type of invention is protected from infringement by others.

A patent gives you exclusive rights to an invention for up to 20 years, usually, meaning that no one else can make, sell, or use it. If the registration expires, it then becomes open to the public domain.

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

intellectual property attorney

Filing a Patent: Why You Should Work with an Intellectual Property Attorney

If your business has reached the point where you are ready to file a patent, it is critical for protection of your assets that you consult with an experienced intellectual property attorney. This is even more true when filing for patents, as they can be much more intricate than filing for a copyright or trademark—but you may have those already or need to apply for them as well. This is not something that should be overlooked, even if it does not seem so important right now—any intellectually property you create in the beginning, or at any point for your company, could become extremely valuable to you one day and the last thing you want is someone stealing it!

Running a business is a multifaceted endeavor, to say the least. Most of your days are probably extremely busy with the daily activities of keeping the clients coming in, working with your team and making sure they have an organized workload, proper scheduling, and all that is associated with human resources. Most business owners and their managers are also responsible for many long days and weekends too, working with their teams while also paying the bills, ordering and keeping inventory straight, and working with business partners who may take on work in varying degrees.

You may also have independent contractors who are responsible for creating innovations behind a patent that your company may be registering. If this is the case, make sure that you have the correct contracts (confidentiality, non-disclosure, and more) in place so they are not disgruntled later and so you do not lose intellectual property that you paid for, or paid for to be developed.

Filing a patent may be somewhat different than you expect, and the process may be much slower than you expect, taking 21 months on average. Writing a patent is a challenging task, and much specific information must be given regarding your invention. There are several different types of patent you can apply for through the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The categories are separated into utility patent, provisional patent, or a design patent. The application progress process can be complex, and because this is certain such an important process, is generally not suggested that you go it alone.

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

trade secret

Business Topics: What Defines a Trade Secret

Tens of millions of business owners in the US are currently hard at work performing all the duties that may sometimes seem like a daily grind when it comes to necessities like ordering, scheduling, paying bills, and more, but there are also the more fulfilling facets such as creating dazzling marketing campaigns to bring in the customers, adding new employees to strengthen a growing team, making plans and goals and putting them into action, and most importantly, continuing to innovate and entice consumers. This may require registering copyrights—even to include a volume of work—trademarks and service marks, and inventions that must be patented.

Bringing forth new creations into your industry may encompass enormous financial resources, endless hours, and collaborations with a variety of team members, to include independent contractors who may be brought in at different times depending on projects. Some of what you produce may end up becoming trade secrets that are vital to your business for as long as it is running, and there is plenty to know about what defines them—and how to protect them.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a trade secret (also serving to ‘complement’ the patent) is used for business purposes and may comprise the following:

  • Formulas
  • Patterns
  • Compilations
  • Programs
  • Devices
  • Methods
  • Techniques
  • Processes

The USPTO states that courts can not only help businesses protect their trade secrets by ‘ordering parties that have misappropriated a trade secret to take steps to maintain its secrecy, as well as ordering payment of a royalty to the owner,’ but they can also force parties responsible for misappropriation to pay substantial fines and costs related to damages and legal fees. It is also up to the holder of the trade secret to make sure they do indeed maintain its secrecy; if they do not, it is then considered ‘released.’ The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

Intellectual property topics

Intellectual Property Topics in Business: Protecting a Collection of Works

Owning a business is certainly not for the weak of heart—and this becomes apparent from the beginning. Moving past the dreaming about it and creating a concept phase, once you get into solidifying a business model, finding a site or building one out, procuring proper licensing, and founding a company, both the excitement—and stress—levels begin building. And for many this never ends, whether in a positive or negative manner. Running your own company is a multi-faceted endeavor that requires immense time, effort, and dedication; in fact, you may find that you begin spending more time there than at home, with your team beginning to feel like family as well.

Bringing in customers is central to your business, along with so many other elements that are important to helping your company thrive. They must know how to recognize your business, via a domain name, logos and trademarks familiarizing them with what products you offer, as well as service marks that designate what services you provide. From purchasing all the proper insurance coverage to putting a security system in place, protection is key to your business. And although you may not put much thought into it at first, this may be more important for your intellectual property than anything else! This is especially relevant if you are in the business of creating works that others may want to steal for their own advancement.

You may have a collection of pieces that require copyright protection too, preventing against infringement or unauthorized use by other parties. This could be architecture, software, or music, literature, or more. And the key here is that in protecting an entire body of work together—rather than piecemeal—you can cut out the repetition of multiple application processes and registrations, waiting periods (which are usually up to seven months or more), and the potential expense of registering multiple items.

Consult with a skilled attorney from the Bolender Law Firm to review your intellectual property needs, along with gaining more understanding about copyright protection and how important it is, from registering with the U.S. Copyright Office to handling employee and independent contractor agreements regarding non-disclosure. The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

intellectual property rights

What Are Intellectual Property Rights?

Copyrights, trademarks, service marks, and patents. It may be difficult to fully understand what each license offers to you as a business owner, artist, innovator, or inventor, but if you are in the process of creating new concepts, products, and services it is a good idea to protect such work. Interestingly, if you have created a work or expression of art, or a logo or a slogan, it is already yours (assuming no one else has the exact same branding mechanism, which is why you should do the research). Complications could arise though if another party were to start using your copyrighted material, for instance—without permission. Without filling out the proper applications with the U.S. Copyright Office or the United States Patent and Trade Office and getting the appropriate licensing, you have no legal avenue to sue for infringement if someone were to steal your work.

Speak with an experienced attorney from the Bolender Law Firm if you have intellectual property that needs to be registered. If you are just opening a business or just beginning to expand to the point where you need protection, it may include:

  • Trademarks & Service Marks – think of those companies that draw you in time and time again, along with offering a familiarity that becomes almost unconscious after we see a logo for so long. This is one of the most basic—and vital—elements of marketing, and that can apply to a business of any size. Registering your trademark through the United States Patent and Trade Office means you have legal recourse against anyone who tries to use it without your permission. This is the same with the service mark, which is a type of trademark; however, it denotes the services that your company offers and is often exemplified by a slogan—which may also (or not) be accompanied by a logo.
  • Copyrights – although these deal with protecting many different types of artistic expressions such as art, screenplays, and music, copyrights can obviously be very important for businesses too. Books can be copyrighted, along with software, architecture, and more, and are registered through the U.S. Copyright Office. Systems and methods of operation are not protected by a copyright but fall under patents.
  • Patents – these licenses are applied for through the United States Patent and Trade Office and allow inventors to protect their work for around 20 years. The following may be registered with a patent: processes, machines, articles of manufacture, compositions of matter.

The Bolender Law Firm can assist you in all intellectual property matters. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!