IP Guide for Startups
Important information about patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and intellectual property agreements specific to startup and early stage businesses.
A collection of resources on the fundamentals of U.S. patents and patent law.
A collection of resources on the fundamentals of trademarks and trademark registration.
- Patent Marking ProgramMaterials from a presentation by Austen Zuege about patent marking in the United States are available here: “Patent Marking: Legal Standards and Practical Issues” These downloadable materials from a past live presentation address basic marking requirements and best practices for patent marking, as well as requirements for virtual marking, alternative… Read more: Patent Marking Program
- How Can I Calculate Patent Term?Patents have a maximum term and cannot be renewed. This is part of the quid pro quo underlying modern patent law. The patentee gets exclusive rights for a limited time but then the technology disclosed in expired patents can be freely used by the public (in at least the jurisdiction… Read more: How Can I Calculate Patent Term?
- Federal Circuit Columbia Decision Both Clarifies and Muddies the Proper Use of Comparison Prior ArtWhen can prior art be used to assess alleged infringement of a design patent? This has been an evolving area of U.S. patent law. The question matters because looking at only the asserted patent and the accused product might not allow an ordinary observer to understand the ways in which… Read more: Federal Circuit Columbia Decision Both Clarifies and Muddies the Proper Use of Comparison Prior Art
- What Are Common Patent Drafting Mistakes?Preparing new patent applications can be complicated. Patent applications in the U.S. and most other countries undergo pre-grant examination. So a patent application must be sufficient to establish patentability to the satisfaction of a patent examiner. And if the goal is to create enforceable exclusive legal rights in an invention,… Read more: What Are Common Patent Drafting Mistakes?
- What Are Common Mistakes in Design Patent Applications?There are certain requirements and interpretive frameworks that apply U.S. design patent applications that may not be intuitive. Many of these U.S. standards also differ significantly from the rules the apply to industrial design registrations in other countries. What follows is a guide to some common mistakes and misunderstandings around… Read more: What Are Common Mistakes in Design Patent Applications?
- How Should Invention Harvesting Be Conducted?An important first step in obtaining patents is to identify potentially protectable inventions. The process of gathering up candidate ideas that might be the basis for new patent applications is sometimes termed invention harvesting. But that is an informal term. It generally connotes affirmatively investigating research and development efforts to… Read more: How Should Invention Harvesting Be Conducted?
- What Is a File Wrapper?A file wrapper, synonymously called a file history, is the written record associated with a given patent or trademark application and any resultant granted patent or trademark registration. It is the official record for a given matter. Generally, the file wrapper includes more information than is formally published by a… Read more: What Is a File Wrapper?
- What Is Prosecution History?For patents and trademarks, the term “prosecution history” refers to the back and forth between an applicant and the patent or trademark office. It includes submissions by the applicant, starting with an original application and extending though any amendments or arguments the applicant might later make during official examination of… Read more: What Is Prosecution History?
- Virtual Patent Marking ProgramMaterials from a presentation by Austen Zuege, Grant Peters, and Bryan Wheelock about virtual patent marking are available here: “Virtual Patent Marking: Practical Considerations, Recent Court Guidance, and Ideas for Designing Your Own Virtual Patent Marking Program” This presentation and downloadable materials addresses basic requirements and best practices for virtual… Read more: Virtual Patent Marking Program
- Patent Assignments and Priority in an International ContextMaterials from a presentation by Austen Zuege and Jonathan Bench about patent assignments and rights of priority, including presentation slides and an on-demand video recording, are available here: “Patent Assignments and Priority in an International Context”
- How Should Advertising Legal Review Occur?It is beneficial to have advertising undergo legal review prior to release. Such review should generally cover a number of different concerns, including false advertising, trademark infringement, right of publicity/privacy, copyright infringement, special considerations for regulated industries (i.e., industry-specific laws and regulations requiring certain disclosures, etc.), medium-specific requirements (for commercial… Read more: How Should Advertising Legal Review Occur?
- How Do DMCA Copyright Takedown Notices Work?The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) created a notice and takedown provision in §512 of the U.S. copyright laws for alleged online infringement. Essentially, online service providers have a safe harbor against monetary liability for infringing materials that their users/customers post online if they comply with takedown notices alleging copyright… Read more: How Do DMCA Copyright Takedown Notices Work?
- How Can I Find Patents with the USPTO’s Patent Public Search?The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) makes granted U.S. patents and published U.S. patent applications publicly available. Patent Public Search is its open-access patent searching platform, available online to anyone free of charge. It exists with two different interfaces: Patent Public Search Basic (PPUBS Basic) and advanced search. Both allow… Read more: How Can I Find Patents with the USPTO’s Patent Public Search?
Have an invention you would like to patent? Have a brand you would like to register as a trademark? Concerned about infringing someone else’s intellectual property? Is someone else infringing your IP? Need representation in an IP dispute? Austen is a patent attorney / trademark attorney who can help. These and other IP issues are his area of expertise. Contact Austen today to discuss.