SERVICES OFFERED

We help small businesses with their patent, trademark, and other intellectual property needs.

The services we offer include:

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CONSULTATION

Sometimes you just need an expert who can answer your questions in the context of your specific situation. The Internet is great! We can find articles, blog posts, etc. on every topic under the sun. However, there is still no substitute for customized expert advise tailored to your particular circumstances, constraints, and goals. Accordingly, consultation is one of the most valuable services we provide our clients.

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PATENT SEARCHES

Patent searches (i.e., patentability searches, prior art searches) help you learn what others have done in the past with respect to your invention. The goal of a patent search is to locate the "prior art" references (e.g., patents, publications) that are closest to your invention.

With a patent search, you may learn that someone has already filed a patent application directed to your invention. Alternatively, a search may reveal little work by others in the area of your invention. Regardless of the outcome, patent searches provide valuable information on the advisability of pursuing patent protection for your invention.

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PROVISIONAL PATENT APPLICATIONS

Provisional patent applications are placeholders. They never issue as enforceable documents. Provisional patent applications merely preserve for 12 months the rights of the inventor(s) in what they disclose.

Provisional patent applications can be filed without certain formalities required with other patent applications. Accordingly, they are much less expensive to prepare and file than non-provisional applications.

During the 12-month pendency of a provisional patent application, the term “Patent Pending” may be applied to the described invention. The 12-month pendency of a provisional patent application cannot be extended. An applicant who files a provisional patent application must file a corresponding non-provisional patent application during the 12-month pendency period of the provisional application in order to benefit from the earlier filing of the provisional application.

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NON-PROVISIONAL PATENT APPLICATIONS

Non-provisional patent applications are the workhorses of the U.S. patent system. They can be used to protect compositions of matter, articles of manufacture, machines, and processes. Once a non-provisional patent application issues, it can be used to exclude others from practicing the claimed invention for twenty (20) years from its priority date (often the filing date of the non-provisional patent application).

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DESIGN PATENT APPLICATIONS

Design patent applications are typically less expensive to prepare and file than non-provisional patent applications. However, design patents generally provide less protection than non-provisional patents and have shorter lives (lasting only fourteen (14) years from their issue dates).

As the name suggests, a design patent application seeks to protect the visual ornamental characteristics embodied in, or applied to, a product. Accordingly, a design patent may be used to protect the configuration or shape of a product, the surface ornamentation applied to a product, or to a combination of shape and surface ornamentation.

Despite their limitations, design patent applications certainly have their place, particularly considering recent changes in U.S. patent law.

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INTERNATIONAL PCT PATENT APPLICATIONS

The Patent Cooperation Treaty or PCT is an international agreement for filing patent applications. Over 100 countries participate in the agreement. While a PCT application will not result in an international patent, it has several significant advantages.

For example, a PCT application can simplify the process for filing foreign patent applications and delay the expense associated with pursuing foreign patent protection (thereby providing more time to assess the commercial viability of an invention). Additionally, with a PCT application, an inventor can file a single international patent application in one language with one patent office and simultaneously preserve his rights in all countries party to the PCT agreement.

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TRADEMARK SEARCHES

Before investing in a trademark, it makes sense to commission a professional trademark search. To do otherwise is to assume significant and unnecessary risk. A professional trademark search can tell you if your trademark is available for federal registration. It can also help you avoid trademark infringement.

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TRADEMARK APPLICATIONS

Owning a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register provides several significant advantages. Specifically, a federal trademark registration provides:

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CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS

Confidentiality agreements go by various names, including non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and confidential disclosure agreements (CDAs). However, at their core, all confidentiality agreements seek to limit use by one or more parties of certain confidential information.

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EMPLOYEE / CONTRACTOR AGREEMENTS

Without written contracts, different parties will have different ideas regarding their role, what they own, etc. Moreover, those ideas will inevitably change with time.

Accordingly, written contracts are necessary to concretely establish the rights, duties, obligations, etc. of all parties involved. A well written, timely contract can significantly lower the risk of a legal battle.

The time for your employee, engineer, designer, or contractor to sign a confidentiality agreement, work-for-hire agreement, assignment of ownership, etc. is before he or she obtains any of your confidential information or starts work on your project.

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