A Board Certified Patent Attorney

Archive for the ‘Patents’ Category

Patent Success or Failure Hinges on This…

I am often asked this question:   "Should an Inventor build on his Strengths or try to overcome his Personal Weakness?"   Well, I recently had to choose between the two. Like many people with a career that involves long periods of sitting behind a desk, I struggled with my weight. I’ve never enjoyed exercise, but luckily I do not have a sweet tooth either. To tackle this problem I chose to “build on my strength.” Instead of forcing myself to workout to get back into shape, I decided to eat healthier and eat less. Since then I’ve lost over twenty pounds. All of my significant success has come from situations where I ignored my weaknesses and maximized my strengths. On the other hand, my greatest failures have come from times I had to rely on my weaknesses and my strengths did not factor into the equation. Now, what’s this got to do with patents? This concept is of the […]

Patented 120 years ago: The electric tattoo machine

If you are an inventor with tattoos, you must read this… I just tripped upon this interesting little story about the patent behind the electric tattoo machine. Seems this tool was based on an engraving machine invented by Thomas Edison. It just goes to show how you can take an invention that is already out there…add a little twist of your own…and come up with an entirely new patent. Click the link for the full story: http://reason.com/blog/2011/12/08/got-a-tattoo-say-thanks-to-the-electric

The Story of the Sexy Screen Starlet Turned Patent Holder

The November 28th, 2011 edition of Newsweek magazine featured an interesting article on a rather unexpected inventor – the “most beautiful woman in the world” actress Hedy Lamarr. The story of how she became a patent holder is an interesting one… It start in 1931 with a Czech art film called Ecstasy. In it is a nude scene that caught the eye of ammunition manufacturer Fritz Mandl. They marry, and the young bride is soon attending dinner parties with generals and scientists who regale her with their stories of advances in missile technology. Fast forward ten years and she’s in Hollywood hearing stories of German torpedoes downing boats in the North Atlantic during the blitz. Recalling the details of the discussions with her ex-husbands colleagues, she turns inventor to help the war effort. The Newsweek article mentions a few of her inventions: the radio-controlled submarine missile-guidance system, the anti-aircraft shell with a proximity fuse and the fizz

The Story of the Sexy Screen Starlet Turned Patent Holder

The November 28th, 2011 edition of Newsweek magazine featured an interesting article on a rather unexpected inventor – the “most beautiful woman in the world” actress Hedy Lamarr. The story of how she became a patent holder is an interesting one… It start in 1931 with a Czech art film called Ecstasy. In it is a nude scene that caught the eye of ammunition manufacturer Fritz Mandl. They marry, and the young bride is soon attending dinner parties with generals and scientists who regale her with their stories of advances in missile technology. Fast forward ten years and she’s in Hollywood hearing stories of German torpedoes downing boats in the North Atlantic during the blitz. Recalling the details of the discussions with her ex-husbands colleagues, she turns inventor to help the war effort. The Newsweek article mentions a few of her inventions: the radio-controlled submarine missile-guidance system, the anti-aircraft shell with a proximity fuse and the fizz

Patent Question of the Month

It’s no secret lawyers aren’t cheap. But just how much is it to retain an attorney to draft your patent application? Let’s take a closer look… — Question from a Reader —- Matt asks, "I was wondering, what is it that you do to confirm that a certain idea is not already taken? Also What are some of the fee’s in hiring a Patent Attorney and how much?" Dear Matt, To answer your second question first – you’re looking at about $3,000 to $15,000 for us to draft the patent. If that seems like a lot, consider these two points. First, the average hourly rate for any lawyer is $150 an hour for a recent grad and up to $500 an hour for an experienced attorney. So imagine for a second you had an attorney defend you in a court case. He’d spend a few days preparing for the case. He’d have his time in court. And of course there would […]

Pursuing Software Patents? Watch out for this…

In 2010 Google’s innovative Android mobile phone technology was the target of no fewer than 12 infringement suits from rivals Apple, Oracle, Microsoft and others. Part of the problem is the culture clash between old style devotees to intellectual property rights and adherents to the newer, more collaborative environment of open source. But the bottom line is always money: Billions of dollars are at play in what can only be described as the brokerage of intellectual capital.   The focal point in the patent war is the data center, the methods by which companies collect, analyze and store the vast amounts of information they accumulate over millions of transactions. Recognizing that information is the new currency, Google recently purchased more than 1,000 database patents from IBM for an undisclosed amount of money. In keeping with the company’s avowed commitment to open source, Google made some of that know-how public and Facebook promptly suborned it for use in their o

Are prototypes necessary before you get a patent?

A prototype for your idea is an important part of building the actual product. But for the patent process, it is not necessary. In fact, there are only three things the US Patent Office requires to review your idea. And those are:   1. The application 2. Drawings 3. The application fee   That’s all you need to apply for a patent.   And in fact, building a prototype in some cases could be a huge waste of time and money.   For example, a few years back an inventor came into our office with a huge lawnmower blade. What was special about this particular lawnmower blade was that it had smaller blades (about 1 inch tall) welded on both sides of the main blade. This was to help cut up the grass into smaller pieces.    He had obviously spent a lot of time making this thing. All of the welds were sanded down. He had polished it to a […]

Patent Riches through Licensing

Patents may grant you exclusive rights to prevent others from manufacturing, selling, and importing your idea…but that doesn’t necessarily mean the money will just fall into your lap. To actually profit from your patent you must do one of three things… 1.       You must create and sell some aspect of the product 2.       You must sell the actual patent itself 3.       You must license the patent to someone else What option should you decide on? That’s what we are going to talk about today. Why license your patent? The obvious reason is to avoid the hassles of running a business (things like manufacturing, stocking inventory, and actually selling product). The not so obvious reason is that you may not know how valuable your patent actually is until you start selling product. And the last thing you want to do is sell your patent for a fraction of its act

3 Common Patent Application Mistakes

Patents give you 20 years of exclusive ownership of your idea. That means no one else can sell your idea…no one else can manufacture your idea…no one else can import your idea.  In short, nobody can profit from your idea without obtaining your permission (which you can charge for, by the way!). And if they do, you can sue the pants off of them (sometimes getting as much as 3 times the damages as well as reimbursement of your attorney fees from them). But that’s only if the patent application is properly prepared. Said another way, if you make a mistake on your application – even a tiny one – you can flush those twenty years of protection down the drain. How small of a mistake can put your idea at risk? Very small. 99.99% of your patent application can be squeaky clean: no errors, no omissions, nothing wrong. However, just that .01%…sometimes just ONE letter…and you are out of luck. […]

Patent & Trademark Office Commissioner Robert Stoll Visits South Florida

I had the pleasure of meeting Patent Office Commissioner Robert Stolll this week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Commissioner Stoll is the person in charge of the Patent & Trademark Office.  The buck definitely stops with him.  He came down for a Symposium on Intellectual Property at the Riverside Hotel on Las Olas Boulevard and gave a fascinating talk on proposed changes and improvements at the Patent Office.

Patent Wars: The Fight Over Phone Patents

Recently Newsweek created a fascinating visual detailing the ongoing patent wars between rival smart phone giants. It seems that patent infringement cases are the norm for this cutting edge technology. For example, Motorola is being sued for patent infringement seven times, by five different companies. And has patent litigation against three companies (all of which are also suing Motorola). Plus, as phone smart phone usage has skyrocketed over the past few years so has patent litigation. Up from 26 patent infringement cases in 2004 to 97 patent infringement cases in 2010…that’s a 546% increase! Click on the link for the whole Newsweek story – Patent Phone Fight. Patent litigation is painful and expensive. For details on how to get maximum protection for your idea, click here to request your free inventor patent information kit.

Patent Your Food – A Look at Edible Patents

I received a call a few days ago from a woman who had a secret family recipe for cake. Her bridge friends said that she should get a patent on it, but she didn’t believe it was patentable. While most patents are for mechanical designs or other inedible inventions…new food and food products definitely fall under the realm of patentability (that includes everything from creating new strains of corn or wheat…all the way down to new natural and artificial flavors). With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the food items people have patented over the years. Giant Gummy Bear Patent In 1994, Stefan D. Murza et al received patent number 5338245 giving them full ownership of giant gummy bear candy. The patent states this invention is “A giant gummy bear is provided which consists of a pre-molded stretchable bladder in a shape of a bear with a check valve for filling gelatin solution into the bladder.” A […]

Inventors Reap Rewards from “Cheap” Patents

Have you ever dreamed about inventing a product that raked in millions? Do you think you have to invent the next "big thing" to do so? Not necessarily so. There have been plenty of nickel-and-dime patented products that have gone on to make their owners millionaires. For example, a number of patents that have crossed my desk have helped their inventors live a life they only dreamed of. An article on Yahoo finance listed 7 products under $5 that made millions. The patents range from a failed glue that wasn’t sticky enough…a straw that helped to get kids to drink their milk…a craze sweeping the nation right now…a static "pet"…a new use for a tennis ball…and a safer baseball. Visit 7 Products Under $5 that Made Millions and see if you can’t think of the next million dollar idea. One more thing – make sure no one else steals your idea and cashes in on it. Get a patent. It’s the […]

Patents vs. Non-Disclosure Agreements – What Gives You More Protection

If you think your idea is protected because you’ve signed non-disclosure agreement (also known as an NDA or confidentiality agreement), then you are sadly mistaken. While an NDA gives you a limited level of protection (which in many cases can easily be bypassed), a patent offers you rock-solid, legally binding, enforceable-by-stiff-penalties PROOF of idea ownership. But I’m getting ahead of myself. In this article you’ll learn the differences between patents and NDA’s, you’ll see: Why NDA’s are only binding if there is a paper trail The only time you can trust the security of an NDA What legal differences exist between patents and NDA’s How to get patent protection for as little as $110 Let’s get started. What is a Patent A patent is a piece of paper. Not very impressive sounding, I know. But this piece of paper could be as important to you as the Declaration of Independence was to the birth of this country. Patents represent rock-solid [

Which patent should you file? Patents in plain english…

Do you know why you might want to file a provisional patent instead of a non-provisional patent? Each has its advantages and disadvantages. And today you’re going to learn which one is best for your needs. First, a little history behind the creation of the two-patent system we enjoy today. Up until 1995, there was only one way to file a patent. You filled out the application in its entirety (hoping your invention was absolutely perfect) and then wait months or years to see if the patent office would accept your idea as useful, novel or non-obvious enough to be awarded a patent. That all changed on June 8, 1995. On that date the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) introduced the provisional patent, a revolutionary concept that allowed inventors to acquire patent-pending status faster…with less up-front patent attorney costs…and allowed the inventor a full year to tinker and perfect their invention before submitting it for final approval. Before [&hellip