Pedersen and Company is a specialized intellectual property (IP) law firm. Our team of attorneys and associates works together across a broad base of expertise to produce cost-effective IP solutions.
Patents are a form of intellectual property protection offered to inventors by the United States government. An issued patent grants an exclusive property right to an invention for a period of generally 20 years.
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or any combination that distinguishes one product or service from another. A servicemark is a form of trademark used to distinguish a service.
Copyright is a form of intellectual property protection provided by the US government to authors of original works. Literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works may be afforded copyright protection.
About Pedersen Company PLLC
With an office located just minutes from downtown Boise, Idaho, our work is invigorated by the innovation and technological progress going on around us. International corporations such as Hewlett-Packard and Micron and organizations like the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory spearhead the charge of high technology in Southern Idaho. Global technology leaders like these and entrepreneurial individuals alike look to us to protect their intellectual endeavors.
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New or Small Companies and Intellectual Property
First, it is important for the company owners and employees to understand the concept and value of confidential information. Almost every company has trade secrets. For example, information regarding sources and costs for materials and supplies, manufacturing and operations methods, customer lists and prices, etc. is usually secret and valuable to the company. These trade secrets should be identified, inventoried and protected from unauthorized disclosure. A trade secret will be lost by making it public, so employees, vendors and visitors should sign non-disclosure agreements, and receive proprietary information on a need-to-know basis only.
Regarding trademarks and trade names, it is important to not approve a company name for your client which may be similar to someone else’s trademark. Therefore, a trademark “search and clear” operation is recommended, in addition to the typical Secretary of State’s clearance, when adopting a business name. Once the name is adopted, a federal trademark registration will discourage subsequent adoption of the same or similar name, even by remote or unrelated third parties.
With these concepts in mind, you can easily help your new or small company client stock up with its own intellectual property rights. Then, also with your help in being aware of and not infringing the intellectual property rights of others, your client can effectively focus on building the business, rather than having to resolve possibly unnecessary intellectual property disputes.
Drive Down the Cost of Patents
“Optimum shape” means ready for the patent professional to read and understand and to begin to write patent claims and description. An optimum case, then, begins with a good disclosure of the invention to the patent professional.
One way to make the optimum disclosure is to use a good invention disclosure document, such as the Invention Disclosure Form located on our website home page. This example document is designed to organize the necessary information and make it quickly available to the patent professional.
This disclosure document should be filled in completely. Any questions or gaps in requested information should be noted. A well-completed disclosure document is the inventor’s opportunity to get the patent process off to its best start.
In describing the state-of-the-art, the inventor should distinguish between publicly available and private information.*** The sources of both types of information should be clearly and specifically identified, and copies of the documents referred to should be provided.
The state-of-the-art description should be complete and specific enough to enable the patent professional to verify the novel features of the invention. Also, the state-of-the-art description should be broad enough to give the patent professional sufficient background from which to analyze the non-obviousness of the invention.
For focus, at the end of the invention description section, the inventor should write a “definition” of the invention in a single sentence. One format for such a sentence is:
“In . . . (define the limits of the prior art) . . . , my invention is the improvement that is . . . (define the invention relative to the prior art).
This sentence may form the basis of the patent professional’s claims for the patent application, placing the patent professional in good position early for writing a good, quick case.
** “Expert inventor” here means one who is versed in, and capable of accurately describing, the state-of-the-art and its relationship of the invention.
*** “Private information” here means information not in the public domain, including secret and confidential information.