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Patents FAQS

What is a patent?

A patent is a government-issued right, an asset, that gives the patent owner the power to prevent others from making, using, and selling products and services covered by the claims of their patent. Keep two things in mind about patents, though.  First, patents are only enforceable in the nation that granted the patent. So, if you want to enforce […]

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What is a Provisional Patent Application?

What is a United States Provisional Patent Application? A provisional patent application is not actually a patent application.  Instead, a provisional patent applications is more of a placeholder.  A provisional application was intended to make it easier to get something simple and inexpensive filed to secure the earliest possible filing date.  Why? Because in the world of patents, […]

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What is a Patent Claim?

What is a Patent Claim in a Utility Patent? Wherever you are in the world, claims are the most powerful part of the patent. This is the place where the inventor defines his or her property rights. A patent claim is comparable to the property lines for a piece of real estate. The law defines the […]

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Difference Between Ownership and Co-Ownership of a US Patent?

Patent Ownership: Is There a Difference Between Ownership and Co-Ownership of a Patent? There is a surprisingly big difference between patent ownership and patent co-ownership. The addition of those two letters, co, at the front of ownership completely changes the value of the ownership right. Sole ownership is exclusive. As the sole owner of the patent, you control the right to […]

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How Can Patents Benefit My Business?

How can patents benefit your business? Patents can benefit your business in several important ways. First, a patent gives you exclusivity throughout the term; the power to prevent your competitors from making, using, and selling products and services containing your patented technology.  As a result, you have the power to be the only source of […]

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Who Owns My Patent?

How is Patent Ownership Determined? Patent ownership is determined by either inventorship or a contract.  In other words, unless there is an agreement to the contrary, the inventor (or inventors) owns the patent rights.  At first glance, this seems obvious, right? If you’re the inventor, you should own the patent, right? Well, it’s not as obvious when […]

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What is a Patent Assignment?

What is the Result of an Assignment of a Patent? A patent assignment is a transfer of patent ownership.  This is distinguished from a patent license which is the transfer of patent rights under the patent without transferring ownership of the patent. For example, if Rocket Corp sells its engine division to Space Monkeys, LLC., the patent portfolio associated with the […]

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Who Should Be Named as an Inventor on a Patent?

How to Decide Who Should be Named as an Inventor on a Patent Application? Wherever you are in the world, a patent applicant is required to list the names of each person who made an inventive contribution to what is claimed in the patent application. So, to be named as an inventor on a patent […]

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How Much Does a US Patent Cost to Prepare, File, and Maintain?

What are the out-of-pocket costs to prepare, file, and maintain a US utility patent?  While the attorney’s fees for the preparation and filing of your US patent application might only cost you $5,000USD or so, when you include ALL of the out-of-pocket costs throughout the life of your patent application and patent, such as costs […]

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What are the Basic Requirements for Filing a Patent?

Filing a Patent: What are the Basic Requirements of Patentability?    To get a patent (to be patentable), your invention must be new, useful, and non-obvious. While all three of these requirements are critical, most of the fighting seems to be around the new and non-obvious requirements.  New essentially means that your invention is not already publicly known. Why must it be new? […]

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What is a Patent License?

How Does a Patent Licensing Compare with a Patent Assignment?  A patent license is similar to a patent assignment in that there is a transfer of patent rights to the buyer. But a patent license is different from a patent assignment in that with a patent license there is no transfer of ownership of the patent.  After the patent license agreement is executed […]

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Copyrights FAQS

What is “Fair Use” Under US Copyright Law?

What is the Fair Use exception to United States Copyright laws? Well, this is certainly the most popular exception to copyrights. Unfortunately, it’s also the most confusing. Too many people think that their unauthorized use of the papers or videos or images or other copyrighted material owned by someone else is lawful under the Fair […]

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What is the Duration of a US Copyright?

What is the life of a copyright?  Well, copyrightable works in the United States that were created on or after January 1, 1978, have a term that begins at the moment of its creation and lasts for the author’s life plus an additional 70 years. Yes, that’s right! Copyright protection lasts for a long time! […]

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What is a Copyright?

What Kinds of Things are Protected by Copyrights? A copyright is a form of protection provided to the creators of “original works of authorship.”  This includes literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and other intellectual works.  These can be published or unpublished works.  And they can be protectable copyrights as long as they’re fixed in a tangible […]

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Is a US Federal Copyright Registration Required for Protection?

Is a US Federal Copyright Registration Required to have Copyright Protection? Do you need a federal copyright registration to have copyright protection?  Well, the answer is both no and yes.  Here’s what I mean.  A federal copyright registration is not a condition of copyright protection.  You have copyright rights the moment you fix your work […]

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Trademarks and Service Marks FAQS

Can Colors be Trademarks?

Can Colors be Protected Trademarks?  Under the right circumstance, colors can be protected trademarks. Why? Well, a trademark can be anything used in commerce to associate a product or service with the source or origin of that product or service.  So, if you can build enough brand awareness around your color(s), it’s possible to gain enforceable trademark […]

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Key Requirements for Obtaining a US Trademark?

What are the Requirements for Obtaining a US Trademark? There are three primary requirements for securing US trademark rights; using your trademark in interstate commerce as a trademark, priority over competitive trademarks, and having the right format. Trademarks are all about use in commerce. That’s the whole point. A trademark is anything used in interstate commerce […]

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What are the Advantages of a US Trademark Registration?

What are the Advantages of a US trademark Registration Versus Common Law Trademark Rights? There are at least five benefits of obtaining a US trademark registration over merely having common law trademark rights. With a federal registration, you can use circle R with every appearance of your trademark, rather than the much less recognizable TM. […]

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What is a Trademark?

What is a Trademark? A trademark is anything used in commerce to associate a particular product or service with the source or origin of that particular product or service.  In other words, a trademark is anything used in commerce to identify the company that makes the products or delivers the services you’re thinking about buying. Now, […]

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What is the Duration of a US Trademark?

How Often Must US Trademark Registrations be Renewed? The duration of a US trademark can be perpetual as long as you continue to use it in commerce and continue to renew it every ten years. Yes, that’s right, unlike patents or copyrights which have lives of limited duration, a trademark can last forever (the life […]

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Why are Trademarks Important to a Company?

How Can Trademarks Benefit your Company? The biggest reason why trademarks are important to a company is that trademarks can become your company’s biggest evangelist. Trademarks can continue spreading your message even while your sales and marketing professionals are sleeping or on vacation. How? Well, if you produce great products, if you deliver exceptional services, […]

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Trade Secrets FAQS

Advantages of Trade Secrets Over Patents

What are the Advantages of Trade Secrets Over Patents? There are several important advantages of trade secrets over patents?  First, trade secrets offer exclusivity for as long as you can keep your secrets, secret, which can be a massive competitive advantage for a long, long time. For example, the Coca Cola formula has been a trade secret […]

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What are the Advantages of Patents Over Trade Secrets?

What are the Advantages of Patents Over Trade Secrets? While there are several advantages of patents over trade secrets, there is one advantage that stands above all others. The advantage is that even though trade secrets can theoretically last forever, versus the limited duration of exclusivity with a patent, secrets are hard to keep.  For […]

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What is a Trade Secret?

What is an Enforceable Trade Secret? Generally speaking, a trade secret is proprietary and confidential information that is valuable and provides a competitive advantage for as long as it’s kept secret. But, typically, we’re not talking about any small competitive advantage. To be a trade secret, the competitive advantage must be big enough that you’re […]

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What is the Duration of a Trade Secret?

How Long can a Trade Secret Last? The duration of a trade secret can be anywhere from a minute to a lifetime. That’s right. The lifespan or duration of a trade secret depends completely upon your ability to keep the trade secreted information secret. So, you might be asking yourself (or me if we were […]

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What Questions Should You Ask When Considering Trade Secret Protection?

Should I Get a Trade Secret? There are four critically important questions to ask when considering whether to pursue Trade Secret protection. The first question is whether or not the information is proprietary to you. If not, if you do not own the information, it is not your trade secret. Now, having said that, perhaps […]

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