IP Owl Blog

Top 10 IP Mistakes: No. 4 Confusing “Patentability” with “Freedom to Operate”

Posted by on Jun 23, 2015 in Freedom to Operate, FTO, Patent, Patentability, Product Clearance, Product Development | Comments Off

Top 10 IP Mistakes: No. 4 Confusing “Patentability” with “Freedom to Operate”

If you do not know the difference between patentability and freedom to operate (FTO), you are not alone.  Most often people seem to think that a patent gives you the right make, use, and sell an invention.  Not so.  A patent does not give you the right to do anything but sue others for patent infringement.  In my experience with talking to numerous innovators, the only people who seem to really understand this are patent attorneys, venture capitalists, and people with substantial patent portfolios. In a nutshell, FTO works basically like...

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Top 10 IP Mistakes: No. 5 Being Slow to Patent

Posted by on Jun 22, 2015 in America Invents Act, Business Methods, Patent, Patent Litigation, Patent Prosecution | Comments Off

Top 10 IP Mistakes: No. 5 Being Slow to Patent

Anyone that is involved in innovation is no doubt aware that the US recently experienced the most significant shift in patent law since the first patent act in 1790.  When the America Invents Act (AIA) went into full effect in 2013 it moved us from a first to invent system to a first to file system.  The upshot is that it is now more important than ever to be first to the patent office.  Literally, it is a race to the patent office and he who wins the race wins the patent. Prior to the AIA, United States patent law went to great lengths to...

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Top 10 IP Mistakes: No. 6 Failing to Register Trademarks

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 in Patent, Trademark, Trademark Litigation | Comments Off

Top 10 IP Mistakes: No. 6 Failing to Register Trademarks

Previously we talked about the dangers of failing to police and enforce trademarks, but what if you never register your marks in the first place?  Some of the problems with failing to register are obvious, but many may not become clear until it is too late. A couple of years ago I personally encountered a classic example of what can happen when you fail to register your business name as a federal trademark.  An Ohio company had been using a certain business name for decades but never federally registered it.  They developed a loyal...

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Top 10 IP Mistakes: No. 7 Failing to Police and Enforce Trademarks

Posted by on Jun 17, 2015 in Patent, Trademark, Trademark Litigation | Comments Off

Top 10 IP Mistakes: No. 7 Failing to Police and Enforce Trademarks

Among those businesses that are savvy enough to understand that their business and product names are trademarks to be protected, most also understand that it is their job to enforce their own trademarks.  There are no trademark police.  The USPTO does not have roving agents checking that no one is infringing trademarks.  Policing and enforcement is the job of the mark owner, and that much is well understood.  But, what many do not understand is that they have an affirmative duty to police and enforce their trademarks, and failure to do so...

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