Category Archives: Patent

Why a Patent Attorney in Orange County CA May Recommend ADR

No one is more intimately familiar with the complexities of patent litigation than a patent attorney in Orange County California.  Rather than go through contentious, costly and complex litigation, a patent attorney in Orange County California may recommend that clients and other attorneys turn to alternative dispute resolution for the following reasons:

Autonomy

Alternative dispute resolution allows the parties to work out how their legal issue will be resolved on their own terms.  The parties get to choose the party who will help guide the process or decide the case.  In arbitration, the parties can also agree on the appropriate law that should be used, which rules of evidence should be followed and what amount of discovery will be permitted.  Allowing the parties to exercise discretion over these important issues can help create a streamlined approach to resolving the case.

Neutrality

While the justice system is predicated on the idea that decision makers will be neutral, many practicing attorneys have seen firsthand how juries and judges may naturally side with one party over another.  In patent cases, the parties may hail from different states, giving one party a home-court advantage.  In mediation or arbitration, a neutral person can be appointed and who will not be influenced by such factors.

Confidentiality

If an existing patent is at issue, it can be important for the patent holder to protect information about the patent from being exposed to competitors.  For example, the patent holder may not want competitors to discover a weakness in the patent that could allow them to easily get around it.  ADR proceedings are usually confidential in nature, sometimes as a mandatory element or sometimes by request.  The parties can agree to keep all information discussed confidential as well as to keep the results confidential.

How a Patent Attorney in Beverly Hills CA Can Prepare for Mediation

Due to the complexity of cases, the incredible time commitment and the expense of litigation, many patent attorneys in Beverly Hills California recommend mediation as an alternative to litigating a patent dispute.  While mediation is founded on the concepts of cooperation and collaboration, a patent attorney in Beverly Hills California can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of a case.

Although not as formal in nature, mediation often requires research and discovery.  Since the end goal is hopefully to settle the case, a patent attorney should be just as prepared for mediation as he or she would be for trial.  By researching relevant cases that are based on similar issues, the patent attorney can come equipped with the necessary information that can help his or her client prevail.  He or she should be able to differentiate holdings that did not work out in the same manner that his or her client’s position supports.

This information should be prepared and presented to the mediator before the day of mediation.  Quite often, this information can be provided through a mediation brief.  In the brief, the attorney should also be able to present a clear description of the facts and legal issues that are involved in the case.  He or she should be able to describe how a dispute arose and the position that his or her client is taking on the issues.  Other information that supports the client’s case may be included in the brief, such as contracts or communications between the parties.

 

Before mediation, the attorney should review his or her negotiation style with the client.  This allows the attorney to continue the same momentum during the process without having to stop and explain the strategy to the client.

Using a Patent Attorney in Los Angeles California for Help with ADR

A patent attorney in Los Angeles California is a special type of intellectual attorney.  He or she focuses the law practice on the application of patents, acquisition of patents and defense of patents.  Based on this particular focus, having a patent attorney in Los Angeles California can be a tremendous help with all forms of ADR that center around a patent issue.

ADR refers to alternative dispute resolution.  It consists of mediation, arbitration and other alternative methods of resolving legal issues without going to court or pursuing a lawsuit.  ADR usually helps to resolve an intellectual property issue faster than litigation will take in Los Angeles, California.  Additionally, some types of ADR such as arbitration limit the ability for the parties to appeal the decision, which provides greater finality to a case than litigation.

While litigation is highly complicated with rules of evidence and procedure, these formalities are often less common in various forms of ADR.  For example, a person in mediation can base his or her opinion on evidence that would not be admitted in court.  In arbitration, the parties agree upfront about which common rules they will follow and which they will not.

Another way that parties can customize the experience of arbitration is to have an agreement regarding confidentiality before arbitration is held.  The parties can agree to make confidential their own statements, the decision and the experts’ testimony.  In mediation, the mediator is also bound by confidentiality, making the parties more apt to freely and honestly communicate than they would otherwise.

Because a patent attorney has this specialized knowledge, it is often wise to engage his or her services.  He or she can assist with any form of ADR due to this focused and complex knowledge.

Skills to Look for in a Patent Attorney in Orange County CA

A patent attorney in Orange County California focuses on securing intellectual property rights for clients. He or she may also help defend a person’s rights or fight off claims regarding infringement.  Before tackling this complex area, it is important to find the right patent attorney in Orange County California.  Some skills that lead to success in patent attorneys include:

Strong Research Skills

A patent attorney must be able to conduct extensive research into your product or idea to determine if a similar product is already protected under federal patent law. Additionally, he or she must be able to understand the components and function of your product or idea in order to differentiate it from other similar products or ideas in the same industry.  A patent attorney should be well versed in intellectual property law and stay cognizant of changes in the law.

Strong Evaluative Skills

A patent attorney must also have strong evaluative skills. This refers to the ability to evaluate a particular claim or objective to determine the plausibility of an outcome in the client’s favor. This may relate to the patent application itself, a challenge to your own intellectual property or a mediation session regarding patents.  Usually, this evaluation takes into consideration the particular circumstances of the case, the relevant laws in question and the trend of recent decisions in the jurisdiction. The question that the attorney must answer is whether it is likely that the client will be successful in court or with an arbitrator.

Strong Process Skills

If two or more parties decide to go through the mediation process in order to resolve their intellectual property dispute, it is important that your attorney possess process skills.  Your attorney’s job is to seek the best possible result for your case.   Strong process skills enable the attorney to encourage agreement when this is what is best for you.

Top Three Conflict Resolution Tips from a Patent Attorney in Beverly Hills CA

A patent attorney in Beverly Hills California knows the inherent risks of pursuing or defending patent litigation. The party who believes his or her patent has been infringed upon may find out that his or her patent was not as strong as intended. The other party may face the consequence of having to pay substantial monetary damages. By following these three conflict resolution tips from a patent attorney in Beverly Hills California, you may be able to minimize your liability while increasing your probability of resolving your case.

Ask the Right Questions

Sometimes parties or their counsel only ask questions in order to get the answers they want. However, this tactic often does not work and makes the other party defensive. Frame questions in a tactful manner that helps to uncover issues involved in the case. Sometimes it helps to state the reason why you are asking something before making the request. This helps confirm that you are simply doing your job and trying to get to the root of the problem.

Focus on the Problem, Not the Person

Technology disputes can become personal, but they certainly do not have to. Remove the person from the equation and try to attack the lingering problem. By separating the two, you can set a tone for cooperation and emphasize the need for parties and their counsel to work together.

Connect Offers

In order to minimize the monetary value of a proposed settlement, offer two options in an either-or format. For example, ask whether the party wants monetary damages or a licensing agreement. This gives the other party the chance to reflect on what would actually benefit the party the most.

Legal Issues Confronted by a California Patent Attorney in Los Angeles California

A California patent attorney in Los Angeles California works with intellectual property issues on a routine basis. Some of the legal issues confronted by a California patent attorney in Los Angeles California are briefly explained below.

Patent Applications

Being approved for a patent is no easy task. While some people risk applying for a patent by doing it on their own, inventors are much more likely to be successful when they retain the services of an experienced patent attorney. Sometimes a patent attorney is not brought into the case until after the patent application has been filed or denied. This can make the process potentially more difficult for a patent attorney who will need to go through the initial application and identify and correct the problems rather than starting fresh with a new application.

Exposure

Another issue that intellectual property attorneys deal with is the revelation of intellectual property. Once a patent is approved, it basically becomes public knowledge. An intellectual property attorney can advise whether it would be preferable for an inventor to file for a patent or try to release his or her product in a way that will allow him or her to dominate the market while the idea is fresh to avoid the risk that someone else will try to profit from the idea.

Infringement

Part of the patent process is looking for existing ideas that have already been patented. Sometimes intellectual property attorneys must handle issues of infringement. The inventor that the attorney is representing may be accused of infringing on someone else’s intellectual property or someone else may be infringing on the inventor’s ideas. An intellectual property attorney can discuss different strategies and the risks and benefits of each one.

Warning Signs that You Need a Patent Attorney in Orange County CA

Although much attention is given to beautiful homes, fashion and other superficial characteristics, a patent attorney in Orange County California can explain that some of the most valuable assets people and businesses own are intellectual property. There are certain signs that suggest when you may need the assistance of a patent attorney in Orange County California.

You Are Not Sure Your Invention Qualifies

Not all inventions or ideas qualify for a patent. You must be able to show why your particular idea is novel and different than what is already available in the market. If you cannot secure a patent, a patent attorney can let you know this information. If this is the situation, you may have to try to break through the industry first so that you can capitalize on the idea before someone else discovers the same secret or steals the idea from you.

You Want to Apply for a Patent

Applying for a patent is a complex process that requires very detailed information. While this may be the first time that you are applying for a patent, a patent attorney handles patent applications on a regular basis. He or she can explain the patent application process and provide suggestions on how to ensure your highest likelihood of success. Having a patent attorney assist with this process also helps you avoid being in limbo for a long time while the application is pending.

Someone Claims You Infringed

One of the reasons why you acquire a patent is to prevent other people from using your ideas for their own profit without your consent. However, sometimes other individuals or companies may allege that you are the one infringing on their intellectual property. A patent attorney can review any allegations against you and the patent you are being accused of violating in order to develop a legal strategy for you.

Why Use a Patent Attorney in Beverly Hills CA for Your Mediation?

While many lawyers act as proficient mediators, complex cases involving intellectual property or internet technology require a specific skill set. Many times, parties have a list of mediators from which to choose and their attorneys can provide some input based on any previous experience. Commercial litigators are frequently on these lists. However, many of these litigation experts have never negotiated a contract regarding intellectual property or litigating a case of this nature. A patent attorney in Beverly Hills California likely has more knowledge and experience with these complex issues. Gregory Wood is a patent attorney in Beverly Hills California who brings more than 35 years of experience to his role as a mediator.

Experience is a key component to providing effective mediation services to intellectual property disputes. Much time can be lost by having to explain complicated terms, processes and agreements to someone who is not seasoned in this area. Additionally, a Beverly Hills CA patent attorney realizes how important confidentiality is in matters regarding intellectual property and will ensure that the proceedings are kept confidential.

Having experience to rely on can also be a significant benefit to a mediator who can help narrow in on the issues and think up creative solutions to the problems that the parties are facing. Contemplating workable solution in complex technology cases often requires a mediator who is able to think outside the box and bounce ideas off of attorneys and their clients. An effective mediator can facilitate constructive dialogue between the parties in order to help them state their actual interests in the case. This can lead to the parties developing a pragmatic solution that hones in on these interests. An effective mediator with a background in intellectual property can help take the parties’ ideas one step further so that they can work out a solution with which they are all satisfied.

Most Common Issues Causing Mediated Patent Disputes

Patents are used to protect inventions from being used, sold, or made by others for a given amount of time. Three types of patents in the US are:

  • Design Patents: protects the appearance of a manufactured object
  • Plant Patents: protects asexually reproduced plant varieties, including hybrids
  • Utility Patents: protects technology, machines, and chemicals; inventions with specific functions

Clients should not assume that their creation(s) are patented automatically. Individuals must apply for a patent and get approved by the US Patent and Trademark Office. This process is time consuming and complex. It’s best to hire a patent attorney to ensure that all the paperwork is turned in appropriately and they are approved so they can protect their invention and make profit.

One issue that causes patent disputes is ownership. Who owns the patent or invention? A business may believe that they have rights to an invention, but they could be reading the wrong small print. It is essential that the business observe the laws that govern inventions and the patent protection for inventions to determine if the business owns the rights to an invention or not. This issue can be resolved if the parties involved agree in writing regarding ownership of inventions created on company time or with company resources.

Common ownership issues arise with relationships between:

  • Co-inventors
    • Usually personal relationships
    • Identify and manage who made inventive contributions before settling on a patent application
  • Independent contractors
    • May be collaborative, but most often not
  • Should specifically list ownership rights to intellectual property between the independent contractor and hiring company in the written agreement between the parties
  • Employer-Employee
    • If the employer is a nature person rather than a corporation, the employer may have made sufficient contribution to the conception and reductions to practice to be considered an inventor with ownership rights. Otherwise, the employer will become the owner only by contract with the inventor(s) assigning the rights to the invention to the employer.
    • Apart from a contract of assignment, the employee/inventor will own the rights to an invention. Nevertheless, the employer may still have rights to use the invention under an implied license if the inventor use company resources or invented on company time.
  • An employer in California is prohibited under state law from requiring an employee to assign inventions to the employer that are unrelated to the employees work and that was made on the employee’s own time and using only the employee’s own resources.

Mediation can help manage these disputes, and you may wish to recommend this course of action to your clients.

Transactional Matters Related to Intellectual Property Patents in California

Securing protection for intellectual property rights is another requirement for asserting intellectual property rights in California and elsewhere. For example, applying for a trademark or patent requires preparing an application, filing that application with the Patent and Trademark Office and then pursuing that application by responding to rejections, objections and challenges from third parties in front of patent or trademark examiners or through before the Board of Appeal or even Court of appeals for the Federal Circuits. In order to get the maximum protection possible clients across the United States must depend upon the experience of intellectual property attorneys to pursue those rights before the appropriate governmental agency whether the patent and trademark office, the copyright office, the international trade commission, court of claims, or various state agencies.

Whether for licensing, non-disclosure agreements, developmental agreements, or any other transactional matters that involve intellectual property, the right attorney is a key component in acquiring and then protecting the underlying rights that are acquired.

Internal Disputes Arising from Patent Contention

In some cases there may be some disputes that arise internally within a company or corporation if the right to acquire a patent on intellectual property is in contention.  In California, state law protects employees from overreach by employers as to patent rights in technology innovations created by the employee, even when it is part of the employee job. If there is not contract, the employer may get a non-exclusive right to use the invention but the employee would be considered the owner. That is not the case with copyrights where the employer is consider the “author” and therefore owner of any copyrighted material created by the employee as part of his job.