Commercial and competitive advantage in the marketplace often arises from intellectual property assets. Intellectual property rights can be monetized and asset values increase when the intellectual property rights of a business can be used to exclude competition from making competitive products or providing competitive services and enable higher prices and hence profits. Alternatively, the exclusivity arising from patent, trademark, copyright or trade secret rights can be monetized through licensing. When licensing agreements are breached or exclusivity is challenged through infringement, the very value of the business if often challenged requiring that action to protect those intellectual property assets through litigation for patent, trademark, copyright infringement or contract actions for breach of the licencing agreement. On the defence side, high-tech industry professionals face the ever-present spectre of intellectual property infringement claims, claims of software copying and trademark infringements that must be defended when claims of infringement are not well founded. These challenges often result in high stakes intellectual property and commercial Litigation in California or elsewhere.
U.S. Law Regarding Patents
Under the law, a person is ordinarily free to make, use or sell anything he or she so desires. However, the technology is covered by a patent granted by the U.S. Patent Office, the patent owner is give the right by the U.S. Government to exclude others from making, using or selling any product or process covered by that patent throughout the United States and its territories.
This effectively means that a company can control the way in which its intellectual property is created, implemented and distributed. Additionally, others are prohibited from acquiring or appropriating such processes unless authorization is sought and agreed to from the patent owner before the patent expires.
Defining What is Patentable
Patents may be obtained by whoever invents any new and useful process, composition or method of manufacture that is not “obvious” to someone or ordinary skill in that technology area. This is a highly complex area of the law which requires an attorney practicing intellectual property law or representing clients in patent litigation in California to have technical expertise, legal experience and the ability to translate that technology and law into simple language understandable to a judge or to lay people who sit on a jury and might not have technical expertise.