Patents and Trade Secrets

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Patents and Trade Secrets

  1. 1. Patents and Trade Secrets How to safeguard your company against illegal knockoffs and counterfeits Robert J. Roby, Esq. Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear
  2. 2. Patent Basics <ul><li>NOT a right to make and sell a product </li></ul><ul><li>ONLY a right to exclude OTHERS from making and selling products </li></ul><ul><li>NO worldwide patent </li></ul>
  3. 3. What Is Patentable? <ul><li>ALMOST anything </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not obvious </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Device, appearance of device, method of making device, method of using device, business methods, etc. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Types of Patents <ul><li>Design patents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ornamental appearance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Utility patents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Functional aspects and methods </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Provisional patent applications ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Never examined; never issued </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Patent Scope <ul><li>Design patents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determined by solid lines in drawings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inherently narrow </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Utility patents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determined by language of “claims” </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Example of Design Patent Claim
  7. 7. Example of Utility Patent Claim
  8. 8. Patent Term <ul><li>Design patents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>14 years from issuance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Utility patents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>20 years from earliest nonprovisional U.S. filing date </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Patent Costs and Times <ul><li>Design patents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$4000 and 1 year plus </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Utility patents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$20,000 and 3 years plus </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provisional patent applications </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$3000 and 1 year only </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Trade Secrets <ul><li>Valuable business information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not generally known </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides economic advantage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reasonable efforts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Once disclosed, no longer exists </li></ul>
  11. 11. Summary *Note: patents must be filed before the end of one year following any public disclosure or offer for sale
  12. 12. Patent Claim Strategies
  13. 13. Patent Claim Strategies
  14. 14. Patent Claim Strategies
  15. 15. Picket Fence v. Solid Wall <ul><li>Picket Fence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple focused continuations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lower incremental costs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easier prosecution because narrower </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indirect fuel injection/direct fuel injection </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solid Wall </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Single attempt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Broad claims are resisted by patent office </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More difficult prosecution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fuel injected engine </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Why Get IP? <ul><li>Protection from copiers </li></ul><ul><li>Build company assets </li></ul><ul><li>Create prior art </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-license opportunities to avoid litigation </li></ul><ul><li>Licensing revenue </li></ul>
  17. 17. What Form of IP?
  18. 18. IP Budgeting <ul><li>Difficult/expensive </li></ul><ul><li>Strategy varies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Business size, growth plan, market size, market life, development cycle, margins </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cost/benefit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If patent is $20,000 and revenues will not reach that level, why file? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Asset for exit strategy </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Company Strategies <ul><li>Single product </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect “crown jewel” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Multi-product </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop negotiating chips </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rapid growth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider auditing IP </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mature business </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Licensing/sale of IP </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. THANK YOU ! <ul><li>Robert J. Roby </li></ul><ul><li>Partner </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2040 Main Street </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>14 th Floor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Irvine, CA 92614 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Telephone: 949-760-0404 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facsimile: 949-760-9502 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E-Mail: rroby@kmob.com </li></ul></ul>

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