Value Driven IP Protection

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A step-by-step approach for early-stage entrepreneurs to follow in order to maintain IP protection through development. It was presented to members of the Georgia Tech Advanced Technology Development Center.

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Value Driven IP Protection

  1. 1. VALUE-DRIVEN IP PROTECTION: COST-EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES FOR SECURING YOUR INNOVATION Presented by: Clark A. D. Wilson Patent/IP Attorney e: [email_address] [email_address] p: 770.984.2300(w); 404.993.0901(c) LINKEDIN .COM/IN/CLARKADWILSON Brown Bag Program April 2010 © 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  2. 2. ADVICE FROM THE PAST "If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.” Thomas Jefferson, August 13, 1813 © 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  3. 3. TODAY’S AGENDA <ul><li>A Timeline for New-concept Protection </li></ul><ul><li>When to Consult an IP Attorney </li></ul><ul><li>Helpful Resources </li></ul>© 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  4. 4. YOU JUST CONCEIVED A NEW IDEA <ul><li>IDENTIFY WHAT ABOUT IT GIVES YOU A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE </li></ul><ul><li>Apparatus/Process = Patent </li></ul><ul><li>Software = Patent/Copyright </li></ul><ul><li>Website = Copyright </li></ul><ul><li>Know-How = Trade Secret </li></ul>© 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  5. 5. WHAT TO DO FIRST ? Do not tell anyone except a trusted circle Keep a journal and witness/date each new entry Perform several layers of patent “searching” Google Google Patents US Patent & Trademark Office Search Engine If no closely-related prior art : continue development If close prior art: identify differences and/or improvements © 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  6. 6. DETERMINE WHICH IP METHODS TO USE <ul><li>PROTECTION: PATENT V. TRADE SECRET </li></ul><ul><li>What would patent protection provide? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Meaningful protection in relevant markets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can infringement be easily detected </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will patent issue soon enough </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Likely breadth of patent scope </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Could invention be kept secret successfully </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Could competitor easily reverse engineer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stability/loyalty of employees with high levels of access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strength of your security program surrounding the secret </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Would competitor likely develop independently </li></ul></ul>© 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  7. 7. DETERMINE WHICH IP METHODS TO USE PROTECTION: PATENT V. TRADE SECRET, CONT’D… Invention is patentable and has commercial potential… File a Patent Application ASAP Invention is not likely patentable and not important… Trade secret and keep a detailed record of development Invention is patentable but not that important… File an application as practical (defensive position, licensing potential, inventor recognition) Invention is important but not likely patentable… File application if it is novel – commercialization may provide basis for patentability © 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  8. 8. DETERMINE WHICH IP METHODS TO USE <ul><li>PROTECTION: WHAT ABOUT COPYRIGHT? </li></ul><ul><li>Original + Creative work </li></ul><ul><li>Not Functional subject matter </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Software Code </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Website content &/or design </li></ul></ul>© 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  9. 9. HOW TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHT TO PATENT BEFORE PUBLICATION OR OFFER-FOR-SALE File a provisional patent application !!! * 12 month grace period from above acts to file in USA *Outside USA there is no grace period IF DISCLOSURE BEFORE PATENT APP IS UNAVOIDABLE Ensure that the public use is just for “experimental purposes” No complete disclosure of how it works or is made No unrestricted use Requirement of complete return after use Request for comments after use No payment for undefined use by 3 rd party Proof of development of the design Sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement with recipient © 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  10. 10. HOW TO PROTECT YOUR IP <ul><li>HOW DO YOU PREPARE A PROVISIONAL PATENT APPLICATION </li></ul><ul><li>A brief description of the state of the art and why it is inadequate </li></ul><ul><li>A summary of the invention briefly describing alternate embodiments </li></ul><ul><li>A detailed description enabling a reader to make/use the invention </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Describe each/every element and/or step with sufficient detail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dimensions/materials/steps & drawings/flowcharts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Corresponding description of figures with sequential numbering </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alternate embodiments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Must support eventual non-provisional claims for full benefits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>*No claims are necessary, but at least one basic claim may assist with international patent law interpretations. </li></ul>© 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  11. 11. HOW TO PROTECT YOUR IP <ul><li>HOW DO YOU FILE A PROVISIONAL PATENT APPLICATION </li></ul><ul><li>Visit: https://sportal.uspto.gov/secure/portal/efs-unregistered </li></ul><ul><li>Complete the Registration information and upload your application </li></ul><ul><li>Pay the filing fee ($110) and submit. </li></ul><ul><li>Receive a confirmation with an application number </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You are now Patent Pending </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reminder : You have 12 months to file a non-provisional application and any international applications </li></ul><ul><li>Call the Patent Electronic Business Center (866) 217-9197 (toll free) or </li></ul><ul><li>e-mail  [email_address]  for specific questions about Patent e-Filing. </li></ul>© 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  12. 12. HOW TO PROTECT YOUR IP <ul><li>HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOUR CREATION AS A TRADE SECRET </li></ul><ul><li>Identify information/processes that provides a competitive advantage through the fact that it remains a secret from the public </li></ul><ul><li>Do not tell anyone!! (i.e., Keep it a secret !) </li></ul><ul><li>Do not patent, copyright or publish </li></ul><ul><li>Restrict employee/3 rd party access to proprietary information </li></ul><ul><li>Require duty of loyalty/secrecy to contracted employees </li></ul><ul><li>Enforce NDAs </li></ul><ul><li>Be proactive against any/all unspecified disclosures </li></ul><ul><li>Mark documents/journals as TRADE SECRET-CONFIDENTIAL </li></ul>© 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  13. 13. HOW TO PROTECT YOUR IP <ul><li>HOW DO YOU COPYRIGHT CREATIVE WORK </li></ul><ul><li>Fix the creation (e.g., software code, website design, etc.) in a “tangible medium” (i.e., capable of being copied/transferred) </li></ul><ul><li>Label all work with: ©Year of Publication & Author </li></ul><ul><li>Then, if you decide to Register the work with the Copyright Office… </li></ul><ul><li>Visit www.Copyright.gov </li></ul><ul><li>Submit a completed application form, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a nonrefundable filing fee ($35); and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a nonreturnable copy of the work to be registered  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>© 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  14. 14. HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOUR IP <ul><li>HOW DO YOU COPYRIGHT CREATIVE WORK, CONT’D… </li></ul><ul><li>  Note: Your copies will not be returned (so make several) </li></ul><ul><li>If you register online using eCO eService, you may attach an  electronic copy  of your deposit </li></ul><ul><li>However, even if you register online, you may be required to submit a hard-copy deposit of your work </li></ul><ul><li>!!! Register work with the Copyright Office no later than 3 months after any publication of the work </li></ul>© 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  15. 15. WHAT IF YOU NEED HELP TO DEVELOP <ul><li>WHEN HIRING EMPLOYEES AND/OR INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS </li></ul><ul><li>Include a clause in the contract that assigns all patent-rights & copyrights in newly-created work to you immediately and permanently </li></ul><ul><li>Include duties of loyalty/care clauses in employment contracts </li></ul><ul><li>Do not disclose previous trade secrets to new employees </li></ul><ul><li>E.g., software developer, engineer, prototype engineers </li></ul>© 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  16. 16. HOW CAN I TALK TO THIRD PARTIES <ul><li>Non-Disclosure Agreements: specify/limit the purpose of disclosing the invention to a third party (e.g., investment, prototype design, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Third party is then contracted to secrecy </li></ul><ul><li>Can help preserve secrecy of invention to maintain trade secret and right to patent </li></ul><ul><li>If decision is to patent, then file application before any NDA and list Patent Pending in the NDA document  </li></ul>© 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  17. 17. PRIOR TO OFFERING MY PRODUCT FOR SALE If you intend to try to offer your invention for sale, make sure you have at least a provisional patent application filed If you have a patent application filed, use “Patent Pending” on any offer for sale Note : An offer for sale initiates the 12 month clock in the USA and may extinguish international patent rights   © 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  18. 18. WHEN TO CONTACT AN IP ATTORNEY <ul><li>If you cannot determine what type of IP you have </li></ul><ul><li>If you have a trade secret and wish to design a program of protection </li></ul><ul><li>If you have moved forward in development and have identified a very-close prior-art patent </li></ul><ul><li>When it is time to file a non-provisional patent application (claims) </li></ul><ul><li>If you have improved your original design since filing the provisional application </li></ul><ul><li>If you need to contract with another party for development </li></ul>© 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  19. 19. Helpful Resources Business Entrepreneurship Program April 2010 © 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved
  20. 20. Self-education <ul><li>US Patent & Trademark Office: www.uspto.gov </li></ul><ul><li>US Copyright Office: www.copyright.gov </li></ul><ul><li>World Intellectual Property Organization: www.wipo.org </li></ul>© 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved <ul><ul><li>Websites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Books </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Patent, Copyright and Trademark , by NOLO </li></ul><ul><li>Patent It Yourself , by NOLO </li></ul><ul><li>Patent Law Essentials: A Concise Guide , by Durham </li></ul><ul><li>Edison in the Boardroom , by Davis & Harrison </li></ul>
  21. 21. Clark A. D. Wilson Patent/IP Attorney e: cwilson@gardnergroff.com [email_address] w: 770.984.2300 Ext. 873 c: 404.993.0901 LINKEDIN .COM/IN/CLARKADWILSON © 2010 Gardner Groff, PC – All Rights Reserved <ul><ul><li>Thank You!! </li></ul></ul>

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