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ip crash course for mobile startups


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A quick blast through IP for mobile developers and mobile-focused startups - where's the IP, who owns it, how to protect it, why it even matters. A practical approach.

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ip crash course for mobile startups

  1. 1. ip crash course for mobile startups: a practical approach ernest grumbles adams monahan llp 9.20.2011
  2. 2. start with hardware
  3. 3. then the software…
  4. 4. how about interface design…
  5. 5. or interface functionality (Apple multi-touch patent app…)
  6. 6. a method of location-based messaging (MS patent)
  7. 7. brands….
  8. 8. what is ip?
  9. 9. ip types <ul><li>patent </li></ul><ul><li>trade secret </li></ul><ul><li>trademark </li></ul><ul><li>copyright </li></ul>
  10. 10. 9 things about patents
  11. 11. patents-#1 what? <ul><li>exclude others from use of an invention. </li></ul><ul><li>reward inventors for a limited period </li></ul><ul><li>all countries have patent systems </li></ul>
  12. 12. patents-#2 why? <ul><li>market exclusivity </li></ul><ul><li>strategic tool against competitors </li></ul><ul><li>licensing revenue streams </li></ul><ul><li>build value in business – “patent pending” </li></ul><ul><li>set up company for investment, acquisition </li></ul>
  13. 13. patents-#3 examples
  14. 14. patents-#4 process <ul><li>identify inventions </li></ul><ul><li>maintain secrecy </li></ul><ul><li>gather information and prepare an application </li></ul><ul><li>file with the pto </li></ul><ul><li>hang on the wall </li></ul>
  15. 15. patents-#5 time to get <ul><li>18 months to 5 years from filing of application. </li></ul><ul><li>length varies by technology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>software patents – up to 5 years </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Claims may never issue. </li></ul>
  16. 16. patents-#6 cost <ul><li>$500 to $5000 for provisional application </li></ul><ul><li>$4000-$18,000 for non-provisional application </li></ul><ul><li>depends on technology, business goals and timing </li></ul>
  17. 17. patents-#7 duration <ul><li>20 years from filing </li></ul><ul><li>once it dies, it’s dead </li></ul><ul><li>but: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>continuation-in-part applications </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. patents-#8 enforcement/defense <ul><li>search before new tech release </li></ul><ul><li>patent litigation ain’t cheap </li></ul><ul><li>$3 million in fees/costs would be a good deal for an active case </li></ul><ul><li>cases can last 2-5 years </li></ul>
  19. 19. patents-#9 best practices <ul><li>do you know your IP? </li></ul><ul><li>does the company own the ip?? </li></ul><ul><li>what tech drives revenue? </li></ul>
  20. 20. patents-#9…. best practices <ul><li>confidentiality </li></ul><ul><li>provisional = quick “patent pending” </li></ul><ul><li>periodically review R&D </li></ul>
  21. 21. The Mobile Patent Wars 2011
  22. 22. $12.5 Billion
  23. 23. philosophical interlude: choose one - * patents rock! * patents s-ck!
  24. 24. 9 things about trade secrets
  25. 25. trade secrets-#1 what? <ul><li>confidential information that has value from not being generally known </li></ul><ul><li>has protection only as long as secret kept – like the Coke formula </li></ul><ul><li>protected by statute (like Uniform Trade Secrets Act) and contract </li></ul>
  26. 26. trade secrets-#2 why? <ul><li>build value in business – proprietary formulas/processes </li></ul><ul><li>preserve market advantage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>keep secret forever – can’t with patents </li></ul></ul><ul><li>preserve patentability of inventions </li></ul>
  28. 28. trade secrets-#4 process <ul><li>maintain secrecy of data </li></ul><ul><li>identify inventions </li></ul><ul><li>control access </li></ul><ul><li>consider a log </li></ul>
  29. 29. trade secrets-#5 time to get <ul><li>you own as soon as you create </li></ul><ul><li>no formal filing process </li></ul>
  30. 30. trade secrets-#6 cost <ul><li>cost of development </li></ul><ul><li>cost of maintaining secrecy </li></ul>
  31. 31. trade secrets-#7 duration <ul><li>perpetual – if it can be maintained as such </li></ul><ul><ul><li>coke formula </li></ul></ul><ul><li>the rabbit has to stay in the hat </li></ul>
  32. 32. trade secrets-#8 enforcement/defense <ul><li>when to sue? </li></ul><ul><li>complex litigation </li></ul><ul><li>often bundled with employee-related disputes (coke-pepsi) </li></ul><ul><li>injunctions…! </li></ul><ul><li>costs - $400k-$3 million </li></ul>
  33. 33. trade secrets-#9 best practices <ul><li>confidentiality policies (“CP’s”) </li></ul><ul><li>use NDA’s when possible </li></ul><ul><li>mark “confidential” materials as such </li></ul><ul><li>protect sensitive materials (or facilities) </li></ul>
  34. 34. 9 things about trademarks
  35. 35. trademarks-#1 what <ul><li>exclusive use of brand for specified goods or services </li></ul><ul><li>rights based on use in the marketplace </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. federal and state level (statutes and common law) </li></ul><ul><li>all countries have trademark systems </li></ul>
  36. 36. trademarks-#2 why <ul><li>market exclusivity for brands – unique association </li></ul><ul><li>promote customer loyalty (TONY THE TIGER) </li></ul><ul><li>prevent customer confusion </li></ul><ul><li>strategic tool against competitors </li></ul><ul><li>build value in business – ® </li></ul>
  37. 37. trademarks-#3 examples <ul><li>word mark: EXXON </li></ul><ul><li>stylized word mark: </li></ul><ul><li>design mark: TONY THE TIGER </li></ul><ul><li>color: yellow for sticky note pads (“Post-Its”) </li></ul><ul><li>product shape: the Coke bottle </li></ul>
  38. 38. trademarks-#4 process <ul><li>identify brands (incl. future brands) </li></ul><ul><li>evaluate market significance/strength of mark </li></ul><ul><li>search! </li></ul><ul><li>federal v. state </li></ul><ul><li>file application </li></ul><ul><li>prosecute to registration </li></ul>
  39. 39. trademarks-#5 time to get <ul><li>common law – rights upon use </li></ul><ul><li>federal registration process - can take 18 months </li></ul><ul><li>state registrations – much quicker </li></ul>
  40. 40. trademarks-#6 cost <ul><li>trademark search - ~$700 </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. tm app. - ~$1000 (single class). </li></ul><ul><li>up to $2K in additional prosecution costs </li></ul><ul><li>state tm’s – much cheaper </li></ul><ul><li>foreign applications - generally more </li></ul>
  41. 41. trademarks-#7 duration <ul><li>perpetual??? </li></ul><ul><li>registrations indefinitely renewable </li></ul><ul><li>STELLA ARTOIS – claims rights back to 1366 </li></ul><ul><li>when marks die – ASPIRIN, ZIPPER, DRY ICE, ESCALATOR (generic terms) </li></ul>
  42. 42. trademarks-#8 enforcement/defense <ul><li>sue for likelihood of confusion (similar mark on similar goods) </li></ul><ul><li>trademark litigation ~$400K-$2M. </li></ul><ul><li>most disputes settled </li></ul><ul><li>cases can last 1-3 years. </li></ul>
  43. 43. trademarks-#9 best practices <ul><li>communicate with marketing/product teams on brands </li></ul><ul><li>search before you sell! </li></ul><ul><li>prioritize revenue-driver brands </li></ul>
  44. 44. trademarks-#9 best practices <ul><li>file Intent to Use (ITU) applications for quick protection </li></ul><ul><li>maintain uniformity of use </li></ul><ul><li>enforce rights </li></ul>
  45. 45. copyrights <ul><li>protects writings/images/sounds </li></ul><ul><li>inexpensive to register </li></ul><ul><li>protection lasts over 100 years </li></ul>
  46. 46. copyrights, cont…. <ul><li>register soon after public release </li></ul><ul><li>protected by U.S. statutes </li></ul><ul><li>good for company code, manuals, images </li></ul><ul><li>litigation – not cheap </li></ul>
  47. 47. copyrights: best practices <ul><li>use stuff you own or have licensed (incl. creative commons) </li></ul><ul><li>make sure you own stuff you’re paying for – images, code, narrative (agreements!) </li></ul><ul><li>use Copyright Office process for source code registration </li></ul>
  48. 48. the end [email_address] 651.491.3643