The Problems with Your Patent Attorney Owning Stock in Your Company

The Ethical Quandary Patent attorneys are entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding their clients’ intellectual property. This fiduciary duty requires them to act in the best interest of their clients, providing unbiased and objective legal advice. However, when a patent attorney owns stock in a client’s company, their financial interests conflict with their professional obligations.…

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Patent Attorneys’ Misguided Obsession About Costs

Hand wringing amongst patent attorneys show their misguided view of their clients. Patent attorneys work in a bubble that is completely hidden from laypersons, but is an incredibly loud echo chamber. An example is the current obsession and endless handwringing over the USPTO’s DOCX filing requirement. The issue is that the USPTO prefers that you…

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Every Word Hurts You: Patent Claims

Every Word in the Description Hurts You, and the Claims Hurt You, Too. The length of the claims really matters.  The length of the specification is important – but only up to a point. There was an old joke in the Patent Office that when a claim is longer than your hand, it must be…

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How Long Provisional Applications Hurt You

How Your Own Prior Art Can Kill You I had a client whose inventor would write long provisional patent applications.  He would think through all the options of his inventions, and he would include every option he could conceive. The company made battery separators – the thin sponge that goes between the anode and cathode…

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Patent Descriptions: Every Word Hurts You

Every Word in a Patent Application Hurts You The patent application has two parts: the specification and the claims. Every word in the specification is a trade secret you give away to your competitors. Every word in the claims narrows the claim and limits your enforceable rights. Long Specifications Hurt You Many clients are told…

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Do You Like My Invention?

Inventors often ask for my feedback on their inventions, but the only thing I ask about is revenue. As an investor who focuses on IP, I get asked for feedback on inventions and patents. I have written hundreds, maybe even a thousand patent applications, reviewed countless more, invested in startup businesses, co-founded one, been an…

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Communication Hygiene: Things You Never Say To Your Patent Attorney

Good news in writing – bad news by phone. Inventors have extraordinary power in the patent process, especially in litigation. An inventor’s opinion or comments can often be twisted during litigation and ultimately, used to invalidate a patent or discredit the patent owner. There are things you should never say to your patent attorney, at…

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Avoid Wishful Thinking Patents

I just want “protection,” but I have a run-of-the-mill product. Most startup CEOs want patents because they want ‘protection,’ so they go to a patent attorney. And the patent attorney is in the unfortunate situation of having to find something “inventive” amongst a bunch of run-of-the-mill technology. For early stage startup companies, the entrepreneur becomes…

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Damage Control: Filing Patents After An Employee Leaves

Capturing ideas so you own them can limit the damage a key employee might inflict when they go to a competitor. A company-wide strategy for patents can have ancillary benefits when dealing with employee issues. Let’s say your company is in a highly competitive market for talent, and a key inventor/employee announced that they are going…

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