Patent Basics

Why patents in September are a bad thing

The USPTO issues more Office Actions in September than any other month. Why is that? The chart above shows the USPTO pendency of First Actions over the last two years. Notice that there is a huge difference in September for the last two years. What is this effect? Patent Examiners have production goals and bonuses.…

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How long does it take to get a patent?

It takes, on average, 2-4 years to get a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. But, you can change the speed based on your filing strategy. The chart above shows how long a patent was pending for the patents that issued to Small Entities in the first quarter of 2021. The blue…

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Non-transitory storage media

If you have a patent claim with the term “non-transitory storage media” – you should find another patent attorney. The history of the “non-transitory storage media” claims. Who can you sue with a “non-transitory storage media” claim? Problems with the “non-transitory storage media” claims. What you can tell if your attorney uses “non-transitory storage media”…

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Types of Patents

What are the different types of patents? Patents have been the bedrock of innovation, powering the innovations of our early republic, through the Industrial Revolution and patents continue to play a big role in today’s technology improvements. Over 10,000,000 patents have been issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and over 400,000 are…

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How long do patents last?

How long do US patents last? Different types of patents have different lifespans.  All of the answers below are for United States (US) patents. How long do utility patents last? Utility patents last 20 years from the earliest priority or 17 years from the date of issue, whichever is longer. Note that you must pay…

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I’m A Recovering Patent Attorney

What is Really Wrong with the Patent System I am a “recovering patent attorney.”  I became a patent attorney after years as an engineer.  I went to a patent attorney and I expected my patent attorney to help me, but I was sorely disappointed.  I was so disappointed that I took the Patent Bar Exam,…

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Inhouse vs Outside Patent Counsel

There are Two Types of Lawyers There are two types of patent lawyers: outside counsel and inhouse counsel.  Each type of lawyer plays a completely different role, and the two types are at a constant battle with each other.  It is not to say that there is a war, but there are diametrically opposed interests…

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How to Spot Bad Patents

Investment-Grade Patents represent only a small sliver of the patent universe. Their value comes from a huge amount of research and thought. However, bad patents are easy to spot. These less-than-optimal patents have certain characteristics that can easily be identified by anyone: the inventor, the investor, or anyone in litigation.  Use this as a first…

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IP Due Diligence in Two Questions

There are two questions to ask every time you are dealing with patents: Can you tell if someone infringes? How hard is it to design around your patent? With these two questions, you are 90% of the way there on IP due diligence. Here is my presentation to Band of Angels in October, 2020.

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The Light Bulb is the Worst Symbol of Invention

Invention is the heavy lifting of 1000’s of failed experiments, not a grand vision that pops into someone’s head. The light bulb is the universal symbol of “invention.”  It is the worst – and best – example of invention, but not in the way you think it is. Invention has been portrayed in lore as…

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