If You’re an Inventor, Patent Prosecution is the Name of the (IP Strategy) Game
For many, the term “intellectual property” translates into “patent.” You invent something useful, innovative, disruptive or otherwise marketable and decide to patent your life-changing creation. While a copyright or trademark are also forms of intellectual property protection, a patent is distinctly different. Copyrights are typically for artistic creations (books, video, music), while trademarks safeguard identifying words or symbols (Microsoft, IBM, Apple). A patent, on the other hand, grants property rights—you own your invention. Patents are generally held by the science and technology crowd—folks like inventors, entrepreneurs, universities, business start-ups, and companies. For example, FujiFilm Corporation has patents for various image processing devices and methods.
“Patent prosecution is the process of writing and filing a patent application and pursuing protection for the patent application with the patent office.” It’s often part of an overall intellectual property protection strategy developed by a patent prosecution lawyer—someone who is “both licensed to practice law and to practice in front of the patent office.”
Patents are important because they enable a company to stand apart from its competition. In fact, patents can even make it difficult for others in an industry to compete at all.
For example, take the case of NTP v. RIM (Blackberry) in 2005. NTP was a small company that held a small portfolio of wireless patents. It brought suit against Blackberry for violating NTP’s patents. A jury found that NTP’s patent’s were valid and RIM was ordered to pay $53 million in damages. Thereafter, the judge in that case ruled that RIM was continuing to violate NTP’s patents by operating the Blackberry data network. A few lines of text could have brought RIM to ruin—which is why the vastly smaller company then settled the case shortly thereafter for $615 million. It was a classic example of David versus Goliath, resulting in one of the largest settlements in patent case history. Such extreme “bargaining” may not be as easily obtained in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling in eBay vs. MercExchange, which, to a degree, has sought to limit the power of “patent trolls” but the general principle remains: A patent holder can wield tremendous power.
Why Should I Pursue a Patent?
Like copyrights, patents grow muscle when fully formed; that is, they need to be granted so they can be enforced. The difference with patents is that they have a limited application period. If you don’t move quickly to pursue and acquire a patent, all opportunity will be lost to protect your invention. Time goes by and with it goes the opportunity to receive exclusionary rights. Without your knowledge, your creation can take on a life of its own, sprout wings and fly off to be shared among the many in the public domain.
By seeking a patent, through patent prosecution, you formally lay claim to your invention and strengthen its protection. Which means you make it much more difficult for anyone else to compete with you in your industry. This is especially true if your business is the only one using the patent (i.e., you haven’t granted a license to anyone to use your patented invention).
How We Can Help
Registering a patent can be a challenging process. But not when you have Nexio on your side. We’re experts at writing, filing and pursuing protection for patent application. Plus, as patent prosecution attorneys, our lawyers are licensed to practice in front of your governing patent office.
The attorneys at Nexio Law Firm have helped clients pursue and receive patent protection. Want to put some serious muscle behind your invention protection? Get in touch with us. Nexio offers efficient solutions and competitive pricing to strengthen your Intellectual property protection.