17 Seconds #17

Patent tips you should be able to speak in one breath. OK, maybe two breaths.

17 Seconds

Going in, your odds of getting a patent are about 50/50. The deck is stacked against inventors. US patent law has confusing requirements (such as “nonobviousness”) and the courts and the USPTO are pretending there are other requirements (such as “subject matter eligibility”). Patent examiners are credited for “disposing of” patent applications, which means that they either issue patents (sometimes) or try to get you to give up (usually). I had one examiner tell me that he hadn’t even read one application until the fourth round of examination (i.e. the fourth “office action”)!

But if you do things correctly, such as always doing a patent search and filing a solid first patent application (whether provisional or nonprovisional), then you can push the odds closer to 55/45. Which may be the difference between getting a patent or not, between the expense (which is comparable to the cost of hiring a summer intern) being worth it or not.

And, breathe.

17 Seconds #15

Useful, quick.

17 Seconds

One story.

A lobsterman based in Portland, Maine, was giving a guest a tour of Casco Bay, which is notoriously tricky to navigate. As the lobsterman navigated the boat to and fro, the guest was clearly getting antsy. “Man, you’re going fast,” said the guest nervously, “you must really know where all of the rocks are!” Without missing a beat, the lobsterman calmly replied, “Nope, know where they ain’t!”

“Knowing where they ain’t” is the key to drafting smart patent and trademark applications. Clocktower does a patent search before every patent filing and a trademark search before every trademark filing, because the key to successfully prosecuting both patents and trademarks is knowing where the prior art is (for patents) and prior trademarks are – and then avoiding them.

Two updates.

As of 09/01/15, we are increasing the amount we charge for non-Madrid trademark filings from “$3000 including government fees for 1 class” to “$3000 excluding all government fees” This is because the fees for non-Madrid filings are significant and add up quickly. Fortunately, more countries are expected to join the Madrid Protocol soon (including Canada).

Clocktower’s proposal says, “For billing, we use QuickBooks Pro 2014, apologize in advance for its quirkiness, and are actively seeking its replacement.” This month we are testing whether QuickBooks Online (QBO) will be a viable replacement for QuickBooks Pro. We anticipate the transition to be painful and mistake-ridden. And we thank you in advance for your patience. As for the anticipated mistakes, our mistake policy is also in our proposal: “Clocktower is not perfect, no law firm is perfect. When we make a mistake, we will admit it, fix it as soon as possible, to the best of our ability, to the extent possible, and at no charge to you.”

Thank you for your referrals and your business!