Utility Patents

News & Analysis as of

Design Patents and Copyrights for Designs on Useful Articles

Two recent cases illustrate the potential benefits of protecting intellectual property rights with both design patents and copyrights, particularly for an article that has both utility and a design, including because a design...more

Introduction to IP: Some Basics of Patents, Trademarks, & Trade Secrets

What is “Intellectual Property” (IP)? •Exclusive Rights to Certain Intellectual Products (Ideas) –Necessary due to the “non-rivalrous” nature of ideas: •“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction...more

Interpreting Utility Patent Claims

Utility patents constitute about 90% of the patents in the United States. Design patents and plant patents, which are not discussed here, comprise the other 10%. Utility patents protect the functional aspects of a machine,...more

Pitfalls When Refiling a Priority Application under Article 4 of the Paris Convention

Patent applicants who have filed a priority application (such as a U.S. Provisional application) may wish to abandon and then refile that priority application to extend the time available for filing a utility application. ...more

Five IP Lessons for Small to Medium–sized Businesses

Intellectual property plays an increasingly significant role in the successful management of American and international businesses alike.  I’ve set out below a few of the most important questions that you as a small to...more

Brexit: IP Considerations in Light of the UK’s Vote to Leave the EU

While the “Leave” result of the June 23 referendum will not have an immediate impact on intellectual property, the eventual British exit (“Brexit”) from the European Union could have long-term implications for IP protection...more

Protecting the Next Big App

Due to our ever-increasing dependence on mobile devices, we use mobile apps daily, whether to try and defeat Candy Crush® or to quickly order a pizza. Indeed, many of you may be reading this article via mobile app....more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Spring 2016

Supreme Court to Weigh In on Damages for Design Patent Infringement - Recent decisions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit regarding damages available in design patent cases highlight the court’s...more

Using Design Patents to Claim Functional Elements???

A recent opinion from the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Sport Dimension, Inc. v. The Coleman Co., No. 2015-1553, 7 (Fed. Cir. 2016), held that design patents can provide protection for ornamental...more

Federal Circuit Reverses Claim Construction of Design Patent That Ignored Functional Elements

Applicants for design patents should consider claiming functional aspects of their designs in addition to the purely ornamental elements as part of their claiming strategy to achieve the broadest protection for their designs....more

Functional Features in Design Patents

The treatment of functional features in design patents was discussed in the recent Federal Circuit case for Sport Dimension, Inc. v. The Coleman Company, Inc., Case No. 15-1553 (Fed. Cir. 2016). The Court rejected the...more

The History, Purpose and Benefits of Patents

Britain has the longest known continuous patent system. British patents can be traced to the 15th Century, when the British Crown began granting exclusive rights, called “Letters Patent,” to certain manufacturers and traders....more

The Smart Phone Patent Saga Continues - Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., et al.

In a case involving suits, countersuits and multiple appeals by the two giants of the mobile phone space, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a jury’s finding of infringement, voiding the accompanying...more

LARPing with Patent Trolls

Live Action Role Playing (LARP or LARPing) usually involves Renaissance Festival worthy costumes, foam medieval weapons, and an intense dedication to not breaking character.  I can’t say I’ve ever had the privilege of...more

Supreme Court Hearing May Resolve Critical Questions in Canadian Patent Law

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) recently granted AstraZeneca Canada Inc. et al. (AstraZeneca) leave to appeal from the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision upholding the invalidity of AstraZeneca’s Nexium patent. This appeal...more

USPTO Issues Performance and Accountability Report for FY 2015

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently released its Performance and Accountability Report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. In describing the USPTO's strategic and performance-planning framework, the 2015 report begins by...more

The Value of Integrated IP Protections and Enforcement Strategies to Stem the Importation of Counterfeit Goods: Part 2 of 2

Part 1 of this blog discussed the advantages of a proactive and integrated IP protection strategy. Here, in Part 2, we address the benefits and weaknesses of the various IP protections and provide one example of a cohesive...more

Blog: Utility Patents and Utility Patent Applications

If you’ve ever overheard water-cooler banter about patents, chances are it was about utility patents, the most common kind of patent issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). What is a utility...more

Know your patent documents

Most are familiar with a U.S. utility patent, have a seven digit number followed by a “B”...more

The “Smart Phone” Wars – Episode VII: Will the Force of the Supreme Court Awaken?

Design patents protect the ornamental features of utilitarian objects, that is, the uniqueness of aesthetic features, form, or configuration of products. Design patents can be a significant weapon in the intellectual...more

What Type of Patent Application Should You File First?

without the filing of any related applications, the provisional application will not be published or otherwise disclosed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. One significant disadvantage of a provisional...more

A Few Useful Holiday Inventions

One principal requirement for obtaining a utility patent is that the invention be useful. “Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful...more

More Than a Pinky Promise: Recent Developments to the Promise Doctrine in Patent Law

Don’t want your patent invalidated? Then you should diligently vet any promissory language in that patent because, as the following cases illustrate, such language raises significant risks of patent invalidation on the basis...more

Ads Touting Function Shoot Down Trademark

This isn’t the first time we’ve written about brand owners who shoot themselves in the foot with their advertising. And, I’m sure it won’t be the last. As we’ve discussed before, touting the function of a product design...more

Enablement: Multiple Measurement Methods Can Lead to the Same Result - Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. v. Covidien, Inc.

Addressing the issues of indefiniteness and non-infringement for both utility and design patents, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed and vacated in part the district court’s grant of summary judgment...more

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