Posts by: otmseo

The Legalities of Reverse Engineering

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Technological innovation doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Innovators routinely draw upon the insights of others as they develop new ideas. Studying an existing technology to figure out how it works is an obvious approach to developing new and better solutions to particular problems. Whether the technology is software, electronic, chemical, or mechanical, intellectual property…

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Establishing Commercial Use of a New Trademark

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By definition, trademarks are creatures of commerce. State and federal laws protect trademarks because theyserve an important purpose in the marketplace, helping consumers know the source of the goods or services they purchase. This is true whether the product in question circulates among the general public or is only of interest to a narrow group…

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Strategies for Disputing a Competitor’s Patent Application

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In the highlycompetitive world of product innovation, monitoring new patent applications is keyto protecting investments and preserving the value of inventions. Doing so allows a business to quickly discover if a competitor’s patent application describes a product that could potentiallyinfringe upon the business’s patents, or that can potentially be opposed as unpatentable for other reasons.…

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Internal Strategies Businesses Can Take to Protect Trade Secrets

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A constant challenge for businesses with important trade secrets is how to simultaneously make commercial use of them while also preserving their legal status. To be protected as a trade secret, a piece of commerciallyvaluable information must be “the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.” Cal. Civ. Code…

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Defending Patents from Overseas Infringers

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In the global economy, innovators must stayvigilant against copycats not onlyin the countries where they work, but also in far-away places. Over the years policymakers and diplomats have crafted a variety of international rules to address this problem. Inventors in America are often faced with questions about how much to invest in overseas patent applications…

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Strategies for Defending Corporate Trade Secrets

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A trade secret can be a business’s most valuable intellectual property. It might be a secret recipe for a company’s signature product. Or it might be a key piece of code that helps a business differentiate itself from its competitors. Unlike a patent, which exchanges secrecyfor a period of market exclusivity, a trade secret needs…

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Handling Semi-Public Prior Art in Patent Applications

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Prior art can pose significant challenges for innovators trying to patent their inventions. One of the central questions a reviewer at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) asks about an application is whether the invention it describes is new and non-obvious. If the reviewer finds prior art that shows that the invention is in…

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The Relative Merits of Patents and Trade Secrets to Protect Inventions

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Businesses that create a lot of intellectual propertycan face uncertainty about how to best protect their inventions from misappropriation bycompetitors. On the one hand the patent system provides a path to obtaining meaningful if constrained protections that competitors cannot ignore. On the other hand, choosing to treat an invention as a trade secret offers a…

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Defending Patents with Notice Letters

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Defending a patent against infringement requires diligence and care. Keeping tabs on the marketplace for infringement can itself be a time-consuming and difficult effort, especially when a patented invention is hard to detect without extensive analysis. Once an infringement is identified, the patent owner should move quicklyto put a stop to it. In manycases a…

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Strategies for Developing a Strong Trademark

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A trademark is much more than a symbolic representation of a business. It is imbued with the value a business invests in nurturing and promoting its brand. Each customer that learns to associate a trademark with a business’s work further enhances the mark’s worth. Businesses should treat their trademarks like any other valuable asset. Among…

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