Sound Trademarks

Sound Trademarks

Sound Trademarks

Will the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) register Sound Trademarks or Service Marks?  Yes.

“Sensory”  Trademarks or Service Marks including sounds, odors, and colors can be the subject matter for US Applications for Registration in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  In other words, sensory Marks can serve as an indicator of the source of the goods or services.

 Examples of Sound Trademarks and Service Mark Registrations

Click  to hear the Sound Trademark or Service Mark.

The Criterion for registration of Sensory Marks

The Criterion for registration of Sensory Marks is identical to Non-Sensory Trademarks. Title 15 of the United States Code, in part, reads:

  • 1052 – Trademarks registrable on principal register; concurrent registration

No trademark by which the goods of the applicant may be distinguished from the goods of others shall be refused registration on the principal register on account of its nature unless —

Examples of situations that prevent registration are:

      • Consists of or comprises the flag or coat of arms or other insignia of the United States, or of any State or municipality, or of any foreign nation, or any simulation thereof
      • Consists of or comprises a name, portrait, or signature identifying a particular living individual except by his written consent, or the name, signature, or portrait of a deceased President of the United States during the life of his widow, if any, except by the written consent of the widow
      • Consists of or comprises a mark which so resembles a mark registered in the Patent and Trademark Office, or a mark or trade name previously used in the United States by another and not abandoned, as to be likely, when used on or in connection with the goods of the applicant, to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive
      • Consists of a mark which (1) when used on or in connection with the goods of the applicant is merely descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive of them, (2) when used on or in connection with the goods of the applicant is primarily geographically descriptive of them, except as indications of regional origin may be registrable under section 1054 of this title, (3) when used on or in connection with the goods of the applicant is primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive of them, (4) is primarily merely a surname, or (5) comprises any matter that, as a whole, is functional

 

  • 1053. Service marks registrable

Subject to the provisions relating to the registration of trademarks, so far as they are applicable, service marks shall be registrable, in the same manner and with the same effect as are trademarks, and when registered they shall be entitled to the protection provided in this chapter in the case of trademarks. Applications and procedures under this section shall conform as nearly as practicable to those prescribed for the registration of trademarks.

Do You Need a Sound Trademark?

Trademark/Service Mark Applications can become complicated. If your company needs cost-efficient assistance with the filing of a sound Trademark/Service Mark, please contact us.

If you or your business are located in the greater Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Lexington, or Louisville standard metropolitan statistical areas and have a topic or question you would like Business Patent Law, PLLC to address in the blog, please send us an email.

Business Patent Law, PLLC provides intellectual property and business counsel for businesses and companies.  If you need assistance, please contact us. We will be happy to assist you.

If you want to stay up-to-date with news that may impact your business and intellectual property, sign up for Business Patent Law’s Monthly Mailer™ newsletter.

International Intent to Use Application

Intent to Use Application – Multiclass

What is an Intent to Use Application?

When the goods or services are yet to be used in commerce, clients may opt to file Intent to Use Applications.  The Intent to Use Trademark/Service Mark Application establishes a “constructive” date of first use with the grant of the Registration. Having this date formally established and recorded can benefit the Applicant/Owner of the Mark in situations where there are conflicts between competing Applications for Registration.

Filing a Multi-International Class Intent to Use Application

There are forty-five (45) International Classifications of goods and services. The USPTO requires a filing fee for each International class in which the Applicant intends to use the goods or services. International Classes 1-34 apply to goods and International Classes 35-45 apply to services. Applicants can file a Trademark/Service Mark Application for the same – MARK – in one or more International Classes.

The Scenario: A Case Study

Our company filed a multiclass Application for our – MARK – in International Classes 1 (chemicals), 6 (pharmaceuticals), 10 (medical apparatus), 29 (staple foods) and 44 (medical services).

In due course, the Examiner issued a Notice of Allowance for International Classes 1 (chemicals), 6 (pharmaceuticals), 10 (medical apparatus), 29 (staple foods) and 44 (medical services).

Within six months after the Notice of Allowance, the Applicant must file a Statement of Use for the – MARK – for each International Class before the Registration for that International Class will be granted.

Past The Six-Month Deadline?

For an International Class, if the Applicant has not used the – MARK – in interstate/international commerce before the expiration of the sixth month period, the Applicant can file a Request for an Extension of Time in Which to File a Statement of Use. The Request for an Extension of Time in Which to File a Statement of Use grants the Applicant an additional six-month period to file a Statement of Use for an International Class.

How Many Extensions?

Under Title 15 of the United States Code, an Applicant may file a maximum of five Requests for an Extension of Time in Which to File a Statement of Use.  If a Statement of Use is not filed for an International Class within the maximum statutory time limit, the Application for Registration will go abandoned for that International Class and the Applicant must file a new Application for Registration of the – MARK –.

NOTE: Some International Classes of goods/services require government agency approval before those goods and services can be used in interstate/international commerce.

For the company’s – MARK –, we were able to establish interstate/international use:

  • For International Class 29 (staple foods), the company filed a Statement of Use during the first Request for an Extension of Time to file a Statement of Use and received a Registration.
  • For International Class 44 (medical services), the company filed a Statement of use during the second Request for an Extension of Time and received a Registration.
  • For International Class 1 (chemicals), the company filed a Statement of use during the third Request for an Extension of Time and received a Registration.
  • Due to lack of FDA approval, the company could not establish intrastate/international use of the – MARK – for International Classes 6 (pharmaceuticals) and 10 (medical apparatus) and the Application went abandoned for International Classes 6 and 10.

BPL’s Observations

Although a multiclass Application can be divided after filing, it is usually more cost-efficient for a company to file an Application for each International Class 1 (chemicals), 6 (pharmaceuticals), 10 (medical apparatus), 29 (staple foods) and 44 (medical services), i.e., file five Applications for Registration rather than a single multi-class Application.

The time of filing an Intent to Use Application is critical for most businesses.

Trademark/Service Mark situations can become complicated. If your company needs cost-efficient assistance with filing for Trademarks/Service Marks, please contact BPL.

If you or your business are located in the greater Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Lexington, or Louisville standard metropolitan statistical areas and have a topic or question you would like Business Patent Law, PLLC to address in the blog, please send us an email.

Business Patent Law, PLLC provides intellectual property and business counsel for businesses and companies.  If you need assistance, we are here to assist you.

If you would like to stay up-to-date with news that impacts your business and intellectual property, sign up for Business Patent Law’s Monthly Mailer™ newsletter.

Patent rights transfer around the world - Patent Rights

Patent Assignments

What are Patent Assignments?

What is a patent assignment? In general, a Patent Assignment transfers ownership of the entire patent right, title, and interest owned by one party to a second party.

Patent Assignments are a type of contract between the Assignor (current holder) of Patent rights and the Assignee (new owner) of Patent rights. Recording an executed Assignment in the Patent Offices gives notice of the change in the Patent owner.

Recording ownership of a Patent is similar to recording a deed for real property — like your house. The recording of the deed to your house gives notice of your current ownership and specifies the location of that home in the State. Recording a Patent Assignment gives notice of ownership and the location of your intangible Patent rights.

National and Regional Patent Offices

The European Patent Office is a regional Patent Office and the Japanese and United States Patent Offices are national Patent Offices.

Each national or regional jurisdiction has specific formats and rules associated with recording the ownership of Patent rights. European, Japanese, and United States Patent Offices have required wording and procedures for recording an Assignment in the European, Japanese, or United States Patent Office.

  • For an English language Assignment of Patent Rights, the Japanese Patent Office will accept a Japanese/English bilingual Assignment to record.
  • The European Patent Office will accept an English, French, or German language Assignment. After the European Patent is granted, assignments of the Validations of the European Patent are required in most member states’ Patent Offices where the current owner asserts the European Patent’s rights.
  • The USPTO accepts English language Assignments. (Non-English Assignments must be translated/transliterated into English.)

Patent Applications

Assignments of Patent Applications can also be recorded in Patent Offices. Each jurisdiction will have different rules for recording ownership of Patent Applications. In the United States, when the US Patent Application issues as a US Patent, the ownership of the Patent Application applies to the US Patent until the ownership is assigned to another person/entity.

35 United States Code (U.S.C) 261 Ownership; assignment, reads:

“Subject to the provisions of this title, patents shall have the attributes of personal property. The Patent and Trademark Office shall maintain a register of interests in patents and applications for patents and shall record any document related thereto upon request, and may require a fee therefor.

Applications for patent, patents, or any interest therein, shall be assignable in law by an instrument in writing. The applicant, patentee, or his assigns or legal representatives may in like manner grant and convey an exclusive right under his application for patent, or patents, to the whole or any specified part of the United States.

A certificate of acknowledgment under the hand and official seal of a person authorized to administer oaths within the United States, or, in a foreign country, of a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States or an officer authorized to administer oaths whose authority is proved by a certificate of a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States, or apostille of an official designated by a foreign country which, by treaty or convention, accords like effect to apostilles of designated officials in the United States, shall be prima facie evidence of the execution of an assignment, grant, or conveyance of a patent or application for patent.

An interest that constitutes an assignment, grant, or conveyance shall be void as against any subsequent purchaser or mortgagee for valuable consideration, without notice, unless it is recorded in the Patent and Trademark Office within three months from its date or prior to the date of such subsequent purchase or mortgage.”

For Assignments of US Patents and US Patent Applications – because of 35 U.S.C. (U.S.C) 261, Business Patent Law, PLLC advises its clients:

  • In the United States to execute Assignments of Patents or Patent Applications before a notary public.
  • In a jurisdiction other than the United States, to execute the Assignments before the appropriate apostille.

Assignments can become complicated. If your company needs assistance with its Patent Assignments, please contact BPL.

Are you or your business located in the greater Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Lexington, or Louisville areas? Do you have a topic or question you would like us to address in the blog? Please send us an email!

Business Patent Law, PLLC provides intellectual property and business counsel for businesses and companies.  If you need assistance, please contact Business Patent Law, PLLC.

If you want to stay up-to-date with the news that impacts your business and intellectual property, sign up for Business Patent Law’s Monthly Mailer™ newsletter.

The Hague

The European Patent

How to Get a European Patent

Can you get a European Patent on a product designed in the United States? Yes. Can Business Patent Law assist you with that patent application? Absolutely! Here are a few things you need to know about overseas patent applications, to better understand the process.

European Patent Applications

  • Applicants can file European Patent Applications (EPA) via the European Patent Convention.
  • Applicants can file EPAs via the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

Locations of the European Patent Office (EPO) for filing EPAs

  • Munich Germany is the principal office of the EPO. Other EPO offices are in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague, and Vienna.
  • Your EPA can be filed at any location of the EPO.

Professionals (Licensed by the EPO) Represent BPL’s Clients before the EPO

  • Business Patent Law (BPL) has foreign associates around the globe ready to represent BPL’s clients before various foreign Patent Offices.
  • In Europe, BPL has associate European Patent Attorneys licensed by the EPO to represent clients before the EPO.
  • BPL works closely with European associates to monitor and assist with the evolution of the EPA toward the grant of the European Patent(s).

Following Examination EPAs are Denied or Granted

  • After examination by the Examination Division of the EPO; if the Examination Division concludes that the EPA is patentable, the post-examination EPA is published.
  • On the date of publication of the post-examination EPA, the European Patent is granted.
  • The European Patent is a “bundle” of individual member states’ National Patents.

Validation of the European Patent (EP) Required in each Designated Member State

  • After the grant of the European Patent, it must be validated in the designated member states.
  • Among other things, validation requires payment of designated member state’s fees and providing translations or transliterations of the Patent if that state does not accept the validation in one of the three official languages of the EPO.

Official Languages of the EPO

  • English
  • French
  • German

Oppositions Against the Granted EP

For a period of nine months subsequent to the grant of the Patent, a third party can institute an Opposition Proceeding against the EP.  In Opposition Proceedings, filed before the Oppositions Division of the EPO, third parties argue against the patentability of the granted EP.

Member Nations of the EPO – 2022

Member Nation                                                                         EPO Member Since

AL Albania 1 May 2010
AT Austria 1 May 1979
BE Belgium 7 October 1977
BG Bulgaria 1 July 2002
CH Switzerland 7 October 1977
CY Cyprus 1 April 1998
CZ Czech Republic 1 July 2002
DE Germany 7 October 1977
DK Denmark 1 January 1990
EE Estonia 1 July 2002
ES Spain 1 October 1986
FI Finland 1 March 1996
FR France 7 October 1977
GB United Kingdom 7 October 1977
GR Greece 1 October 1986
HR Croatia 1 January 2008
HU Hungary 1 January 2003
IE Ireland 1 August 1992
IS Iceland 1 November 2004
IT Italy 1 December 1978
LI Liechtenstein 1 April 1980
LT Lithuania 1 December 2004
LU Luxembourg 7 October 1977
LV Latvia 1 July 2005
MC Monaco 1 December 1991
MK North Macedonia 1 January 2009
MT Malta 1 March 2007
NL Netherlands 7 October 1977
NO Norway 1 January 2008
PL Poland 1 March 2004
PT Portugal 1 January 1992
RO Romania 1 March 2003
RS Serbia 1 October 2010
SE Sweden 1 May 1978
SI Slovenia 1 December 2002
SK Slovakia 1 July 2002
SM San Marino 1 July 2009
TR Turkey 1 November 2000

Need a European Patent?

If your company needs assistance with European or other foreign jurisdictions’ Patent Applications, we can help.

Business Patent Law, PLLC provides intellectual property and business counsel for businesses and companies.  If you need assistance, please contact Business Patent Law, PLLC.

Do you have a topic or question you would like Business Patent Law, PLLC to address in the blog? Please send us an email.

If you would like to stay up-to-date with news that impacts your business and intellectual property, sign up for Business Patent Law’s Monthly Mailer™ newsletter.

capital gains on patents

Capital Gains – Intellectual Properties  

Capital Gains May Be Available For The Transfer Of Intellectual Property Rights

A capital gains tax rate for the transfer of Intellectual Property is available if the transfer of Intellectual Property rights is carefully planned.

Patent Rights are not Accorded Capital Gains Status – Unless…

26 I.R.C. 1221 – Capital Asset, in part, reads:

(a)    In General

For purposes of this subtitle, the term “capital asset” means property held by the taxpayer (whether or not connected with his trade or business), but does not include –

(3) a patent, invention, model or design (whether or not patented), a secret formula or process, a copyright, a literary, a musical/artistic composition, a letter or memorandum, or similar property, held by—

                    (A)    a taxpayer whose personal efforts created such property,

                    (B)    in the case of a letter, memorandum, or similar property, a taxpayer for whom such property was prepared or produced, or

                    (C)    a taxpayer in whose hands the basis of such property is determined, for purposes of determining gain from a sale or exchange, in whole or part by reference to the basis of such property in the hands of a taxpayer described in subparagraph (A) or (B)

Situation 1 – Patent Capital Asset

Joe was the founder of his company JoeCo. Over the years, Joe was the inventor of several Patents for the products sold by JoeCo. After 40 years in business, Joe was seeking buyers for JoeCo. AcquireCo purchased JoeCo and all assets and liabilities.

Joe can treat this transfer of Patent rights as a capital asset because the U.S. Internal Revenue code also includes 26 I.R.C. 1235. When specific facts exist, the inventor’s Patents are capital assets taxed as capital gains.

26 I.R.C. 1235 – Sale or Exchange of Patent, in part, reads:

(a)    General    A transfer (other than by gift, inheritance, or devise) of property consisting of all substantial rights to a patent, or an undivided interest therein which includes a part of all such rights, by any holder shall be considered the sale or exchange of a capital asset held for more than 1 year, regardless of whether or not payments in consideration of such transfer are—

                     (1)     payable periodically over a period generally coterminous with the transferee’s use of the patent, or

                     (2)    contingent on the productivity, use, or disposition of the property transferred.

(b)    “Holder” defined For purposes of this section, the term “holder” means—

                    (1)     any individual whose efforts created such property, or

                    (2)    any other individual who has acquired his interest in such property in exchange for consideration in money or money’s worth paid to such creator prior to actual reduction to practice of the invention covered by the patent, if such individual is neither—

                    (A)    the employer of such creator, nor

                    (B)    related to such creator (within the meaning of subsection (c)).

Situation 2 – Intellectual Property Gains

Jill was a seamstress with talent for making and selling clothing designs that generated a comfortable living for her family. Jill was a sole proprietor and over the years received two Trademark Registrations for Jill’sThings®. After 40 years, Jill sold her business to AcquiringJack, LLC with a knack for scaling small businesses. 26 I.R.C. 1221 does not prevent Jill’sThings® from being classified as capital assets. Therefore, the sale of Jill’sThings® would be treated as capital gains.

Situation 3 – Patent Capital Asset

AcquiringJack, LLC purchased all rights associated with two JoeCo Patents previously sold to a third party. AcquiringJack LLC held the JoeCo Patents for 18 months and sold the JoeCo Patents to LastMinuteCharlie, Inc. AcquiringJack, LLC’s sale of the JoeCo Patents will be treated as capital gains.

Situation 4 – No Capital Gains

Second Fiddle was an individual who was a skilled guitarist and sufficiently talented to write original music. Over the years, Second Fiddle had received Copyright Registrations for some of his musical compositions. While on a regional tour with his band, the Fiddlers, a vice president of Big Break Inc. made Second Fiddle an offer he could not turn down for his Copyright Registrations.  Second Fiddle sold his Copyright Registrations to Big Break Inc. According to 26 I.R.C. 1221, a Copyright or musical score held by the creator is not a capital asset. Second Fiddle’s sale was taxed as ordinary income.

Situation 5 – Intellectual Property Capital Gains

Philharmonic Violin was an individual who played third violin with the orchestra. Although not as musically skilled as some other violinists in the orchestra, Philharmonic Violin wrote a few concertos and was granted some Copyrights for her efforts. Philharmonic Violin assigned her Copyrights to her company, Concertos LLC. On her lucky day, Philharmonic Violin arrived early for practice and was playing some of the supporting violin portions of her concertos. Big Director, the CEO of his production company, heard the portions of Philharmonic Violin’s concertos and told Philharmonic Violin that they were perfect for the score of one of his films. On that day, Big Director wrote a check payable to Concertos LLC. Because Concertos LLC rather than Philharmonic Violin received the payment, the payment will be taxed as a capital asset.

Business Patent Law, PLLC does not provide tax counsel. The above situations are only illustrative. Changes in the facts of a taxable situation can generate different applications of Title 26 Internal Revenue Code. Advance planning for taxable situations can reduce the amount of taxes paid. For tax advice, please contact your tax advisor.

Business Patent Law, PLLC provides intellectual property and business counsel for businesses and companies.  If you need assistance, please contact Business Patent Law, PLLC.

If you would like to stay up-to-date with news that impacts your business and intellectual property, sign up for Business Patent Law’s Monthly Mailer™ newsletter.

Do a Claims Check on Your Patent

Claims Checks Are Important  

Claims Checks

Doing claims checks of  your Patents are essential because they define the scope and boundaries of the Patent.

Claims are Legal Boundaries

As previously indicated in this Blog on Patent Infringement: “A deed for real property determines the real property’s boundary and what constitutes a trespass. In a similar vein, Patent claims define the intellectual property boundary of the Patent and what establishes an infringement.”

The Situation

Approximately five years ago, our company filed three Patent Applications for three separate products that our company continues to market and sell to our national and international customers.

Our attorneys and the USPTO examiners had several rounds of arguments regarding the patentability of claims of our three Patent Applications. Over this timespan, some of the as-filed claims of the three Patent Applications were amended, canceled and/or re-amended by our attorneys. Before the end of the patenting process, our attorneys also added some new claims not previously set forth in the as-filed claims. Even the examiners made some examiners’ amendments to the claims.

After all the arguments, the USPTO issued Notice of Allowances. We paid the Issue Fees and we eventually received the three granted Patents.

The claims of two of the Patent we received were perfect. However, the claims checks revealed that about half of the claims of the third Patent were incorrect.

What should we do?

Actions: When a Claims Check Reveals Errors

  • Although not recommended, a few Patent owners do not attempt to correct the incorrect claims.
  • Review the USPTO file wrapper and your files to determine where and when the claims errors occurred. If the errors were caused by the USPTO, the USPTO requires no additional fees to correct the incorrect claims. If the errors were caused by the Applicant(s), the USPTO requires the payment of a government fee to correct the errors.
  • Sometimes, other parts of a Patent contain errors that need correction.
  • Submit a Certificate of Correction (PDF) to the USPTO.

Claims can be considered the heart and soul of the Patent, so it’s essential that yours be correct.

Need More Information?

If you have a question about Claims checks, please get in touch with Business Patent Law, PLLC.

Have another topic or question you would like Business Patent Law, PLLC to address in the blog? Please send us an email!

Business Patent Law, PLLC provides intellectual property and business counsel for businesses and companies.  If you need assistance, please contact Business Patent Law, PLLC.

If you would like to stay up-to-date with the news that impacts your business and intellectual property, sign up for Business Patent Law’s Monthly Mailer™ newsletter.

Notice of Abandonment for Patent

Notice of Abandonment

Approximately six months ago, our company’s patent attorney filed our response to the USPTO Office Action. The response was filed within the time period set by the USPTO. We just received a USPTO Notice of Abandonment of our Patent Application.

When receiving a Notice of Abandonment, do not panic. It is not uncommon for the USPTO to take months and sometimes more than a year to reply to an Applicant’s response. Applicants have two months from the date of the Notice of Allowance to file documents in the USPTO.

What Can You Do?

First, let’s determine your particular situation, based on the letter you received…

The Notice of Abandonment identifies the USPTO’s reasons for the abandonment

  • Pursuant to 37 C.F.R 1.135, prepare a complete response for the most recent Office Action that was issued prior to the Notice of Abandonment.
  • Pursuant to 37 C.F.R. 1.137, prepare a Petition to Revive and pay the USPTO fee.

The Reason(s) for the Notice of Abandonment cannot be readily discerned

  • When the Examiner is known, attempt to call the Examiner.
  • Most Examiners are responsive to telephone inquiries.  However, if the Examiner is not responsive to your telephone messages, attempt to call the Examiner’s supervisor.  Supervisors generally return calls.
  • If the Examiner is unknown, search the USPTO database for one or more telephone numbers that can be of assistance in identifying USPTO personnel that may be of assistance.
  • If the Notice of Abandonment is associated with a US National Stage Application, the PCT help desk may be of assistance.

Once you have the evidence required to respond to the Notice of Abandonment:

  • Pursuant to 37 C.F.R 1.135, prepare a complete response for the most recent Office Action that was issued prior to the Notice of Abandonment.
  • Pursuant to 37 C.F.R. 1.137, prepare a Petition to Revive and pay the USPTO fee.

The Code of Federal Regulations

37 C.F.R 1.135 – Abandonment for failure to reply within time period reads:

  • (a) If an applicant of a patent application fails to reply within the time period provided under § 1.134 and § 1.136, the application will become abandoned unless an Office action indicates otherwise.

  • (b) Prosecution of an application to save it from abandonment pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section must include such complete and proper reply as the condition of the application may require. The admission of, or refusal to admit, any amendment after final rejection or any amendment not responsive to the last action, or any related proceedings, will not operate to save the application from abandonment.

  • (c) When reply by the applicant is a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action, and is substantially a complete reply to the non-final Office action, but consideration of some matter or compliance with some requirement has been inadvertently omitted, applicant may be given a new time period for reply under § 1.134 to supply the omission.

37 C.F.R 1.137 Revival of abandoned application, or terminated or limited reexamination prosecution.

In part, 37 C.F.R 1.137 reads:

(a) Revival on the basis of unintentional delay. If the delay in reply by applicant or patent owner was unintentional, a petition may be filed pursuant to this section to revive an abandoned application or a reexamination prosecution terminated under §1.550(d) or §1.957(b) or limited under §1.957(c).

(b) Petition requirements. A grantable petition pursuant to this section must be accompanied by:

  • The reply required to the outstanding Office action or notice, unless previously filed;

  • The petition fee as set forth in §1.17(m);

  • Any terminal (and fee as set forth in §1.20(d) required pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section; and

  • A statement that the entire delay in filing the required reply from the due date for the reply until the filing of a grantable petition pursuant to this section was unintentional. The Director may require additional information where there is a question whether the delay was unintentional.

Navigating the requirements of protecting your intellectual property can be challenging. If you need assistance, please contact Business Patent Law, PLLC.  We provide intellectual property and business counsel for businesses and companies. If you would like to stay up-to-date with the news that impacts your business and intellectual property, sign up for Business Patent Law’s Monthly Mailer™ newsletter.

Legal licenses and licensing agreements

Licenses: What You Need to Know

Licenses Defined

We can define licenses as, “an owner giving permission to a legal entity or a real person to make, produce, or use an owner’s tangible and/or intangible property.” Almost anything can be the subject of a License. It is best to have a written document for any License agreement.

Types of Licenses

There are exclusive and nonexclusive Licenses.

When the owner grants an exclusive License, it means that the owner will not grant another License to a third party.

Whether an exclusive or a nonexclusive License is granted can impact the bargaining power of the Licensor or the bargaining power of the Licensee. For example, a multinational franchisor may not grant exclusive Licenses while a start-up may be happy to grant an exclusive License.

What to Include in a License Agreement

  • As long as it is legal, a License may contain any type of clause or section related to the owner’s tangible and/or intangible property as well as the duties of each party
  • Definitions regarding the meanings of specific words used in the License
  • Grant of permission to make, produce, or use an owner’s tangible and/or intangible property
  • Specific description(s) of the licensed tangible and/or intangible property
  • Description of each geographic territory covered by the License and the term of the License
  • Obligations to commercialize the licensed tangible and/or intangible property and milestones payments
  • License fees and running royalties
  • Licensee’s progress reports, records and audits
  • Banks and currency used for payments and timing of payments
  • Ownership of jointly created tangible and/or intangible property related to the licensed tangible and/or intangible property
  • Confidentiality and trade secrets
  • Licensee’s guarantees to comply with governmental regulations in all jurisdictions where Licensee is using or selling the licensed tangible and/or intangible property
  • Dispute resolution
  • Termination and wrap-ups
  • Continuing obligations after termination

The above are just some sections and clauses that can be included in Licenses.

License Agreements can be complicated contracts. If your company needs assistance to prepare its Licenses or your company needs help to determine if it is advantageous to execute a License, please contact Business Patent Law, PLLC.

Business Patent Law, PLLC provides intellectual property and business counsel for businesses and companies.  If you need assistance, please contact Business Patent Law, PLLC.

If you would like to stay up-to-date with news that impacts your business and intellectual property, sign up for Business Patent Law’s Monthly Mailer™ newsletter.

foreign patent protection

How Much Does a Foreign Patent Cost?

Contemplating Patent Protection in Foreign Jurisdictions

During management’s last meeting, it was clear that our international sales have tripled over the last few years. Some of us expressed concern about potential “knock-offs” in other countries. Some of our suppliers are in Asia and the Pacific. We talked to other friendly companies about the costs of foreign Patents. The information provided by our friendly contacts about costs varied. Their common denominator was conjunctive – but the foreign Patent costs!

Should Our Company File Foreign Patent Applications?

It depends. As a general rule, Business Patent Law advises clients:  If a foreign Patent will not make money for the Company or prevent the Company from losing money, there is no business reason for filing one.

Patent rights create a limited monopoly in the foreign jurisdiction granting the Patent.

General Observations on the Costs of Foreign Patents.

  • Applications that can be filed in the English language tend to cost the least
  • Applications that must be transliterated from English into a non-Roman alphabet language tend to be the cost the most
  • Applications that can be translated into a foreign language using the Roman alphabet tend to cost somewhere between an English language Application and a transliterated language foreign Patent Application
  • Usually, the Parent Patent Application is a United States Patent Application prepared by Business Patent Law. When Business Patent Law’s foreign associates opt to utilize most of Business Patent Law’s United States Parent Patent Application, costs to our clients tend to be less than when foreign associates do not use BPL’s Parent Patent Application

Rankings of Costs of Procuring and Maintaining Foreign Patents in Select Foreign Jurisdictions*

  1. European Patent Office                                            14-17 x USPTO costs
  2. Japan Patent Office                                                   2.5-3 x USPTO costs
  3. Korean Intellectual Property Office                       2-3 x USPTO costs
  4. China National Intellectual Property Admin.      2-2.5 x USPTO costs
  5. Mexican Patent Office                                              1.5-2 x USPTO costs
  6. Brazilian National Institute of Industrial Prop.  1-2 x USPTO costs
  7. Australian Patent Office                                           1.0-2 x USPTO costs
  8. Russian Patent Office                                                1.0-1.5 x USPTO costs
  9. Philippines Patent Office                                          1.0-1.5 x USPTO costs
  10. Canadian Intellectual Property Office                   1.0-1.5 x USPTO costs
  11. Indian Patent Office                                                   1.o-1.5 x USPTO costs

* Estimates are based on Business Patent Law’s experience, and due to other countries’ Patent Office and foreign associates activities, fees can be outside of the above estimated ranges. Ranges are based on everything proceeding smoothly in the other Patent Offices.

If we can assist your Company with developing a foreign strategy, please contact Business Patent Law, PLLC.

Business Patent Law, PLLC provides intellectual property and business counsel for businesses and companies.  If you need assistance, please contact Business Patent Law, PLLC.

If you would like to stay up-to-date with news that impacts your business and intellectual property, sign up for Business Patent Law’s Monthly Mailer™ newsletter.

Office Action Made Final Patent Law

Office Action Made Final

What is an “Office Action Made Final” from the Patent Office?

Our Company received an Office Action Made Final from the Examiner, what does it mean and what do we do now?

In the Office Action Made Final, some of the Patent claims were allowed and some the Patent claims were rejected.

How Can We Respond to an Office Action Made Final?

In responding to the Office Action Made Final, some of the options for your business are:

  • Cancel the rejected claims and have your Patent Issue on the allowed claims
  • Cancel the rejected claims; have your Patent issue on the allowed claims; and file a Continuation-Type Application directed to the previously rejected claims before the Patent is granted
  • If circumstances permit, cancel the rejected claims; have your Patent issue on the allowed claims; and file a Divisional Application
  • File a Request for Continued Examination
  • Initiate an Appeal directed toward the rejected claims
  • Allow the Application to go abandoned

Another Option: The Pilot Program

37 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) §1.116 provides for the filing of a Request for Consideration under the After Final Consideration Pilot Program.

If the required conditions of 37 C.F.R. §1.116 are met, it provides a potentially less expensive route for responding to an Office Action Made Final than the above options.  Some of the conditions for using the Pilot Program are:

  • There must be an Office Action Made Final
  • Applicant must amend at least one independent claim that narrows the scope of the claim
  • A USPTO Certification and Request for Consideration under the After Final Consideration Pilot Program 2.0 Form must be filed with Applicant’s Response
  • Applicant’s Response must be filed using EFS-Web
  • There is no USPTO fee to request consideration under AFCP 2.0, but any other USPTO fee that is due must be paid at the time of the request consideration under AFCP 2.0
  • Applicant must to participate in any interview requested by the Examiner

The Law – 37 Code of Federal Regulations 

37 C.F.R. 1.116 reads:

Amendments and affidavits or other evidence after final action and prior to appeal.

 

(a) An amendment after final action must comply with §1.114 or this section.

 

(b) After a final rejection or other final action (§ 1.113) in an application or in an ex parte reexamination filed under § 1.510, or an action closing prosecution (§ 1.949) in an inter partes reexamination filed under § 1.913, but before or on the same date of filing an appeal (§ 41.31 or § 41.31 of this title):

 

(1) An amendment may be made canceling claims or complying with any requirement of form expressly set forth in a previous Office action;

 

(2) An amendment presenting rejected claims in better form for consideration on appeal may be admitted; or

 

(3) An amendment touching the merits of the application or patent under reexamination may be admitted upon a showing of good and sufficient reasons why the amendment is necessary and was not earlier presented.

 

(c) The admission of, or refusal to admit, any amendment after a final rejection, a final action, an action closing prosecution, or any related proceedings will not operate to relieve the application or reexamination proceeding from its condition as subject to appeal or to save the application from abandonment under § 1.135, or the reexamination prosecution from termination under § 1.550(d) or § 1.957(b) or limitation of further prosecution under § 1.957(c).

(d)

 

(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section, no amendment other than canceling claims, where such cancellation does not affect the scope of any other pending claim in the proceeding, can be made in an inter partes reexamination proceeding after the right of appeal notice under § 1.953 except as provided in § 1.981 or as permitted by § 41.77(b)(1) of this title.

 

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section, an amendment made after a final rejection or other final action (§ 1.113) in an ex parte reexamination filed under § 1.510, or an action closing prosecution (§ 1.949) in an inter partes reexamination filed under § 1.913 may not cancel claims where such cancellation affects the scope of any other pending claim in the reexamination proceeding except as provided in § 1.981 or as permitted by § 41.77(b)(1) of this title.

 

(e) An affidavit or other evidence submitted after a final rejection or other final action (§ 1.113) in an application or in an ex parte reexamination filed under § 1.510, or an action closing prosecution (§ 1.949) in an inter partes reexamination filed under § 1.913 but before or on the same date of filing an appeal (§ 41.31 or § 41.61 of this title), may be admitted upon a showing of good and sufficient reasons why the affidavit or other evidence is necessary and was not earlier presented.

 

(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (e) of this section, no affidavit or other evidence can be made in an inter partes reexamination proceeding after the right of appeal notice under § 1.953 except as provided in § 1.981 or as permitted by § 41.77(b)(1) of this title.

 

(g) After decision on appeal, amendments, affidavits and other evidence can only be made as provided in §§ 1.198 and 1.981, or to carry into effect a recommendation under § 41.50 (c) of this title.

If the law excerpt above seems confusing, we can help. We can assist your Company to understand what the notice you received says and what your options are under the law. Together we can develop a Response to the Office Action Made Final, for your best outcome.

Business Patent Law, PLLC provides intellectual property and business counsel for businesses and companies.  If you need assistance, please contact Business Patent Law, PLLC.

If you would like to stay up-to-date with news that impacts your business and intellectual property, sign up for Business Patent Law’s Monthly Mailer™ newsletter.