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San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Blog

What if someone wants to buy my patent?

The opportunity to sell a patent for a great price is something many inventors dream about. While many aspire to have a patent that does well in the marketplace, others dream of a day when they can leave the work to someone else.

Whether you are actively trying to sell your patent, or someone has asked if your patent is for sale, you want to make sure you get the best value for the time you put into creating it.

Does my patent need international protection?

Developing an idea is a long and expensive process. While some ideas come quickly, others take time and testing to discover whether they will be beneficial to the public.

After going through development and then the patent process, it may seem like you have jumped through every available hoop to make sure that your idea has protection. While that may be the case in the United States, if you plan on marketing your product in another country, you may need extra protection.

State sovereignty does not protect from Inter Partes Review

When your patent is being challenged through Inter Partes Review (IPR), it can be a difficult situation. After years of work on developing your idea, and investing more time and money into getting a patent, receiving notice that someone is challenging your rights as an owner is frustrating.

Developed as part of the America Invents Act, IPR is an attempt to create a more efficient approach to challenging a patent. While there are some drawbacks, the process also prevents abuse of protections.

So you have good genes. Do they belong to you?

Whether you have a flawless complexion or high metabolism, people might say that you have good genes. They may be the reason for your curly hair, freckles or skin color.

Every child inherits certain traits from their biological parents. However, if a new intellectual property (IP) amendment becomes law, you may no longer have the rights to your genes.

By the numbers: A shifting intellectual property market

The Licensing Executives Society, Inc., recently released the results of the LES High Tech Sector Royalty Rates & Deal Terms Survey. This survey covers the ever-changing world of intellectual property licensing and patents. Data from the survey digs much deeper than what can be found through public sources. Information from this survey and the past two LES surveys gives us a closer look at what is happening over time to the licensing market from 2008 to 2017.

Taking a look at the numbers

Patent holder finds filing suit can backfire

Protecting the value of a patent is an important part of intellectual property asset management. A lot of strategies for doing this are tried and true, but as we have written about previously, some strategies don't always work.

In the earlier case, the tactic in question involved a pharmaceutical company that sought to extend the security of a drug patent by transferring a patent to a Native American tribe and licensing back exclusive rights to the product. The theory was to have the tribe claim sovereign immunity against against patent validity challenges from potential competitors through inter partes review (IPR). That move didn't fly with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the board's decision.

Patent thickets: an IP reality posing unique challenges

Road Runner cartoon fans know that if Wile E. Coyote pulls out a bucket of glue to capture the elusive bird, things are not going to go well. Whatever happens, the nature of the sticky situation is one that will mean trouble for the canine and elicit laughs from viewers.

In the intellectual property realm, the patent thicket is a sticky situation many may encounter. The humor is lacking, however. As described by most observers, it involves creating a web of patents around a single product or process. The result is that a long list of patents that makes it easier for a company to extend its exclusive right to monetize a product beyond the original patent expiration.

'Must have' argument fails to fly in Apple IPR appeal

A common element of patent challenges these days through inter partes review (IPR) is the claim that a patent shouldn't have been granted in the first place because of obviousness due to prior art. This is a claim that Apple attempted to use in responding to allegations that it had infringed on a patent held by PersonalWeb Technologies, LLC. Apple's argument succeeded in IPR before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). However, PersonalWeb won on appeal.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit faulted the board for accepting an Apple expert's view that the PersonalWeb patent for data processing "must" have combined elements of two earlier patents, therefore making the PersonalWeb patent invalid. The problem, in the court's view, is that Apple's narrative represented only one possible method of application, not the only one.

The right NDA is the one that best meets your needs

Nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) are part and parcel of effective intellectual property management. What elements an NDA should include depends on your intent. To be sure you meet your specific needs, you should consult an experienced IP attorney.

That said, most experts agree that there are certain provisions every confidentiality agreement should include, and in this post we explore them.

A look at arbitration's role in resolving patent disputes

Few would argue the U.S. legal system is perfect. It is what we have and it is up to us to manage it in ways that achieve optimal justice. In recent years, the concept of arbitration has taken root. The idea being that by removing disputes from courts, resolution becomes more efficient and less costly.

Businesses seem to like these private venue methods. According to a recent study by the University of California Davis Law Review, 81 of the 100 biggest U.S. companies require arbitration of disputes. But not everyone agrees that this is a good thing. Critics say the arbitration destroys consumer rights.

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