We provide extensive patent services to our clients in all areas including software, computer hardware, and mechanical devices. A key area is advising clients on the best navigation through the patent submission process, review, and ultimate approval by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A thorough understanding of the clients’ business model and immediacy is critical to recommending the patent solution as there is often a rush to get the software to market before competitors. In some circumstances, we will recommend that a client obtain an immediate provisional filing to protect the IP as the fundamentals of the technology are fine-tuned along with the entity structure and funding. This often occurs when there is a risk that the IP can be stolen by third parties including disgruntled employees who want to run off with the “high-tech jewels”. This happens more frequently than people are aware. Of course, we conduct patentability opinions to determine whether the product or service can be patented and then chart a path forward. Assuming there is a problematic patent filing that jeopardizes the ability to obtain a patent, we will advise the client on what potential changes can be instituted within the design of the patent to increase the likelihood of success.
In the event a provisional patent is filed it is not examined by the Patent Office but simply serves as a placeholder to file a fully vetted utility patent within a one year absent which all rights will be lost. It is very easy for clients to lose track of this timeframe given the demands of a new company. This is a major reason why it is important to have an IP attorney involved in the early stages.
The filing of a patent is a complex and often expensive undertaking as it involves the work of a registered patent attorney. In selecting a patent law firm, it is always advisable to determine whether the patent attorney has the requisite experience to understand the technology and render the proper claims and designs.