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Patent Law

Do you have an idea or invention in need of legal protection? Caseiro Burke is experienced in patent law and prosecution in a wide range of technical fields. Our patent attorney works collaboratively with clients to secure patent rights in the United States and throughout the world. Patent owners use their patents to receive licensing revenue, ward off infringers or both. Beyond the establishment of patent rights, Caseiro Burke assists clients in negotiating and documenting patent license agreements.  We also represent clients in the assertion or defense of patent infringement claims.

What is a patent?

A patent is a government-granted right to exclude others from making, using, selling or importing an invention. The right is limited in time. A patent can be used as the basis of a patent infringement lawsuit. A patent is initially owned by the inventor or inventors. The owner may grant a license to make, use, or sell the invention. Ownership can be transferred by assignment.

What is the difference between a provisional patent application and a non-provisional patent application?

A provisional patent application provides an applicant with one year of patent pending status. It does not result in the grant of a patent but can be an effective placeholder, establishing a date of application, which is important in determining the rightful owner of a patent, and in determining a date of relevant “prior art” used in the patentability analysis. Provisional applications are not examined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and are less formal than non-provisional applications.

Non-provisional applications are examined by the USPTO for the patentability of the invention described. On average, it takes approximately two years for the USPTO to provide an initial determination of patentability. Filing fees are more for a non-provisional application than for a provisional application. Both types of applications must be filed within a certain period of time after “public disclosure” of the invention. Both types of applications may be used as the basis for seeking patent rights outside of the United States.

What is patent prosecution?

Patent rights can only be established by the federal government. Each country has its own patent laws, and patent rights can only be asserted in those countries where patent rights exist. The patent dispute process and results can vary widely from one country to another; however, for the most part, the process and requirements to be met to establish patent rights are similar in many countries. The process begins with the filing of an application that describes the invention.

As you might expect, there is much time and effort associated with the process, which involves communicating with the patent examiner responsible for reviewing the application and, possibly, revising the description of the invention to distinguish it from previously existing technology.

Our experienced patent attorney assists clients in patent prosecution. We work with our clients to resolve any rejections or objections during the patent prosecution process.

What are the different types of patents?

There are three types of US patents: utility, design and plant, all of which are derived from the filing of a non-provisional application. Caseiro Burke assists clients in obtaining utility and design patents.

Utility patents comprise the vast majority of patents and cover any new, useful and non-obvious innovations; specifically, any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. The term of a granted US utility or plant patent is 20 years from the filing date.

Design patents cover nonfunctional ornamental features of a functional item; specifically, any new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. Though design patents do not protect the utility of the invention, they play a vital role in ensuring others do not try to steal your design or layout. The term of a granted US design patent is 14 years if filed before May 13, 2015. If the design patent application is filed on or after May 13, 2015, the term of a granted US design patent is 15 years.

Similar rights can be obtained in other countries as well. The UnitedStates is one of approximately 180 contracting countries included in an international treaty known as the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). We can file PCT applications for our clients to start the process of obtaining patent rights in other countries. Caseiro Burke works with foreign agents to process PCT and foreign national applications.