The patent landscape has changed dramatically since the first patent law was passed by Congress in 1790. There are some patent-related issues that anyone in New Jersey looking to protect intellectual property or secure a patent should know about. For starters, the America Invents Act has made it easier, faster and cheaper for challenges to patent validity to be initiated in the Patent Office instead of district courts. Consequently, many claims are now dismissed at the PO level.
A challenge was made to the patent law that grants more authority to the Patent Office by a company whose patent claims were dismissed following a PO trial. In another case, the Supreme Court made a change to previous practices by limiting where a case can be filed to the location where a defendant is either incorporated or has a “regular and established” place of business.
There is some debate over what exactly constitutes “regular and established” with the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals declaring that it means a physical place of business. There are further questions involving this clarification since it’s uncertain what guidelines may apply if physical location isn’t easily definable as may be the case with situations involving home offices and telecommuting. There is also concern about businesses transferring patents to Native American tribes in an effort to avoid Patent Office proceedings.
Patents, trademarks and copyrights for tangible things may all be protected under intellectual property law. An attorney may be able to provide assistance during multiple stages in the patent process, from the initial filing of the application through any patent law issues that may arise, such as challenges to IP claims. A lawyer may also help clients develop strategies to protect trade secrets, recover damages from violations to licensing agreements, and take appropriate steps if patents, trademarks or copyrights are infringed.