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Patent harvesting versus mandated innovation

By David J. French

The expression “patent harvesting” has surfaced in management jargon. These words invoke a scenario wherein corporate management looks under the carpet, so to speak, to see if somewhere in their organization the staff have generated good ideas that are worth patenting.

However, corporate management philosophy has also introduced the further concept of “mandated innovation.” According to this latter concept, a corporation, instead of waiting for inventions to surface from within the organization, actively analyzes the kinds of innovations that would advance corporate plans for the future. A mandate is then issued to technical staff to generate the details necessary to support such innovations.

In both cases, the corporation hopes to obtain patent protection for ideas and innovations which will have real market impact and add further profit to the bottom line.

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Trademark hygiene: A cautionary tale

By David J. French

Businesses, particularly when they are starting out, often make the mistake of assuming that by merely incorporating they have reserved their name. They have acquired some rights, but only in the smallest sense. The corporate register that issues a corporate name, for example the province or the federal government, will not create another corporation with the same name. But that does not mean that merely because a corporation has been formed that such company has the right to stop others from using its name simply because it has been incorporated.

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Drafting your own patent disclosure document

By David French

In our previous posting, we addressed the issue of getting to the point in drafting a patent application. I suggested that inventors would be well-served if they did make the attempt to draft their own patent disclosure document. I strongly recommended against proceeding without the support of a patent professional. But at the same time, I emphasized the advantages of understanding the patenting process by trying to do part of the work yourself.

The challenge in patenting is to identify a feature that is different from what has been done before and to focus a patent disclosure document on that feature. This requires understanding what is patentable and exercising the discipline to stay focused. Too many inventors trying to write their own patent applications think that the more words they use, the better. They respond to the impulse to show off how much they know. They think that longer makes a patent disclosure document better. This could not be further from the truth.

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Getting to the point in drafting a patent application

By David French

Inventors often aspire to draft their own patent applications. This is something that they can and should do. But they should never go through the process of filing a patent application without consulting with and using the services of a patent professional.

Nevertheless, if an inventor starts the process of drafting their own patent application, they will save money and have a better understanding of the nature of the exercise. This will help them appreciate whether the prospective patent that they may obtain will be worth the investment. It will also help them improve their own invention and, correspondingly, the value of any patent they might obtain.

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Apple vs. Samsung: U.S. Patent Office – Challenges to patent validity

By David French

News reports have indicated that at least one of Apple’s patents which were the subject of the $1 billion jury verdict in California in August are in trouble with the U.S. patent office.

Here is one reference: U.S. Office Rejects 2nd Apple Patent

And another: Key Apple patent used against Samsung under fire

Any suggestion that Apple’s patent has been conclusively invalidated by the U.S. Patent Office is not correct. The proceedings at the U.S. patent office are not yet over. However, this raises a very interesting situation which may create a dilemma for the trial judge.

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