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Uncategorized / 01.06.2015

By Sandra Koenig, partner, Fay Sharpe LLP When corporations develop new and unique logos, designs, packaging configurations or even sensory elements and other unique identifying elements of goods and services, they need to protect these distinctive features from being cannibalized. If competitors can reap a financial benefit from piggybacking off your branding efforts, your creativity and innovation are squandered. That’s why you need to hire intellectual property attorneys to secure, protect and maintain what can sometimes be a large and complex portfolio of trademarks. Smaller companies may only have a single mark to obtain and defend, but larger corporations could have hundreds. These portfolios can be so large because of the quantity of elements that might qualify. For example, for one client, I once successfully registered the color red for a brand of handheld vacuum cleaners. On another occasion, I played a significant role in securing approval for the registration of the color...

Uncategorized / 28.05.2015

Fay Sharpe has been recognized by Forbes as a top U.S. law firm in the Forbes “Legal Black Book,” which is a compendium of elite law firms recognized for providing critical legal services to major U.S. and global companies. The methodology for selection is based on a law firm’s track record of providing outside counsel to top corporations, practice area range and focus, and high rankings for quality of execution in multiple reviews. The list includes law firms of all sizes. In addition, Fay Sharpe partner Steven Haas will make an appearance in the May 25 issue of Forbes. Haas is among the intellectual property experts quoted in the Legal Black Book article, titled “Are patents losing presumption of validity?” The article addresses the ways in which a case presently before the U.S. Supreme Court could impact the legal validity of patents moving forward, depending on the Supreme Court’s ruling. In Commil...

Uncategorized / 20.05.2015

As a result of the U.S. joining the Hague Agreement on Industrial Designs, beginning May 13, 2015, U.S. applicants can file a single design patent application and elect one or more of the 70-plus countries that are members of the Hague Agreement. U.S. applicants should see a reduction of costs because they will no longer need to hire local patent attorneys in individual countries to file separate applications. In addition, as many as 100 designs can be included in a single application, as long as the designs all relate to the same class of design. However, each design carries an additional cost, so applicants must be careful when deciding how many designs to include in an application. The length of U.S. design patents will also increase, from 14 years to 15 years, per the treaty. As with all design patents, particular attention must be paid to the quality of the drawings and...

Uncategorized / 08.05.2015

Sandra Koenig, who was recently elected vice president of the Cleveland Intellectual Property Law Association (CIPLA) Board for 2015-2016, will be inducted at the annual CIPLA meeting on May 16. Koenig’s membership with CIPLA dates back nearly as far as her 30-year career with Fay Sharpe LLP in Cleveland, where she practices intellectual property law and is a member of the law firm’s Management Committee. For CIPLA, Koenig previously served as committee chair for the Trademark Committee in the 1990s, and has held the position of committee co-chair for each of the last three years. “I’m honored at being elected to the board and excited to begin working with my fellow board members for the next year,” said Koenig. “CIPLA is a valuable and highly respected organization within our field and I’m eager to help continue to advance its membership benefits and activities.” The Cleveland Intellectual Property Law Association brings together...

Uncategorized / 05.05.2015

By Christian Drago, Counsel, and Brad Pulfer, Law Clerk, Fay Sharpe LLP A Supreme Court decision from June 2014 has left some companies with patents on software-related inventions on unstable ground and subsequent lower court decisions only continue to raise questions for those who hold or desire a patent on software. The initial ruling in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International changed what is considered patent-eligible subject matter. That could leave some patents unenforceable, and will challenge companies to rethink how they draft future patent applications. Up until this decision, it was understood by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and patent attorneys in general that software-related patents were patent-eligible subject matter is they were sufficiently tied to a machine, such as a computer. In essence, you’re not claiming the software, you’re claiming the computer that’s performing the function that the software is instructing it to do. After Alice, the court...

Uncategorized / 23.04.2015

By Ann Skerry, partner, Fay Sharpe LLP As green technology becomes more and more a part of our everyday lives, companies may have questions about obtaining patents that protect their inventions. In drafting a patent application, particular attention should be paid to the claims. As with any patent, it is up to you to find out who is infringing your claims and keep an eye on your potential competitors. Green technology patents generally fall into three categories. Energy generation Reduction in energy consumption Improvements to environmental quality In the energy generation field, Northeast Ohio has been a source of numerous innovations in wind turbines, dating back to 1888, when the world’s first electric wind turbine generator was constructed in Cleveland. Advances have included improvements in motors and blades for the turbines and the towers on which they are mounted. Across Ohio, there are projects for large turbines, as well as much smaller devices that can be used at...

Uncategorized / 10.04.2015

Companies everywhere are going over their budgets with a fine-toothed comb. So where does intellectual property fit in? Your IP assets are one of the most valuable parts of your business and you should treat them as such, says Steven M. Haas, a partner with Fay Sharpe LLP. “The overriding factor to keep in mind is that your intellectual property budget should not be considered overhead,” Haas says. “It should be considered part of your overall strategic plan, generating assets for the company.” Haas was recently asked about how companies should evaluate the budget for their intellectual property.   What should companies keep in mind when developing an IP budget? Your IP assets can slow down your competitors and increase their cost and uncertainty, and hopefully provide you with a proprietary market position. Another thing to consider is that banks and financial institutions love to see IP assets for financing, and for mergers and acquisitions. Patents,...

Uncategorized / 31.03.2015

Competitive intelligence aims to provide as much insight as possible into the trends of an industry and into the strengths, weaknesses and current activities of direct competitors. Such programs can be as simple as monitoring the intellectual property (IP) filings within the U.S. of a single competitor, or as sophisticated as gathering and analyzing IP information for many competitors in different countries. Either way, there is business value in establishing and maintaining a competitive intelligence program to understand how competitors are behaving through their IP habits. Matthew P. Dugan, a partner at Fay Sharpe LLP, discusses competitive intelligence programs below. What is competitive intelligence? The term refers to a program to develop and maintain a body of data and information that can be organized and analyzed to provide a better understanding of one or more aspects of a company’s business environment. The analysis can provide a broad, high-level view of an industry...

Uncategorized / 09.03.2015

The impact of intellectual property litigation can devastate a small business, as it is an extremely expensive and there are many steps involved in preparing a defense. “The most important thing is to not ignore the complaint,” says Jude A. Fry, a partner with Fay Sharpe LLP. “When a complaint is delivered, you typically have 21 days to answer or to file a motion to dismiss. Don’t just sit on it for two weeks and then decide you have to act because there is a lot you need to do immediately,” she says. When a suit is filed, how much time can pass before a company needs to take action and should you assert potential defenses? Act immediately. Contact and retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Preferably, hire an attorney who specializes in patent, trademark or copyright law who can help you figure out the strength of the complaint and your potential...

Uncategorized / 13.01.2015

Fay Sharpe LLP, a leading intellectual property law firm, has promoted three people to partner and named its Management Committee for 2015. John Zanghi and Robert Sieg have both been promoted to equity partnership, while George Huang has been promoted to non-equity partner. In addition, Tom Kocovsky, as part of his retirement transition process, is moving from equity partner to non-equity partner. Zanghi has been with the firm since 2002 and specializes in patent preparation and prosecution in electrical and mechanical arts, with an additional emphasis on intellectual property litigation. Sieg has been with the firm since 2000 and specializes in patent preparation and prosecution in general electrical arts and manufacturing processes. Sieg holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, he has substantial experience with semiconductors, medical imaging, LCD and other technologies.. Huang joined the firm in 2004 and specializes in patent preparation and prosecution in chemical engineering. His specific expertise includes biomedical engineering, pharmacology,...