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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,...

Uncategorized / 08.12.2014

[caption id="attachment_825" align="alignleft" width="231"] Ashley Johnson, Law Clerk[/caption][caption id="attachment_652" align="alignleft" width="200"] Rachel Smoot, Associate[/caption] One of the more interesting and controversial trademark cases of the past decade is the invalidation of the Washington Redskins trademarks. The social implications are apparent, but there are also lessons to be learned for businesses. Nearly 10 years ago, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) cancelled all Washington Redskins marks, a decision that was later reversed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in Pro-Football, Inc. v. Harjo. Under Section 2 of the Lanham Act, a trademark cannot be registered if it is disparaging to persons living or dead, and a mark is disparaging if it may ‘slight, deprecate, degrade, or affect or injure by unjust comparison.’ “The social ramifications stemming from any decision are fairly predictable. Legally, however, the lasting effects are less obvious,” says Ashley Johnson, a law clerk at...

Uncategorized / 01.11.2014

[caption id="attachment_347" align="alignleft" width="200"] Sandra M. Koenig, Partner at Fay Sharpe LLP[/caption] Corporate videos are a popular means of promotion for companies, and for reaching internal employees with important messages. What companies often miss is that many of the images, sounds or references included in these presentations may be legally protected under copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property(IP) rights. Even something as innocuous as a painting on the wall in the background of a shot may be protected under copyright, and displaying it in the video without proper permission can result in heavy penalties. “As companies work through the planning stages of their corporate video, it’s critical that they consider what releases and licenses must legally be obtained before shooting,” says Sandra M. Koenig, a partner at Fay Sharpe LLP. Smart Business spoke with Koenig about corporate videos and how companies can ensure they are free from copyright violations before broadcasting. How is ownership determined? The...

Uncategorized / 01.10.2014

[caption id="attachment_361" align="alignleft" width="200"] John Ling, partner at Fay Sharpe LLP[/caption] Filing patent applications with the European Patent Office (EPO) requires a different approach than when filing solely in the U.S. The differences range from administrative to technical. There are, however, filing strategies that will save applicants time and improve their chances of success. “There are many ways to adjust your drafting technique for your U.S. patent application that won’t hurt you when submitting it in America, but will align it with European standards. A little more work up front will save you a lot of money down the road,” says John Ling, partner at Fay Sharpe LLP. Smart Business spoke with Ling about how to save money and ensure success when filing patents with the EPO. How should companies approach filing patents in multiple countries? Some companies file informal provisional patent applications that establish an early effective filing date in the U.S. and then...

Uncategorized / 16.09.2014

Partner Steve Haas was quoted in this week's Crain's Cleveland Business in the section on Innovation. Haas explains that “protecting ideas, innovations and brands requires early and close coordination with our patent and trademark lawyers — delay can be lethal." Click here to read the full article....

Uncategorized / 01.09.2014

Many companies face an unrealized risk when approached by a customer with a problem. Companies will devote a great deal of time and money developing a solution, only to have that customer seek to secretly patent the solution without naming the company’s personnel as inventors or at least co-inventors. “This leads to several bad outcomes, depending upon the particular facts,” says Steve Haas, a partner at Fay Sharpe LLP. “At worst, the company and its other customers can be sued for patent infringement by the first customer, even though the company created the solution. Also, the first customer can source the solution from a third-party supplier without compensating the company that solved the problem — the original company that developed the solution does not get to supply it and cannot stop the new supplier.” Smart Business spoke with Haas about unscrupulous customers that profit from a company’s hard work, and how to avoid...