The following information about patents is general information about the US Patent system and is not legal advice which is given only to clients of the firm. Links are provided to pages at the US Patent and Trademark Office if additional general information is desired.
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issues three types of patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. These patents are issued based on the filing of an application, and the process from filing to issuance can take years, depending on the type of patent applied for, and the subject matter being claimed.
Utility patents are the most common. These protect processes, machines, articles, chemical compositions. The patent is granted after a finding that the invention as claimed is new and not obvious over prior art, and that the disclosure is sufficient to support the patent claims.
The cost of preparing and filing a utility patent application depends on many factors including the complexity of the technology, and the amount of prior art that is considered during the preparation of the application. In general, when a law firm prepares an application, the cost in attorney fees is likely to exceed $5000 and may be substantially higher. In addition, there are government fees for the filing of the application which add an additional $500 or more. These costs are just for protection in the United States, and just for the filing of the application. The application process frequently involves consideration of and response to one or more official actions from the patent office. In addition, an issue fee is due when the application is allowed before the patent is actually granted. After the patent issues, the USPTO collects periodic maintenace fees that are required to keep the patent in force.
The following information about trademarks is general information about the trademark system in the US and is not legal advice which is given only to clients of the firm. Links are provided to pages at the US Patent and Trademark Office if additional general information is desired.
A trademark is generally an identifier that signals to a consumer that a good or service originated from a specific source. Trademarks are typically made up of letters, numbers, pictures, symbols, and/or graphics. However, trademarks can also include other source identifiers such as sound, taste, and/or smell.
Common law rights in a trademark generally begin when the mark is adopted and used in connection with the offering of a good or service in the marketplace. Common law trademark rights provide some level of protection for trademark owners however these rights are typically based upon the extent and location of use of the trademark. Federal registration of a trademark provides for additional rights in the trademark throughout the entire US, however it also requires specific criteria for registration. The complete process and requirements for obtaining a federal trademark in the US can be found at: http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/process/index.jsp
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issues federal trademark registrations to Applicants after examination and publication of applications. During the examination phase a USPTO Examiner will review an application in view of the guidelines outlined in the Trademark Manual of Examination Procedures (TMEP). The Examiner will determine, among other things: if registration and use of the trademark would be likely to create consumer confusion in view of other previously filed US trademark applications/registrations; whether the mark is merely descriptive of the listed goods and services or in the alternative whether the mark is merely suggestive thereof or is arbitrary and fanciful (e.g. the latter being more likely to register on the principle register); and whether the mark has been used in commerce that is regulated by the US government (e.g. interstate commerce, territorial commerce, or commerce between the US and a foreign country).
Use of the mark in interstate commerce is not a requirement for filing a trademark application in the USPTO. The USPTO will allow an application to be filed where the Applicant declares that they have a bona fide intention to use the trademark in commerce. This type of application is called an ntent-to-use application, and must be converted to a use-based application prior to registration by demonstrating to the USPTO that the trademark is in fact being used in commerce.
At Larson and Anderson LLC, we charge flat rate fees for preparing and filing US trademark applications and many of the associated filings as required. However, sometimes during prosecution we may be required to respond to rejections or objections from the USPTO Examiner which would be billed at hourly rates. The US government fees for trademark applications vary in amount and timing, depending on how many classifications are required to describe the goods and/or services and whether the application is a use-based or intent-to-use or application.
We have a large network of intellectual property colleagues throughout the world and thus are able to assist with securing foreign rights in your trademark where desired.
The following information about copyrights is general information about the copyright system in the US and is not legal advice which is given only to clients of the firm. Links are provided to pages at the US Copyright Office if additional general information is desired.
Copyright gives authors certain protections in their original creations which are fixed in tangible mediums. An author’s copyright in his original work is established at the time the work is fixed in a tangible medium (e.g. paper, rock, metal, marble, film, disc, hard drive, etc.).
An author’s copyright can be registered with the US Copyright office. In fact, in order to bring a lawsuit in federal court alleging copyright violation, the copyright MUST BE registered with the office. Furthermore, registration of the copyright with the office may provide additional benefits including an award of statutory damages and attorney’s fees if litigation is successful.
At Larson and Anderson LLC, we charge flat rate fees for preparing and filing US Copyright applications. However, on rare occasions we may be required to respond to rejections or objections from a US Copyright Examiner which would be billed at hourly rates. The US government fee for filing a US Copyright application is less than $50, if filed online.