Tarek Fadel writes in Fast Company that, even as a lawyer, the eight-year, $20,000 process of getting a patent on his user-responsive bar exam preparation software caught him by surprise. His article outlines some of the pratfalls that befall entrepreneurs who attempt to navigate the patent process without a patent attorney.
One thing that jumped out what his lauding his patent attorney for doing what patent attorneys are supposed to do: namely, identify the flaws in the application and work with the Examiner (not against him or her!) to remedy the flaws in a ways that does not undermine the patent protection or stray from the inventor's commercial embodiment.
Here at HLR, the very purpose of this company is to understand your company so that the work product produced here is tailored to your needs, goals, and expectations. It sent a little chill down my spine to hear Mr. Fadel be so impressed that the last patent attorney he relied on finally took the time to learn about his product and his business before tackling the rejections in the file wrapper. I hope you take this to heart -- investing in a patent attorney (even when you're a smart lawyer yourself) is worth the money; the earlier, the better!
If you haven't seen it yet, Bravo TV has a new reality show about the trials and tribulations of Silicon Valley start-up life, called, predictably, "Start-Ups: Silicon Valley."
Unsurprisingly, there are screaming matches and tears -- just like in real life! I'd love to hear what you think about the show. Does it mirror your start-up experience?
Last weekend, something scandalous happened in Washington. No, not another mistress or another smoking gun email, but rather a memo released by an arm of the Republican Congressional functionaries known as the Republican Study Committee. "Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it" made waves when it came out, boldly proclaiming shorter copyright periods and urging a return to the Constitutional mandate of "promoting science and the useful arts" rather than rewarding authors and creators.
This article in Slate details the timeline. My favorite part was the woebegone explanation of why Spider-Man and Iron Man can never appear in the same movie. On Broadway, maybe...?
Intellectual Property rights of all kinds live in a sort of half-light, half-dark limbo between anti-competitive monopoly and incentive to all to increase innovation and monetize new ideas. Copyright laws, of late, seem to be trending in the exact opposite direction as public mores on the topic. If copyrights were shorter (how much shorter? we don't know), then there might be less money in copyright "trolling." Or there might be more -- shorter time to profit could lead to more aggressive behavior. The fact is, we don't know what will happen if we change the laws. What we do know is that the laws in the US don't match the behavior of our citizens. In 2009, a woman who allegedly downloaded 24 songs through Kazaa was hit with a $1.5M verdict for copyright infringement. (It was later reduced to $220,000 -- what a relief?). Is this justice? Would the RIAA have made $1.5M or even $220,000 off of the music she "stole"?
I think we can all agree that the topic is worth further review. The RSC made a great first step. Unfortunately the lobby flexed its muscles and set us back. However, I think it's fair to say that the RSC drew blood. Now it's up to us to let the lobbyists know what we expect from our lawmakers.
Hawley Legal Resources, LLC
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