Are you an inventor? Do you create beautiful paintings or take wonderful pictures? What about an author, are you writing a book? Opening a new business? If you can say yes to any of these questions, you have an interest in Intellectual Property laws. Have you looked into these? As with any law, there are changes happening depending on former cases. It pays to be up on these laws if you are creating something unique. You bet “Patent Trolls” are.
Let’s talk patents. There’s a new group in town, the AIA or America Invents Act. This group has only been in existence for three years, but it has judges, business people and lawyers working hard to figure out what changes have been brought about by its existence. More recently, a push for more national patent reform has taken place. Many “patent trolls” have tried to get licensing fees from others claiming infringement rights. These trolls do not produce anything or supply services of any of the patents in question. The cost of a patent infringement case can run into the millions. Many of these “patent trolls” are hoping for a quick settlement out of court. They know that companies do not want to waste money on a lawsuit even if they will win in the end. It’s the old, “why spend $100 dollars to save $10” question.
Things have turned a bit in the favor of the legal IP owner. Google recently received attorney fees from one such “patent troll”. And Samsung and Apple are still fighting their battle. It is a busy time in the world of IP. If you are looking to obtain a patent you will need to take some steps to protect you from a patent troll. You will need to know what is patentable. You are going to have to do a thorough search through current patents. Don’t forget to hire a patent attorney. You can also apply for a provisional patent. And as always, be as detailed as possible when registering.
Recently, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, one of the people behind the AIA, has declared the recent round of patent reform dead in the water. One state, North Carolina, took matters into their own hands when it became clear the reform was stalled. They passed a law protecting business owners from the patent trolls. Meanwhile, there is very little chance that reform will move forward until later in 2015. Stay tuned.