The Traklight Blog

Explore the world of intangible assets and IP with guest blogs, business owner interviews, and more.

Chinese Scooters Raided at CES for Patent Infringement

As we've previously noted, intellectual property infringement is something of an issue in China. Whatever the underlying reasons might be, the proliferation of counterfeit goods is a problem for manufacturers concerned with losing market share to knockoff copies of their products. Innovators both in the US and abroad have to be vigilant of possible infringement, and willing to take action to stop copycats. One California startup did just that.

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Guest Blog: Three Reasons Your Patent Translations May Be Inaccurate – and Why It May Potentially Cost You Millions

In today’s global economy, inventions and products easily cross borders.  For multinational corporations with intellectual property (IP) at the very foundation of their business, keeping IP secure is essential to survival. This security requires treating the invention as a trade secret or filing patents in specific jurisdictions around the world. Obtaining patent protection in multiple jurisdictions requires patent applications to be translated to and from a variety of languages.

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's...Thermostat Patent? | Allure Energy's IP

Unless you're fortunate enough to live in an area that is always temperate, you'll reach a point in the year where you're grateful for the modern marvel that is climate control. That's especially true here in the valley, where I dare say there's no better feeling than stepping from a blistering 110-degree heat into the cooled confines of an air-conditioned building. And as with most things, technology has greatly improved how we're able to heat and cool our living and working spaces, with companies vying to make the next great innovation. One recent lawsuit proves that the world of air conditioning can be as ruthless as a community college trade school.

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3 Effective Ways to Safeguard Your Ideas

How to safeguard your ideas or inventions is an important concern for many first time inventors or entrepreneurs. A small business, especially one that is looking to grow, has a lot to consider as they move through the winding roads of business success. Often times, small business owners are concerned about whether or not their innovation or IP can be lost.

While the number of ideas that are legitimately stolen is relatively low, it isn’t an unheard of scenario considering IP theft in the US tops $250 billion annually. Each year, hundreds of cases regarding patent, copyright or trademark infringement are heard in US courts. With this in mind, many business owners might wonder what they can do to protect themselves, especially when a small business is in a delicate growth phrase. We’ve collected three easy ways to safeguard a small business’ innovation.

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What Does Intellectual Property Mean for Small Business?

How is intellectual property defined? Intellectual property (IP) pertains to things you create with your mind, not the ideas themselves, but the expression of the ideas in some form. An idea all by itself in your head, is not IP.

If you created something original, you may have a certain degree of protection against someone else using, claiming, modifying, or selling it. There are four common types of IP: copyrights, patents, trademarks (including design rights), and trade secrets. Every once in a while we like to recap these four intellectual property types and distinguish them for our readers. Enjoy!

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Worst IP Mistakes in 2014, Part 3

As we start 2015, this the final of three posts (read Part 2 here) on the worst mistakes I have seen made in 2014.  Of course there is the usual tie to intellectual property (IP) and money or valuation of the venture.

Misunderstanding and waiting on patents

Does this sound familiar: "Get that minimum viable product out there in the hands of customers! Hurry up and finish that prototype! Get that crowdfunding campaign up!" Speed to market is often heralded as paramount. However, showing too much about how your product works in a public way can drastically impact your ability to patent. In turn, it could become an IP mistake you wish you wouldn't have made. 

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Newly Filed Pricing Patent Helps One, Hurts Another | Uber vs Lyft

For those looking for a ride, whether it be heading home after a night on the town or going to the airport to catch a flight, Uber has become the go-to service to get you where you need to be. The service's appeal is based upon its ease of use and relative affordability compared to a traditional cab. With its continued expansion (Uber is now in 50 countries) and lurking competitors, protecting their intellectual property (IP) is a natural step for the company. But one filing has customers and onlookers alike in an uproar.

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How Hard is It to File a Patent Application?

Obtaining a patent not only protects your company but increases your valuation. Given the advantages, it’s no wonder there are dozens of kits and quick online services calling for inventors to file patents. The process of getting a patent with the help of The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is relatively simple in principle.  Advertising wants you to believe in their quick routes to obtaining patents, but it entails a little more work than that.

In a nutshell here is how to patent an idea:

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What Types of Inventions Are Patentable?

This guest blog was written by patent attorney David Stein of Cooper Legal Group, a firm that specializes in providing a range of intellectual property services to clients in high-tech industries. David resides in Fairfax, VA, and frequently visits the patent office to conduct examiner interviews in furtherance of patent prosecution. David’s practice focuses on patent procurement for computing technologies, including software and electrical and computer engineering.

When individuals and companies develop valuable ideas, their first question is: "Can I patent this?"

Patents generally involve concepts that are functional and useful. Artistic works, such as books, music, and videos, are typically not patentable (but are likely protected by copyright); and other types of information, such as proprietary data, can be protected by trade secrets.

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How to Protect Your Invention without Breaking the Piggy Bank

This is a guest blog by Bao Tran, Patent Attorney with Tran & Associates and Founder of PowerPatent which produces the ProvisionalBuilder® patent workflow software.

The change from First to Invent to First Inventor to File under the America Invents Act (AIA) has significant implications for inventors who are not prepared. Under the new regime, priority is given to the first inventor to file a patent application. Those unprepared to move quickly will be placed at a significant disadvantage.

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Your Wireless Carrier is Indebted to a U of M Professor's Innovation

Our nation's universities are on the forefront of research and innovation. Brimming with clever, inquisitive minds and endowed with support from generous alumni, college researchers and academics are able to make advances in science, medicine, and even the paranormal. Personally, I don't recall my own college years being filled with an abundance of good ideas, but the results speak for themselves. And one university is taking legal action to ensure their innovations aren't infringed upon.

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3 Reasons Why You Should Protect Your Intellectual Property

You've heard people talk about intangible assets and why it's important to protect your intellectual property (IP), as well as why you should protect it from the time you have the idea (not after you get into business). Have you ever asked yourself, "So what? Why is it important to me as a small business owner?"

Here are some examples of recent cases and how protecting their IP helped them make a case for what was originally theirs:

If I still haven't gotten your attention, here are three reasons why you should consider securing that IP:

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"I'm In": Why Entrepreneurs Use Patents

Did you catch last night's season premeire of Shark Tank? If you have been busy working out the details of your innovation, you may not have had the opportunity to tune into this popular TV show on which entrepreneurs seek investments from five self-made multi-millionaires and billionaires.

If you have watched the TV show, then you know that once the business financials are highlighted, the next question the Sharks ask is, “Do you have a patent?” You also know that if there is no patent, or even a patent pending, each Shark immediately responds by saying, “I’m out.”

Let’s look at two essential reasons for the Sharks’ response, and how entrepreneurs benefit from patents: as a way to suppress potential competition and to get investors to say, “I’m in.”

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What Architects and Engineers Need to Know about Intellectual Property

This is a guest blog by Danny Swift, LicenseSure LLC Intern, with guidance from Patricia A. Harris, Esq., Founder and CEO of LicenseSure LLC. LicenseSure provides business formation and licensing compliance services for design professionals throughout the US. A/E businesses must conform with both business and licensing rules in every state in which they have a project, and requirements are often opaque and frequently differ from state to state. Failure to comply with these rules results in fines and penalties for unlicensed practice, not to mention project stoppages, disrupted client relationships and bad publicity. LicenseSure assists its clients in all 50 states with establishing and maintaining compliance throughout the course of their projects.

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