The Traklight Blog

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

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:

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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:

Read More

"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.”

Read More

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.

Read More

LOT Network to Protect Intellectual Property Against Patent Trolls

Patent trolls have long been a scourge to innovators and entrepreneurs, using their claim on overly vague patents to pursue legal action against businesses with the intent of winning a settlement, while never actually attempting to use the patent to develop their own product. But now a cadre of tech companies has joined together in an effort to curb patent litigation and protect themselves from future trolling, save the type found in internet comment sections.

Read More

How to Protect an Idea without a Patent

Many people who start a small business do so because they feel they have a truly unique idea. Many individuals just starting their small business may not have enough money to utilize the patent process. In some cases, it makes sense for a small business to try and sell their product without a patent. There are still cases where a person's idea can be protected without the patent process.

Read More

Protecting Your IP: To Copyright or Patent? That Is the Question.

Time and time again, we've discussed that your intellectual property (IP) is an invaluable aspect of your business. As more and more tech startups gain prominence, a significant issue needs to be addressed regarding protecting your IP: should software be protected by copyright or patent? For years, companies believed that copyrighting software was the logical method to protect it from being imitated. Since then, it has become clear that copyrights have become a little more ambiguous when it comes to whether someone copied an idea from a piece of software.

Read More