The small business client provides unique opportunities to integrate the business goals, entity management, and intellectual property plans. A properly designed and registered portfolio of trademarks, patents, and, copyrights managed through the appropriate business entity and contracts can provide the small business the legal advantages that work on their budget and time scale.
The distinguishing service I offer is intellectual property management linked through the client’s business plan. I provide legal analysis and insight as my clients optimize their business asset protection and exploit their technical and business ideas. The crux of my legal counseling is interviews to capture the goals of the business, research and analysis into viable options, and, optimized legal solutions with execution.
Before applying for a patent, you should have a clear idea of what you are going to do with it, whether you have developed the idea sufficiently to file an application and whether the costs of filing make business sense. Once you 1) know how you are going to use the patent, 2) can describe the invention sufficiently such that it could be made (in patent parlance, it is enabled) and 3) have enough data to convince yourself that you can access a market for the invention that is large enough to justify the costs and efforts involved, then you are ready to file. Give me a call or send an email and we can get started.
Call me, too, if you need help deciding whether you are ready to file. It is better to talk to me too early than too late. You should definitely call before marketing your idea. A patent application must be filed within one year after selling or even attempting to sell your invention. If a year lapses before you file an application, then your rights to a patent are lost. There are similar risks to losing your rights to a patent based upon publishing the idea or disclosing it publicly. So plan to call a patent attorney early in the process.
A trademark is a word, symbol or even a sound that helps consumers know the source of goods or services. It is intended to uniquely point to the source of the goods or services. It is not intended to describe the goods, only to indicate who makes them.
Trademarks are how you are known in your particular field of business. Just like your personal reputation they can be hugely valuable and should be protected. Consumer buying decisions are almost always based at least partially on brand. A well-developed and protected trademark can be used not just to influence your direct buyers but with appropriate controls can be licensed to others for a profit.
Our firm provides expertise in the registration process as well as licensing the brand to others.
Contract and licenses show up in all phases of a business’ life cycle. Contracts can be formed through a variety of means: written, verbal, purchase orders, emails, etc. Partnership agreements, operating agreements for LLC’s and corporate bylaws are special forms of contracts between the business’ owners.
We have experience in a multitude of contract types but specialize in those that include an intellectual property aspect. A development agreement should establish who owns an invention even before it exists. Employment and / or consulting agreements should almost always include sections regarding ownership of intellectual property. A license agreement might be the means to extract value of established intellectual property whether in the form of trade secret, patent, copyright or trademark. Buy sell agreements might be the means to exit a business through the sale of the real and intellectual property.
We have experience in all of these contractual types. In some cases the contract transactions might involve specialized areas of law such as Securities or Litigation where we do not practice. In those cases we can provide a referral to other attorneys who have proven their capabilities to us.
I believe clients should know whenever possible, up front, what a service is going to cost. For these reasons, except in rare cases, I charge a flat fee for my services. Fees are determined after an initial consultation where I can assess the amount of work required on your case. Once I quote a cost, that is the amount you will pay for the agreed to services. I assume the risk for underestimating the amount of work. I encourage clients to talk with other potential attorneys and comparison shop for both the quality of service and the cost.
Fees are collected at the time of signing a retainer to do the work. Fees are held in a client trust account until the work or significant portions of the work are completed. If you choose to stop the work at any time, for any reason, the unused portion of the fees will be refunded. I will charge only for the amount of work completed. My charges are estimated at an hourly rate of $200 per hour. One reason fees are collected up front is that I strive to provide excellent service at a low cost. This requires a lean operation where non-value added work is minimized. Billing and collection of unpaid fees is non-value added work. I quote flat rates, assume the risk of underestimating the costs, collect up front, and pass the savings on to my clients in the form of low fees.
Bob, my associate, or I do all the work with few exceptions. Drafting drawings for a design patent almost always requires a professional draftsman. Filing a patent in another country requires representation in that country. I pass any fees for outside help on to the client with no mark-up. I require outside associates to provide an estimate. Most provide flat fees and I am continually looking for new high quality associates to provide excellent service at low cost.
Conveniently located in San Diego, California, we are an Intellectual Property law firm serving the needs of technology-oriented small businesses. We have the unique combination of small business technology development and intellectual property management and the large business experience including intellectual property strategies for a multi-billion dollar operation.