Protecting your innovations through patents provides your business with a competitive advantage. Lee Palmateer is a licensed patent attorney and provides a full range of patent counsel services.
Patent Preparation and Prosecution
We take pride in preparing, filing and prosecuting patent applications before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in a high quality, professional, and cost-effective manner.
Provisional Patent Applications
Provisional patent applications can be prepared more quickly and inexpensively than standard (or “non-provisional”) applications. They are often used to preserve your patent rights in the face of a quickly approaching “statutory bar” date or other deadline. Provisional applications will expire if not followed up within one year with a non-provisional application.
Commercialization of Patented Technology
Representing clients in patent commercialization transactions is a particular forte of the Lee Palmateer Law Office as described on our commercialization page.
Enforcement and Litigation
Lee Palmateer has an extensive track record of successful enforcement of intellectual property rights. We zealously represent our client’s interests in a professional manner and work hard to resolve disputes without litigation. Lee Palmateer is a seasoned litigator and will aggressively litigate your case should litigation become necessary.
Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
It is often prudent to seek an opinion before investing in patent applications. Upon request, we will carefully analyze prior art patents and render a written or oral opinion as to the patentability of your invention.
Non-infringement Opinions; Freedom to Operate Opinions
If you are concerned about avoiding infringement of a particular patent or field of patents, we can analyze the patent or several patents and provide you with an opinion and advice to help you make the right business decisions.
Working with foreign patent agents, the Lee Palmateer Law Office can provide patent counsel for foreign and international patent protection.
We provide counsel regarding scheduled USPTO maintenance fee payments to keep your patent alive for its full term.
What Is a Patent?
A patent is a property right that the government offers an inventor in exchange for the inventor sharing the details of the invention with the public. A patent allows an inventor to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling an invention in the United States or importing the invention into the United States for a period of time — generally 20 years from the effective date of the U.S. patent application. Like any other property right, it may be sold, licensed, mortgaged, assigned or transferred, given away, or simply abandoned. U.S. patents are effective only within the United States, U.S. territories, and U.S. possessions.
What Can Be Patented?
There are three types of patents in the U.S. which are described below.
- Utility patents are for a new and useful process (such as a manufacturing process, a business method, or computer process), machine, manufacture (such as manufactured articles), or composition of matter (such as chemical compositions), or new and useful improvements thereof. These classes of subject matter taken together include practically everything that is made by man and the processes for making the products.
- Design patents are for a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
- Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.
New and Non-obvious Test for Obtaining a U.S. Patent
In order for an invention to be patentable it must be new (or “novel”) as defined in the patent law. An invention is not new if, before the date of the invention, it was previously described in a printed publication anywhere in the world or it was known or used by others in this country. Even if the invention was new at the time of the invention, it is not new if more than one year before the U.S. patent application filing date it was described in a printed publication anywhere or was in public use or on sale in the U.S.
In most foreign countries, the inventor must file on or before the date of public use or disclosure in order to preserve patent rights in those countries.
In addition to being new, the invention must be sufficiently different from what has been used or described before (the “prior art”) that it may be said to be non-obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the technological field of the invention. For example, changes in color or size compared to the “prior art” are ordinarily not patentable.
The patent application process is a lengthy one, and it may take several years before a patent is issued. During the process, an invention may be said to have “patent pending” status as soon as the patent application is filed.
First in the application process, your patent attorney will work closely with you over a period of days or weeks to prepare a written patent application, which is a very carefully crafted document describing your invention and making several patent “claims” that define the scope of patent protection being sought.
Typically, the first formal step with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) is to file the patent application. Non-provisional applications will be examined by the USPTO. The examination may result in USPTO Office Actions rejecting the application, and Responses filed by the inventor’s attorney with amendments to the application and/or arguments to overcome the rejection. Once a patent is issued, maintenance fees must be paid on schedule in order to avoid abandonment of the patent.
Often, it is prudent to perform a prior art search and obtain a patentability opinion from your patent attorney to evaluate the likelihood of obtaining a patent on your invention before preparing and filing an application.