Rudy, Rudy, Rudy!: Reducing Patent Fees for the Little Guy

by Bobby W. Braxton

It’s easy to root for the little guy.  Whether we are rooting for Rudy Ruettiger to take the field in Rudy, or for inventor Robert Kearns when he takes on Big Auto in the movie Flash of Genius (the Rudy equivalent for patent attorneys), we root for success stories.  A truly American success story is an invention that allows the smallest inventor to compete with the largest corporation.  Unfortunately, while individual inventors dream about inventing the next big thing, the costs and fees involved in filing a patent application often make these dreams prohibitively expensive.  According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), less than 20% of the patents granted in 2011 were awarded to so-called small entities, individuals or businesses with less than 500 employees.  How is the little guy supposed to compete?  The USPTO and the American Invents Act (“AIA”) have offered a few avenues to make it a bit easier for Rudy to get into the game. Continue reading

Trademark Basics: What’s in a Name?

by Mandy K. Jenkins

Is the name of a new business or product really that important to its success?  As Shakespeare would say, “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  No offense to Shakespeare, but most people would agree that when starting a new business or launching a new product, the name is very important.  The name gives people a first impression and is associated with the product or business forever.  So choosing the right name is paramount.  When deciding upon the name for a new company or product, you want to select a name that can be protected as a trademark, ensure your chosen name will not infringe another’s trademark, and take the proper steps to protect your trademark. Continue reading

Patent Filers: No More Swearing

By Yon S. Sohn, as featured in The Texas Lawbook

New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken. But on March 16, the America Invents Act (AIA) will come to aid inventors and corporate R&D departments to keep their resolution to not swear anymore.

Of course, we are not talking about profanity but rather the practice known as “swearing
behind” or antedating the date of invention when procuring a U.S. patent. But first, let us cover a little background before further discussing this no-more-swearing law. Continue reading