Patent infringement litigation can be costly. While the precise costs vary according to the value of the patent involved, legal fees in excess of $1 million are not uncommon in patent litigation, with total costs often climbing to several million dollars. Those fees and damages can easily put startups and other early-stage companies out of business. It is therefore essential for such companies to build a patent infringement avoidance strategy into their larger business and intellectual property strategies. After all, the best way to manage costly patent litigation is not to infringe on another company’s patent in the first place. Avoiding patent infringement often is easier said than done, but an Alabama patent litigation attorney can help you develop a plan that works for you.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are some of the most exciting, potentially world-changing innovations being developed today. Given the rapid expansion of AI/ML innovations in virtually all industry sectors, it makes good financial sense for AI developers to apply for patent protection on their innovations. However, some innovators want to take AI patent protection a step further by seeking patents on inventions created by their AI systems, viewing AI inventors as analogous to human inventors. When asked whether an AI system could qualify as an inventor under U.S. patent law, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit answered on August 5 with a resounding “no” in Thaler v. Vidal, as our Alabama AI patent attorney explains.
For technological innovations — for example, machines, compositions, processes, plants, chemicals, software, etc. — patents offer the strongest form of intellectual property protection available. Not only does a patent give its holder the right to exclude others from the invention claimed in it, but patent owners can also monetize their patents through licensing and as leverage for investment. But obtaining a patent is often a long, arduous, and expensive process, and some companies simply do not have the resources to see that process through to completion for each and every innovation they produce. Luckily, there are alternative forms of IP protection available for such innovations, and an Alabama intellectual property lawyer can help you decide which ones are right for you.
Design patents can be enormously valuable for any business, but particularly for small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs), who incur about 95% of their costs at the design stage. Good design and, more importantly, the protection of good design through design patents, can lower operating costs. Last month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that it is considering an expansion of the scope of patent protection for designs. For more details, please contact an Alabama design patent attorney.
If you or your company have developed a new product (or made an improvement on an existing one), you probably will be eager to begin using it. You at least might want to tell others about the great discovery or breakthrough you’ve made. But if you intend to apply for patent protection on it — as you should — disclosure of your invention to the public can actually prevent you from obtaining a patent. The best way to avoid losing your patent rights before you even file a patent application is to keep your discoveries secret and seek the counsel of an Alabama patent attorney.