The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) 16th Annual Independent Inventors Conference will be held August 15-16, 2014. After taking place in various regions around the country, the annual conference is coming home to the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

For two days, independent inventors and small business owners will have an opportunity to learn, network, and jumpstart their creative endeavors. Experts and senior officials from the USPTO will present valuable information on patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property (IP) matters while successful business owners and inventors will relate their inspiring personal experiences in bringing their dreams to market. In addition, representatives from government, legal, and business development entities will discuss commercial best practices and the various resources offered by their organizations. Each attendee will have an exclusive opportunity to meet one-on-one with a USPTO expert or IP professional of his or her choice, as well as hear keynote addresses from major figures in the entrepreneurial world. The featured keynote luncheon speaker for Friday, August 15, is Woody Norris. A successful serial inventor holding over 50 patents, Norris was the recipient of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT prize in 2005.

While the Annual Independent Inventors Conference promises to be a great opportunity for independent inventors and small business owners to obtain a better understanding of the legal tools available to them; one doesn’t need to travel to Virginia to receive this valuable information. In fact, an expert resource is very accessible right here...a phone call away with the IP attorneys at Corridor Law Group. Our attorneys offer a free 20-minute consultation to anyone in the market for legal advice on how to protect their intellectual property. With decades of experience, our attorneys have advised clients ranging from individual inventors to Fortune 500 companies.

So if you’re an individual inventor, a CEO of a fortune 500 company, or a president of a startup and you don't have time for a trip to Virginia in the coming days, just give the attorneys at Corridor Law a call.

Developing a Patent Position

One of the most important things for any startup company to do in its infancy, particularly those in a technological field, is to begin to develop a strong patent portfolio. Engaging an experienced IP attorney early on in the company’s formation can help lead to the propagation of strong patent positioning that can then be used to protect the company from competitors at a later time. A robust patent portfolio also increases the price the company can demand in a sale.

Patent Positioning

A patent attorney’s main job is to help position and protect his or her client’s intellectual property from all angles. When developing a strategy he should consider both offensive and defensive patent portfolio strategies.

Through invention "mining," also known as invention "harvesting," an experienced patent attorney can help a company grow its patent portfolio by continuously identifying and protecting inventions early on in the development cycle. Often startup companies are not even aware that they are sitting on hundreds of patentable and commercially viable ideas.

Offensive Patent Positioning Plays

When selecting a qualified firm, budding CEOs should consider the firm's experience, capabilities, personality, and cost. To aid potential clients in making the right decision, Corridor Law Group offers a no obligation 20-minute consultation so potential clients can better understand the process and costs associated with obtaining proper IP protection. This consultation also allows potential clients to get to know the attorneys that will be handling their matters.

Client’s choosing Corridor Law Group gain a unique advantage in that they are getting the experience and expertise of top-tier attorneys without the costs associated with a large law firm. We like to say “you’re getting the doctors without the hospital.”

Try Not to Get Too High on a Clever Trademark

Try Not to Get Too High on a Clever Trademark

Colorado is the first state to legalize marijuana for non-medical sale and use. The state projects $578.1 million a year in marijuana sales from the over a hundred new businesses selling pot.

An Influx of Marijuana Trademarks

This myriad of new businesses opening up in the marijuana industry is a perfect illustration of how important it is for consumers to be able to identify the “high” achieving business over those with poor quality standards that are destined to “burn-out.” Businesses realize this and hence it is unsurprising that the legalization of pot has created a rush to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for those looking to register trademarks for new products and services related to the marijuana industry—marijuana trademarks if you will.

Some of the more interesting marks include: MJ Freeway for computer services for inventory control and management of medical marijuana; Giving Tree of Denver for use with retail services featuring clothing and lifestyle herbs including marijuana; MyBudTender for a mobile app that provides marijuana-related information; Colorado Weed Wear for use on clothing; and Pot is the New Gay for consulting services related to marijuana legalization strategies.

At Corridor Law Group we are experienced at helping our clients obtain protection for new marks and enforce their current marks. We also work with a network of marketing specialists to aid clients in creating and branding a new legally protectable trademark.

When considering a trademark, business owners need to understand that the protection a given mark will receive from the courts, and the likelihood that a registration will be granted from the USPTO, depends on, among other factors, where the mark falls on the “spectrum of distinctiveness” which runs from fanciful to generic.

Marks that are fanciful are “coined” terms, and generally receive the most protection. Examples of fanciful marks include Kodak, Starbucks, and Exxon. Similar to fanciful marks, and slightly lower on the “spectrum of distinctiveness” are arbitrary marks. Arbitrary marks are common words which are normally used in a way that has no relationship to the goods or services they are being used to identify. Possibly the most famous example of an arbitrary mark is Apple Computer. While fanciful and arbitrary marks are easily registered and protected, companies may be discouraged from using them since by their nature, they tell nothing about the product or services being offered.

Further down the “spectrum of distinctiveness” fall the suggestive trademarks. These are marks that allude to some quality or characteristic of the product or service, but are not merely descriptive. Examples or suggestive marks include Jaguar and Mustang for automobiles.

Even lower on the “spectrum of distinctiveness are descriptive trademarks. These marks are often chosen by companies as they are self-explanatory, but it should be noted that the scope of their protection is quite narrow. Examples of descriptive marks would include Carpetland for a carpet store or Famous Footwear for a shoe store.

Finally, at the far end of the “spectrum of distinctiveness” are generic marks. Generic trademarks occur when the mark used to identify the product is also used to identify the whole class of similar products. Although these marks are not protectable, an example of one would be using Apple to identify apples.

While creative branding is important, businesses should never forget that the purpose of a trademark is to serve as a source identification. Some of the most famous marks had no relationship to their related products. Although a creative trademark may at the fringes help sell an item, at the end a company’s success ride or falls on the quality of the goods and services it provides.

Props to 99designs for providing some nice "brand" examples (seen above) and holding up their end of the spectrum of distinctiveness: cheap marijuana logo design for companies.

How Long Does it Take to File a Provisional Patent?

How Long Does it Take to File a Provisional Patent?

Here is an example of an inquiry Corridor Law recently received via email:

"Hello. How long does it take to file a provisional patent? What's the typical lead time needed? I'm attending a trade show next week and it might be helpful to have (a provisional patent application) in place so I can speak more openly with potential partners there."

Every week, we receive similar calls and email inquiries from prospective clients asking "how quickly we can file a provisional patent application.” Whether it’s a meeting with potential investors or an upcoming trade show, it's a fairly common occurrence for individuals and startup companies to find themselves in a situation where they want to share an idea or reveal a product, but have not yet acquired the necessary protection.

In the interest of clients who need a quick solution to protect their ideas, we designed our IP Fast Track Program to get them the intellectual property protection they need both quickly and efficiently. Our IP Fast Track Program is designed for innovators who require solid protection and fast "patent pending" status.

While there are cheap online patent services, we at Corridor Law believe that if an idea is worth protecting (and we’ll tell you if it’s not) then obtaining the right protection requires the skill and expertise of an experienced patent attorney. All of our clients receive direct professional counsel and expert advice from our experienced patent attorneys.

Via our IP Fast Track Program, our new clients are usually able to attend their trade shows or business meetings within as little as a couple days from our initial contact, with the peace of mind that their idea is protected.

In summary, here's the good news! There is a way to obtain solid IP protection with a quick turnaround. So if you're in a hurry, let's talk.


Corridor Law Group’s “5 C” Approach to Crafting a Patent Application

A recent article on Law360 discussed how judges are looking for more craftsmanship in the patents they are asked to review. The article then goes on to define what the author calls the “4 Cs” of patent drafting: Collaboration, Customization, Continuity and Core Components.

While it was the first time someone has summarized patent drafting this way, Corridor Law Group’s attorneys have been paying attention to these facets in drafting patents for years. We understand the complexity involved in submitting well-written and detailed provisional patent application to the USPTO and have been creating high quality application, well before judges started emphasizing better crafted applications. In fact, we feel that we add a “fifth C” to our patents: Creativity.


Corridor Law Group's "5 C" approach to crafting a patent application:

Corridor Law Group collaborates with our clients on many levels. We are both excellent communicators, as well as effective listeners. Beyond the traditional interaction between inventor and counsel, we often introduce our clients to our network of marketing and product development teams to aid in bringing our client’s ideas to market. In addition, we frequently work with foreign counsel to ensure our client’s receive worldwide protection.

Every patent application that is submitted by Corridor Law Group is customized to offer the greatest protection for our clients. This true customization is accomplished by the exchange of drafts and conversations with the client; and a thorough understanding of our clients’ businesses, including their competitors.

Obtaining the desired protection of a patent continues to evolve as products develop, both before and after commercialization. Corridor Law Group offers an experienced and stable collaborative process through all phases of protecting our clients’ property, from filing a well-written provisional application all the way through the filing of continuations and continuations-in-part years after the product has been brought to market.

Core Components
At Corridor Law Group, our experienced attorneys offer the draftsmanship and mastery needed to ensure the protection of your core Intellectual Property. We make it our job to ensure that you have a solid core of IP to build your business around

While a good patent attorney has a strong scientific background, the best understand that patent prosecution is as much an art as it is a science. Attorneys at Corridor Law Group, are logical enough to understand the most technical of inventions, yet creative enough to draft patents that end up offering protection for material that previous attorneys felt was unpatentable. In that regard, we feel creativity is vitally important when crafting a patent application.