Zach Smolinski

Patents: Why?

Whenever someone tells me they want to file a patent application, I ask why. I have a couple reasons for this question. In part, I’m just curious. But more importantly, I want to know potential clients’ goals so I can counsel them on whether a patent application will help to achieve them. Sometimes a patent application will help a client to achieve their goals, and sometimes it won’t. Here, in no intentional order, is an [...]

By |2020-08-10T17:44:06-05:00August 10th, 2020|Intellectual Property, Zach Smolinski|

Why That Company Won’t Buy Your Invention

There’s a common idea out there that any one of us can invent an improvement to a product (or a new product altogether), patent the idea, bring it to a company, and walk away with a big check while the company makes megabucks selling the invention. This idea is so common that large parts of the patent world are built on fostering this idea. You may see “invention promotion companies” or other advisors who promise [...]

By |2020-05-01T15:18:21-05:00May 5th, 2020|Intellectual Property, Zach Smolinski|

Do You Really Own What You’re Building?

In the world of real property, important questions like ownership of the land you’re building on are usually settled via long-standing institutions such as recorder of deeds offices and title insurance companies. The reason for this is pretty clear: spending lots of time and money unwittingly building on something you don’t own is, in legal terminology, “real bad.” In the IP world, building on something owned by someone else can be pretty bad too. But [...]

By |2020-02-12T19:06:40-06:00February 12th, 2020|Intellectual Property, Zach Smolinski|

Three Things To Do Before You File a Patent Application

So you came up with an invention, and now it’s time to file a patent application. It seems like a natural progression. But jumping right into a patent filing without taking some other initial steps can lead to some unexpected problems. Lets go over a few steps that should happen before you get going on a patent filing: Describe Your Invention It may seem that the development of an invention would necessarily involve describing it. [...]

By |2020-02-12T19:06:40-06:00February 3rd, 2020|Intellectual Property, Zach Smolinski|

IP In Business – Part 5: Trade Secrets

Your business may have knowledge that is extremely important to it, that you wouldn’t want competitors to know. This information might include information about the actual costs of making your products, supplier information, customer lists, lists of potential sales leads, and the like. Your product may contain a formulation or combination of qualities that makes it unique. All of these types of information might fall under trade secret protection. A trade secret, as defined by [...]

By |2020-02-12T19:06:40-06:00April 16th, 2019|Intellectual Property, Zach Smolinski|

IP In Business – Part 3: Copyrights

According to the U.S. Code, copyright protection applies to “original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression.” This means that almost any writing, sound recording, film, or photograph will be protected by copyright if there is any creativity whatsoever in its creation. Copyright protection exists as soon as a work is created, with no additional work necessary from the creator or owner. If the work has business importance, though, it is often [...]

By |2020-02-12T19:06:40-06:00April 2nd, 2019|Intellectual Property, Zach Smolinski|

IP in Business – Part 2: Patents

Patents apply to most things we usually think of as “inventions,” including, in some cases, offerings incorporating software. In the U.S., patents are administered by the Patent and Trademark Office (often abbreviated as the USPTO). While just about every country in the world has its own patent system, and different subject matter may be patentable in different countries, here’s what the U.S. Code says about patentable subject matter: "Whoever invents or discovers any new and [...]

By |2020-02-12T19:06:40-06:00March 26th, 2019|Intellectual Property, Zach Smolinski|

Intellectual Property Law Basics- Part 1: The Four Boxes

Whether you’re working within a business unit that turns out product and service ideas regularly or you came up with a great idea on your own that you are thinking about commercializing, you might be curious how to best prevent others from copying your idea or using it without your authorization. In lawyer speak, that means you want to know what type of intellectual property might apply to your idea. While there are, worldwide, probably [...]

By |2020-02-12T19:06:40-06:00March 18th, 2019|Intellectual Property, Zach Smolinski|