Practice/Industry Group Overview
Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLP, founded in 1913, offers comprehensive legal services to a wide range of clients. Regardless of your type of business, intellectual property is an important part of your operations. Whether it be intellectual property you own (such as a company''s name, trademark, trade secret or patented technology) or intellectual property of others you use (such as licensed computer software, licensed patented technology or licensed trade secrets), intellectual property may be among your most important assets. The proper use and protection of such intellectual property in a dynamic society will have a critical impact on the viability of your business. To this end, BDB''s Intellectual Property Practice Group provides a wide range of legal services.
Patents | Trademarks | Copyrights | Trade Secrets | Intellectual Property Licensing
A patent provides its owner the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the claimed invention in the patented country for a limited time. A patent does not provide the right to practice the claimed invention because it may infringe the claims of a prior patent that has not expired.
A patent may be considered as a contract between the inventor and the government (representing the people) in which the inventor agrees to disclose the invention to the public in return for the right to prevent others from practicing the claimed technology. The Patent & Trademark Office acts as a negotiator for the government. The objective of the patent system is to promote the useful arts.
In order for an invention to be patentable, it must:
(1) fall within a statutory class (process, machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter, or useful improvement thereof);
(2) be useful;
(3) be new or novel;
(4) be "non-obvious" to one of "ordinary skill in the art" to which the invention relates; and
(5) not be barred under the one year time bars.
BDB is experienced in all facets of patent law, including idea evaluation, patent prosecution (both domestic and foreign, including Patent Cooperation Treaty Filings) and patent litigation. Additionally, members of the group routinely prepare right-to-use opinions, infringement opinions, expert reports and expert testimony as the needs of a client may require. Additionally, the law firm has expertise in practice before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences as well as in appellate matters before the Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit.
Back to Top
Trademarks are words, phrases, logos, sounds, colors or other graphic symbols used by a manufacturer (or service provider) to distinguish its products or services from those of others. The origin of modern day trademarks can be traced back to as early as the Middle Ages in Europe, when craftsmen began using distinctive stamps or symbols to mark goods so that customers could associate particular items with their makers. The distinctiveness of a trademark is key to eliminating any "likelihood of confusion" between marks.
BDB has expertise in providing guidance in the selection and enforcement of trademarks, Federal, State as well as international. Expertise exists in all facets of trademark law, including initial assessment of possible trademarks, preparation, filing and prosecution of trademark registrations, opposition, cancellation and concurrent use proceedings, as well as other actions before the Trademark Trial & Appeals Board.
Back to Top
Copyrights protect original expressions of ideas that are fixed in a tangible medium. They do not protect the function of the article, as that requires a patent. Protection originates at the time of creation. Easily recognizable examples of copyrightable material include movies, books, photographs, sculpture, poetry, blueprints and computer software. BDB has expertise in copyright registrations, "fair use" determinations, copyright infringement analyses and copyright litigations.
Back to Top
Trade Secrets protect business and technical information, not generally known by the public, which give an advantage, however slight, in business. Alternatively, they can be thought of as any formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which is used in business and which gives an opportunity to gain an advantage over competitors who do not know about it or how to use it. Examples of well known trade secrets would include Colonel Sanders'' "secret blend of eleven herbs and spices" or the formula for Coca-Cola. The use of confidentiality agreements facilitate the maintenance of trade secrets as well as covenants-not-to-compete.
Back to Top
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LICENSING
In an ever cost-conscious environment, BDB is uniquely situated to maximize your return on this expensive asset. By combining the skills resident in the Tax, Business, Litigation and Intellectual Property Groups, a cost-effective strategy can be tailored to meet your needs. Whether that involves licensing "in," licensing "out" or the formation of joint venture with third parties, BDB has the experience to provide creative solutions to unique issues presented with Intellectual Property.
The members of the Intellectual Property Law Group also work with all Buckingham’s other practice groups.