Patent Damages Symposium in Washington, DC

On February 23, 2017 in Washington, DC, the Licensing Executives Society (www.les.org) is having a Patent Damages Symposium with prominent damages professionals and IP attorneys, including Krista Holt, CEO of GreatBridge Consulting, Inc, Ryan Morris, a partner at Sidley & Austin, Jennifer Vanderhart, PhD Economist and a Principal at Analytics Research Group, Robert L. Vigil, PhD,  Principal  at Analysis Group, Inc., and Raymond Van Dyke, Principal at Van Dyke Law.   We will talk about recent cases affecting patent damages, techniques for patent prosecutors to maximize damages and current trends in damages.

The link is http://www.lesusacanada.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=921187&group=160111

This meeting constitutes my additional efforts as the Greater Washington, DC Chapter Chair to promote the organization and otherwise help the IP profession and practitioners with practical programs.  For those in DC, Virginia and Maryland, please feel free to contact me if you have a speaker in mind or a topic that needs addressing. With the eclectic wants of the Greater DC membership, we have seen it all, and welcome more!  For those outside of the DC Metro area, thanks for reading about us!

If you have any suggestions or want to speak when you visit the area in future, please email me.  Conversely, I am open to invitations to speak elsewhere. Ray Van Dyke, 202.379.3903, vandyke@acm.org,  Greater Washington, DC Chapter Chair for LES, and Patent/IP practitioner.  http://www.rayvandyke.com

Beyond the Alice Event Horizon: the spaghettification of software patenting

For anyone interested in learning more about the state of affairs for software patents now two years after the Supreme Court Alice decision, I am giving a free webinar this Thursday, April 13, 2016, at 1 PM EST USA on behalf of the Licensing Executives Society.  The link to register is below.  I wish to thank my friend Sanjay Prasad for this opportunity to speak.

http://www.lesusacanada.org/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=800491&group=160372

As a patent specialist for many years, software to me represents one of the great things about American ingenuity.  Although my practice spans many technologies, the joys of handling these cases has been tempered a bit by Justices’ and legislators’ misguided efforts to thwart one of America’s fortes (and one of our chief exports).

I first wrote code many years ago in Fortran IV, and later got a Masters in Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the top schools for that discipline.   At UNC, I also studied under Dr. Frederick Brooks, a preeminent scholar and researcher, before heading off to law school and learning to protect inventions of all sorts. Now, over 25 years later and well over a thousand patents defended and obtained for many clients, there are stories to be told.

My talk will address how we got into this situation where innovation is being frustrated and the patent system is perversely held to blame.

This voyage is free. I hope you sign up and join me, where I will define spaghettification;)

Ray Van Dyke

vandyke@acm.org

(202)378-3903 USA

Ray Van Dyke Teaches About IP in Montgomery County, Maryland

As noted, as Co-Chair of the Intellectual Property Section for the Bar Association of Montgomery County (BAMC), I am pleased to report that the IP Section is having a continuing series of presentations on the fundamentals of intellectual property law  at the Bar headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.  See: http://montbar.site-ym.com/?62

With the increasing value of intellectual property in today’s economy, as well as the ongoing controversies, non-IP professionals, whether attorneys, scientists, business people, and interested citizens, all want to better understand the workings of these legal principles and tools. The meetings have covered an overview of all IP rights, and two meetings about patents.

The next meeting, February 20, 2016, will address the current issues and controversies involving the remaining IP rights, i.e., copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets, along with a bit of antitrust.  For those who missed the talk about patents and would like to hear more, I am having a refresher on patents at 8:30 AM, with the talk about the other IP rights starting at 9 AM.

The BAMC is offering 3 hours of CLE for this event for those needing it.

As the speaker, I can say that the material will cover not only the law, but will include anecdotes about famous cases, putting the material into the context of the times.  My materials have been collected and coalesced over the last 16 years as part of an in-depth course I teach at SMU to engineers, business people, teachers, students and other interested parties.

If anyone has any questions about the course and these meetings, please do not hesitate to contact me.

For attendees, I require an RSVP so that I can gauge the audience and handle logistics. So, if learning a little about IP law is of interest, this series of presentations will do the trick. I look forward to meeting you there!

Ray Van Dyke, Co-Chair, Intellectual Property Section, BAMC

202.378.3903  vandyke@acm.org

Ray Van Dyke teaching a Class on Patent Law

 

As noted, as Co-Chair of the Intellectual Property Section for the Bar Association of Montgomery County (BAMC), I am pleased to report that the IP Section is having a continuing series of presentations on the fundamentals of intellectual property law  at the Bar headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.  See: http://montbar.site-ym.com/?62

With the increasing value of intellectual property in today’s economy, as well as the ongoing controversies, non-IP professionals, whether attorneys, scientists, business people, and interested citizens, all want to better understand the workings of these legal principles and tools. The first meeting was an overview of all IP rights.

The next meeting, December 1, 2015, will address the current issues and controversies involving patents, e.g., the so-called troll movement and ongoing legislative efforts in that regard.  At the last meeting, on November 11, 2015, the basics of patents were discussed, along with the historical and societal underminings of patents in society, partoicularly in the United States with the strong support of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and other Founders, as well as Abraham Lincoln, a President well-versed in technology and greatly appreciative of the American system of patent law and the advantages accorded.  Sadly, many of those advantages are being undermined by the rash of legislation, including the AIA.

Copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets will be covered in 2016.

As the speaker, I can say that the material will cover not only the law, but will include anecdotes about famous cases and inventors, putting the material into the context of the times.  My materials have been collected and coalesced over the last 16 years as part of an in-depth course I teach at SMU to engineers, business people, teachers, students and other interested parties.

If anyone has any questions about the course and these meetings, please do not hesitate to contact me.

For attendees, I require an RSVP so that I can gauge the audience and handle logistics. So, if learning a little about IP law is of interest, this series of presentations will do the trick. I look forward to meeting you there!

Ray Van Dyke, Co-Chair, Intellectual Property Section, BAMC

202.378.3903  vandyke@acm.org

Dale Lazar Speaks of Alice and 101 Challenges to DC LES CHAPTER

As noted earlier, I wrote a blog piece on the Alice decision, Alice Doesn’t Patent Here Anymore,  https://rayvandyke.com/posts/. Thanks to those who read it..  On November 18, 2015 in Washington, DC, the Licensing Executives Society (www.les.org) is again having prominent IP attorney and my friend Dale Lazar talk about the impact of Alice and what practitioners can do in the face of this ongoing tragedy.

The link is http://www.lesusacanada.org/chapters/usa/washington-dc-chapter/november-18-2015-washington-dc-chapter-meeting 

This meeting constitutes my additional efforts as the Greater Washington, DC Chapter Chair to promote the organization and otherwise help the IP profession and practitioners with practical programs – here for patent prosecutors.  For those in DC, Virginia and Maryland, please feel free to contact me if you have a speaker in mind or a topic that needs addressing. With the eclectic wants of the Greater DC membership, we have seen it all, and welcome more!

Next month,  on December 17, at the LES Chapter Holiday party in DC, Senior Group Patent Counsel, Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. will talk of settlement techniques he has developed in this age of questionable patent validity.  http://www.lesusacanada.org/chapters/usa/washington-dc-chapter/october-21-2015-washington-dc-chapter-meeting

For those outside of the DC Metro area, thanks for reading about us!  If you have any suggestions or want to speak when you visit the area in future, please email me.  Conversely, I am open to invitations to speak elsewhere.

Ray Van Dyke, 202.379.3903, vandyke@acm.org

Greater Washington, DC Chapter Chair for LES,

And Patent/IP practitioner.  www.rayvandyke.com

Ray Van Dyke Teaches Intellectual Property Basics in Rockville, Maryland Starting October 6, 2015

As Co-Chair of the Intellectual Property Section for the Bar Association of Montgomery County (BAMC), I am pleased to report that the IP Section plans a series of presentations on the fundamentals of intellectual property law for this Fall, Winter and Spring at the Bar headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.  http://montbar.site-ym.com/?62

With the increasing value of intellectual property in today’s economy, as well as the ongoing controversies, non-IP professionals, whether attorneys, scientists, business people, and interested citizens, all want to better understand the workings of these legal principles and tools.

The first meeting, October 6, 2015, will be a survey of the various IP rights to be covered in more detail in subsequent meetings, beginning on November 11 and December 1 and in 2016.

As the speaker, I can say that the material will cover not only the law, but will include anecdotes about famous cases and inventors, putting the material into the context of the times.  My materials have been collected and coalesced over the last 16 years as part of an in-depth course I teach at SMU to engineers, business people, teachers, students and other interested parties.

If anyone has any questions about the course and these meetings, please do not hesitate to contact me.

For attendees, I require an RSVP so that I can gauge the audience and handle logistics. So, if learning a little about IP law is of interest, this series of presentations will do the trick. I look forward to meeting you there!

Ray Van Dyke, Co-Chair, Intellectual Property Section, BAMC

202.378.3903  vandyke@acm.org

Shark Tank and Trade Secrets

On a recent episode of Shark Tank, the hosts quizzed the idea presenter about patent coverage for her new soap product.  She said she had none, but was pursuing trade secret protection instead.  It seemed to me, an IP practitioner, that she had likely attempted to obtain patent protection, but was having problems in that regard.

Patent protection on a product is the strongest protection you can obtain to prevent others from copying your success.  The idea presenter seemed to have a lot of word-of-mouth attention on her product, and said that her soap was different because it included 63 ingredients along with a loofah. It would be relatively straightforward to get a patent that required 63 separate ingredients, but any infringing product would require the inclusion of all 63 ingredients (or perhaps a smaller but still large number of them if the patent claims were crafted broadly).  But broad patent coverage on soap would be tricky to obtain.  As a patent practitioner, I have well learned that consumer products of this sort have a lot of “prior art,” i.e., previous inventions and products out there that would prevent broad patent coverage. You cannot patent something already known or close versions of them.

Hence, she needed to follow a different approach.  The inclusion of 63 ingredients in her soap makes it unique, and her customers pay a higher price than regular soaps.  Instead of patenting, trade secret protection can accord her some level of protection against someone stealing the recipe or such.  For example, assuming that all of her 63 ingredients, her manufacturing equipment, her methods and know how are kept as secret as possible, then trade secret protection would apply to her proprietary techniques.  Since she sells the product, however, some aspects may become known, e.g., governmental requirements for listing ingredients.  Nonetheless, her proprietary production techniques may remain secret.  The ingredients and process of making of Coca Cola have remained a secret for over a hundred years.

Trade secrets cover secrets, i.e., something not generally known; otherwise, how could you call it a secret? Processes, recipes, client lists, and other sensitive data and information can constitute a trade secret.  Also, trade secrets require the holder to treat the secrets as a secret, i.e., confidentially.  If not, then the secret is deemed out and anyone can duplicate.  Measures must be taken to maintain secrecy, such as restrictions on access, confidentiality clauses, locks and the like.  Failure to treat sensitive subject matter appropriately as secret can void your allegation of trade secret misappropriation, such as where a competitor visits your plant.  Steve Jobs toured Xerox’s facilities and walked away with the crown jewels, i.e., Xerox’s new paradigm for computing, which became Apple’s.  Breweries, for example, are vulnerable as plant visitors can easily swipe a surface for the proprietary yeasts and other ingredients used.

When I was a junior attorney, Procter and Gamble were marketing Duncan Hines cookies, the processing of which was covered by patent.  Nabisco, Frito Lay and those naughty Keebler elves were charged with patent infringement.  Evidence in that case involved trade secret misappropriation through subterfuge, e.g., trespass to observe the processing techniques and theft of ingredients.  The case settled on the courthouse steps, but the facts of the case were quite entertaining.

Trade secret laws are State and federal in nature, and there are much stronger economic espionage acts to cover the theft of trade secrets.  The United States loses countless billions of dollars each year due to trade secret theft.  With the Internet and cybertheft, cyberwarfare (and cyberterrorism), the realms of trade secret theft are virtually boundless, as incredibly sensitive national secrets, institutions and infrastructures are vulnerable to hacking, whether for fun, mischief or maliciousness.  Confidential data lists, such as Target’s and others’ customer lists, are trade secrets and highly valuable. Proper trade secret protocols and heightened security are a requisite.

Thus, trade secrets can be quite valuable.  However, it is best to patent wherever possible.  Although the Shark Tank idea presenter’s innovation, customer lists and other data may not lend themselves to patent protection, trade secrets can accord some protection for those innovations not meeting the stringent requirements for patent.  However, our Constitution advocates the promulgation of information instead of hoarding new ideas.  The patent system, for example, requires the publication of the full invention (and processes) in exchange for the patent, thereby ensuring the release of that information into the public domain, albeit at a short-term cost.  That is the patent bargain.  In a struggle between patent and trade secret, the patent system is most likely to prevail.

The sharks know the value of a good idea and they prefer patent protection.  The soap lady, although having a great product, did not have patent protection and did not get an offer.

I should add that other intellectual properties could apply to help the innovator.  For example, copyright protection may be used to protect code and visual aspects.  A good trademark can engender considerable interest in a product also, garnering good will and market share, which, of course, is music to a shark.

Ray at the White House

Ray was lucky enough to be at the White House during the Holiday Season.  Here are few photos of his visit.

Wishing everyone a Happy Holiday and Joyous New Year filled with innovation and success from everyone here at Van Dyke Law.

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In Front of the Official White House Christmas Tree at the Blue Room entrance.

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Ray with the iconic portrait of JFK.

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The Lincoln Portrait in the State Dining Room is flanked by a Christmas Tree on one side and a nativity scene on the other. Tables are set for refreshments.

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Outside, the White House is directly behind Ray and the Old Executive Office Building is to the right of the photo.