The days when patent attorneys used to sit and write patent applications day in, day out are long gone. There are many facets to Intellectual Property. To give you an idea of just how versatile my job is, why not see for yourself and read all about a week in the life of a patent attorney below!
Worked hard on an advice about know-how. A foreign client is having to deal with a competitor who used to be actively involved in his business. This former colleague appears to have copied know-how and to be using this when approaching our client's prospects. This could be a form of unfair competition. The question is if it is possible to send out cease and desist letters and how these should be worded? A number of issues are at play in the background such as breach of contract, copyright infringement, and slavish imitation. We are working together with a Dutch lawyer on this who is going to draft the cease and desist letters.
A (different) client is coming in to see me today about a new invention in the field of wind energy. He is asking for advice in anticipation of a patent application. Intensive discussion with Matthijs van der Linden, 'my' trainee patent attorney, about what does and does not appear to be patentable. The trainee's open-mindedness and eagerness to learn leads to an interesting interaction. Inspiring stuff!
A promising start-up in the field of household appliances came in with a follow-on development of an earlier concept. All the ins and outs were discussed in a meeting which lasted three hours. A long list of innovative improvements appears to have been developed. Spent the rest of the day on an advice on what a patent application could end up looking like. It's quite a job and fairly challenging from a technical and patent law point of view. Right up my street.
A client of a colleague of mine (who is away on holiday) came in to see me about a possible takeover of an Internet start-up company. The start-up has developed a nice system which enables consumers to conduct a certain test themselves. The point is that the start-up has a competitor abroad with a sizable patent portfolio in this field. The question is whether the start-up is free to bring the system onto the market. Spent most of the day making a provisional assessment of a Freedom-to-Operate advice. What is important in this is to define what needs to be done, so that the amount of work remains manageable and the client nevertheless gets good advice.
With Brexit impending the planning of the rollout of the Unitary Patent and UPC is uncertain. Finalised the BL@G on this topic for our website today.
In an ongoing patent application of one of my clients in the field of mechanical engineering a so-called Third Party Observation (TP O) has come in. This is a notice from one of the client's competitors arguing that our patent application cannot be granted because the technology is already known or self-evident. Grrr, keep your hands off our patent (application)!
Spent a chunk of the day analysing the situation. Is there any room for a patent? If so, what kind of patent can we reasonably still obtain? Complicated.
Another client called about a new invention in the field of chemistry. I am not a chemist, so I got my colleague Wendy van Zoelen involved. We made an appointment to discuss the case in more detail next week. As it also involves a negotiating aspect and a contractual aspect, I also passed on the names of a number of lawyers he could call for advice and further assistance.
I am watching my daughter play football. After she had taken a shot at goal, my mind starts to wander to my self-designed and patented sailing boat and the question of how I can make it even faster?
If you are interested in the work of a patent attorney, take a look at EP&C's open positions by following this link.