Expertise

Subtitle

WilliamsonMcGee IP offers expertise across a broad spectrum of areas in European and United States patent law, including drafting and prosecution of patent applications, assessment of competitor patents, opposition and appeal proceedings, and offensive and defensive litigation.

Technical areas of expertise include physics, ultra-high-precision mechanical engineering, advanced optics, lithography and other semiconductor manufacturing technology, electron microscopy, tomography, laser machining, optical fibers and materials science.

Recognize inventions

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A common misconception is that an invention must represent a breakthrough or be a technological milestone; as a result, many clever R&D results go unrecognized as inventions, and are never patented. Contrary to this notion, an invention is, in fact, any novel, non-obvious, industrially applicable, technical development that serves to solve a problem. On the basis of this broad definition, it is often possible to patent many aspects of a new product or process – one just needs a trained eye to recognize them. An experienced patent attorney can add value to an R&D team by recognizing and protecting inventions in a timely manner. He can also coach technical staff to become more proactive and productive in generating valuable patents. 

Neutralize threats

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In many instances, timely action can allow a competitor’s patent to be rendered harmless before it can become a threat. A relatively inexpensive and straightforward Opposition Procedure allows a third party to raise substantive objections before a Patent Office – without having to resort to more costly and complicated revocation proceedings before a court of law. A dedicated literature search by a professional agency can unearth useful publications to undermine a granted patent.

 

Patent Trolls

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Sometimes, a company may become the target of a so-called Patent Troll – a patent owner who does not himself conduct any substantive commercial activities relating to a patent, but instead uses it solely as a means to harass others into paying royalties. Many companies capitulate to such Patent Trolling, and blindly pay a royalty fee just to be rid of the threat of legal action. However, in such instances it is worth remembering that “the bark may be worse than the bite” – and a qualified patent practitioner can often find loopholes and hidden flaws that substantially undermine the apparent strength of a Troll patent.