16th Annual Independent Inventors Conference | Topics
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Thursday Evening Pre-Conference Session
Most people understand concepts of real property and personal property, but intellectual property can be more confusing. We come into contact with intellectual property every single day, but we are rarely aware if we are misusing those pieces of IP. Businesses large and small use IP protection to create jobs and wealth. Individuals, non-profits, and universities rely on IP protection to bring new products to market, generate much-needed income, and create a revenue stream so that additional research can be done. In this special pre-conference session, you will learn the essential function of patents in society and how they protect intellectual property. Expert presenters from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will offer a detailed overview of patent application filing requirements, forms required, and associated filing fees. The applications discussed will include utility, design, and provisional applications.
Friday and Saturday Concurrent Breakout Sessions
35 USC 103 – What Is Obvious?
One of the most difficult subjects in patent law is deciding how close an invention can be to prior inventions and still be patentable. It’s a question that every independent inventor should ask before filing an application, but recent Supreme Court and Federal Circuit decisions have changed the framework for answering this question. This presentation discusses these decisions and offers the independent inventor insights for understanding the new legal framework for determining obviousness.
Advanced Claim Drafting
This session helps you take the next step in claim drafting. You'll learn how to write claims of varying scope and understand how prior art can influence your claim drafting. You’ll also learn how to write a claim that covers more than one embodiment, which can broaden and strengthen your patent’s coverage.
Claim Drafting for Beginners
Now that you understand the basics of the patent process, learn how to properly define your invention in a claim. In this session, you’ll learn the basics of claim drafting in a structured, easy-to-understand manner. Key terms and their functions will be presented to help you understand how to build a well-written claim. You’ll also find out how to review and revise a claim so that they provide a broadly claimed invention. Lastly, you’ll find out the difference between independent and dependent claims and why that difference matters.
Considerations and Options for Foreign Filing Including PCT
As the world becomes more interconnected, it is easier than ever for inventors to do business overseas. But cases of international IP theft are also on the rise. Whether it is someone using your patented your technology in another country, there are steps you can take to protect your intellectual property all across the globe. This session will discuss various options and advantages of international IP protection and the process for obtaining it.
Copyrights – What’s Copyright Got to Do with It?
Copyrights help people protect their original works of artistic and literary expression from novels to paintings to photographs and television scripts. Copyright also protects works such as logos, websites, product design and software. Along with patents and trademarks, they are the most common form of intellectual property protection used throughout the world, but aside from what they protect, copyrights also have several other important differences. This session will help attendees learn the basics of copyright and recognize copyright in their businesses and in their everyday world. Inventors who focus on technology and running a business will learn valuable information from this session delivered by one of the USPTO’s experts in copyright law.
Design patents protect the ornamental design of objects and devices, but inventors aren’t always sure what specific subject matter is covered and the scope of the protection. This session will explain the principles of design patents and the application process, and help you understand if a design patent is the right form of intellectual property protection for you.
Non-USPTO Solicitations, demand letters and Invention Promotion scams
Owners of U.S. patents and trademark registrations are receiving unsolicited letters urging them to take actions that may be unnecessary. Companies unaffiliated with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are sending solicitations to patent and trademark owners concerning maintenance requirements. Consumers and small business owners such as coffee shops and hotels are receiving letters accusing them of patent infringement for using off-the-shelf technology for its intended purpose. There are many invention promotion firms that are active and ready to assist you, for a fee. In this breakout session the USPTO will discuss why these issues are important to the independent inventor and steps that you can take before working with an invention promotion company.
Patent Attorneys/Agents and their Roles
The USPTO recommends using the services of a registered patent attorney or agent whenever possible. It’s important to know how these IP professionals act on your behalf and what they can and cannot do for you. This session will help you understand the roles of attorneys and agents, and how to get the most from their services.
Patents Overview: Provisional and Nonprovisional Applications
Utility patents are the most commonly filed-for patent because they protect a vast range of inventions and discoveries. In this session, we’ll take an in-depth look at utility patents and the two types of utility applications—provisional and nonprovisional—as well as the components that make up each application. You’ll also learn what a provisional application does, if it is right for you, and how to file one.
Patent Searching Hands-On
In this session you will learn how to conduct a patent search using the powerful research tools available on the USPTO website. Supervisory patent examiners from the USPTO will provide tips and guidance that can help you search out patents and prior art related to your application.
Trademark Electronic Application System Hands-On
The Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) is the USPTO’s convenient, automated system for registering trademarks used in business. This session, led by the TEAS administrator, will show you how to navigate the system efficiently and effectively so that when it comes time to register your mark, you’ll be confident and ready.
Trademark Registration Process
A USPTO trademark attorney will explore the groundwork necessary when applying for trademarks, which establish an identity for your invention or brand. The session will cover the definition of a mark that can be registered and the federal law that is the basis of the registration system. The session will also give you an accessible thumbnail sketch of the trademark registration process, from new application workflow through post-registration maintenance.
Trademark Searching Hands-On
Similar to the session on patent searching, in this session you will learn how to conduct a trademark search. A USPTO trademark attorney will provide tips and guidance and help you identify and correct problems that could put you at odds with other registered mark-holders and potentially endanger your business.
What’s the Process?—Forms, Fees, Office Actions, Rejections and Allowances
Getting a patent is a complex process, one that requires specific forms and fees depending on the type of intellectual property protection you seek. For the beginner, it can be intimidating, and even after you’ve filed, there may be multiple correspondences between you and the USPTO regarding your application. This session will take you into the prosecution process and discuss terminology, forms, and fees, and give you expert information on what to expect and how to respond to office actions during the course of your patent application prosecution.