Finding Your Place: Thriving in a New Work Environment

Welcome back to our weekly dive into workplace wisdom with #DearSandy. Each week, we explore the complexities of office dynamics and discover practical advice for some of the most challenging situations.

The excitement of starting a new job can quickly turn into uncertainty if you feel out of sync with your team or the company culture. This situation is particularly challenging in specialized fields like patent law, where both the work and the environment can feel unfamiliar. If you’re questioning whether you belong at your new firm, you’re not alone. Let’s explore how to navigate this transitional period and find your footing.

Dear Sandy,

I’ve been with the firm for a few months now, and I’m starting to feel like I might not be the best fit here. While I appreciate the opportunity and find the work in patent law intriguing, I’m struggling to connect with my team and often feel out of step with the firm’s culture. I’m not sure if it’s just the initial adjustment period or if this is a sign that I should consider other options. I don’t want to make a hasty decision, but I also don’t want to stay somewhere I don’t belong. Any advice on how to navigate this situation?

Feeling Out of Place


Dear Feeling Out of Place,

Feeling like you’re not fitting in at a new job can be quite challenging, but it’s not uncommon, especially in a field as specialized and demanding as patent law. Before making any decisions, it’s important to give yourself some time to adjust; sometimes, the initial months at a new firm can be the hardest due to the steep learning curve and settling into a new environment.

Seek Feedback and Guidance: Talk to your supervisor or a mentor within the firm about how you’re feeling. They can provide you with constructive feedback on your work and help you understand more about the firm’s culture and expectations. This can also open up opportunities for you to engage in different kinds of projects or work with new teams.

Connect More with Colleagues: Sometimes, feeling out of place can stem from not having formed strong connections with colleagues. Try to engage more with your team and other peers. Attend social events, participate in firm-wide activities, or simply start by having lunch with different groups. Building relationships can often help in feeling more integrated.

Evaluate Your Expectations and Fit: Consider what aspects of the firm’s culture feel misaligned with your expectations or values. Is it the work style, communication, or perhaps the social aspect of the workplace? Identifying these can help you discuss with HR or your mentor about possible adjustments or even lead you to reflect on what you truly seek in your professional environment.

Professional Development: If the work itself feels overwhelming, consider asking for more training or resources to help you improve your skills. Sometimes, feeling more competent in our roles can significantly improve how we perceive our fit in a place.

Give It Time: Lastly, allow yourself a bit more time to adapt. Often, initial perceptions change as we grow more accustomed to new environments and roles.

If, after taking these steps, you still feel that your values and needs are not met, it might be worth considering other options. Remember, the right fit is important not only for the firm but also for your own professional satisfaction and growth.

Wishing you all the best as you navigate this period of transition. Remember, every challenge is also an opportunity for growth.

Warm regards,

Sandy

Confronting AI Bias and Enhancing Diversity

In the dynamic landscape of technology, diversity and inclusion have never been more essential. As the Intellectual Property Owners (IPO) Annual Meeting in Chicago approaches this September, these themes will be a central focus. Harrity & Harrity is proud to present a special program titled “Making Room for Diversity,” which will explore pressing issues in artificial intelligence (AI), including the significant impact of biased training data on AI models.

Elaine Spector recently shared a personal experience that highlights the importance of this issue. Her daughter, inspired by Elaine, is pursuing a career in engineering and took an online AI class over the summer. The course concluded with group presentations, which Elaine and other parents were invited to attend. Elaine was particularly impressed by her daughter’s presentation, which, unsurprisingly, was outstanding.

One presentation that caught Elaine’s attention focused on the analysis of how biased training data can affect AI models. The students emphasized a crucial point: biased data leads to biased outcomes. This problem is especially concerning in the context of face recognition software, where such biases can result in significant inaccuracies and unfair treatment of specific groups.

Addressing AI bias is not merely an academic challenge but a real-world issue with far-reaching implications. Ensuring fairness and equity in AI systems is vital. This is why Harrity & Harrity is bringing this critical discussion to the IPO Annual Meeting. The “Making Room for Diversity” program will feature a networking lunch and workshop dedicated to addressing these challenging issues within our profession.

Scheduled for Sunday, just before the afternoon committee meetings, this event is designed to be both informative and engaging. It will provide a unique opportunity for attendees to connect with peers and discuss strategies for enhancing diversity and inclusion in the field of technology and intellectual property.

We encourage all attendees of the IPO Annual Meeting to participate in this important event. By coming together, we can drive meaningful change and foster a more inclusive technological future.

Link to registration for the IPO Annual Meeting can be found here: IPO Annual Meeting Registration.

We look forward to seeing you in September!

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Rediscovering Your Work Passion: Overcoming the Mid-Career Slump

Welcome back to our weekly dive into workplace wisdom with #DearSandy. Each week, we explore the complexities of office dynamics and discover practical advice for some of the most challenging situations.

Starting a new job often comes with a burst of excitement and ambition. However, as time passes, it’s not uncommon to find yourself feeling unmotivated and stuck in a routine. If this sounds familiar, you’re certainly not alone. The good news is that it’s entirely possible to reignite that initial passion and make your work life feel fulfilling once again. Let’s dive into a recent reader’s question about feeling stuck in their job and explore some actionable advice on how to get back on track.

Dear Sandy,

I’ve been with the firm for a couple of years now, and initially, I was very excited about my role and the impact I could have. Lately, however, I’ve been feeling increasingly unmotivated. Every day feels the same, and I’m struggling to find the passion I once had for my work. I still want to contribute meaningfully, but I’m not sure how to shake this slump. What advice can you give to someone feeling stuck in their job?

Dear Stuck in a Slump,

Firstly, it’s important to recognize that what you’re experiencing is quite common, and it’s okay to feel this way. Motivation can ebb and flow, and it’s natural for enthusiasm to wane after the initial excitement wears off. Here are a few steps you can take to reignite your passion:

Seek New Challenges
Sometimes, a lack of motivation stems from feeling unchallenged or routine-bound. Talk to your supervisor about taking on a new project or learning a new skill that aligns with your interests. This can bring a fresh sense of purpose to your role.

Set Personal Goals
Personal development goals can significantly enhance your professional life. Whether it’s improving a skill, learning a new area in your field, or aiming for a promotion, having clear objectives can give you something to strive towards.

Connect with Your Colleagues
Often, a sense of community at work can enhance your job satisfaction. Participate in firm activities, or simply spend more time connecting with colleagues. Sharing ideas and challenges can provide new perspectives and rekindle your enthusiasm.

Reflect on Your Impact
Remind yourself of the reasons you chose this career path. Consider the impact your work has on others, including how it supports the broader goals of your organization. Recognizing the value of your work can renew your sense of purpose.

Consider Professional Help
If your lack of motivation is deep and persistent, it might help to talk to a professional counselor. They can provide strategies to manage your feelings more effectively.

Remember, it’s perfectly normal to seek change and growth. Use this time to explore what truly motivates you and how you can align those drivers with your career at the firm. You’re not alone in this journey, and there are many resources within our firm to support you.

Wishing you the best,

Sandy

Rainmaking for Introverted Lawyers: Harnessing Your Strengths for Success

Rainmaking, or the art of generating business, is essential for career progression in law firms. However, for many introverted lawyers, traditional networking can be daunting. In the latest ‘Driving Diversity’ episode, Elaine Spector shares her personal strategies on how introverts can successfully navigate rainmaking by leveraging their strengths and building trust through meaningful engagement in professional organizations.

Rethinking Traditional Networking

Elaine opens by acknowledging the vital role rainmaking plays in career advancement within law firms. She empathizes with introverts who find traditional networking challenging but reassures that there are subtler and equally effective methods to achieve success. The focus is on finding approaches that align with an introvert’s natural tendencies, making the process more comfortable and effective.

Effective Strategies for Introverts

A powerful strategy Elaine recommends is joining and actively participating in professional organizations. This involvement allows introverted lawyers to contribute without the pressure of traditional networking settings. Volunteering for committees, collaborating on projects, or helping organize events are excellent ways to build connections.

Although these activities require time and effort, they are immensely beneficial. They provide a platform to showcase dedication and expertise, gradually building trust and forming strong professional relationships. Over time, these connections often lead to business opportunities as colleagues and peers recognize the individual’s reliability and commitment.

Building Trust Through Consistency

Elaine shares personal anecdotes to highlight how her volunteer work within organizations has led to significant business opportunities. The relationships she formed were rooted in trust and mutual respect, essential components for successful rainmaking. This trust is built over time through consistent and reliable performance.

By consistently delivering results and maintaining a high level of professionalism, introverted lawyers can demonstrate their value to potential clients and colleagues. This approach not only aids in business development but also fosters a supportive professional network for ongoing career growth.

Rainmaking doesn’t have to be synonymous with extroversion. For introverted lawyers, finding alternative methods to build relationships and generate business is crucial. By engaging in organizational activities and consistently proving their capabilities, introverts can successfully navigate the rainmaking process without stepping too far out of their comfort zone. The key lies in dedication, trust-building, and leveraging one’s strengths. Do you have any rainmaking tips for introverts? Share your thoughts and continue the conversation on making rain in the legal profession.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Mastering the Art of Deep Work: Essential Reads to Elevate Your Focus

Welcome back to our weekly dive into workplace wisdom with #DearSandy. Each week, we explore the complexities of office dynamics and discover practical advice for some of the most challenging situations.

In our fast-paced, distraction-laden world, the ability to concentrate deeply and produce high-quality work is becoming a rare and valuable skill. Whether you’re looking to enhance your productivity, achieve your goals, or simply make the most out of every day, embracing the concept of “deep work” can be transformative. Today, we explore some essential reads that can guide you on your journey to mastering this powerful skill.


Dear Sandy,

I’ve been trying to improve my focus and depth, aiming to make the most out of every day. I’ve heard a lot about “deep work” and its benefits, and I’d like to dive deeper into this concept. Could you recommend some books that would help me become more proficient in deep work?

Eager to Focus


Dear Eager to Focus,

It’s wonderful to hear that you’re keen on enhancing your ability to focus deeply! Deep work is indeed a powerful skill. Here are a few books that can guide you on your journey to mastering deep work:

  1. “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport This book is a cornerstone when it comes to understanding and implementing deep work. Newport defines deep work as the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. The book provides actionable advice on how to integrate deep work into your daily routine, making it a must-read for anyone serious about improving their focus.
  2. “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Although not exclusively about deep work, this book explores the state of ‘Flow,’ which is closely related. It describes how people can achieve great satisfaction and productivity by engaging in activities that challenge their skills and concentration. Understanding flow can help you create conditions for deep work in your life.
  3. “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” by Steven Pressfield Suitable for creative professionals and anyone facing regular resistance in their tasks, this book addresses the challenges of procrastination and resistance. It’s very useful for learning to sit down and focus on deep work, offering inspiration and practical advice to overcome obstacles.
  4. “Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day” by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky This practical guide offers strategies to create a more focused environment and beat distractions. It provides insights on how to redesign your day to prioritize important tasks that require deep work. With its user-friendly approach, “Make Time” can help you make consistent progress on your most significant goals.
  5. “Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment—and Your Life” by Jon Kabat-Zinn While not directly related to deep work, mastering mindfulness can greatly enhance your ability to concentrate deeply. This book is a great start for anyone looking to be more present and less distracted, laying a solid foundation for deep work practices.

By delving into these books, you’ll gain insights and techniques that can not only boost your productivity but also your satisfaction with your work. Remember, the ability to do deep work is not just about managing time but also about managing your attention.

Keep focusing,

Sandy

Unleashing Potential: Harnessing AI for Personal and Professional Growth

Welcome back to our weekly dive into workplace wisdom with #DearSandy. Each week, we explore the complexities of office dynamics and discover practical advice for some of the most challenging situations.

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, artificial intelligence (AI) stands at the forefront of technological innovation, promising to transform our professional capabilities and personal productivity. As businesses increasingly integrate AI into their operations, individuals are also exploring how this powerful tool can elevate their own skill sets and efficiency. This week, we address a compelling question from a reader eager to embark on their AI journey. Join us as we delve into practical strategies for leveraging AI to unlock your full potential.


Dear Sandy,

I’m intrigued by the potential of artificial intelligence and how it might enhance my skills and productivity. I’m eager to start using AI tools for personal development but am unsure how to begin. What’s the best way to approach this personal learning journey?

Eagerly Awaiting Advice


Dear Eagerly Awaiting Advice,

Your enthusiasm for artificial intelligence is inspiring. AI indeed offers remarkable opportunities for personal and professional enhancement. To help you embark on your AI journey, here are some structured steps to guide you:

1. Educate Yourself

Start with the Basics: Begin by building a strong foundation in AI. Focus on areas that spark your interest or hold the most relevance to your career. Online resources such as Coursera, edX, and LinkedIn Learning provide excellent introductory courses that can help you get started.

2. Define Personal Goals

Set Clear Objectives: Determine what you aim to achieve with AI. Whether it’s automating routine tasks, enhancing your analytical skills, or improving overall efficiency, having clear goals will help you stay focused and motivated on your learning path.

3. Experiment with Tools

Hands-On Experience: Experiment with various AI tools and software that align with your goals. Platforms like TensorFlow, H2O.ai, and IBM Watson offer free trials or open-source versions, enabling you to gain practical experience without financial constraints.

4. Join Communities

Engage with Enthusiasts: Participate in online communities and forums where AI professionals and enthusiasts gather. Websites like Reddit’s r/MachineLearning, Stack Overflow, and LinkedIn groups provide valuable support, answer questions, and share insights that can enhance your learning experience.

5. Apply Your Knowledge

Start Small: Apply AI solutions to specific tasks to gain hands-on experience. This practical approach will help you understand the real-world implications of AI and how it can improve your daily activities. Whether it’s using AI for data analysis, automating responses, or optimizing workflows, practical application is crucial.

6. Stay Updated

Continuous Learning: The AI field is constantly evolving. Stay informed about the latest developments by following industry leaders on social media, subscribing to newsletters like AI Weekly, and attending relevant webinars and conferences. Keeping up-to-date ensures your skills remain relevant and cutting-edge.

By following these steps, you’ll be well-equipped to integrate AI into your personal and professional toolkit, enhancing your skills and productivity. Embrace this exciting journey with curiosity and confidence, and you’ll find yourself on the path to significant growth and achievement.

Best wishes,

Sandy

Breaking IP Barriers: Law 360 Q&A With Harrity’s Elaine Spector

In a refreshing Q&A with Law360, Elaine Spector, a partner at Harrity & Harrity LLP, shares her journey in patent law, shedding light on the challenges and triumphs of being a woman in a male-dominated field. Spector, who specializes in electromechanical technologies, has been instrumental in shaping leave policies at multiple firms, including Harrity, to better support parents in the legal profession.

Spector shares that she’s just as proud to be a mother of three children as she is to be an attorney, going so far as to list “Wife and Mom” as a two-decade-long career on LinkedIn.

“She says she wants to normalize the fact that parents can speak openly about their families and the effort they take, without coming off as lacking dedication to their legal work — something that has not always been possible.”

Spector’s interest in patent law began at a family party when she expressed her dual passion for engineering and law. This led her to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland, where she was one of only a few women in her class. Despite facing gender biases, Spector excelled and passed the patent bar exam in her second year of law school at the University of Baltimore.

Spector recounts her early career experiences, including an uncomfortable lunch at an elite country club where she was the only woman. Despite such challenges, she remained determined and focused on her career. Her tenacity paid off as she moved through various prestigious firms, eventually joining Harrity & Harrity in 2017.

A significant part of Spector’s story revolves around her efforts to balance a demanding career with motherhood. She and a colleague successfully advocated for a 12-week maternity leave policy at their firm, a significant improvement over the existing two-week leave. However, Spector still faced obstacles, such as a denied request for additional unpaid leave after her second child, leading her to seek more flexible opportunities elsewhere.

At Harrity & Harrity, Spector has continued to champion for parental leave policies, ensuring that all parents, including support staff, receive the leave they need. The firm now offers 12-16 weeks of paid leave for birthing parents and four weeks of bonding leave for non-birthing parents.

Spector’s journey is a testament to the importance of inclusivity and support for parents in the legal profession. Her story highlights the need for firms to adapt and provide flexible working conditions to retain talented professionals, especially women who are often forced to choose between career and family.

Spector’s efforts have not only impacted her own career but have also paved the way for future generations of attorneys. By normalizing discussions about family and advocating for better leave policies, she has contributed significantly to making the IP law field more inclusive.

Elaine Spector’s story is part of an ongoing series by Law360, highlighting the experiences of attorneys who are breaking barriers in the IP law field. Read her full interview here.

Transforming Setbacks into Stepping Stones: Handling Workplace Mistakes with Confidence

Welcome back to our weekly dive into workplace wisdom with #DearSandy. Each week, we explore the complexities of office dynamics and discover practical advice for some of the most challenging situations.

In the legal profession, precision is paramount, and errors can feel like the end of the world—especially for those just starting out. This week, we’re exploring the experience of a junior attorney facing a significant mistake and how to navigate the aftermath with poise and professionalism. This isn’t just about damage control; it’s about turning a misstep into a major learning opportunity.


Dear Sandy,

I’m a junior attorney at a law firm and I’ve just realized that I made a significant error in one of my cases. I inadvertently missed a filing deadline, and this might be costly to the firm. I’m terrified of the repercussions and am unsure how to approach this with my supervisors. How should I communicate this mistake?

Worried in Washington


Dear Worried in Washington,

First and foremost, it’s important to address the issue promptly and directly. Here’s how you can handle it:

1. Get the Facts Straight

Collect all the details about the mistake: what happened, why it happened, and the potential fallout. Think about some possible solutions to minimize the impact.

2. Request a Private Meeting

Speak to your supervisor as soon as possible and ask for a private meeting. Discussing this face-to-face shows maturity and a willingness to confront the issue head-on.

3. Be Transparent

In your meeting, be completely honest about the mistake. Explain clearly what went wrong and the implications. Taking ownership of the error is crucial—avoid making excuses.

4. Offer Solutions

After explaining the situation, present the solutions you’ve prepared. Demonstrating a proactive approach to fixing the problem shows initiative and responsibility.

5. Ask for Advice

Seek guidance on how to prevent similar errors in the future. Showing that you want to learn and improve from this experience can help rebuild trust.

6. Follow Up Professionally

After your meeting, send a follow-up email summarizing the discussion and the agreed-upon steps. This not only reinforces your professionalism but also ensures clarity on the next actions.

Remember, everyone makes mistakes, but how you handle them can define your career. By addressing the issue responsibly, you can earn respect and trust even in difficult situations.


Embracing Growth Through Challenges

Mistakes are part of the journey, but they don’t have to derail your career. Handling errors with integrity and a proactive mindset not only mitigates the immediate problem but also positions you as a professional who is dedicated to growth and excellence.

Stay strong, learn from the experience, and turn this moment into a stepping stone for future success.

Stay committed and resilient,

Sandy

Maximizing Productivity and Earnings for Attorneys: Essential Strategies

Welcome back to our weekly dive into workplace wisdom with #DearSandy. Each week, we explore the complexities of office dynamics and discover practical advice for some of the most challenging situations.

In the fast-paced legal world, efficiency is a key driver of success. For attorneys, mastering time management and leveraging the right tools can significantly enhance both productivity and earning potential. Whether you’re handling case files, staying updated on legal developments, or maintaining timely communication with clients, there’s always room for improvement. This week we’re exploring some strategies and tools that can help attorneys streamline their workflows and boost their income.


Dear Sandy,

As an attorney at our firm, I’m always looking for ways to enhance my performance and increase my earnings. Managing case files, keeping up with legal developments, and maintaining timely communication with clients are all areas where I feel I could improve my efficiency. I’d love to know what tools or methods you recommend for someone looking to maximize their productivity and ultimately, their earning potential.

Eager for Efficiency


Dear Eager for Efficiency,

You’re not alone in aiming to boost efficiency and earnings; many attorneys seek ways to enhance their financial success through better time management. Here are a few strategies and tools that can help you streamline your workflow and potentially increase your income:

  1. Leverage Technology:
    • Utilize Automation Tools Developed by the Firm: Embrace the automation tools that our firm has developed. These tools are tailored to our operations and can significantly reduce the time you spend on routine tasks, allowing you to handle more cases or complex matters that might lead to higher earnings.
  2. Interview and Collaborate:
    • Learn from Efficient Colleagues: Interview and work with the firm’s attorneys and agents who are known for their efficiency. Understand their processes and techniques, and consider how you can apply similar strategies in your own practice.
  3. Prioritize and Plan:
    • Task Management Systems: Using software like Trello, Asana, or Monday.com can help keep your tasks organized and prioritized. These platforms allow you to visualize your workload and deadlines, making it easier to manage time effectively and focus on high-value tasks.
    • The Pomodoro Technique: Employing this time management method, which involves working in focused sprints followed by short breaks, can improve your concentration and stamina, helping you accomplish more in less time.
  4. Delegate When Possible:
    • Delegate lower-level tasks to support staff or juniors. This will free up your time to focus on more complex and lucrative legal work.
  5. Regular Review:
    • Regularly evaluate your workflow and identify any inefficiencies. Make adjustments to your tools and processes to continue improving your efficiency and enhancing your earning potential.

By integrating these tools and techniques into your daily routine, you can manage your time more effectively, increase your productivity, and potentially see an increase in your earnings without compromising the quality of your work.

Stay efficient,
Sandy

Don’t forget to check back next week for more practical advice from Sandy on how to thrive in the legal profession.

Mastering the Art of Gaining Trust: How to Navigate Limited Delegation at Work

Welcome back to our weekly dive into workplace wisdom with #DearSandy. Each week, we explore the complexities of office dynamics and discover practical advice for some of the most challenging situations. This week’s ‘Dear Sandy’ tackles a common workplace dilemma, offering sage advice for those looking to expand their roles and increase their impact within their teams.

In the fast-paced world of professional careers, feeling stuck due to limited delegation by your manager can be particularly disheartening. Many employees find themselves eager to take on more responsibilities, only to be hemmed in by a manager who holds the reins too tightly. This not only stifles personal growth but can dampen morale and productivity.

Dear Sandy,

I’m caught in a frustrating situation at work where I feel underutilized. My manager appears reluctant to delegate significant tasks, preferring instead to manage the most important responsibilities themselves. This approach leaves me feeling undervalued and stifled in my professional growth. I’m eager to prove my capabilities and take on more, but I want to do so without overstepping boundaries or offending. How can I encourage my manager to trust me with more substantial responsibilities?

Eager for More

Sandy’s Response:

Dear Eager for More,

Feeling undervalued because a manager won’t delegate significant tasks is a challenge, but it’s one that can be navigated with thoughtful strategy and communication. Here’s how you can approach this delicate situation to both prove your capabilities and enhance your role within your team.

Step 1: Initiate a Constructive Conversation

Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your manager to discuss your role and aspirations. When you speak, focus on your enthusiasm for your job and your desire to contribute more significantly to team objectives. Frame your conversation positively, showing your eagerness to grow, rather than as criticism of their management style. For example, you might say, “I’ve really been enjoying my role and am looking to increase my contributions. Are there opportunities for me to take on more responsibility in upcoming projects?”

Step 2: Demonstrate Your Reliability

Before and after your conversation, make sure to excel in your current responsibilities. Consistency in delivering high-quality work on time builds trust and establishes a track record of reliability, showing your manager that you’re ready for more.

Step 3: Suggest a Trial Period

Propose a trial period where you can handle more complex tasks or oversee a portion of a project. This can be framed as a low-risk way for you to demonstrate your capability to manage larger responsibilities while also easing your manager’s workload.

Step 4: Request Regular Feedback

Regularly seek feedback on your performance. This shows your commitment to continual improvement and success, while also giving you insight into your manager’s expectations and any hesitations they may have about increasing your responsibilities.

Adopting a strategic approach to communication and demonstrating your capabilities can significantly alter your career trajectory. Remember, the goal is to not only secure more significant tasks but also to foster an environment where growth and trust are paramount. If you’ve found this advice helpful, or if you have your own experiences and tips to share, join the conversation on our LinkedIn. Let’s discuss how we can all work towards a more empowering and productive workplace. Here’s to your continued success and growth!

Thriving at the Intersection of Motherhood and Law: A Journey of Empowerment

Mother’s Day serves as a poignant reminder of the unique challenges faced by working mothers, especially those in demanding professions like law. As we celebrate the dedication and resilience of mothers everywhere, Elaine Spector’s story offers a beacon of hope and a testament to what is possible when workplaces evolve to meet the needs of their employees.

The journey of a working mother often entails a delicate balancing act between professional obligations and family responsibilities. For Elaine, the struggle was all too familiar until a pivotal career move in 2017 changed everything. After joining Harrity & Harrity, a law firm that breaks away from traditional molds, she found a supportive environment that truly values work-life balance. Harrity offered flexible work options, including the ability to work remotely before it became a necessity during the pandemic, and even provided a clear path to partnership on a reduced-hour schedule.

The support Elaine received from Harrity & Harrity proved to be a game-changer, enabling her to flourish in her dual roles as a lawyer and a mother. Now in her 29th year of practice, she celebrates the fact that she is not just surviving in her career; she is thriving. The transition to a home office has become her preferred setup, enhancing her productivity and satisfaction. Harrity’s progressive stance, further cements her contentment with her work arrangement.

Elaine’s story is a powerful reminder of the importance of workplace flexibility and support for working mothers. It reflects a growing acknowledgment that supporting motherhood in the workplace is not just about providing flexibility but also about fostering an environment where women can advance in their careers without sacrificing their family life.

As we reflect on the stories shared this Mother’s Day, it’s clear that the path to supporting working mothers is not just about individual resilience but also about institutional change. Firms like Harrity & Harrity are leading the way in creating environments where mothers do not have to choose between their careers and their families. Let’s take inspiration from these success stories to advocate for more family-friendly policies across all sectors. To all the hardworking mothers out there, your strength inspires change, and your achievements pave the way for future generations of working women.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Pioneering Balance: Elaine Spector’s Path to Equity Partnership and Beyond

Last week, we explored Elaine Spector’s strategic move from the high-pressure world of patent litigation to a role that prioritized intellectual collaboration and family proximity at Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures. Her journey underscored the necessity for a role that could accommodate her as a professional and a parent. Despite achieving proximity, the role lacked the flexibility she required, setting the stage for her next career leap.

Finding Flexibility and Making History

Upon joining Harrity & Harrity, Elaine found the elusive balance she had been seeking. The firm offered remote positions with adaptable working hours, a radical shift that allowed her more time with her family without compromising her career ambitions. This was not merely a job change but a complete transformation of her professional identity.

At Harrity, Elaine championed flexibility and innovation in her work arrangement. Her journey to becoming the firm’s first female equity partner is a testament to Harrity & Harrity’s commitment to diversity and work-life balance. This achievement marks a significant milestone not only for Elaine but also for the firm, highlighting its progressive stance in a traditionally rigid field.

Elaine’s Top Five Recommendations for Career Advancement

In her current role, Elaine generously shares her insights, offering five key recommendations to aid other legal professionals, particularly working mothers, in their career trajectories:

  1. Embrace Flexibility: Seek roles that offer flexible hours and remote work possibilities.
  2. Carve Out Time for Business Development: Use accessible tools like LinkedIn to build and maintain client relationships from home.
  3. Advocate for Yourself: Don’t shy away from negotiating for what you need, whether it’s a reduced schedule or extended leave.
  4. Cultivate Your Network: Build a supportive network of mentors and colleagues who understand and support your dual aspirations of family and work.
  5. Hold on to Your Aspirations: Maintain your professional goals alongside your personal responsibilities; it is possible to excel at both.

Elaine Spector’s journey from a high-stakes litigation environment to becoming a pioneering female equity partner illustrates a broader narrative within the legal landscape. Her story provides practical strategies and hope, proving that legal professionals—especially working mothers—can sculpt a successful career that harmonizes professional growth with personal life. As we continue to explore practical tips for navigating patent law with familial responsibilities, Elaine’s principles offer a roadmap for those seeking to achieve similar success.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Navigating Negativity in the Workplace

Welcome back to our weekly dive into workplace wisdom with “Dear Sandy.” Each week, we explore the complexities of office dynamics and discover practical advice for some of the most challenging situations. This time, we tackle a common but taxing problem—dealing with a perpetually pessimistic coworker. How do you keep your spirits up when someone else is always bringing them down? Let’s explore this week’s reader’s query and Sandy’s insightful response.

“Dear Sandy,

I work with a coworker who seems to always dwell on the negative side of things. Not only do they constantly complain about our work, management, and other colleagues, but they also try to pull me into their negative conversations. I find myself feeling drained and even starting to view things more negatively after our interactions. How can I handle this situation without creating workplace tension or appearing unsympathetic?”

Dear Reader,

It’s an issue many of us face: a colleague whose negative outlook begins to affect our own. Dealing with a perpetually negative coworker can be challenging and emotionally exhausting. It’s important to protect your own mental space while maintaining a professional relationship. Here are a few strategies you might consider:

Five Strategies to Shield Your Positivity

Set Boundaries: Begin by firmly setting conversational boundaries. A simple redirection like, “I find it helpful to focus on the positive aspects, so let’s think about what we can do to improve the situation,” can subtly change the conversation’s course without causing friction.

Limit Interaction: Keep your interactions with the pessimistic coworker to necessary professional exchanges. Avoid getting too personal or engaging in lengthy discussions that could lead to negativity.

Express Your Feelings: If you feel at ease doing so, express the impact their negativity has on you. Phrasing it gently can help, for instance, “I’ve noticed I feel more stressed after our conversations that focus a lot on the negatives. Maybe we could try to balance it with some positive points?”

Seek Support: If the behavior becomes disruptive to your productivity, discussing it with a supervisor or HR may be appropriate. Approach this sensitively, focusing on the need for a positive working environment.

Lead by Example: Continue to embody positivity in your own actions and words. Positivity can be contagious, and your approach may eventually influence your coworker.

While it’s challenging to change someone else’s outlook, Sandy reminds us of the importance of focusing on our own reactions and maintaining a positive mindset. Protecting your mental space is crucial in a professional setting.

Have you ever faced a similar challenge with a negative coworker? How did you handle it? Share your stories and strategies with us on LinkedIn to continue the conversation. Don’t forget to join us next week for more invaluable advice from “Dear Sandy” on navigating the intricacies of office relationships!

Pioneering Balance: Elaine Spector’s Journey from Litigation to Leadership

In the ongoing “Navigating New Horizons” series of the Driving Diversity Blog, we delve deeper into Elaine Spector’s transformative journey through the realms of patent law. Following last week’s gripping narrative, “Navigating the High Stakes: A Patent Litigator’s Journey from Trials to Tech Transfer,” we now explore how Elaine’s intense experiences in a high-stakes trial environment catalyzed her transition to a more balanced role at Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures, and eventually to Harrity & Harrity, where she achieved a groundbreaking flexible work arrangement.

Transition to Tech Transfer and Beyond

Elaine’s intense involvement in a grueling month-long patent litigation trial in the Eastern District of Texas was a pivotal moment, testing her limits and shaping her career trajectory. The demanding nature of the trial, characterized by long hours and high pressure, illuminated the stark realities of balancing professional obligations with personal life—particularly as a mother. The professional isolation she felt during this time, exacerbated by a poignant moment of connecting with her children via Skype, underscored her need for change.

Realizing the necessity for a shift, Elaine transitioned to an in-house role at Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures. Here, she sought a part-time position but accepted full-time work, prioritizing proximity to family over her preferred work arrangement. This role, while closer to home and filled with intellectual collaboration, still lacked the flexibility Elaine needed as her children grew older.

Finding Flexibility and Making History

Elaine’s pursuit of a better work-life balance led her here, to Harrity & Harrity, where she found the flexibility she had long sought in a remote position with adaptable work hours. This move was not just about changing jobs; it was about reshaping her professional identity. At Harrity, she not only embraced a reduced hours schedule but also ascended to become the first female partner, a testament to the firm’s progressive stance on work-life balance and diversity.

Elaine’s journey from the intensity of the war room to achieving partnership at Harrity & Harrity encapsulates a broader narrative prevalent in today’s legal landscape. Her story offers hope and actionable insights for legal professionals, especially working mothers, demonstrating that it is indeed possible to craft a fulfilling career that accommodates both professional aspirations and personal responsibilities. As we anticipate next week’s discussion on practical tips for working mothers in law, Elaine’s experiences continue to inspire and guide those navigating the patent law field towards more inclusive and adaptable career paths.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Mastering Difficult Client Relationships: Essential Tips for Patent Attorneys

Handling challenging clients is part and parcel of any service-oriented profession, especially in the intricate world of patent law. In this week’s Dear Sandy, our esteemed Controller, Sandy Maxey, responds to an attorney at a mid-sized firm who shares a common yet taxing dilemma: managing a new client whose communication style is not only challenging but sometimes downright disrespectful. From disregarding advice to setting unrealistic deadlines and maintaining a condescending tone, this scenario puts professional skills and patience to the test.

Dear Sandy,

I am a patent attorney at a mid-sized firm, and I have recently been tasked with managing the portfolio of a new client. While I am excited about the opportunities this assignment presents, I am finding the client’s communication style to be particularly challenging and at times, disrespectful. They frequently disregard my professional advice, impose unrealistic deadlines, and their overall tone can be quite condescending. I am committed to maintaining professionalism and ensuring the quality of my work remains unaffected, but I am struggling. How can I effectively manage this situation without causing friction or appearing uncooperative?

Troubled by the Tone

Sandy’s Response:

Navigating a professional relationship with a challenging client can indeed be difficult, but it also presents an opportunity to hone your communication and boundary-setting skills.

  1. Keep a Detailed Record: Documenting all communications is essential. This record can be invaluable in resolving disputes or misunderstandings regarding what has been communicated.
  2. Establish Clear Boundaries: Organizing a meeting to set clear expectations and timelines can be instrumental. It’s an opportunity to assert the reasoning behind your professional decisions and to establish yourself as an authority.
  3. Confront Disrespect Directly: If the client’s disrespect persists, it should be addressed directly, yet diplomatically. Articulate the need for respectful communication to maintain a productive working relationship.
  4. Leverage Firm Support: Should the problem continue, involve a supervisor or partner. They can offer additional support, mediate the situation, or potentially reassign the client to another attorney better suited to handle the dynamic.
  5. Value Your Professional Well-being: It’s crucial to remember that while clients are important, they should not undermine your professional integrity or well-being. If necessary, seek adjustments within your firm to protect these.

Why This Is Important

Dealing with difficult clients not only tests professional mettle but also provides an opportunity to strengthen communication and negotiation skills. Sandy’s advice underscores the need for strategic thinking and personal resilience in these situations. Whether printed in a newspaper or shared online, these insights can help any attorney navigate the complexities of client relationships in the legal field.

This guide serves as a roadmap for patent attorneys and other professionals who may find themselves in similar situations, offering both strategic advice and reassurance that they are not alone in facing these challenges. By maintaining professionalism and setting clear boundaries, attorneys can manage difficult client relationships effectively, ensuring that their careers remain on a positive trajectory.

We Want to Hear from You

Do you have experiences with challenging clients? How have you managed these relationships without sacrificing your professional standards? Share your stories and strategies with us on LinkedIn to continue the conversation.

Navigating the High Stakes: A Patent Litigator’s Journey from Trials to Tech Transfer

In the latest entry of the “Navigating New Horizons” series and the Driving Diversity Blog, we continue to follow Elaine Spector’s riveting journey. This installment transitions from a hopeful equilibrium of work-life balance to an intense legal battle that tested her commitments and catalyzed a significant career shift. Elaine’s experiences illuminate the challenges faced by patent attorneys striving to align professional aspirations with personal responsibilities.

Elaine’s innovative work arrangement was an exemplar of work-life balance, blending remote work with time at home and at the office. However, her well-structured life was upended by an urgent summons to a high-stakes patent litigation case. Drawn into the vortex of a month-long trial in the Eastern District of Texas, Elaine found herself in the throes of a legal battle that demanded her presence far beyond the typical professional commitment.

The war room, a rented hotel space devoid of its original furnishings and repurposed with desks and strategic planning areas, became the epicenter of the trial’s operations. Here, Elaine and her colleagues engaged in intense collaborative sessions, sometimes stretching up to 20 hours a day. This environment, while energizing for some, was a crucible of stress for Elaine, who had to manage her professional duties while grappling with the emotional strain of being separated from her young children. The physical setup of the war room facilitated a high level of collaboration, but it also underscored the relentless pressure and isolation from normal life, including a poignant moment when she used Skype to connect with her children, briefly bridging the gap between her two worlds.

The climax of Elaine’s trial experience came when she was unexpectedly excluded from the trial table. Initially hopeful when her boss had to leave due to a family emergency, Elaine anticipated taking his place at the table. Yet, this expectation was abruptly dashed by a pile of books and an uncomfortable conversation with the lead associate who insisted the space be kept open for the jurors. This incident was not just a professional setback but a deeply humiliating moment, highlighting the opaque and perhaps biased decision-making processes within her team.

Elaine Spector’s story from the war room to the trial table captures more than just the challenges of a patent litigation trial; it encapsulates the emotional and professional trials faced by many in high-stakes legal environments. Her subsequent decision to leave big law for a tech transfer role at Johns Hopkins University was driven by the need for a career that accommodated her professional skills and personal life. Elaine’s experiences offer a raw, unfiltered look into the conflicts that can arise when professional demands collide with personal needs, serving as a powerful narrative for those navigating similar paths in demanding fields.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

The Strategic Dilemma: Overcoming Double Patenting with Terminal Disclaimers

Navigating the labyrinthine world of patent law can be as complex as the innovations it protects. Among the myriad challenges faced by patent practitioners, double patenting rejections and the judicious use of terminal disclaimers stand out. These issues require not only legal acumen but also strategic foresight. This detailed exploration sheds light on the intricate dance between securing robust patent protection and maximizing the commercial lifespan of your intellectual assets.

Deciphering Double Patenting

Double patenting involves the risk of granting several patents for the same invention, potentially extending monopoly rights beyond the intended term. This scenario is particularly problematic as it can lead to a thicket of overlapping rights that are difficult to navigate for both the patent holder and potential competitors. Understanding the nuances of double patenting is essential for anyone looking to navigate the patent landscape successfully.

Terminal Disclaimers: A Strategic Tool

Filing a terminal disclaimer is a common tactic to overcome double patenting objections. This maneuver effectively synchronizes the expiry of the involved patents, thus aligning them within the legally permissible patent term. However, this resolution is not without its trade-offs:

  1. Integration of Patent Lifecycles: Terminal disclaimers bind the destinies of multiple patents, potentially complicating future adjustments to a portfolio.
  2. Reduction in Patent Term: They may unintentionally shorten the effective patent term, potentially undercutting the commercial advantage they provide.

Strategic Considerations for Managing Patent Portfolios

When facing a double patenting dilemma, thoughtful consideration is paramount:

  1. Evaluating Business Impact: Consider the broader business implications of linking patents. How might this influence your company’s strategy in terms of market presence or competitive edge?
  2. Analyzing Patent Family Relationships: Determine the relationship between the patent families involved and assess the potential long-term impacts of tying these families together through a terminal disclaimer.
  3. Exploring Claim Adjustments: Before resorting to a terminal disclaimer, exhaust all options to differentiate the claims of the current application from those of the related patent. Amending claims or arguing distinctiveness can sometimes circumvent the need for a disclaimer.
  4. Optimal Timing of Filing: Delay the decision to file a terminal disclaimer until it is absolutely necessary, which allows for a complete assessment of the prosecution landscape and might reveal alternative strategies.

The decision to file a terminal disclaimer in response to a double patenting rejection intertwines legal strategy with business foresight. A well-considered approach can not only navigate through the immediate legal hurdles but also set the stage for long-term innovation management and commercial success.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Navigating New Horizons: Elaine’s Journey Through High-Stakes Litigation to Family-Centric Career Choices

In our latest installment of the Driving Diversity “Navigating New Horizons” series, we continue to explore Elaine Spector’s dynamic journey as a patent attorney caught between the rigorous demands of her career and the personal commitment to her family. This chapter picks up after Elaine has seemingly found the perfect work-life arrangement, only to have it upended by an intense legal battle that challenges her priorities and career trajectory.

Elaine’s innovative work schedule was a pioneering model before remote work gained traction. It allowed her a balanced division between her professional responsibilities and her family life, with two days in the office, one from home, and two days off to be with her three young children. This arrangement seemed ideal until she was drawn into a complex patent litigation case in the Eastern District of Texas.

The case was far from straightforward; it was a high-stakes, unyielding trial that refused to settle and demanded her presence for an extended period, significantly more than her usual commitment. Elaine found herself in Texas for a whole month, a stark contrast to the family-centric routine she had cultivated. This shift not only placed a strain on her familial relationships but also on her mental and emotional well-being, as she grappled with the professional demands of being a key player in a relentless legal struggle.

During this trial, Elaine’s dedication to her craft was evident, but the personal cost of such dedication became increasingly clear. The separation from her young children during critical developmental years caused her to deeply question whether her career in private practice was sustainable in the long term. Her internal conflict and the toll of the trial became a catalyst for reevaluating her career path.

Post-trial, Elaine sought a position that could offer both professional fulfillment and proximity to her family. She transitioned to a role in technology transfer at Johns Hopkins University. This role, while full-time, promised a significant reduction in travel and more regular hours, factors that were crucial in her decision. The move was strategic, aligning her professional skills with her personal need to be available for her children.

Elaine’s story is a powerful narrative about the challenges of maintaining work-life balance in the high-pressure world of patent law. It illustrates the tough decisions many legal professionals face when personal priorities clash with professional opportunities. Elaine’s shift from a high-stakes litigation environment to an in-house role at a major research institution symbolizes a broader conversation about the evolving demands and expectations of work in the legal sector.

As we anticipate further developments in Elaine’s career, her experiences serve as a valuable case study for other professionals navigating similar paths. Her journey underscores the importance of aligning career choices with personal values and the continuous search for balance in a demanding professional landscape.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Unlocking the Potential of AFCP 2.0: A Game-Changer in Patent Prosecution

In the intricate dance of patent prosecution, making the right moves after receiving a Final Office Action (FOA) from the USPTO is paramount. In this week’s The Precise  George Howarah sheds light on a strategic tool that is transforming the landscape for applicants and attorneys: the After Final Consideration Pilot 2.0 (AFCP 2.0).

The Turning Point: Beyond Traditional Responses

Traditionally, the response to an FOA often leads down the path of filing a Request for Continued Examination (RCE). However, this route can be both time-consuming and costly, potentially slowing down the journey to patent issuance. George introduces AFCP 2.0 as a compelling alternative, aiming to streamline the prosecution process with a more nuanced approach.

Delving Into AFCP 2.0

AFCP 2.0 emerges as a beacon of efficiency, offering a pathway to advance prosecution without the need for an RCE. The program allows for the consideration of a response to an FOA that includes a non-broadening amendment to at least one independent claim. This key provision paves the way for a more dynamic interaction between applicants and the USPTO.

The USPTO allocates additional time under AFCP 2.0 for examiners to review applications, creating an environment conducive to thorough evaluation and discussion. The goal? To reach an allowance or to facilitate a productive dialogue through an interview with the applicant, addressing any hurdles that stand in the way.

Why AFCP 2.0 Matters

George emphasizes several advantages of AFCP 2.0 that make it an invaluable tool in the patent prosecution toolkit:

  1. Speed: By potentially bypassing the RCE cycle, AFCP 2.0 can significantly reduce the time to patent issuance.
  2. Cost Effectiveness: The program is free to use, offering a budget-friendly option for advancing prosecution.
  3. Enhanced Engagement: The opportunity for an examiner interview under AFCP 2.0 is a strategic advantage, allowing for direct negotiation and clarification, thereby enhancing the prospects of allowance.

Strategic Application of AFCP 2.0

Despite its benefits, George notes the importance of meeting AFCP 2.0’s specific criteria to qualify for the program. Examiners have sole discretion in this regard, making it essential for applicants to craft their responses carefully.

In practice, George recommends always exploring the possibility of AFCP 2.0 when crafting a response to an FOA, especially when it involves a non-broadening amendment to an independent claim. This approach not only leverages the program’s benefits but also offers a proactive stance in navigating the prosecution process.

A Paradigm Shift in Prosecution Strategy

George’s insight into AFCP 2.0 heralds a shift towards a more efficient, cost-effective, and interactive patent prosecution process. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, embracing such innovative programs will be key to navigating the complexities of securing patent rights successfully.

In a world where time is of the essence, and every detail matters, AFCP 2.0 stands out as a pivotal tool, reshaping the strategy behind patent prosecution. George’s advocacy for its use underscores its potential to significantly impact how we approach the final stages of patent application.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Unveiling the Brains Behind AI Patenting: Leading Inventors Transforming Technology

By Ayana Marshall, Patent Data Analyst

Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way thanks to its top inventors.  Their groundbreaking work has not only pushed AI technology forward but also made it a vital part of different industries.  These innovators have transformed AI from ideas into impactful tools.  This article spotlights these leading inventors, celebrating the individuals whose creativity and foresight have made AI innovations indispensable. 

Leading Inventors in AI: A Perspective Based on Global Patents and Pending Applications 

The table above presents a summary of the contributions of leading AI inventors, ranking them by their patent portfolio size.  This table details a list of inventors with their associated patent portfolios, highlighting their active global patents and pending applications.  The following are the highlights: 

  • Global Patent Leader: Jianzong Wang from Ping An Insurance (Group) tops the list with 1,077 total patents and applications. 
  • Granted Patents: Wang currently holds 364 granted patents. 
  • Pending Applications: A considerable number of 713 applications are pending, indicating active innovation. 
  • Patent Families: Wang’s patents are part of a large family of 1,013, suggesting broad and varied technological advancements. 
  • Company Spotlight: Stradvision, Inc. features prominently, with several inventors on the list having a high volume of pending patents, highlighting the company’s intensive R&D focus. 

The gradient coloring starting from green across the table visually emphasizes the inventors with the most extensive patent activities, with darker greens denoting inventors with larger volumes.  This table, therefore, not only highlights individual achievement but also subtly points out the competitive landscape of AI development among leading tech companies. 

Leading Inventors in AI: A Perspective Based on US Patents and Pending Applications 

This image details a list of inventors with their associated patent portfolios, highlighting their active US patents and pending applications.  

  • U.S. Patent Front-Runner: Sarbajit K. Rakshit from IBM leads with 356 patents and pending applications in the U.S. 
  • Notable Inventors: Kenneth Neumann of Kpn Innovations, LLC and inventors from Capital One Financial Corporation are also highlighted for their substantial contributions. 
  • Close Contender: Austin Walters of Capital One Financial Corporation has a portfolio close behind with 303 patents and pending applications. 
  • Patents vs. Pending Applications: The table distinguishes between granted patents and pending applications, highlighting active areas of innovation with Neumann leading in pending applications. 
  • Cross-Industry Innovation: Inventors from various companies like Cisco Systems, Adobe, and Samsung demonstrate AI’s wide-ranging impact across different sectors. 

Beyond the Numbers 

In summary, the data from both images offers a look at the AI industry’s inventors and their contributions on a global scale, as well as within the United States.  The inventors listed highlight a robust commitment to innovation, with extensive patent portfolios that include both granted patents and those awaiting approval.  

Notably, the inventors affiliated with companies like Stradvision, Inc., Capital One Financial Corporation, and Ping An Insurance Group demonstrate strides in AI technology globally, as evidenced by their patent counts.  The number of pending applications further suggests that the field is poised for growth with potential new AI solutions on the horizon.  These inventors, therefore, represent the driving force behind the AI sector’s evolution, embodying the industry’s commitment to advancing technology and securing its future development through patent protection. 

This data is sourced from the Harrity Analytics Patent Pulse™ Report on Artificial Intelligence.  For more information about the Patent Pulse™ Report visit our website HERE, download a complimentary Patent Pulse Report HERE, or contact Harrity Analytics HERE. 

 

Who’s Conquering the AI Globe?  The Patent Showdown Between Reach & Influence

By Ayana Marshall, Patent Data Analyst

The scope of Artificial Intelligence (AI) patents is a key indicator of innovation and global reach in the field.  The chart in the image arranges the companies by two metrics: the influence of their patents, indicated by average forward citations, and the international expanse of their patent holdings, revealing a strategic dimension to how AI advancements are being staked worldwide. 

Tech Titans in the Spotlight: Microsoft and Alphabet Inc. Lead the Charge 

The bubble chart was used here to assess the breadth of jurisdiction and citation impact of AI patents. Geographic coverage is plotted on the x-axis and average forward citations are plotted on the y-axis.  The following are the highlights from the chart: 

  • Microsoft & Alphabet Inc. Lead: Both companies secure top positions in AI patent rankings, highlighting extensive patent counts and wide international presence. 
  • Citation Impact: Alphabet Inc. has the highest average forward citations with Microsoft closely following. 
  • Other Notable Companies: Toyota Motor Corporation, Samsung Electronics, Huawei, and Robert Bosch. also feature with significant geographic coverage and citation impacts. 
  • Citation Prominence: Baidu, Tencent, and Ping An Insurance are notable because of their citation counts. 

Unveiling the Global AI Innovation Map: A Closer Look at Tech Titans 

The positioning of companies across the chart illuminates the reach of their AI endeavors.  This visual guide offers a look into the scale and influence of each technology titan’s AI patent portfolios.  This data is sourced from the Harrity Analytics Patent Pulse™ Report on Artificial Intelligence.

For more information about the Patent Pulse™ Report visit our website HERE, download a complimentary Patent Pulse Report HERE, or contact Harrity Analytics HERE. 

Navigating New Horizons: Elaine’s Quest for Work-Life Harmony in IP Law Continues

 

Last week, we embarked on an insightful exploration into Elaine’s transformative journey within the Intellectual Property (IP) law landscape—a narrative that resonated deeply with many in our community. As we continue with the second installment of “Navigating New Horizons,” Elaine’s quest for work-life harmony in the demanding world of IP law gains new depth and dimension.

Elaine’s transformation from a full-time associate to a part-time employee in the wake of motherhood marked the beginning of her unique journey through the world of IP law—a journey characterized by its challenges, learning curves, and triumphs. Her bold request for additional leave, following the birth of her second child, was met with refusal, highlighting the rigidities still present within some corners of the legal profession. This pivotal moment spurred Elaine to seek out opportunities that aligned more closely with her values and vision for a balanced life.

The serendipitous offer from a larger general practice firm, ready to embrace her on terms that respected her need for flexibility, represented a turning point. Here was a chance to engage in patent preparation, prosecution, and opinion work while also being present for her family—a blend of professional and personal fulfillment that had previously seemed elusive.

Yet, as Elaine settled into this new chapter, the unforeseen complexities of litigation emerged, threatening the delicate balance she had worked so hard to achieve. Faced with potentially career-altering decisions, Elaine’s narrative encapsulates the ongoing struggle for work-life harmony that many legal professionals, especially parents, confront.

As we continue to follow Elaine’s journey, her story encourages a reflection on the broader implications for the legal industry. It serves as a reminder of the critical importance of fostering workplaces that are truly inclusive and adaptable, capable of supporting diverse talents and life circumstances.

Elaine’s narrative is more than just a personal story; it’s a call to action for the legal profession to prioritize diversity, inclusion, and flexibility. As she navigates the complexities of IP law and motherhood, her experiences illuminate the path toward a more equitable and supportive industry. By championing professionals like Elaine, who seek to balance the scales of career and family, the legal community can take meaningful steps towards creating environments where every lawyer has the opportunity to thrive, irrespective of their personal responsibilities.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Decoding the Signature: The Influence of Patent Examiner Authority on Patent Outcomes

Navigating the patent application process can feel like a complex chess game, where understanding the moves of patent examiners plays a critical role in strategy. In this week’s ‘The Precise Prosecutor’, George Howarah provides a deep dive into a less discussed but highly impactful aspect of the patent examination process: the significance of a patent examiner’s ability to sign their own office actions and what it means for applicants.

The Significance of Examiner Levels

At the heart of the patent examination process is the General Schedule (GS) pay scale, which ranges from GS-5 for junior examiners to GS-15 for the most senior. This scale is not just a measure of experience but also a reflection of authority within the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

A key transition occurs when examiners reach the GS-13 level, granting them partial signatory authority. This allows them to independently sign all non-final office actions, a significant marker of trust and responsibility within the USPTO. The journey from a junior GS-5 examiner to a GS-13 with this level of autonomy involves a rigorous evaluation of job performance, emphasizing the quality of work.

From Junior to Primary: The Path to Full Authority

Achieving primary examiner status, where one can sign all types of office actions including final ones, requires even more. Examiners must successfully complete a specialized program designed to evaluate their readiness for this level of independence. This designation as a primary examiner signifies a level of expertise and authority that directly impacts the patent application process.

Why It Matters to Patent Applicants

For patent applicants, the distinction between junior and primary examiners is crucial. An office action signed by a junior examiner who lacks the authority to issue final decisions might not have undergone the same level of scrutiny as those reviewed by a primary examiner. This is especially critical in complex technological areas or in nuanced legal scenarios, where experienced oversight is paramount.

George emphasizes the practical step of examining the examiner’s signature on office actions. This isn’t about undermining the capability of junior examiners but rather about understanding the depth of review and expertise your patent application is receiving. A signature from a primary examiner indicates a thorough vetting process, reflecting a higher degree of reliability and authority.

The level of authority a patent examiner holds can significantly influence the patent examination process. By understanding the implications of examiner signatures, applicants can gain insights into the level of scrutiny their application has undergone, informing their responses and strategies. George’s expert insights offer a critical lens through which applicants can navigate the patent process more effectively, especially in fields where the complexity of technology and law intersect.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Navigating New Horizons: The Journey of a Lawyer Mom in the World of IP Law

April brings not just the promise of spring but also stories of resilience and determination that inspire and empower. In this week’s #DrivingDiversity, Elaine Spector opens up about her odyssey in the legal field—a journey punctuated by trials and tribulations but also by immense growth and learning.

Starting in 1996 at a small firm in Bethesda, Elaine plunged into the vast ocean of IP law, where she had the fortune of exploring every facet of the discipline. This initial foray was not just a job; it was a crucible that honed her skills and shaped her into a formidable associate.

The leap from a small firm to a larger IP boutique marked a significant phase in Elaine’s career. Here, she became the go-to associate for those unpredictable Friday 4 PM calls, a testament to her reliability and dedication. Her days, stretching from 7 AM to 7 PM, including weekends, epitomized the commitment required in the high-stakes world of IP law.

However, the arrival of Elaine’s first child marked a pivotal moment, compelling her to confront the reality many women in law face—the daunting challenge of balancing a demanding career with motherhood. The decision to reduce her hours from 1800 to 1200 annually was a bold step towards seeking balance, yet it was met with a compromise that barely skimmed the surface of her needs. The agreement to work from home on Fridays, while maintaining this arrangement under wraps —presented its own set of challenges, highlighting the complexities of navigating career and family life in silence.

This untenable situation eventually led Elaine to a crossroads, prompting her to leave the firm in search of a more accommodating work-life balance. Her story leaves us on the edge of our seats, wondering if the utopia of balance exists within the legal profession.

Elaine’s journey underscores a broader dialogue on the need for structural changes within the legal industry to support women. It’s a call to action for firms to not only accommodate but embrace flexible working arrangements, fostering an environment where talent thrives alongside parenthood. As we await the next chapter in Elaine’s story, her experiences serve as a catalyst for conversation and action, inspiring both individuals and organizations to advocate for policies and cultures that empower women in law to thrive in all aspects of their lives.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Unveiling the USPTO’s Examiner Production System: Strategic Insights for Patent Prosecutors

Navigating the patent examination process at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requires more than just a deep understanding of law and technology—it demands insight into the operational metrics that drive examiner behaviors, notably the production system.

Understanding the Examiner Production System

At the core of the USPTO’s operational efficiency is a metric system known as “counts,” a performance evaluation tool that transcends traditional hour-based assessments. Examiners are evaluated based on their ability to meet specific count quotas within each bi-weekly period. These quotas are influenced by several factors: the examiner’s seniority, the technological complexity of the art unit assigned, and the total examining hours available in the pay period.

This system necessitates that senior examiners, due to their experience, are expected to meet higher count quotas. Meanwhile, examiners handling applications in technologically advanced or complex art units are allotted fewer counts, acknowledging the intricate nature of their examination tasks.

How Counts Are Earned

The allocation of counts is strategically set to ensure efficiency and productivity:

  • A first Office Action on the merits awards an examiner 1.25 counts.
  • Completing a final Office Action earns 0.5 counts.
  • If an application is abandoned or an RCE (Request for Continued Examination) is filed, the examiner receives 0.5 counts.
  • After an RCE is submitted, any subsequent Office Action, typically non-final, yields one count, with an additional 0.5 counts for a final Office Action, another RCE, or abandonment.

It’s critical to understand that the earning of counts is not directly correlated with the time spent on each Office Action, underscoring the USPTO’s emphasis on results over time spent.

Strategic Considerations for Patent Prosecutors

The examiner production system significantly impacts patent prosecution strategies. Examiners are under a structured time constraint to review applications, especially during final Office Actions. This makes it imperative for attorneys to submit clear, concise, and strategically focused amendments and arguments. Ensuring that your submissions are easily understandable can facilitate the examiner’s review process, potentially speeding up the examination process and improving the chances of patent grant.

A thorough comprehension of the USPTO’s examiner production system is invaluable for patent prosecutors. By aligning submission strategies with the nuances of the system, attorneys can navigate the patent application process more effectively, improving outcomes for their clients. Understanding how examiners are motivated and measured can transform a potentially opaque process into a more predictable and navigable path to patent approval.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Bridging the Gap: Empowering Women in STEM to Explore Careers in Patent Law

In a world where career paths are as diverse as the individuals pursuing them, the journey of discovering one’s true calling can be filled with unexpected turns and revelations. This holds particularly true in the intersecting realms of STEM and law, where the unique profession of patent law resides—a field that marries the precision of science and engineering with the intricacies of legal expertise. As we reflect on Women’s History Month, it’s essential to spotlight the opportunities that exist for women in STEM to venture into the lesser-known territories of patent law, embodying the potential to innovate, protect, and advocate for groundbreaking inventions.

The inspiration to bridge the divide between STEM and patent law often starts with a personal narrative—a story of discovery, influence, and ambition. Take, for instance, the journey of a child fascinated by mathematics, whose early inclinations were nurtured by a mechanical engineer father. This innate curiosity to solve and fix, combined with an unexpected prowess in debate, laid the groundwork for an unforeseen career prospect: becoming a patent attorney.

The revelation that a career in patent law does not require one to choose between a love for science and a passion for law, but rather, celebrates the combination of both, is a turning point. It’s the story of realizing that with a background in hard sciences, such as mechanical engineering, one could embark on a legal career specialized in protecting intellectual property.

Yet, this realization brings to light a significant challenge: the lack of awareness among many students about the viability of patent law as a career path. This gap in knowledge is especially pronounced among women in STEM, who, despite their growing numbers in technical fields, remain underrepresented in patent law. The importance of role models, mentors, and informative networks cannot be overstated in bridging this gap, highlighting the need for initiatives that introduce women to the profession.

As we close Women’s History Month, the call to action becomes clear: to spread the word about the opportunities within patent law for women with STEM backgrounds. The upcoming “Harrity for Parity: Women’s Patent Workshop” is more than an event; it’s a stepping stone for undergraduate women in STEM to explore a career that not only needs their expertise but desperately seeks their perspective and innovation.

The journey from a child’s curiosity in math and science to a professional career in patent law exemplifies the importance of information, guidance, and encouragement in navigating one’s career path. It underscores the critical role that awareness plays in opening doors to diverse career opportunities for women in STEM. By becoming the bridge for others, we can ensure that more women not only become aware of careers in patent law but are also empowered to pursue them. Let us all be part of this movement to diversify the field of patent law, ensuring it benefits from the brilliant minds of women in STEM. Join the conversation, spread the word, and let’s pave the way for future generations of women patent attorneys.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Navigating Allowable Subject Matter in Patent Applications: Strategies for Success

Navigating the patent process is a nuanced journey, especially when responding to first office actions that indicate allowable subject matter alongside dependent claims. In this week’s #ThePreciseProsecutor, George Howarah provides a strategic blueprint to approach this scenario, ensuring that patent applicants can make informed decisions that enhance the value of their applications.

The Foundation of Analysis
Upon receiving a first office action that identifies allowable subject matter, it’s critical not to rush into incorporating these suggestions or, conversely, dismissing them out of hand. George advocates for a deliberate approach that scrutinizes the office action with fresh eyes.

1. Unbiased Analysis: The First Step
Begin your evaluation as though the office action did not specify allowable subject matter. This involves a deep dive into the inventive concept of your application and its encapsulation within the claims, ensuring you fully grasp the innovation at hand without any preconceptions.

2. Assessing the Strategic Scope
How does the allowable subject matter’s scope compare to related applications or patents? A close similarity, especially with the independent claims of a parent application, might diminish its strategic value, suggesting that the new allowable matter may not substantially enhance your patent portfolio.

3. Business Value: A Key Consideration
The commercial impact of the allowable subject matter is paramount. If it fails to encompass a critical standard or product feature your business targets, its utility may be limited. This assessment helps prioritize modifications that align with your strategic business objectives.

4. Balancing Scope and Substance
Evaluate whether the allowable subject matter presents a reasonable scope and if it’s merely ancillary to your application’s core invention. Sometimes, what’s allowed is too narrow to warrant incorporation in its initial form. Instead, look for opportunities to negotiate or amend claims for a broader, more impactful scope.

Beyond the Initial Action: A Proactive Stance
Exploring broader subject matter than what is initially indicated as allowable can be a wise strategy. Engaging in a dialogue with the patent office or preparing amendments can often lead to securing more comprehensive protection, potentially at a more opportune time.

Addressing a first office action with a strategic mindset can transform a routine step in the patent process into a pivotal opportunity for enhancing your intellectual property portfolio. By adopting George Hawara’s methodical approach, applicants can not only navigate the complexities of office actions but also position their inventions for maximum impact and protection.

Navigating through the patent application process, particularly in responding to office actions, demands a strategic outlook that evaluates the invention’s core, its market relevance, and the tactical deployment of allowable subject matter. Following George’s strategic framework provides a pathway not just to patentability but to securing valuable, enforceable patent rights.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Navigating the Legal Landscape: The Supreme Court and the Future of Diversity in Education

Amidst the turbulence stirred by last year’s landmark affirmative action decision and subsequent legal challenges, the Supreme Court’s recent inaction regarding a high-profile lawsuit has cast a ray of hope across the landscape of educational diversity. This moment serves as a critical juncture for proponents of diversity in the legal field, where the balance between meritocracy and inclusivity stands in stark relief. The refusal to review the lawsuit against the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) in Northern Virginia offers not just clarity but also an affirmation of innovative approaches to admissions policies. This week’s #DrivingDiversity blog post ventures into this pivotal development, unraveling its significance for the evolution of diversity in educational admissions and the broader implications for equitable access to education.

From Concern to Clarity

The legal challenges mounted by the American Alliance for Equal Rights against several notable law firms had cast a shadow of apprehension over diversity efforts within the legal community. At the heart of this anxiety was the fear of a domino effect that might erode admissions policies designed to uplift economically disadvantaged applicants. The backdrop of this unease was a landscape fraught with uncertainty about the sustainability of diversity initiatives.

A Turning Point

Yet, as the dust settles, the Supreme Court’s decision to sidestep the lawsuit against TJ marks a watershed moment. In revising its admissions policies in 2021 to align with a merit-based approach pioneered in Texas in 1997, TJ has not only preserved but enhanced its commitment to diversity. By selecting the top 1.5% of students from each public middle school in the area, the school dramatically broadened its demographic and socioeconomic diversity, steering clear of explicit racial criteria. This strategy represents a significant victory for advocates of inclusivity, illustrating a viable pathway to enriching educational diversity through merit-based practices.

The Path Forward

The case of TJ serves as a compelling example of how educational institutions can navigate the challenging waters of admissions policies in a post-affirmative action era. It underscores the potential for creating environments that are both diverse and inclusive, without sacrificing the principles of merit and excellence. The Supreme Court’s stance offers a glimmer of hope and a blueprint for the future, highlighting that progress towards equitable education is both possible and necessary.

While we celebrate these victories, we also acknowledge the long road ahead. The dream of universal access to quality education remains just that—a dream for many. However, the advancements at TJ remind us of the power of resilience, innovation, and the collective pursuit of a more inclusive future.

The journey towards diversity and inclusion in the legal and educational sectors is fraught with challenges, yet it is imbued with the potential for profound societal impact. The Supreme Court’s recent actions serve not only as a testament to the resilience of diversity initiatives but also as a guiding light for the future. As we continue to navigate this complex landscape, let us draw inspiration from the successes and remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that all children, irrespective of their background, have access to the quality education they rightfully deserve. Together, we can make this vision a reality, one step at a time.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Streamlining Patent Prosecution: A Proven Strategy for Navigating Office Actions

The journey toward patent approval is often complex, marked by the critical juncture of responding to an office action. George Howarah offers a strategic blueprint for addressing these challenges, providing a systematic approach to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of patent prosecution efforts.

Step One: Claim Analysis

The journey begins with a comprehensive analysis of the claims, particularly focusing on the independent claims. George underscores the importance of grasping the full scope of these claims as they encapsulate the essence of the inventive concept. This step is foundational, setting the stage for a targeted and informed response.

Step Two: Office Action Review

The next phase involves a meticulous review of the office action, paying close attention to the nature of the rejections and the specifics of the cited prior art. George points out the potential to challenge the relevance of prior art based on its date or ownership. This critical evaluation is pivotal for developing a strategic plan of attack.

Step Three: Specification Examination

Central to George’s approach is a thorough examination of the patent’s specification. This in-depth review ensures a profound understanding of how the invention is described and claimed, facilitating a more accurate alignment between the invention and the claims. This deep comprehension is vital for identifying the strongest possible position in response to the office action.

Step Four: Developing the Response Strategy

Finally, George focuses on crafting a tailored response strategy. This involves identifying the core inventive concept within the independent claims and evaluating the examiner’s cited references for their applicability and interpretation. Depending on the examiner’s rationale, George suggests either proposing strategic amendments to the claims or preparing cogent arguments to underscore the invention’s novelty and non-obviousness.

George’s structured approach demystifies the process of responding to office actions, offering patent practitioners a clear, step-by-step guide to navigating these waters. By adopting this methodical strategy, inventors and attorneys alike can improve their chances of advancing through the patent prosecution process successfully, ensuring their innovations receive the protection they deserve.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Beyond the Marker: Equal Pay Day and the Legal Sector’s Call for Action

In the landscape of modern justice, the battle for equal pay remains a glaring contradiction. Equal Pay Day, observed on March 12th, underscores a reality we can no longer ignore – the persistent wage gap between genders. It’s a day that forces us to reckon with the fact that women have to work significantly longer into the next year to earn what men did in the previous one. This revelation comes not from the fringes of our society but straight from the legal sector, a realm dedicated to upholding fairness and justice.

The irony is not lost on us. The legal profession, built on the principles of equity and justice, finds itself at the heart of this ongoing struggle for wage parity. The call for action is clear and unequivocal: it’s time to disrupt the status quo. The message is a rallying cry for everyone, urging them to amplify their voices using #equalpay, share personal stories, and engage in conversations that matter. The goal is to create a groundswell of support that cannot be ignored, pushing for systemic changes that ensure equal pay is not just an ideal but a reality.

Moreover, the emphasis on male allies participating in this movement is crucial. Equal pay is not solely a women’s issue; it’s a societal one that affects us all. When women are paid fairly, the benefits ripple through families, communities, and economies. Thus, the call to action extends beyond gender lines, inviting everyone to play a part in rectifying this injustice.

As we reflect on Equal Pay Day, let’s recognize it not just as a marker of how far we’ve come, but more importantly, how far we still have to go. The fight for equal pay in the legal profession and beyond is a testament to the broader struggle for gender equality and justice. It’s a call to action for all of us to engage, advocate, and push for change. The path to equality requires relentless effort, solidarity, and a commitment to justice for all. Let’s make equal pay a reality, not just for the sake of fairness, but for the future we all share.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

AI Titans: Who’s Dominating the Patent Universe

By Ayana Marshall, Patent Data Analyst

In the rapidly advancing field of technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a notable area of focus.  This field, where machines are designed to simulate human intelligence, is a center of both innovation and patent competition.  Key players in this arena are major companies that are not only involved in developing AI but also in securing their developments through patents.  These leading companies are actively engaging in AI research and development, and through their patent filings, they are protecting their innovations.  This activity plays a significant role in the ongoing evolution of AI technology and its integration into various industries. 

Global Players: Patent Powerhouses Shaping the Future 

The Top Companies bar chart above illustrates the total patents and total pending applications in AI held by various global corporations.  The following are some highlights: 

  • Leading Patent Holder: Alphabet Inc. holds the highest number of total patents, indicating significant investment in AI. 
  • IBM & Baidu Presence: International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and Baidu, Inc. follow closely in patent counts, highlighting their roles as major players in AI development. 
  • Samsung’s Pending Applications: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has a notably higher number of pending applications than granted patents. 
  • Varied Company Involvement: Microsoft Corporation, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Toyota Motor Corporation, and Amazon.com, Inc. are also key contenders with substantial patent portfolios. 
  • Ping An Insurance’s AI Focus: Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. is recognized for its considerable AI patent portfolio. 
  • Manufacturing Companies + AI: Robert Bosch GmbH and Siemens AG, known for manufacturing, have significant AI patent activities, underlining AI’s cross-sector impact. 
  • Technology & Automotive Dominance: The chart emphasizes the strong involvement of technology and automotive companies in AI patent holdings. 

Tracing the Trajectory of AI Patent Publications 

Expanding on the context of patent holdings, the line graph above spans from 2014 to 2023.  The following are the highlights: 

  • Upward Trend:  The Publication Trend shows a fluctuating but overall increasing trend in AI patent publications from 2014 to 2023. 
  • Growth in Publications:  There’s a 7.6% annual increase in AI patent publications in the three years up to 2023. 
  • 2019 as a Milestone Year:  The year 2019 is highlighted as a significant year, marking the start of a noticeable rise in the number of AI patent publications. 

This overview introduces the major industry players and the publication trajectory in AI innovation, offering insights for understanding AI development and patenting.  This data is sourced from the Harrity Analytics Patent Pulse™ Report on Artificial Intelligence. 

For more information about the Patent Pulse™ Report visit our website HERE, download a complimentary Patent Pulse Report HERE, or contact Harrity Analytics HERE.

102 Blocking Patents as an Indication of High-Quality AI Patent Portfolios

By Ayana Marshall, Patent Data Analyst

The hottest area for patenting globally is in Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation, and one indicator of the quality of patent portfolios in the AI space is the number of 102 blocking patents.  102 blocking patents are patents cited by an examiner as a 102 reference in an office action at the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office).  These Gate Keepers are building high quality patent portfolios that protect their innovation and keep other competitors from patenting similar inventions in AI. 

The table above shows a list of major technology companies, referred to here as “Gate Keepers,” that have obtained the most blocking patents related to Artificial Intelligence (AI).  The following are the highlights from this table: 

  • Alphabet Inc. holds the highest number of blocking patents, totaling 1,145. 
  • Microsoft Corporation follows with 1,068 blocking patents. 
  • Amazon.com, Inc. has 671 blocking patents. 
  • The list includes a mix of technology, automotive, and industrial companies. 
  • Notable entries include Samsung Electronics with 663 patents and IBM with 670 patents. 
  • Companies such as Meta Platforms, Inc. and Ford Motor Company also feature on the list with 200 and 190 patents, respectively. 

Now that we know which companies have the most blocking patents, we can now look at who is being hindered the most by 102 blocking patents.  The table below shows the list of major technology companies, referred to here as the “Hindered,” that have had the most AI patents cited against them in a 102 rejection. 

The following are the highlights from this list of companies: 

  • IBM at the Forefront: International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) leads with 994 patents impacted by 102 blockages. 
  • Samsung & Microsoft Affected: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and Microsoft Corporation also faced significant numbers of blocked patents, with 677 and 618, respectively. 
  • Notable Tech Giants: Alphabet Inc. and Toyota Motor Corporation are among other technology giants, with 508 and 462 blocked AI patents, hinting at the competitive landscape they navigate. 
  • Intellectual Property Challenges: Companies like Intel Corporation and Baidu, Inc. also experienced several patent blockages. 
  • Broad Industry Impact: The list includes a diverse range of companies from different industries, showing that patent blockages in AI are a common challenge across the technology sector. 

This data highlights that the AI technology landscape includes companies that, while pushing the boundaries of AI, encounter significant hurdles in the form of 102 blocked patents.  The challenges faced by these companies underscore the importance of strategic patent management and the potential for collaboration or negotiation in advancing the field of AI.  Despite these obstacles, the continued efforts and resilience of these companies fuel the progress and expansion of AI technologies globally. 

This data is sourced from the Harrity Analytics Patent Pulse™ Report on Artificial Intelligence. For more information about the Patent Pulse™ Report visit our website HERE, download a complimentary Patent Pulse Report HERE, or contact Harrity Analytics HERE.

Transforming Examiner Interviews into Opportunities: A Practical Guide

Navigating the patent prosecution landscape requires more than just legal expertise; it demands a nuanced understanding of the human elements that influence the process. Examiner interviews are a pivotal aspect of this journey, offering unique opportunities to directly influence the outcome of a patent application. George Howarah shares his refined approach to these interviews, combining technical acumen with strategic interpersonal engagement.

The Importance of Personal Connection

George begins by emphasizing the importance of establishing a personal connection with the examiner. Before diving into the technicalities, he spends a few minutes asking about the examiner’s wellbeing and any updates from the patent office. This approach is not just about pleasantries; it’s a strategic move to make the interview less contentious and foster a collaborative atmosphere. Such a rapport encourages the examiner to be more open to discussion, laying the groundwork for a productive conversation.

Presenting the Invention and Claims

Another crucial part of George’s strategy is how he presents the invention and the claims. He carefully selects drawings that directly support his arguments and articulates the essence of the invention in his own words, steering clear of the complex language often found in claims. This approach not only aids in mutual understanding but also allows the examiner to view the invention from the attorney’s perspective, facilitating a more meaningful discussion about the application’s merits.

The Path to Agreement

The goal of any examiner interview is to reach some form of agreement that advances the patent application towards allowance. George shares his structured method for negotiating claim amendments, starting with the ideal outcome and gradually addressing more specific concerns. This step-by-step negotiation is designed to find common ground, however small, which can be crucial for prosecution estoppel and avoiding future legal hurdles.

George’s approach to examiner interviews is a testament to the power of preparation, personal connection, and precise argumentation. By adopting these strategies, patent attorneys can enhance their chances of success, transforming a daunting process into a manageable and even rewarding experience.

So, How Do You Conduct Examiner Interviews?

George’s methods are a blend of art and science, offering a proven framework for engaging with patent examiners effectively. But the field is wide open for discussion: How do you approach examiner interviews?

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Apple Vision Pro: A Patent Look at the New Entrant in Virtual Reality

By Ayana Marshall, Patent Data Analyst

Introduction 

Virtual Reality (VR) has evolved from a futuristic concept to an everyday reality, and with Apple’s launch of the Vision Pro headset, the technology giant is now staking its claim in this innovative field.  This article takes a closer look at the Vision Pro, examining how it fits into an already dynamic market and patenting landscape, and what its arrival signifies for the future of VR. 

Overview of Apple’s Vision Pro 

The Apple Vision Pro is designed for seamless integration across the Apple ecosystem, enhancing the user experience on all Apple devices. 

Computational Power, Latency, and Memory Bandwidth 

Powered by the M2 chip, the Vision Pro balances high-speed processing with energy efficiency, further enhanced by a 10-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Engine.  With 16GB of unified memory, it supports efficient data processing and multitasking.  The introduction of the R1 chip reduces photon-to-photon latency to 12 milliseconds, enhancing immersion and minimizing motion sickness, while a 256GB/s memory bandwidth ensures responsive VR interactions. 

Display Technology, Audio Technology, and Media Playback 

Its display employs micro-OLED technology with 23 million pixels, delivering visuals supported by a wide color spectrum and variable refresh rates for smooth motion.  An array of advanced sensors and cameras enables environmental mapping and motion tracking, complemented by passthrough technology that blends virtual and physical spaces for enhanced user awareness.  The Vision Pro’s immersive audio experience, enriched by Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking, personalized audio ray tracing, a six-mic array with directional beamforming, and ultra-low-latency connections with AirPods Pro (2nd generation).  Additionally, extensive support for audio and video formats ensures high-fidelity content consumption. 

Operating System, Battery Life and Charging 

visionOS, Apple’s platform for spatial computing, is the operating system for the Vision Pro.  This operating system enhances the VR experience by leveraging the device’s advanced hardware for seamless navigation and immersive applications, integrating tightly with the Apple ecosystem.  It supports eye and hand controls and is compatible with physical keyboards, trackpads, and game controllers.  The Vision Pro’s optimized battery life supports extended use, and advanced connectivity options with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.3 provide reliable streaming and device pairing. 

Input Methods, Ergonomics and Physical Design 

Input versatility includes interactions through hands, eyes, voice, and supported accessories like keyboards, trackpads, and game controllers, broadening usability.  Items can be chosen simply by gazing at them and tapping fingers together, while pinching, dragging, zooming, and rotating objects can be accomplished using specific hand gestures.  The adjustable Interpupillary Distance (IPD) and the device’s lightweight design provide visual comfort and ease of use. 

Security and Accessibility Features 

Security is a priority, with Optic ID offering iris-based biometric authentication, encrypting data securely to protect user privacy.  A key aspect of the Vision Pro is its comprehensive accessibility features, designed to empower individuals with disabilities to fully engage with their device. 

Exploring the VR Market Dynamics 

The Vision Pro enters a market with well-known products like the Sony PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, and Meta’s Quest 3.  These systems have already established their places in the VR market, creating a competitive environment for the introduction of the Apple Vision Pro. 

Patents as Innovation Indicators 

Based on data provided by the Harrity Analytics Patent Pulse™ Report on VR Hardware, the trend in VR hardware patent publications has experienced a consistent increase up to 2022, after which it levels off.  Over the past three years, there has been an annual growth of 5.8% in patent publications.  An increase in patent filings typically reflects a period of innovation, as companies seek to secure legal protection for their new inventions.  The data suggests progress in VR hardware development, pointing to the technology’s ongoing expansion and adoption.  

Analyzing the Growth of VR Hardware Patents: A Snapshot of Industry Leaders and Apple’s Position 

The chart presents data on the patent activities of leading corporations in the VR domain, specifically comparing the number of patents to the number pending applications.  This data provides a snapshot of VR technology patenting from technology giants. The following are highlights from this chart: 

  • Sony Group Corporation leads with the highest patent count. 
  • Microsoft, Meta Platforms, Magic Leap, Samsung, and Nintendo follow as top patent holders. 
  • These companies have many pending applications, showing active VR development. 
  • Apple Inc. ranks in the top 15, with fewer patents than the leaders. 

How Does Apple’s Growth in VR Patent Publications Compare to Industry Leaders? 

The following are the highlights from this chart about Apple’s publication trends: 

  • Apple’s publication growth in 3 years: 19.1%, more than triple the entire VR sector’s growth. 
  • Significant growth observed from 2019 to 2021, followed by a stable period. 
  • Growth resumed in the years 2022 to 2023. 

The Competitive Ecosystem 

As Apple’s Vision Pro joins the competitive landscape of virtual reality headsets, it stands amidst established players like Meta’s Quest series and Sony’s PlayStation VR.  Apple’s entry introduces its distinct blend of technologies and design philosophies, aiming to carve out its niche in a market that values innovation and user-centric experiences.  This environment, where companies not only compete on product capabilities but also on the intellectual property front, highlights a dynamic interplay of market strategies and technological advancements. 

The chart provides a visual comparison of the influence and scope within the VR hardware patent landscape.  Influence is gauged by the average number of citations a company’s patents receive, indicating their significance to subsequent technological developments.  Scope is measured by the length of a patent’s first claim, which can reflect the breadth of the invention’s protection.  Larger bubbles represent a higher quantity of patents held by each entity.  The following are highlights from this chart: 

  • Microsoft and Alphabet have influential patents with shorter claim lengths. 
  • Goertek and Nintendo’s patents feature longer first claims. 
  • Apple’s patents have lower influence based on forward citations and have fewer words in the first claim. 

Analyzing the Impact and Breadth of VR Patent Portfolios 

Building on the understanding of patent activity as an indicator of technological development, further analysis can be conducted by examining the nuances of patent influence against the diversity of technology within the VR sector.  Review of such metrics provides insight into how companies balance the breadth of their technological advancements with the impact of their intellectual contributions.  This approach to patent analysis offers a unique perspective on how a company like Apple, with its moderate citation influence and longer first claims, positions itself among peers in terms of technological diversity and patent influence. 

This chart offers a visual representation of the interplay between the number of forward citations—a marker of influence—and the technological diversity, as indicated by unique Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) codes, for patents in the VR hardware domain.  The bubble sizes reflect the volume of patents each company holds.  The following are highlights from this chart: 

  • Microsoft and Alphabet have a high average of forward citations and multiple unique CPC codes. 
  • Sony and Meta Platforms demonstrate significant technological diversity. 
  • Apple holds moderate influence and technological diversity in this context. 

The Future is Now 

Apple’s Vision Pro is not the only VR headset to be introduced to the market in 2024.  The VR hardware landscape is set for potential other new releases from companies that include Valve Corporation and ByteDance.  Here is a summary of the most anticipated VR headsets: 

  1. Project Moohan: Samsung and Google are partnering to develop an advanced XR headset that leverages Samsung’s hardware capabilities and Google’s Android XR software.  This joint endeavor is positioned as a competitor to Apple’s Vision Pro, with an anticipated release in the summer of 2024. 
  2. PICO 4: Parent company Bytedance has apparently not yet launched PICO 4 in the US. 
  3. Valve VR Headset: Valve is currently working on the next iteration of its Valve Index VR headset, drawing upon its established VR expertise and extensive gaming catalogue. 
  4. Valve “Deckard”: This appears to be a new venture by Valve, which may be the successor to the Index VR system. 

While not dominating the VR landscape, the companies shown in the above image, including Valve Corporation and ByteDance Ltd., own multiple VR patents and have several applications pending.  Their portfolios, though not as extensive as some competitors, reflect active participation in the VR sector. 

Applications of VR Technology Beyond Entertainment 

It should be noted that VR technology extends well beyond gaming into various sectors including the following:  

  • VR aids healthcare by enabling simulation of medical procedures and virtual patient rehabilitation. 
  • Education uses VR for immersive learning, allowing students to virtually visit historical locations or learn complex science. 
  • Real estate employs VR for remote property tours. 
  • Design and engineering benefit from VR’s ability to create 3D models, aiding visualization, and project iteration. 
  • The entertainment industry utilizes VR for immersive films and interactive storytelling experiences. 

Conclusion 

The launch of the Vision Pro signals Apple’s commitment to the VR segment.  With Apple holding a growing position in terms of patent activity and having moderate influence and technological variety within the VR domain, Vision Pro’s future contributions to this sector are anticipated with interest.

This data is sourced from the Harrity Analytics Patent Pulse™ Report on VR Hardware.  For more information about the Patent Pulse™ Report visit our website HERE, download a complimentary Patent Pulse Report HERE, or contact Harrity Analytics HERE. 

Sources: 

https://harrityllp.com/patent-pulse-report/ 

https://www.dexerto.com/tech/upcoming-vr-headsets-2156692/ 

https://deovr.com/blog/87-upcoming-vr-headsets 

https://www.tomsguide.com/news/oculus-quest-3-release-date-rumors-specs-news#:~:text=The%20Meta%20Quest%203%20is,to%20say%20about%20that%20soon) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtp6b76pMak 

https://www.apple.com/apple-vision-pro/ 

https://www.apple.com/apple-vision-pro/guided-tour/  

https://www.apple.com/apple-vision-pro/specs/  

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2023/01/apple-unveils-m2-pro-and-m2-max-next-generation-chips-for-next-level-workflows/  

https://forums.appleinsider.com/discussion/233273/hands-on-with-apple-vision-pro-in-the-wild  

https://www.makeuseof.com/what-is-apples-r1-chip-how-does-it-compare-m1-and-m2/  

https://www.hardwarezone.com.sg/tech-news-samsung-and-googles-xr-headset-expected-launch-2024  

https://www.theverge.com/2023/12/13/23999883/the-pico-5-headset-might-be-canceled-but-bytedance-isnt-done-with-vr  

Inspiring Inclusion in Patent Law: Celebrating International Women’s Day with Heart

As we approach International Women’s Day on March 8th, the theme of #inspireinclusion resonates profoundly within the patent law community, particularly among those with a background in mechanical engineering. The journey towards inclusion is a personal and collective endeavor, often marked by moments of feeling out of place. Yet, it’s through these experiences that the importance of fostering an inclusive environment becomes undeniably clear. This year, we are invited to embody the spirit of inclusion in a unique and heartwarming way, symbolizing our commitment to building a more welcoming and diverse field.

Holding a degree in mechanical engineering and navigating the intricate world of patent law, experiences of feeling excluded are not uncommon. These moments, though challenging, shine a light on the vital need for inclusivity within our professional spheres. As we gear up to celebrate International Women’s Day this Friday, March 8th, the patent law community is rallying around a powerful theme: #inspireinclusion. This initiative isn’t just a call to action; it’s a movement towards embracing diversity and fostering an environment where everyone feels valued and included.

This year’s International Women’s Day is more than a celebration; it’s a declaration of unity and understanding. The #inspireinclusion theme encourages us to adopt a stance that is as meaningful as it is symbolic—a heart. This gesture is far from arbitrary. It represents the core of where inclusion begins: our hearts. It’s a poignant reminder that at the heart of inclusion lies empathy, understanding, and the willingness to embrace diversity in all its forms.

The invitation to strike the #inspireinclusion pose this Friday is open to everyone, men included, highlighting that inclusion is not the responsibility of a single gender but a collective effort that requires the participation and support of all. The gesture of forming a heart is a powerful symbol of solidarity, unity, and the shared commitment to fostering an inclusive environment within the patent law community and beyond.

As we stand together, adopting the #inspireinclusion stance, we’re not just participating in a symbolic act. We’re pledging to make inclusivity a cornerstone of our professional and personal lives. This International Women’s Day, let’s inspire inclusion by showing the world that the patent law community stands united in its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The call to inspire inclusion this International Women’s Day is more than a theme; it’s a reflection of our collective aspiration to create a more inclusive and equitable world. By participating in the #inspireinclusion pose, we are making a statement about the values we hold dear in the patent law community. This gesture, rooted in the simplicity and universality of a heart, serves as a powerful reminder of the impact of our actions and the importance of leading with empathy and understanding. Let’s embrace this opportunity to celebrate diversity and inclusion, not just on International Women’s Day but every day. Join us in striking the #inspireinclusion pose this Friday and be a part of a movement that champions equality, unity, and the power of inclusion.

 

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Trends and Implications of Decreasing Average Office Actions Per Patent at the USPTO

By Rocky Berndsen, Head of Analytics

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been observing a notable trend over the past six years that could have significant implications for patent applicants and the patenting process at large. Data from 2018 through 2023 shows that the average number of office actions per patent—a metric that indicates the average number of communications between the patent examiner and the applicant before a patent is either granted or the application is abandoned—has been consistently decreasing across various technology centers (TCs).

Analyzing the Numbers

In 2018, the USPTO’s overall average stood at 1.631 office actions per patent. As of 2023, this number has dipped to 1.371, marking a significant reduction. This decrease is not isolated to a specific sector but is across the board, including high-volume TCs such as 2100 (covering Computer Architecture, Software, and Information Security), which saw a drop from 2.088 to 1.580, and 3700 (covering Mechanical Engineering, Manufacturing, and Products), which went from 1.901 to 1.551.

Shorter Time to Obtain Patents

A primary implication of this trend is a likely acceleration in the patent granting process. With fewer office actions required, the back-and-forth between the USPTO and patent applicants is reduced, potentially leading to a more streamlined examination process. For inventors and companies, this means a faster path to securing patent rights, which can be crucial for maintaining competitive edges in fast-moving industries.

Lower Costs for Applicants

Each office action typically incurs additional costs for applicants, including attorney fees and potential amendment requirements. A reduction in the average number of office actions can thus translate into lower overall costs for obtaining a patent. This could be particularly beneficial for individual inventors and small businesses for whom cost is a major barrier to securing patent protection.

Implications for Patent Quality

However, while fewer office actions suggest a more efficient process, there could be concerns about the thoroughness of patent examinations and the potential impact on patent quality. The USPTO must balance the efficiency of the examination process with the need to maintain high standards for patentability, ensuring that only novel, non-obvious, and useful inventions are granted patent rights.

Impact on Patent Litigation

A decrease in office actions might also influence patent litigation. Patents that undergo fewer office actions could be perceived as less scrutinized, potentially affecting their defensibility in court. Conversely, this trend might result in patents that are more solid due to a more focused examination process, leading to less ambiguity and fewer grounds for litigation.

Enhanced Predictability for Planning

For businesses and investors, a predictable patent examination timeline facilitates better strategic planning and resource allocation. If the trend of decreasing office actions continues, it may enable more precise forecasting of patent portfolios and related business activities.

In conclusion, the downward trend in the average number of office actions per patent at the USPTO is a positive signal for applicants looking for a quicker and less costly patenting process. However, it’s imperative that this efficiency does not compromise the quality of granted patents—a balance the USPTO is undoubtedly striving to achieve. As we watch this trend continue, the patent ecosystem may need to adapt to the evolving dynamics of patent prosecution and enforcement.

Get in Touch for Insights on USPTO Data

If the information above has sparked your curiosity or if you have specific queries about USPTO data and trends, we invite you to reach out. Understanding the intricacies of patent data can provide valuable insights for your patent strategy and decision-making process. By filling out our contact form, you’ll connect with experts who can delve deeper into the data, provide personalized analysis, and help you gain insight from USPTO data.

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Enhancing Patent Prosecution Efficiency: A Strategic Approach to Examiner Interview Agendas

The path to securing a patent is intricate, with examiner interviews marking a critical juncture where direct dialogue can significantly influence the outcome. In this week’s The Precise Prosecutor, George Howarah leverages his extensive experience in patent law, unveiling a strategic method for preparing examiner interview agendas. This approach not only facilitates effective communication but also navigates the nuances of patent prosecution estoppel.

 

Crafting an Effective Agenda
The agenda for an examiner interview is more than a mere list; it’s a strategic tool that shapes the direction of the discussion. George emphasizes the importance of this document, which also becomes a part of the official record, potentially influencing future legal interpretations.

 

Key Elements of a Successful Agenda
George’s strategy for agenda preparation encompasses several critical steps:

Issue Prioritization: Identifying and ordering relevant issues and rejections according to their significance ensures comprehensive coverage without overwhelming the examiner.

Claim Amendments and Arguments: Proposing claim amendments and providing concise arguments or specification references in the agenda can preemptively address potential objections, setting the stage for a constructive conversation.

Flexibility in Discussion: The order of discussing issues might differ from their listing, allowing for tactical adjustments based on the complexity of issues and the time available.

Preparation of Backup Options: George advocates for the readiness of alternative amendments or arguments, offering flexibility in addressing examiner concerns and enhancing the likelihood of overcoming objections.

Clarity and Organization: A bullet-pointed, well-structured agenda respects the examiner’s limited preparation time, ensuring the discussion focuses on substantive issues rather than navigational confusion.

 

Leveraging the Agenda for Success
The preparation of an examiner interview agenda, as outlined by George, is a meticulous process that requires insight into the legal and procedural nuances of patent prosecution. By emphasizing clarity, strategic issue presentation, and the anticipation of potential objections, patent practitioners can engage more effectively with examiners. This approach not only addresses the immediate challenges of a particular patent application but also fosters a collaborative environment conducive to achieving a favorable resolution.

 

The strategic preparation of examiner interview agendas is pivotal in the patent prosecution process, offering a pathway to clearer communication and more efficient resolution of issues. George’s guidelines provide a blueprint for patent attorneys and agents striving to optimize their engagement with USPTO examiners, enhancing the prospects for patent grant success.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Stella Ennals: A Legacy of Innovation and Independence

As we commemorate the end of Black History Month, it is crucial to celebrate the stories that highlight the intersection of diversity, innovation, and resilience. Stella Ennals, a black female inventor, embodies this convergence through her journey to overcome personal and systemic barriers with her groundbreaking invention. This Driving Diversity blog post aims to shine a light on Stella’s invention, a device designed to empower individuals with disabilities, showcasing her perseverance and the impact of her work on fostering independence.

In Bethesda, Maryland, Stella Ennals embarked on a journey that would not only challenge her physical limitations but also the systemic obstacles that often hinder black female inventors. Her invention, a device enabling those with disabilities to transport their own trays, was born out of a necessity for independence after a personal physical injury left her desiring more autonomy.

Stella’s path to innovation was marked by a relentless pursuit of self-sufficiency and a desire to contribute a solution that would assist others facing similar challenges. Her invention is not just a testament to her engineering ingenuity but also to her deep understanding of the everyday hurdles faced by people with disabilities. By addressing a specific need, Stella’s device offers a broader message of empowerment and inclusion, underscoring the importance of accessibility in all aspects of life.

Reflecting on Stella’s journey, it’s evident that her fortitude and persistence were her greatest assets. Her ability to navigate the patent process and bring her invention to fruition is inspiring, particularly when considering the additional layers of challenge presented by systemic biases. Stella’s story is a powerful reminder of the impact one individual can have on improving the lives of many, driven by the simple yet profound goal of enhancing independence.

Stella Ennals stands as a beacon of innovation, resilience, and independence, her story resonating deeply as we celebrate Black History Month. Her invention transcends its practical application, symbolizing the broader struggles and triumphs of black female inventors against systemic barriers. Stella’s legacy encourages current and future generations to persevere in the face of adversity, innovate for the greater good, and strive for a more inclusive and accessible world for all.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

The Art of Examiner Interviews: A Strategic Approach for Success

In the complex and nuanced world of patent prosecution, examiner interviews stand out as a crucial element in navigating the approval process efficiently. George Howarah shares his invaluable insights on how to leverage examiner interviews to their full potential. This blog post delves into the strategic preparation necessary for conducting successful examiner interviews, highlighting George’s expert perspective.

Understanding the Client’s Goals

The first step in preparing for an examiner interview involves a clear understanding of the client’s objectives. Whether the aim is to expedite claim approval within a reasonable scope or ensure the claims align with a specific product or standard, identifying these goals upfront is critical. This initial clarity guides the strategy throughout the interview process, ensuring that the direction pursued aligns with the client’s expectations.

Analyzing the Prosecution History

A thorough examination of the application’s prosecution history is essential. This involves distinguishing whether the application is original, a continuation, or a divisional. Understanding the nuances between the current claims and those in previous applications helps tailor the approach to the interview. Additionally, recognizing the stage of prosecution is key. An aggressive stance might be more suitable at the beginning, whereas a more conciliatory approach could be beneficial in later stages, aiming for a middle ground that maintains the claims’ integrity.

Evaluating the Examiner’s Position

Assessing the examiner’s posture towards the application and the specifics of any rejections is another critical step. This includes reviewing past interactions for any precedents of overcoming objections and scrutinizing the current office action for potential misunderstandings or oversights by the examiner. Such an evaluation helps in anticipating the examiner’s concerns and preparing a more effective response.

Assessing the Strength of the Rejection

Finally, George emphasizes the importance of analyzing the strength of the rejection. Whether dealing with a 102 (novelty) or a 103 (non-obviousness) rejection, it’s vital to give the examiner the benefit of the doubt while also firmly advocating for the patent’s validity. This may involve deciding on the necessity of claim amendments to navigate around the rejection.

The preparation for an examiner interview is a multifaceted process that requires a deep understanding of the client’s goals, the application’s history, the examiner’s perspective, and the nature of the rejection. George’s approach showcases the importance of meticulous preparation and strategic planning in achieving successful outcomes in patent prosecution. By adopting these strategies, patent practitioners can enhance their effectiveness in examiner interviews, leading to more favorable results for their clients.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Unlocking Genius: Empowering Black Innovators in the World of Patents

In the tapestry of American history, Black innovators have woven a rich legacy of ingenuity and resilience, yet their contributions often remain underrecognized in the annals of patent law. Dr. Charles Richard Drew, a surgeon and medical researcher renowned for pioneering blood plasma storage methods, exemplifies this legacy of innovation. As we delve into his story and the broader narrative of Black excellence, a pressing question emerges: How many potential Einsteins are we overlooking in our Black communities? During Black History Month, it’s imperative to confront the stark underrepresentation of Black professionals in the patent field—a reflection of a wider systemic disparity that limits the realization of Black potential in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The story of Dr. Charles Richard Drew is not just one of historical significance but also a beacon of inspiration, highlighting the transformative impact that individuals from underrepresented backgrounds can have on society. Despite such monumental contributions, the patent field reveals a disheartening disparity: while 14% of Americans identify as Black, a mere 1% of patent holders are African American. This is in stark contrast to the 7% of STEM jobs held by African Americans, underscoring a significant gap between potential and realized opportunities for innovation.

This discrepancy not only dims the prospects of individual Black innovators but also deprives society of diverse perspectives and solutions. Addressing this gap requires a multifaceted approach, focusing on foundational issues such as access to education and resources. Enhancing STEM education, providing mentorship, and ensuring access to necessary resources are critical steps towards empowering Black individuals to invent, patent, and lead in the realm of technology and innovation.

Organizations like Invent Together are leading the charge by creating accessible educational resources, such as the Inventor’s Patent Academy, that aim to demystify the patenting process and make it more inclusive. By leveraging these resources and fostering a supportive community, we can start to bridge the gap for Black innovators.

The underrepresentation of Black professionals in patent law is a glaring issue that requires immediate and sustained action. By addressing systemic barriers and providing targeted support, we can pave the way for a new generation of Black inventors and innovators who will shape the future of technology and society. Let us commit to being part of this transformative journey, recognizing and uplifting the contributions of Black innovators not just during Black History Month, but all year round. As we reflect on the legacy of pioneers like Dr. Charles Richard Drew, let’s ask ourselves how we can contribute to creating a more inclusive and equitable patent field, where every potential Einstein has the opportunity to thrive.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Harrity Ascends to 27th on the Top Patent Firms List, Showcasing Unprecedented Growth

Washington, D.C.: Harrity & Harrity, LLP has marked a significant milestone in its journey towards excellence in patent law, securing the 27th spot on the esteemed Top Patent Firms List, an annual ranking of the leading firms obtaining US utility patents each year. This remarkable ascent is not only a testament to the firm’s unwavering dedication to innovation and quality but also highlights the exceptional growth trajectory it has maintained over the past five years in the highly competitive patent legal landscape.

From its 87th rank with 306 patents in 2018 to its current standing, Harrity & Harrity has not only advanced in rank year after year but has also more than quadrupled its patent output. In 2023 alone, the firm outperformed its previous year’s achievement by almost 60%, securing 1458 patents compared to 923 in 2022. This remarkable upward momentum is reflective of Harrity & Harrity’s robust strategic focus and the high-caliber proficiency of its team.

Harrity & Harrity’s progression in the rankings is particularly impressive given its focus on primarily domestic work in the electrical, mechanical, software, and business methods patent spaces— areas that exclude the life sciences spaces and the high volume of foreign-originated work that many of its competitors handle. In fact, when you consider strictly electrical, mechanical, software, and business methods patent work, Harrity jumps to the 19th spot on the Top Patent Firms List. Furthermore, Harrity achieved its 2023 number with a comparably small team of 40 professionals, while the majority of other firms in the Top 30 have well into the hundreds.

This data-driven success narrative exemplifies the firm’s “small firm, big impact” philosophy, illustrating how a concentrated team can deliver exceptional results that rival and even surpass those of much larger firms. Harrity & Harrity’s rise in the rankings is a testament to their strategic problem-solving approach, and a clear indicator that the firm is achieving the seemingly impossible through diligence, innovation, and a commitment to quality.

Harrity & Harrity’s unique story is one of a forward-thinking firm that thrives on real-world applications of advanced patent analytics and automation technologies, setting a new standard for what a specialized patent practice can accomplish.

For more insights into Harrity & Harrity’s remarkable growth and to explore their contributions to the patent field, please contact Samantha Sullivan and we would be happy to set up an interview with one of our partners.

About Harrity & Harrity:

Harrity & Harrity is a forward-thinking patent law firm in the Washington, D.C. area, specializing in electrical and mechanical technologies. Known for its innovative approach to patent law, the firm is committed to increasing diversity in the patent field and to giving back through its various charitable initiatives. For more information, please visit www.harrityllp.com.

The Underrated Key to Patent Prosecution Success: Examiner Interviews

In the realm of patent prosecution, there’s a tool that often goes underutilized, yet holds the potential to significantly streamline the patenting process, ensuring clarity, efficiency, and a stronger patent position. In this week’s Precise Prosecutor vlog, George Howarah brings to light the importance of examiner interviews, a strategy that can pivot the usual course of patent prosecution towards more favorable outcomes.

George points out a common pitfall in patent prosecution where practitioners might lean heavily on written responses to office actions. This method, while traditional, might not always capture the examiner’s perspective accurately, potentially leading to miscommunications, unaddressed rejections, or, in some cases, creating estoppel issues that could weaken the patent’s enforceability.

Examiner interviews stand out as a solution to these challenges. Engaging in a dialogue with the examiner post-office action not only clarifies the examiner’s stance but also opens the door for direct feedback on proposed arguments or amendments. This proactive approach can lead to more precise adjustments, avoiding the back-and-forth that often characterizes patent prosecution.

George advocates for scheduling an examiner interview after every office action, highlighting the benefits he has observed in his practice. These benefits include demonstrating a commitment to the patent application, reducing the time and cost associated with obtaining a patent, and minimizing the risk of prosecution estoppel.

George’s advice to fellow practitioners is clear: leverage examiner interviews as a standard step in your prosecution strategy to foster a more efficient, transparent, and successful patent prosecution process.

Want more Precise Prosecutor? Check out other videos with George Howarah here!

Bridging the Gap: Elevating Black Inventors in the Patent System

This February, as we observe Black History Month, we turn our focus to an often-overlooked arena where black excellence continues to fight for recognition and equity: the patent system. The underrepresentation of black inventors is not just a statistical oversight; it’s a reflection of systemic barriers that have persisted for far too long. These barriers not only hinder individual aspirations but also deprive our society of diverse innovations and contributions.

The systemic challenges faced by black inventors in navigating the patent system are multifaceted. From limited access to resources and networks to the financial burdens of patenting, the obstacles are significant. However, the tide is beginning to turn, thanks to the efforts of organizations committed to fostering diversity in innovation.

Invent Together stands out as a beacon of hope, offering free online programs designed to guide first-time patent applicants through the intricate process. By demystifying the patent application process, Invent Together is breaking down one of the significant barriers to entry for underrepresented inventors.

Moreover, educational institutions across the country are beginning to recognize the importance of supporting diversity in innovation. By adopting resources like those offered by Invent Together, universities, colleges, and institutes are laying the groundwork for what we hope will be a new era of inclusivity and diversity in the field of invention and innovation.

The path toward a more inclusive patent system is long and fraught with challenges, but it’s a journey worth embarking on. By supporting initiatives like Invent Together and encouraging educational institutions to play their part, we can begin to dismantle the systemic barriers that have sidelined black inventors for too long.

As we celebrate Black History Month, let’s commit to making a difference, not just this month but every month. The contributions of black inventors, both past and present, deserve recognition and support. By working together, we can ensure that the future of innovation is as diverse as the society it aims to serve.

Visit TIPA’s site to learn more and help us empower the next generation of inventors. Your support can change the course of history.

Want more Driving Diversity? Check out other videos with Elaine Spector here!

Elaine Spector Provides Data-Driven Perspective at 2024 AIPLA DEIA Colloquium

In an inspiring gathering at the 2024 AIPLA DEIA Colloquium in Puerto Rico, Elaine Spector, Partner at Harrity & Harrity, LLP, provided an enlightening presentation that underscored the crucial role of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity within the intellectual property (IP) realm. This significant event, held in partnership with the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC), ASIPI, and Invent Together, served as a platform for thought leaders to exchange insights and advance the conversation around DEIA in the IP field.

Elaine’s presentation delved into the current state of diversity in IP law, offering a comprehensive, data-driven analysis that illuminated both the progress made and the challenges that lie ahead. By leveraging empirical evidence, she highlighted the underrepresentation of diverse groups in the patent field and the untapped potential this presents for innovation. Elaine’s adept use of data not only provided a clear picture of the current landscape but also underscored the importance of strategic efforts to enhance diversity within the profession.

Elaine Spector on DEIA Panel

A standout moment of the colloquium for Elaine was meeting Aina Breen, a patent agent hired by Harrity out of our Patent Pathways™ program.  Patent Pathways™ is a groundbreaking 501(c)(3) organization that aims to bridge the diversity gap in the patent field by offering free training and mentorship to individuals interested in becoming patent professionals who are currently facing underrepresentation and socioeconomic barriers.

“The icing on the cake was meeting our extraordinary Patent Pathways™ (a 501(c)(3) organization) hire Aina Breen. Aina has a degree in mechanical engineering and rocked the patent bar exam on her first try! What an honor it is to know her and mentor her, and now, to meet her in person!” Elaine shared on LinkedIn.

Aina’s presence at the colloquium embodied the success of targeted efforts to foster inclusivity and support underrepresented talent in the IP sector.

Elaine Spector and Aina Breen

Elaine Spector’s participation in the 2024 AIPLA DEIA Colloquium not only reinforced Harrity & Harrity’s dedication to advancing DEIA in the IP field but also sparked meaningful discussions on how to continue this important work. Through a combination of data-driven insights and real-life success stories, the presentation highlighted the firm’s strategic approach to nurturing a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for innovation.

As we reflect on the insights shared at the colloquium, it’s evident that while strides have been made, the journey toward full inclusivity and representation in the IP field continues. Harrity & Harrity remains at the forefront of this endeavor, committed to leveraging data and real-world outcomes to guide their efforts in making the patent world a more diverse, innovative, and accessible place.

For more information about Harrity & Harrity’s diversity initiatives and services, please visit harrityllp.com/diversity.

Harrity Wins ‘Patents Law Firm of the Year in Virginia – 2024′

Harrity & Harrity, LLP and John Harrity Awarded Patents Law Firm & Patents Lawyer of the Year in Virginia – 2024 by Corporate International

Harrity & Harrity, LLP is honored to announce that John Harrity has been named the ‘Patents Lawyer of the Year in Virginia – 2024,’ with the firm winning ‘Patents Law Firm of the Year in Virginia – 2024’ by Corporate International, a prestigious recognition as part of their 17th Global Awards. This award celebrates our commitment to excellence in the patent law field and underscores our dedication to innovation, quality, and diversity in our practices.

The Corporate International Global Awards mark a significant achievement in the legal industry, highlighting firms and individuals who have demonstrated outstanding merit and competence in their respective fields. The selection process is comprehensive, involving nominations from peers, evaluation of our work, consideration of our firm’s rankings, the expertise of our partners and directors, our previous awards and recognitions, network affiliations, reputation in the legal community, contributions to publications, and participation in speaking engagements.

This year’s awards were the most competitive to date, with a record number of nominations received. Being chosen as a winner from such a distinguished pool of nominees not only reflects the high caliber of our team’s expertise but also our consistent ability to exceed the expectations of our clients and peers.

This recognition is a testament to our firm’s unwavering commitment to fostering diversity, driving innovation, and delivering high-quality patent services. It is also a reflection of our dedication to supporting our clients in protecting their intellectual property in the computer, electrical, and mechanical fields.

We thank Corporate International for this honor, to our clients for their trust and collaboration, and to our dedicated team for their hard work and commitment to excellence. This award motivates us to continue our efforts in making significant contributions to the patent field, pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and maintaining our status as a leader in the legal community.

We look forward to continuing to serve our clients with the highest standards of quality and professionalism and to furthering our contributions to the legal field through our innovative practices and dedication to diversity and charity.

Harrity & Harrity, LLP remains committed to improving the patent field and creating a progressive, innovative workplace. We are proud of this recognition and excited about the opportunities it brings to further elevate our firm and the services we provide to our clients around the globe.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity, LLP is a boutique patent law firm specializing in electrical, mechanical, and computer technologies. Based in the Washington, D.C. area, the firm is committed to fostering an innovative, progressive, and inclusive workplace. With a nationally dispersed remote team of skilled patent attorneys, patent agents, and support staff, Harrity & Harrity is at the forefront of providing high-quality, efficient, and automated patent services.

 

Maximizing Patent Value: A Strategic Approach to Claim Management

In the intricate world of patent filings, understanding how to leverage the structure of your patent application can significantly impact its value. One area that often goes underutilized is the strategic management of claims within an application. As Neil Kardos highlights in this week’s Practical Patents series, a nuanced approach to claim management can not only streamline the patent prosecution process but also ensure clients receive maximum value for their investments.

In the United States, the initial patent application filing fee covers the inclusion of up to 3 independent claims and a total of 20 claims. It’s a common misconception that the quantity of claims within a patent directly correlates with its strength or value. However, the strategic composition and management of these claims can significantly enhance a patent’s effectiveness and its potential to protect innovative technology comprehensively.

During the patent prosecution phase, it’s not uncommon to amend claims to align with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) requirements for patentability. This often involves consolidating the concepts of multiple dependent claims into fewer, broader independent claims to facilitate application approval. Yet, this consolidation presents a unique opportunity for strategic claim management.

Neil emphasizes the importance of adding a new dependent claim for every claim that is canceled. This practice ensures that the final patent utilizes the full quota of claims that the filing fee entitles, thus maximizing the patent’s breadth and flexibility without incurring additional costs. It’s a practice that, surprisingly, not all patent practitioners follow, as evidenced by numerous patents issuing with fewer than the allotted 20 claims.

The implications of this strategy extend far beyond mere numerical optimization. Each claim in a patent application can be viewed as a unique tool for protecting different facets of the invention. By ensuring that each patent utilizes its full complement of claims, inventors can secure a more robust and nuanced protection. This not only enhances the patent’s defensive capabilities but also its value in potential licensing discussions or infringement disputes.

Furthermore, this approach demonstrates to clients a meticulous and value-driven management of their intellectual property. In a landscape where every detail counts, the strategic addition and adjustment of claims can significantly differentiate a patent’s quality and its potential for commercial success.

Neil’s insights into claim management offer a valuable perspective for anyone involved in the patent filing process. By understanding the strategic potential of claims adjustment and ensuring that patents utilize their full entitlement, practitioners can deliver enhanced value to their clients, reinforcing the importance of detail-oriented strategies in patent law.

Stay tuned for more insightful tips and tricks from Neil Kardos in our Practical Patents series! Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Unveiling the Power of Bubble Charts in Competitive Intelligence: A Quantum Computing Perspective

By Rocky Berndsen, Head of Analytics

In the realm of competitive intelligence, especially within the patent field, traditional metrics such as patent counts have long been the standard for assessing a company’s patent portfolio strength.  However, this quantitative approach often overlooks the qualitative aspects of patents, which can provide deeper insights into a company’s technological prowess and strategic positioning.  Our recent Quantum Computing – Patent Pulse Report introduces an innovative approach to competitive benchmarking that utilizes bubble charts, offering a more nuanced view of the landscape.  To download the complimentary Quantum Computing Patent Pulse Report, CLICK HERE.

Beyond Counting Patents: The Need for Deeper Insights

While the number of patents a company holds is an important indicator of its activity in a particular technology area, it doesn’t tell the whole story.  Two crucial qualitative metrics often overlooked are the influence of a patent, measured by the number of forward citations it receives, and the scope of its claims, typically gauged by the word count of the first claim.  These metrics provide insights into the patent’s potential impact on future technologies and its breadth of coverage, respectively.

The Bubble Chart: A Visual Representation of Patent Quality and Quantity

The bubble chart featured in our Quantum Computing report illustrates how these qualitative metrics can be visualized alongside quantitative ones.  By plotting companies across two axes—average number of forward citations (influence) and average first claim word count (scope)—and using the bubble size to indicate the number of patents held, the chart provides a comprehensive view of each company’s patent portfolio in terms of both quality and quantity.

This visualization technique allows stakeholders to quickly identify leaders in the technology area, not just by the volume of their patents but by their potential impact and breadth.

Insights from the Quantum Computing Patent Landscape

The Quantum Computing – Patent Pulse Report reveals intriguing trends and strategic positions among key players in the quantum computing field.  For example, D-wave Systems Inc. stands out with patents that have the highest average first claim word count and the highest average forward citations.  To download the complimentary Quantum Computing Patent Pulse Report, CLICK HERE.

The Strategic Value of Bubble Charts in Competitive Benchmarking

The use of bubble charts for competitive benchmarking analyses offers several advantages:

  • Comprehensive Insights: It provides a holistic view of a company’s patent portfolio, combining quantity with qualitative metrics.
  • Strategic Decision-Making: Companies can identify not only their position but also their competitors’ strategic focuses, guiding R&D investments and patenting strategies.
  • Identifying Innovation Leaders: Stakeholders can pinpoint which companies are setting the pace in technological advancements, potentially guiding partnership or acquisition decisions.

Conclusion

As the patent landscape becomes increasingly complex, tools like bubble charts that offer multi-dimensional analyses become invaluable.  Our Quantum Computing – Patent Pulse Report is a testament to the power of such analytical tools in revealing the nuances of competitive positioning and technological leadership.  By moving beyond simple patent counts to a richer, more informative analysis, we can gain true insights into the dynamics of innovation across industries.

Elevating Patent Clarity: The Strategic Use of ‘Threshold’ in Patent Drafting

In this edition of the Practical Patents series, we delve into the nuanced use of the term ‘threshold’ in patent language, guided by Neil Kardos. This exploration highlights the importance of precision in patent drafting, a critical skill in the art of protecting intellectual property.

In the meticulous realm of patent drafting, every word counts. The term ‘threshold’ might appear straightforward, yet its application in patents is anything but. Neil explains this with two insightful examples.

1. Achieving Precision Over Vagueness

Clarity is the cornerstone of effective patent drafting. Generic terms like ‘high’ and ‘low’ are laden with ambiguity, often leading to Section 112 rejections. Neil’s advice is to opt for phrases such as ‘satisfies’ or ‘does not satisfy a threshold.’ This method enhances clarity and strengthens the enforceability of the patent.

2. Broadening Patent Scope Through ‘Threshold’

In instances where an inventor provides a specific number or range, the term ‘threshold’ can be used to expand the invention’s scope. By defining these figures as examples of satisfying a ‘threshold,’ a patent can encompass a broader range of applications, enhancing its protective coverage.

Neil emphasizes caution in using ‘threshold.’ He advises against framing claims based solely on a value being ‘greater than’ or ‘less than’ a threshold. Such language can inadvertently open doors for competitive workarounds.

Instead, Neil recommends a more comprehensive approach: asserting that a value ‘satisfies the threshold’ or ‘satisfies a condition.’ This strategy, when combined with a detailed specification, provides a stronger, more defensible patent.

As we conclude this discussion, we’re reminded of the critical role precise language plays in patent law. Neil’s insights into the use of ‘threshold’ underscore the importance of thoughtful and strategic patent drafting.

Stay tuned for more insightful tips and tricks from Neil in our Practical Patents series! Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Harrity Named US News 2024 Best Companies to Work For: Law Firms

Harrity & Harrity, LLP Named a ‘Best Company to Work For: Law Firms’ by US News & World Report, Reflecting Excellence in Employee Satisfaction and Workplace Environment

Washington, D.C. – January 30, 2024

Harrity & Harrity, LLP is honored to announce its recognition as one of the Best Companies to Work For in 2024: Law Firms by US News & World Report. This prestigious distinction is based on a comprehensive evaluation method that highlights the firm’s commitment to creating an outstanding work environment.

The US News & World Report’s methodology for this ranking involves a detailed analysis of various factors that contribute to a positive workplace. These include quality pay and benefits, work/life balance, job stability, professional development opportunities, and overall employee well-being. This thorough assessment, leveraging data from Revelio Labs and Leopard Solutions, reflects the real-world experiences and perceptions of employees.

“Our inclusion in this list validates our efforts in providing a fulfilling and supportive workplace,” said Paul Harrity, Managing Partner. “At Harrity & Harrity, we strive not only for excellence in serving our clients but also in ensuring our team members have the resources and environment they need to thrive.”

The ranking process involved scaling and standardizing various metrics on a 1-5 scale, reflecting the firm’s outstanding performance in critical areas like compensation, job security, and employee satisfaction. This recognition underscores Harrity & Harrity’s dedication to fostering a culture of respect, inclusivity, and professional growth.

About Harrity & Harrity, LLP

Harrity & Harrity, LLP is a boutique patent law firm specializing in electrical, mechanical, and computer technologies. Based in the Washington, D.C. area, the firm is committed to fostering an innovative, progressive, and inclusive workplace. With a nationally dispersed remote team of skilled patent attorneys, patent agents, and support staff, Harrity & Harrity is at the forefront of providing high-quality, efficient, and automated patent services.

 

Maximizing Efficiency: A Case Study on Using the Patent 300® Report for Assessing Law Firm Performance

By Rocky Berndsen, Head of Analytics

In the ever-evolving realm of patent law, in-house attorneys face the critical task of assessing and optimizing the performance of their outside counsel. This blog post delves into a practical case study illustrating how an in-house attorney can leverage the insights from the Patent 300® Company Report to evaluate and enhance the effectiveness of their law firms in patent prosecution.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Analyzing Key Metrics: The report provides comprehensive data, including total patents issued, average cost, office action frequency, and more. By comparing these metrics across different firms, an attorney can identify performance trends and cost-efficiency.
  2. Benchmarking Success Rates: Through examining specific metrics like interview success and extension of time requests, attorneys can benchmark their firms against industry standards, pinpointing areas for improvement.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness Evaluation: The average cost per patent metric is pivotal for assessing the financial aspect of the firm’s performance, helping in making budget-conscious decisions.
  4. Strategic Decision Making: With a detailed breakdown of each firm’s performance, an attorney can make informed decisions about continuing, modifying, or terminating relationships with specific outside counsel.
  5. Future Planning: The technology breakdowns and patent prosecution stats offer insights for future patent strategies, ensuring alignment with the company’s overall IP goals.

This case study exemplifies how an in-house attorney can transform raw data into actionable insights, leading to a more efficient and strategic approach in managing outside counsel for patent prosecution.

By embracing the detailed analysis offered by the Patent 300® Company Report, attorneys can not only assess but also significantly improve their firms’ performance, aligning it with the company’s broader intellectual property objectives.

Download a Complimentary Report on Your Company HERE

Review our Sample Report on Nvidia:

Nvidia - 2024 Patent 300® Company Report

Looking for more detailed analytics on your company or your competitors?

CONTACT US HERE

High Level Patent Portfolio Assessment Using Harrity’s Patent 300® Company Report

By Rocky Berndsen, Head of Analytics

Could a Glance at the Big Picture Reveal Secrets to Refining Your IP Strategy?

In the intricate world of intellectual property, IP counsel often find themselves deeply immersed in the minutiae of patents and portfolios. The challenge is real: staying afloat in a sea of detailed legal and technical complexities. But, what if the key to a breakthrough in patent strategy lies in a broader perspective? Could stepping back to observe high-level trends be the game-changer for assessing and enhancing your patent practice?

A Key to Unlock Patent Insights

Our Patent 300® Company Report is more than just a document; it’s a window to a world of strategic insights. With this report, IP counsel can transcend beyond the everyday details and gaze at the bigger picture. This high-level view offers a unique opportunity to understand the broader trends in patenting, helping you refine and realign your IP strategy effectively.

Exclusive Sample: NVIDIA Report

To give you a taste of what our report offers, we have attached a sample report for NVIDIA. This sample includes high-level patenting trends, detailed patent prosecution stats, insights into outside counsel costs, and a breakdown of technological focuses. It’s a glimpse into the kind of comprehensive analysis and strategic guidance that our full report offers.

Nvidia - 2024 Patent 300® Company Report

At Harrity, we believe in the power of perspective. It’s why we are excited to offer a unique tool that unlocks this very insight – the comprehensive portfolio report for companies on the distinguished Patent 300® List.

DOWNLOAD A COMPLIMENTARY COMPANY REPORT HERE

Your Guide to the Patent 300 Landscape

Are you curious to see who made it to this year’s Patent 300 List? We’ve got you covered. Visit HERE to discover the companies leading the charge in innovation and intellectual property.

Dive Deep into Patent Trends

The Patent 300® Company Report is not just about lists and numbers. It’s a deep dive into the world of patent trends, offering insights into patent prosecution statistics, technology breakdowns, and even metrics on outside counsel costs. This level of detail is invaluable in crafting a strategy that is not only responsive but also proactive in the face of evolving IP landscapes.

Download and Transform Your Approach

Ready to realign your IP strategy? Download your copy of the report HERE. Dive into the details, discover the trends, and start transforming your approach today. The insights you gain might just be the key to unlocking a more refined and effective IP strategy.

Patent Data Reveals Unique Continuation Practice Amongst Patent 300® Companies

By Rocky Berndsen, Head of Analytics

Continuation practice in US patent law refers to a procedure where an applicant files a subsequent application based on the disclosure of a prior non-provisional application, while the prior application is still pending.  This strategy can be used for various reasons, such as refining claims, pursuing different scopes of protection, or keeping a patent family alive as the business strategy or technology develops.  The Patent 300® data, focusing on the highest and lowest percentages of patents issued in 2023 that were continuations, provides fascinating insights into the innovation and patenting strategies of top companies.

Strategic Use of Continuation Practice Found in Numerous Industries

The chart above indicates that companies like Sonos, Edwards Life Sciences, and Ebay lead with the highest continuation percentages.  For example, the data shows that 88% of Sonos’ patents issuing in 2023 were continuation applications.  This approach suggests a targeted approach to innovation, where companies are keen on fortifying their market position by building robust patent portfolios around their core products and services.  Continuation practice allows these companies to create a thicket of patents, making it harder for competitors to navigate without infringing.  It also provides them the flexibility to adapt to technological advancements and market changes by updating or expanding their patent claims.

Moreover, continuation practice might be indicative of a strategic layering of patent protection that enables companies to keep certain innovations under initial protection while testing the market or developing further improvements.  For companies like Palantir and Dolby, whose products involve complex software or hardware, the ability to file continuations means they may have the ability to continually update their patent claims to cover the latest iterations of their technology.

Continuation applications can also serve as a legal strategy to keep competitors uncertain about the final form of the patent claims, which could deter potential infringement or at least make it more difficult for competitors to design around an applicant’s patent portfolio.

Why are some companies not filing many continuation applications at all?

The Patent 300® data also reveals a set of companies that utilize continuation practices minimally in their patenting efforts.  Notably, this list includes a significant number of automotive manufacturers, highlighted above, such as Subaru, Mazda, and Honda, all showing low continuation percentages.  This pattern could suggest a distinct approach to portfolio management within the automotive industry, where innovation is rapid and product development cycles are aligned with manufacturing and release schedules.

Another reason for the minimal use of continuation practice could be budgetary constraints.  Continuation applications incur additional costs, not just in filing fees but also in legal and administrative expenses over time.  For some companies, the cost of maintaining a high number of continuations may not justify the potential benefits.  Some companies may opt to instead focus on obtaining patents for newly developed technologies.

Additionally, the strategy behind claims could influence the use of continuation practice.  Companies may choose to file comprehensive initial patent applications with broad claims to cover their inventions fully from the outset.  This approach could reduce the need for subsequent continuation applications to refine or broaden the scope of the original claims.  Some companies may prioritize filing detailed applications that anticipate future product developments, thereby lessening the need for continuations.

Moreover, the breadth of patenting may reflect an applicant’s innovation strategy.  Companies with a wider range of products and services may prefer to obtain a broader spread of original patents rather than deepening the protection around a narrower technology area through continuations.  This approach can create a more extensive barrier to entry for competitors across a wider technology landscape.  Automotive companies, with their frequent iterations of vehicle models and technologies, might find more value in creating a broad patent portfolio that covers a range of innovations rather than focusing on continuing applications for specific technologies.

In sum, the Patent 300® data offers a revealing glimpse into the nuanced strategies behind continuation practices in patent law.  While certain companies leverage this mechanism to build a dense web of protection around key products, adapting to market and technological shifts, others in sectors like automotive opt for a broader innovation footprint, potentially driven by cost considerations, a preference for comprehensive initial filings, or the strategic spread of their patent efforts across a wider range of technologies.  These divergent approaches underscore the complexity of IP management, where each applicant crafts a strategy aligned with its business goals, market position, and the dynamic landscape of technological advancement.  The data not only reflects the tactical choices of individual companies but also illustrates broader industry trends in patenting, revealing the careful balance between depth and breadth in securing intellectual property rights.

Inside the European Patent Revolution: An Analysis of Emerging Unitary Patent Data

Inside the European Patent Revolution: An Analysis of Emerging Unitary Patent Data

By Ayana Marshall, Patent Data Analyst

Brief Introduction to the Unitary Patent System

Launched on June 1, 2023, the Unitary Patent System, managed by the European Patent Office (EPO), simplifies patent protection across participating European Union (EU) member states.  Replacing the need for separate validations in each state, it allows a single application and fee for protection in all participating countries.  Based on the European Patent Convention (EPC), the system enables patent holders to seek uniform protection post-grant in 17 initial EU member states.  The Unitary Patent is described as a “European patent with unitary effect”.  The system includes the Unified Patent Court (UPC), comprising judges from participating states, adjudicating on Unitary and European patent infringements and validity.  This system signifies a streamlined approach for patent protection in the EU.1-5

Trends in Unitary Patent Registrations

The European Patent Office (EPO) has compiled and shared data from the launch of the Unitary Patent System up to January 15, 2024.  This includes various statistics and insights into how the system has been utilized.  The following discussion will delve into the key elements and findings from this data set.

Requests for Unitary Effect

The data above reveals that the Unitary Patent System received 18,273 requests for unitary effect, with 17,733 successfully registered as patents.  Additionally, the uptake rate for the system in 2024 stands at 17.3%.  This statistic represents the proportion of total requests that resulted in registered patents within the specified timeframe.6

The chart above tracks unitary patent request trends from December 2022 to December 2023.  Monthly request volumes, shown via bars, are aligned with the left vertical axis.  The right axis and line graph represent the cumulative total of requests.

From December 2022 to June 2023, the chart shows a rise in monthly requests for unitary patents, starting below 1,000 and reaching around 2,000 by May with a peak of almost 3,000 in June 2023.  July 2023 through September 2023 saw a decline in requests for unitary effect followed by a slight increase of just over 2,000 in October 2023.  There was a subsequent decline to approximately 4,000 by December 2023.  This illustrates the evolving interest and engagement with the Unitary Patent system over the year.  The cumulative line shows a consistent and steady upward trajectory throughout the year, reflecting the addition of each month’s new requests to the total count.  Starting at almost zero in December 2022, the cumulative count surpasses 20,000 by December 2023.  This upward trend suggests growing interest in and engagement with the Unitary Patent system over the year.

Top 25 Companies (Proprietors)

The chart above displays the number of unitary patent requests filed by the top 25 companies.  The bars are color-coded to represent different regions: EPO states, the US, Japan, China, Korea, and Others.  Johnson & Johnson holds the top position in terms of requests with the highest tally, followed by Siemens AG trailing by a narrow margin.  Both corporations submitted requests in the mid-two-hundreds.  Similarly, Qualcomm, Inc.  and Samsung Group exhibit parallel levels of requests, showcasing comparable engagement in the unitary patent application process.  The chart demonstrates a diversity of companies across different regions, with several companies from EPO states and the US occupying the top spots, while companies from Japan, China, and Korea also feature prominently, although with fewer requests.

Origin of Proprietors

The map above illustrates the geographic distribution of patent proprietors, with Europe and North America exhibiting higher volumes of requests.  Europe is particularly prominent, with requests ranging between 3,000 to 4,000, while the United States shows a lower range of approximately 2,000 to 3,000 requests.

WIPO’s Technology Fields (IPC)

Medical technology and electrical machinery are the most represented technology fields, suggesting robust activity and interest in these areas.  The technology fields are classified by the International Patent Classification (IPC) system, detailing the distribution of unitary patent requests across various sectors.  The size of each block in the image corresponds to the number of requests in that technology field, with larger blocks indicating more requests.  The technology fields include Medical technology, Computer technology, Pharmaceuticals, Civil engineering, Transport, Measurement, ‘Machine tools, Handling, and Other special machines.

Each technology field in the image above is quantified with a count and percentage, indicating its share of unitary patent requests.  Medical technology leads with 2,135 requests, accounting for 11.7% of the total.  Civil engineering, Transport, and Other special machines,  also feature significantly with 1080 (5.9%), 1,000 (5.5%), and 971 (5.3%) requests respectively.  Other fields like Computer Technology and Handling show smaller proportions, with 792 (4.3%) and 756 (4.1%) requests.  The distribution of requests across these fields suggests a varied interest in unitary patent protection across different technology sectors.

Status of Registration

The status of registration represents the proportions of unitary patent applications in each stage of the registration process.  The chart above quantifies and categorizes unitary patents according to their registration status of registered, pending, and rejection.  Dominating the chart is the registered category with 17,733 cases, accounting for 97.0% of the total, while pending applications comprise 2.8% with 509 cases followed by the 23 (0.1%) cases that were withdrawn.  The rejected category, representing the smallest segment, includes only 8 cases, making up a 0.04% of the total.  This chart highlights the number of successful registrations in the unitary patent system.

Translation and Procedural Languages

Data on translation and procedural languages used reveals that English is commonly used for both, with German and French also being used.  English is used in 73.3% of procedural languages, a significant lead over German and French.  Spanish is the mostly commonly used translation language outpacing English by a narrow margin.

In summary, the consolidated data provides insight into the unitary patent system as it currently stands.  It appears to indicate active participation across various technological sectors, a high rate of patent registrations, and a wide geographic distribution of proprietors.  The diverse origins of the applicants appear to highlight the system’s potential global appeal, and the significant majority of finalized registrations appear to suggest its efficiency.  These details offer an understanding of how the system is being used, positioning it as a potentially key mechanism for safeguarding modern innovations.  The detailed breakdown of request origins, technology fields, and registration statuses offers stakeholders an understanding of the system’s current scope and functionality.

For those interested in accessing customized analytics, contact Harrity Analytics today!

Stay tuned for more insights and analyses from Harrity Analytics, as we continue to explore the ever-evolving world of patents and innovation.

  1. https://www.epo.org/en/applying/european/unitary/unitary-patent
  2. https://www.epo.org/en/legal/guide-up/2022/uppg_a_v.html#:~:text=32The%20primary%20aim%20of,obtaining%2C%20maintaining%20and%20managing%20them.
  3. https://www.unified-patent-court.org/en
  4. https://www.epo.org/en/legal/guide-up/2022/uppg_a_iii_1.html
  5. https://www.epo.org/en/applying/european/unitary
  6. https://www.epo.org/en/about-us/statistics/statistics-centre#/unitary-patent
  7. All images were obtained from https://www.epo.org/en/about-us/statistics/statistics-centre#/unitary-patent

 

 

Enhancing Patent Drafting: The Essential Role of Claim-Figure Mapping

Welcome back to another edition of the Practical Patents series. This week Neil Kardos brings his seasoned perspective to an often-overlooked yet pivotal aspect of drafting: the strategic alignment of claims with figures in patent applications.

Neil emphasizes the importance of creating a mapping between the figures and claims in a patent application. This step, often overlooked, is crucial in ensuring a coherent and comprehensive patent specification. By mapping each figure to the claims they support, patent drafters can establish a clear connection, laying the groundwork for a well-structured specification.

The beauty of this approach lies in its simplicity and efficacy. When you start working on your figures, Neil advises, make it a point to identify which claims each figure relates to. This mapping acts as a guide, ensuring every claim has a corresponding figure where it can be effectively described. If you find a claim that doesn’t neatly align with any of the figures, it’s a clear sign that you need to either introduce a new figure or revise an existing one.

This proactive strategy offers two significant benefits. Firstly, it eliminates the risk of ending up with unsupported claims in your patent application – a common pitfall that can lead to lengthy revisions or, worse, a weakened patent. Secondly, it serves as a remedy for writer’s block. Knowing exactly what to write for each figure can streamline the drafting process, making it more efficient and less daunting.

Neil warns of the pitfalls of neglecting this step. Without pre-mapping your claims to figures, you might find yourself with a draft specification and unsupported claims. At this juncture, the options are limited and unappealing: either retrofit your figures (and consequently, the specification) to accommodate the orphaned claims or force them into sections where they don’t quite belong. Both scenarios lead to a disjointed and potentially weaker patent application.

In summary, Neil’s advice is straightforward yet powerful: map your claims to your figures before diving into the specification. This method not only saves time but also ensures that each element of your patent application is well-supported and clearly articulated.

Stay tuned for more insightful tips and tricks from Neil in our Practical Patents series! Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Analyzing Technology Trends from the 2024 Patent 300® List

Harrity Analytics is proud to announce the release of the 2024 Patent 300® List, an exclusive ranking of the top 300 companies, organizations, and universities obtaining US utility patents. This year’s list offers a comprehensive view of the intellectual property landscape and highlights the innovative strides made by leading technology firms.

The Top 15 Innovators of 2023 have showcased their commitment to innovation, collectively accounting for 16% of the 312,563 total utility patents issued. Despite a 3% drop from the previous year, these organizations have continued to push the boundaries of technology and innovation. Take a look at the top technology areas obtaining patents over the last 12 months.

Electronics and Semiconductors: The Front Runners
Samsung leads the pack with a staggering 9,036 patents, doubling the amount secured by the second-place LG. This indicates a strong focus on advancing consumer electronics, mobile communication technologies, and the underlying semiconductor technology. The emphasis on semiconductors is further highlighted by the presence of TSMC and Qualcomm in the top ranks, underlining the critical importance of these components in a multitude of devices.

Cloud, Software, and AI: The Digital Backbone
IBM, ranking third, along with Alphabet and Apple, emphasize the growing significance of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and software innovation. These patents reflect not only their prowess in hardware but also their forward-thinking in the realms of software and services.

Optics, Imaging, and Automotive: Enhancing Vision and Mobility
Canon’s strong showing indicates a continued excellence in optics and imaging, a field that’s increasingly intersecting with automotive technologies, as seen with the presence of companies like Alphabet and Huawei. Such innovations are crucial for advancements in autonomous vehicles and connected mobility solutions.

Aerospace and Defense: Protecting and Exploring New Frontiers
Raytheon Technologies, known for its expertise in aerospace and defense, has maintained its position, signaling ongoing advancements in technologies critical for national security and exploration.

The Global Technology Landscape
The geographical diversity among the top 15 innovators, with companies from the United States, South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, underscores the global nature of technological advancement and the interplay of different markets in driving innovation.

The 2024 Patent 300® List by Harrity Analytics not only celebrates the achievements of these innovators but also provides insights into the technology trends shaping our future. We invite industry professionals, analysts, and technology enthusiasts to delve deeper into our findings to understand the direction of innovation and its implications for the global market.

For a detailed exploration of the Patent 300® List and to gain more insights into these trends, visit our interactive Patent 300® Dashboard here.

For those interested in accessing customized analytics, contact Harrity Analytics today!

Stay tuned for more insights and analyses from Harrity Analytics, as we continue to explore the ever-evolving world of patents and innovation.

 

Elevating Patent Application Efficiency: The Case for a Claims-First Approach

Welcome to another installment of the Practical Patents series, where we delve into the art and science of patent drafting. Today, we’re exploring a provocative statement by Neil Kardos, an experienced patent attorney and advocate for strategic patenting: “If you’re not drafting claims, then figures, then the specification in that order, you’re doing it wrong.”

At first glance, this assertion seems to challenge conventional wisdom. Traditionally, many practitioners draft the figures and specifications first, leaving the claims for last. However, Neil’s approach, honed through experimentation and practice, suggests a radical departure from this norm.

Traditionally, the process begins with drafting detailed figures and a comprehensive specification. The rationale? It’s believed that having a clear visual and descriptive foundation paves the way for more precise claims. However, Neil’s experience tells a different story.

Neil discovered that this traditional method often necessitated significant rework. Terminology used in the specification might not align with the nuanced language of claim drafting. Questions arise: should it be “one or more” or “at least one”? “Multiple” or “a plurality”? Furthermore, naming conventions in the specification might not resonate with the intricate requirements of claim language, leading to a laborious cycle of revision and alignment between the claims, figures, and specification.

Advantages of a Claims-First Approach

  1. Clarity in Novelty and Non-Obviousness: Drafting claims first forces a focus on the invention’s novel aspects. It lays bare the innovative heart of the patent, guiding the subsequent detailing in figures and specifications.
  2. Efficiency in Drafting: By starting with claims, Neil found that subsequent steps became more streamlined. The figures and specification could be tailored to support the claims, reducing the need for iterative revisions.
  3. Strategic Focus: This approach ensures that the specification and figures emphasize the invention’s most crucial aspects, enhancing the patent’s overall strength.

Neil’s method turns traditional patent drafting on its head, emphasizing a strategic, claims-first approach. While it may not be a one-size-fits-all solution, it certainly provides food for thought for anyone involved in the patenting process.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Elevating the Craft of Inventor Interviews

Navigating inventor interviews without a robust disclosure document can be a daunting task for even the most experienced patent professionals. In this week’s Practical Patent series, Neil Kardos shares invaluable tips for transforming these challenges into opportunities for deeper understanding and more comprehensive patent applications.

Tip #1: Record the Call

Recording inventor interviews is a game-changer. It allows patent professionals to immerse themselves in the conversation, fully absorbing the inventor’s insights without the distraction of note-taking. This approach ensures no crucial detail is overlooked, capturing the essence of the invention in its entirety.

Tip #2: Use a Structured Question Checklist

Neil emphasizes the importance of a structured approach, beginning with high-level questions to grasp the overall concept before delving into the finer details. This technique not only clarifies the invention’s framework but also reveals its unique aspects and potential improvements.

The Kardos Questionnaire: Your Blueprint for Success

  1. Identifying the Problem: Understanding the specific issue the invention aims to solve sets the stage for assessing its significance and market relevance.
  2. Summarizing the Solution: This helps in evaluating the innovation’s practicality and its effectiveness in addressing the identified problem.
  3. Exploring Existing Solutions: Knowing what’s already out there highlights the invention’s unique selling points and potential competitive advantages.
  4. Comparing the Invention: This comparison sheds light on why and how the new invention stands out in the existing market landscape.
  5. Uncovering Additional Benefits: Often, inventions have secondary advantages that can broaden their appeal and marketability.
  6. Identifying Novelty: Pinpointing the novel aspects of an invention is crucial for determining its patentability.
  7. Assessing Business Value: Understanding which elements of the invention hold the most commercial potential can guide strategic patent drafting.

For process inventions, a step-by-step walkthrough reveals the intricacies of the method, while mechanical inventions benefit from a detailed analysis of component interrelations. Brainstorming sessions about enhancements and alternatives further refine the invention’s scope and applicability.

Neil’s approach culminates with an open-ended query, inviting any additional insights or overlooked aspects, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the invention.

By adopting these strategies, patent professionals can adeptly navigate inventor interviews, laying a solid foundation for robust and defensible patent applications.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Harrity Recognized as an Inclusive Workplace by Best Companies Group

Harrity & Harrity, LLP Recognized as a Top Inclusive Workplace by Best Companies Group

January 4, 2024 – Harrity & Harrity, LLP, a leading patent law firm based out of Fairfax, VA, is honored to announce its recognition as a Top Inclusive Workplace by Best Companies Group and COLOR Magazine for 2023. This prestigious acknowledgment highlights Harrity & Harrity’s unwavering commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming work environment.

The Top Inclusive Workplace Program, initiated by Best Companies Group in partnership with COLOR Magazine, evaluates organizations on various aspects of workplace inclusivity, such as inclusion, belonging, psychological safety, community, and purpose. Harrity & Harrity’s approach to fostering an inclusive workplace aligns perfectly with these criteria, as the firm continuously implements initiatives and policies that encourage diversity and belonging.

“Our firm believes in the immense value of a diverse workforce and the positive impact it has on our services and innovation,” said Managing Partner Paul Harrity. “We are dedicated to creating an environment where every member of our team feels valued, heard, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives.”

This recognition is not merely an accolade but a testament to Harrity & Harrity’s significant efforts in ensuring all employees, regardless of their background, feel included and engaged. This commitment has not only enhanced employee satisfaction and retention but has also contributed positively to the firm’s brand recognition and reputation within the patent law field.

The firm’s diverse and inclusive culture serves as a beacon in the industry, demonstrating the benefits of prioritizing belonging and inclusivity in the workplace. “We are proud to set an example in the legal industry and will continue to advocate for and implement practices that promote inclusivity,” Harrity added.

Harrity & Harrity looks forward to continuing its progress in fostering an inclusive work environment and is excited about the positive impacts this will have on both its team and clients. The firm will be celebrated alongside other recipients in the Winter 2024 Top Inclusive Workplaces digital publication by Best Companies Group and COLOR Magazine.

For more information about Harrity & Harrity’s diversity initiatives and services, please visit harrityllp.com/diversity.

**About Harrity & Harrity, LLP**

Harrity & Harrity, LLP is a boutique patent law firm specializing in electrical, mechanical, and computer technologies. Based in the Washington, D.C. area, the firm is committed to fostering an innovative, progressive, and inclusive workplace. With a nationally dispersed remote team of skilled patent attorneys, patent agents, and support staff, Harrity & Harrity is at the forefront of providing high-quality, efficient, and automated patent services.

 

AI Prompts Do Not Compromise Attorney Confidentiality Obligations

In a detailed article on IPWatchdog, Harrity attorney Alexander Zajac provides a nuanced analysis of how the use of large language models (LLMs) aligns with the confidentiality obligations of attorneys. Addressing the concerns of IP attorneys about the remote storage of LLM queries, he compares this to the routine use of web search engines and cloud storage, which also involve sharing queries with third-party servers.

Alex scrutinizes the data retention policies of Google and OpenAI, explaining how they collect and use data, and how users can opt for more privacy. He emphasizes that if standard digital tools like email and cloud storage are trusted for confidential information, then the robust security measures of Google and OpenAI should be equally reliable. He suggests that attorneys can adjust settings on these platforms to enhance privacy, rather than avoiding LLMs altogether.

This thoughtful exploration by Alex sheds light on the intersection of technology and legal ethics, urging the legal community to adapt to technological advancements while maintaining client confidentiality. To delve into the specifics of these policies and comprehensive perspectives on AI as a legal resource, read the full article on IPWatchdog HERE.

Decoding the Patent Puzzle: Key Tips to Crystal-Clear Patent Applications

In the intricate and often bewildering terrain of patent applications, achieving clarity is both an art and a science. This is particularly true for software or process-based inventions, where conveying complex ideas in a comprehensible manner is crucial. Neil Kardos offers his expert advice, sharing pivotal strategies to demystify these often perplexing documents. In this blog post, we’ll delve into two of Neil’s key tips, which promise to bring much-needed lucidity to your patent applications.

Tip #1: The Power of Descriptive Naming

Neil’s first tip revolves around the strategic use of descriptive names for devices in patent applications. This approach goes beyond mere labeling; it’s about creating an intuitive understanding of each device’s role. For example, naming a device that handles user verification as an “Authentication Device” instantly reveals its function. This practice ensures that every mention of the device within the document not only identifies it but also reminds the reader of its purpose, thus maintaining a clear focus on the invention’s core functionalities.

Tip #2: Artful Separation of Function and Form

In his second tip, Neil highlights the importance of distinguishing between what devices do and what they are. He recommends that the narrative in the “Invention Detail Figures” should concentrate on the devices’ roles in the invention’s process. For example, describing a user device transmitting credentials to an authentication device should be about this process, not about the possible physical forms of the user device. The comprehensive description of the devices’ physical forms and variations should be allocated to the “Device Environment Figure.” This methodical separation ensures the patent application remains streamlined and focused, facilitating a smoother reading experience.

By implementing these tips, inventors and patent drafters can significantly enhance the readability and clarity of their patent applications. Neil’s guidance is not just about simplifying content; it’s about structuring it in a way that guides the reader through the invention’s narrative with ease and understanding.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Mastering the Art of Clarity in Patent Applications

The world of patent applications is intricate and demanding. Among the numerous challenges faced by inventors and patent practitioners, one that stands paramount is the art of drafting a clear and engaging patent specification. Neil Kardos offers profound insights into enhancing the readability of patent applications.

The heart of Neil’s advice lies in the organization of the patent specification. The traditional approach of hopping between figures can be disorienting, leading to confusion. Neil advocates for a more linear, structured approach. This entails starting with an introductory paragraph for each figure, detailing its contents thoroughly, and concluding with a summary. Such an approach doesn’t just enhance readability; it builds a narrative, making the invention’s journey through its various stages more comprehensible and compelling.

Neil delves into two scenarios frequently encountered in patent drafting:

  1. Sequential Storytelling with Figures: Often, a series of figures (e.g., Figs. 1a to 1c) is used to unfold the invention step-by-step. Neil suggests employing a single introductory and concluding paragraph for the entire series. This technique ensures a seamless narrative flow, making the progression of the invention easier to follow and understand.
  2. Balancing Overview and Detail: When one figure presents an overarching view (e.g., Fig. 1) and another dives into granular details (e.g., Fig. 2), Neil recommends a delicate balancing act. Mention Fig. 2 while discussing Fig. 1, but save the in-depth discussion for later. This approach keeps the reader anchored in the broader context before delving into specifics, thereby maintaining engagement and understanding.

Neil’s methodology extends beyond mere structural organization. It embraces the art of storytelling within the technical confines of patent law. By treating each figure not just as a visual representation but as a chapter in the story of the invention, the drafter can create a more immersive and understandable narrative. This approach resonates with examiners and potential licensees, making the invention not just a list of technical features but a compelling innovation journey.

In the realm of patents, clarity is not just about compliance; it’s about captivating the reader, be it an examiner, a judge, or a potential investor. By adopting these strategies, patent practitioners can transform their applications from mere technical documents to engaging narratives that effectively communicate the essence of their inventions.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Crafting the Narrative in Patent Applications

In the realm of patent applications, the art of storytelling is often overshadowed by the complexity of technical details. However, Neil Kardos brings a refreshing approach to structuring patent applications, emphasizing not just the technicalities but the story of the invention itself. His method improves readability and enhances the experience for inventors and in-house counsel alike.

1. Setting the Stage with Background
Neil begins by advising the inclusion of a background section. This part introduces the technology behind the invention. Depending on the familiarity and complexity of the technology, this section can vary in length. For well-known concepts, a few sentences suffice, but for more intricate technologies, a detailed exposition might be necessary.

2. Identifying the Technical Problem
Following the background, Neil emphasizes the importance of clearly outlining the technical problem addressed by the invention. This step is crucial as it sets the stage for the solution and helps the reader understand the necessity of the invention.

3. Introducing the Technical Solution
Next, a high-level explanation of the technical solution is presented. This part showcases how the invention solves the identified problem. It’s a strategic move to keep this explanation at a high level, ensuring clarity and engagement.

4. Highlighting the Technical Benefits
Neil suggests elucidating the technical benefits of the invention. This section reinforces the value of the invention and its contribution to the field.

5. Diving into the Details
The fifth part of the structure delves into the specifics of the invention, including various options, alternatives, and detailed benefits. This comprehensive exploration allows for a deeper understanding of the invention’s potential.

6. Standardized Figures and Descriptions
Finally, standardized figures and descriptive language, particularly important for hardware supporting process-based inventions, are placed towards the end of the application. Neil’s rationale for this arrangement is to captivate the reader’s interest with the most significant elements upfront, avoiding boredom or confusion.

Neil’s recommended structure is not just about organizing content; it’s about crafting a narrative that makes patent applications more accessible and engaging. By following this structure, patent professionals can effectively communicate the essence of an invention, making the complex world of patents a bit more approachable and relatable.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

2023 Harrity Holiday Gift Guide

Are you doing some last minute holiday shopping? Stumped on what to get that one person on your list who seems to have everything? Don’t worry- Team Harrity has got you covered!
 
We have put together our official holiday gift guide for all the tech lovers, remote workers, self care queens, and fitness fanatics in your life. These carefully curated gifts have been hand-selected by our team members and include things that we all use in our everyday lives!

 

 

TECH

 

Ray-Ban Meta Wayfarer Smart Glasses

 

Listen to music, take photos and videos, and livestream on social media all from your Ray Bans! This is tech that our team is so excited about!

You can buy it here

 

Wireless Charging Stand

 

 

Charge all your devices wirelessly with this neat tabletop gadget!

You can buy the Belkin charging stand here.

 

Apple AirTag

 

We’ve all been there… you’re running out the door but the keys are nowhere to be found. Lost keys no more! The Apple Airtag is a versatile item that helps keep your valuables organized.

You can find it here.

 

LIFX Lightstrip

 

Upgrade virtually any space in your home with these smart lights! Choose any color via an app on your phone to take your desk, kitchen, bedroom, or game room into an oasis.

You can find it here.

 

Hatch Restore 2 Sunrise Alarm Clock

 

A favorite amongst the parents at our firm, the Hatch sunrise alarm makes waking up, dare we say it, peaceful! The alarm/white noise combo makes for the best night of sleep ever.

You can find it here.

 

Pura 4 Smart Diffuser

 

The Pura smart diffuser brings customized luxurious, clean scents to your home at the touch of a button (on an app!) The coolest thing is the adaptive diffusion and the smart scheduling functions.

You can find it here.

 

Polaroid Hi-Print Bluetooth Printer

 

Send your favorite photos straight to this pocket sized printer and instantly get beautiful, high quality business card sized prints!

You can find it here.

 

 

BOOKS

 

These books are all Harrity favorites, and are reads that we recommend again and again!

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Find the leadership book we recommended to the Minority Firm Incubator firms here.

 

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz

Find this must read book that we send our newly hired attorneys here.

 

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

Find this practical self help book that our Marketing Director, Samantha Sullivan, recommends here.

 

The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life by Shawn Achor

Find this “life-changing” guide to happiness that our Firm Controller, Sandra Maxey, recommends here.

 

Audible Subscription

Listen to these books we recommend plus so much more with a subscription to Audiobook.

 

 

WORK FROM HOME ESSENTIALS

 

Being a fully remote firm, Team Harrity has definitely come across some must have items for those who work from home.

Standing Desk

 

If you haven’t bought into the hype of a standing desk yet, now is the time! Being able to stand and stretch and move around during meetings is a gam changer for productivity. Pair this with the under desk treadmill we recommend in this guide to get your heart pumping, or with this ergonomic mat to take the pressure off your feet and ankles.

You can find that we recommend here.

 

Phone Tripod Stand with Bluetooth Remote

For someone who is creating content (videos, taking photos, etc.), this phone tripod is awesome. We really love it because it has a bluetooth remote so you can start and stop the video without having to do the awkward “press record and step back quickly” move.

You can find it here.

 

Desktop Ring Light

Have you seen Elaine Spector‘s Driving Diversity videos? Her secret to looking professional and polished in those videos and in meetings? A ring light!

You can find the one that we recommend here.

 

Coffee Mug Warmer

Sometimes when you get focused on work, you can forget about you wonderful caffeinated drink. And nobody likes cold coffee. This is the perfect gift for the coffee lover in your life!

You can get the one that we recommend here.

 

Mini Fridge

 

Anyone who works from home knows that the worst thing ever is having to interrupt your flow to get a drink or a snack. This mini fridge is perfect to keep in a home office so you can just reach over and get what you need!

Find this one here.

 

Eye Massager

 

After a long day of looking at a screen, this eye massager with heat is a gam changer for avoiding eye strain and headaches.

You can find the one that we love here.

 

ErgoFoam Under Desk Foot Rest

 

If you are sitting at your desk for long periods of time, this foot rest really makes a difference in how comfortable your feet and legs are!

You can find this one here.

 

Wearable Blanket Hoodie

 

 

It’s oversized, it’s warm, it’s cozy… Need we say more?

This one specifically makes an appearance on our support staff meetings every now and then. Find it here.

 

 

WELLNESS FINDS

 

2 in 1 Under Desk Treadmill

 

This under desk treadmill is the perfect way to get your steps in and close your rings while working. Pair it with the standing desk converter for the perfect office set up!

You can find the one we recommend here.

 

Hoka Bondi 8

 

These are worth the hype! Not only are they stylish, but they are really like walking on clouds!

Wear these on your next walking meeting by purchasing them here.

 

Peloton Guide

 

This super cool device turns your TV into an AI-powered personal trainer to give you a great workout at home!

You can find it here.

 

Massage Gun

 

If you are have a fitness fanatic in your life, this gift will basically be like giving them gold. This deep tissue massage gun provides quick pain relief for those overworked muscles.

You can get the one our team recommends here.

 

STANLEY QUENCHER H2.0 FLOWSTATE™ TUMBLER | 64 OZ

 

Staying hydrated is so important, and it’s actually pretty easy when you’re using a cute water bottle! We love this Stanley because at 64 oz, you’ll spend less time refilling at the fridge.

You can get it here.

 

Ninja CREAMi Ice Cream Maker

This viral healthy ice cream maker is a favorite of our Co-Founding Partner, John Harrity.

You can get it here.

 

Bentgo Prep 100-Piece Meal Prep Starter Kit

 

This meal prep kit comes from a highly recommended brand and is a great price!

You can get it here.

 

 

HARRITY FAVES

 

Swag from our Harrity 4 Charity Online Shop!

Shameless plug, but our Harrity 4 Charity swag is really pretty awesome! There is never a shortage of Harrity sweatshirts or Patent Pathways™ tees on our firmwide meetings. The best part? 100% of net proceeds go to our partner charities!

You can shop our essential & holiday collection here.

 

Sugarwish

 

This super cool gifting site lets you pick the category and size of a gift for your loved one, and then allows them to choose the exact gift that they want. So, no more guessing games with holiday gifts!

You can shop here.

 

Lootcrate Tees

 

This shirt subscription box is sure to be a big hit for the t-shirt loving individuals in your life. Shirts tend to run small and shrink, though, so we would recommend sizing up when ordering.

You can shop here.

 

Artificial Flower Bouquet

 

A bouquet that will never wilt or need to be thrown out? Yes please!

Shop faux holiday arrangements from the site we love here.

 

A Donation to One of Our Partner Charities!

Now through the end of the year, we will be matching gifts made to our Harrity 4 Charity partners: Patent Pathways ($50,000 match), Inova Children’s Hospital ($100,000 match), Change the Conversation ($50,000 match) and ZERO—The End of Prostate Cancer ($100,000 match), and starting 12/1, the American Heart Association ($25,000 match). Please consider making a donation in your friend’s or family member’s name by the end of the year to have your impact doubled!

Donate here.

 

 

Navigating the Maze of Machine Learning Patents: Strategies for Steering Clear of Obviousness

In the ever-evolving domain of machine learning, securing patents for novel inventions is a complex challenge. Neil Kardos shares his expert strategies in this week’s Practical Patents series. His focus is on the intricacies of drafting machine learning patent applications that stand out, avoiding the common trap of obviousness.

Neil stresses the significance of meticulously detailing machine learning patents. Building on the insights shared in last week’s blog post, which highlighted the importance of delineating the inputs to the model, the outputs generated, and the resultant actions, he now introduces three advanced strategies to further distance machine learning models from the risk of being deemed obvious.

Strategy 1: Novel Inputs

Neil’s first strategy centers on the unique choice of inputs in machine learning models. He advocates for leveraging unconventional inputs with significant predictive power to strengthen the non-obviousness of a patent application. For example, he cites the intriguing correlation between an individual’s time spent in a car and their smartphone purchasing preferences as a potential differentiator in a patent application.

Strategy 2: Diverse Outputs and Actions

The second strategy Neil suggests relates to the outputs of the models and the corresponding actions. He points out that beyond the typical binary actions, incorporating a range of responses based on different levels of probability can impart a unique edge to a patent. This could involve varying marketing tactics depending on the predicted likelihood of a customer making a purchase.

Strategy 3: Continual Model Refinement

Neil’s final strategy emphasizes the ongoing improvement and adaptation of machine learning models, especially through feedback mechanisms for re-training. Such adaptive features are often viewed positively by patent examiners and can be crucial in either the independent or dependent claims of a patent application.

Neil offers these strategies as a guide for those seeking to navigate the intricate world of machine learning patents. His insights shed light on effective approaches to elevate machine learning patent applications above the standard threshold of obviousness.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Harrity Analytics Presents: 2023 U.S. Patent Office Superlatives

In the dynamic world of patents, it can be difficult to stay informed about the latest trends and statistics. Harrity Analytics has compiled a fascinating series of USPTO Superlatives for 2023, highlighting key players based off of statistics from the United States Patent Office. Let’s dive into these insightful findings:

1. US City with Most Inventors on Granted US Patents (2023):
-San Diego, CA stands out this year with the most inventors! Inventors from this vibrant city have been listed on 18,429 patents granted in 2023. This is an impressive figure, showcasing the city’s thriving innovation ecosystem.
– Historical Leader (Since 1999): San Jose, CA holds the long-term crown. With its deep-rooted connection to Silicon Valley, inventors from San Jose have been listed on US granted patents a staggering 206,363 times since 1999.

2. World City with Most Inventors on Granted US Patents (2023): – Tokyo takes the global lead! This year, inventors from Tokyo have been listed on 25,317 US granted patents. Since 1999, the total reaches an impressive 403,818.
– Runners-up: Beijing and Seoul follow closely, with 22,585 and 22,205 listings respectively, demonstrating the global spread of innovation.

3. US State with the Most Patents Granted (2023):
– California (CA) leads the race in the United States, with CA inventors being listed on 153,141 granted patents in 2023. This reinforces California’s position as a hub of innovation and technological advancements.
– Following CA are Texas (TX) and Massachusetts (MA), with 31,757 and 25,214 patent listings in 2023 respectively, highlighting the diverse geographic distribution of innovation in the US.

4. Country with Most US Patents Listing Foreign Priority (2023):
– Japan is at the forefront in this category. Out of 329,056 US patents granted so far in 2023, 39,919 claim foreign priority in Japan. This is a testament to the strong innovation links between Japan and the US.
– China and Korea are not far behind, with 25,598 and 25,567 patents claiming priority respectively, showing a significant Asian influence in US patent filings.

These superlatives not only reflect the current landscape of patent filings but also highlight the global interconnectivity in the field of innovation and intellectual property. For those interested in diving deeper into these trends and accessing more analytics, visit Harrity Analytics.

Stay tuned for more insights and analyses from Harrity Analytics, as we continue to explore the ever-evolving world of patents and innovation.

 

Decoding the Art of Machine Learning Patents

In the dynamic and ever-changing world of machine learning (ML), creating a standout patent application is akin to solving a complex puzzle. It’s a landscape where innovation meets the challenge of differentiation. Neil Kardos offers insightful strategies to navigate this complexity, ensuring your ML patents are not just innovative but distinctively non-obvious.

The crux of patenting ML innovations lies in surpassing the “non-obviousness” threshold. This is where Neil’s expertise becomes invaluable, guiding inventors to develop patents that truly stand apart.

Strategy 1: Capitalizing on Unique Inputs

Neil highlights the significance of the inputs used in ML models. The key is in leveraging unconventional inputs that provide predictive insights. Imagine an ML model predicting consumer behavior based on seemingly unrelated data, like time spent in a car. These unique inputs can dramatically strengthen the non-obviousness of a patent application.

Strategy 2: Leveraging Outputs and Actions

The second strategy delves into the outputs of ML models and the subsequent actions they trigger. Neil suggests focusing on how these outputs, often probabilistic, can dictate varied actions at different confidence levels. This nuanced approach adds a layer of sophistication to your patent, exemplified by a navigation system that adjusts routes based on the ML model’s confidence levels.

Incorporating these strategies into your patent claims is essential. Neil advises that if these innovative approaches are central to your invention, they should be included in independent claims. However, if they are supplementary, consider adding them to dependent claims or the specification. This method ensures robustness during the patent prosecution process, especially against potential prior art challenges.

In the intricate dance of ML patenting, it’s the nuanced details and strategic claim drafting that make all the difference. With Neil’s guidance, your ML inventions can transcend the ordinary, securing a place in the ever-growing patent landscape.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Efficient Patent Application Drafting: Minimizing Rework in Inventor Interviews

In the world of patent application drafting, efficiency is key. Neil Kardos offers valuable insights into making the process more streamlined, especially in handling inventor interviews. A common trap many patent practitioners fall into is the inadvertent engagement in rework, particularly in the way inventor interviews are conducted. Transcribing or listening to the entire recording of these interviews, as it turns out, is a significant time sink.

Recording inventor interviews is useful as a backup, but relying on them extensively for information can lead to inefficiency. Instead, Neil advocates for effective note-taking as the cornerstone of efficiency. This involves preparing questions in advance, written in blue ink, and noting down answers in red during the interview. This method is flexible, working well with both traditional and digital note-taking methods.

In this process, strategic note-taking is key. It’s important to avoid noting down information that is already known or included in the invention disclosure form (IDF). The focus should be on clarifying ambiguities and jotting down new insights. If you fall behind in note-taking, marking the time elapsed in the interview can help you quickly locate the needed section later, should you need to revisit the recording.

Modern technology, such as screen sharing, can further enhance the efficiency of reviewing recordings, allowing for quick navigation to relevant sections. A critical aspect of this process is setting aside time for a post-interview debrief. This could range from determining focus areas for claims to drafting the claims and figures. Neil describes this method as “frontloading,” a highly effective strategy that he discusses in more detail in another presentation.

Neil’s advice highlights subtle but impactful methods for refining workflow in patent application drafting. By adopting these strategies in inventor interviews, patent practitioners can transform a routine task into a significant efficiency booster.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Harrity 4 Charity Announces 2023 Charitable Contribution Matching Campaigns

Harrity 4 Charity, the giving-back initiative of Harrity LLP, is excited to announce our 2023 Giving Matches. Now through the end of the year, we will be matching gifts made to our Harrity 4 Charity partners.

Harrity 4 Charity will be matching donations gifted to Inova Children’s Hospital, Change the Conversation, ZERO—The End of Prostate Cancer, Patent Pathways™, and the American Heart Association for our 2023 Matching campaign! Please consider making a donation to have your impact doubled.

Patent Pathways™

Running through 12/31, Harrity 4 Charity is matching donations made to Patent Pathways™! Every donation up to $50,000 will be matched to provide essential trainings that support diversity and inclusion in the patent field. Click here to donate to Patent Pathways.

Change the Conversation

In an effort to put an end to childhood sexual abuse and help survivors with recovery, we are matching $50,000 of donations made to Change the Conversation by December 31st. Please click here to contribute.

Inova Children’s Hospital

Harrity 4 Charity will double $100,000 of donations made to Inova Children’s Hospital from now until the end of the year. All donations will go directly towards purchasing toys and books, and providing support for children undergoing treatment and surgery at Inova Children’s Hospital during the holidays for Poppy’s Toy Drive — an initiative started by eight-year old cancer survivor, Poppy, who spent 160 days at Inova in 2018. Click here to donate to Poppy’s Toy Express.

ZERO: The End of Prostate Cancer

Harrity 4 Charity is proud to support ZERO: The End of Prostate Cancer with a one day 4X match up to $100,000! You can join the fight against prostate cancer and support prostate cancer education, testing, patient support, research and advocacy by donating here.

American Heart Association

Harrity 4 Charity will be continuing our support of the American heart association with an end of year matching campaign up to $25,000! Donations made to the American Heart Association, the largest non-profit organization dedicated to fighting heart disease, through the upcoming Lawyers Have Heart event will be doubled through 12/31. Click here to donate and to register for the 2024 LHH 5K, 10K and Fun Walk on May 18th, virtually or in-person. You can also make a donation by simply texting ‘RUNLHH’ to 41444.

About Harrity 4 Charity

Harrity 4 Charity represents a partnering of law firm Harrity & Harrity, LLP, with charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Harrity pledges to give five percent of profits to partner charities and all Harrity employees pledge to donate a portion of their paychecks. Harrity & Harrity is a patent preparation and prosecution firm specializing in the electrical and mechanical technology areas and is considered a Go-To Firm for the Patent 300 ™. Our clients have come to trust in our high-quality work, experienced people, industry leading innovation, and outstanding service. For more information, visit harrityllp.com.

Revolutionizing Patent Applications: The Case for Clarity in Language

In the intricate world of patent law, the clarity of legal documents is not just a nicety but a necessity. Neil Kardos, a vocal advocate for more readable patent applications, recently highlighted an issue that’s often overlooked yet crucial. Patent applications, by their nature, are complex. They are technical documents, intricately detailing how new technologies function. However, Neil points out an additional layer of complexity that stems not from the content but from the style of writing.

Patent professionals are experts in their fields, with rich backgrounds in science, math, and engineering. However, Neil observes that this technical focus often comes at the expense of writing skills. The result? Patent applications that are not just technically dense but also linguistically challenging. Adding to this complexity is the traditional use of legal jargon, or legalese, which can make documents even more daunting.

Neil suggests a simple yet effective change: replacing “said” element with “the” element in patent claims. While this might seem minor, the impact on readability is significant. He draws on a Patently-O article, which indicates that in the 1970s and 1980s, about 90% of patent applications used “said”. Today, this usage has reduced to around 20%. Neil argues that even this is too high. By embracing simpler language, the patent community can make these vital documents more approachable and understandable.

What sets Neil apart is his approach to this issue. He doesn’t just propose a change; he invites a discussion. This open invitation is more than a call for change; it’s a call for a community-wide reflection on how the patent world communicates.

Neil’s advocacy for clearer writing in patent applications goes beyond merely suggesting a change; he fosters a dialogue towards a future where legal documents are not barriers but bridges to understanding. By adopting simpler language, the patent community can ensure that these crucial documents are not only legally sound but also broadly accessible.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

The Art of Precision: Enhancing Patent Illustrations with a Touch of Expertise

Navigating the patent process is akin to crafting a masterpiece—each line, shade, and angle contributes to the final depiction of innovation. In this intricate dance, the initial sketches set the stage. Neil Kardos, like a skilled artist, starts with strokes of inspiration, transforming the abstract into tangible hand-drawn figures.

This is where the journey from concept to concrete begins. It’s a pivotal transformation, facilitated by the adept hands of a Visio specialist at Harrity. With an arsenal of tailored templates and precision stencils, these initial sketches are elevated to the standards of professional patent drawings—often within the span of a day.

For many practitioners, however, such in-house luxuries may be a distant dream. Neil advises those in the wider legal landscape to seek out and foster relationships with professional drafters or specialized firms. Particularly for elaborate mechanical applications, where the minutiae matter, these partnerships can be invaluable.

Neil’s strategic advice extends beyond the logistics of drafting—it’s a philosophy of time management and focus. For the modern attorney, particularly in the world of fixed fees, the importance of honing in on crafting claims and the specification is paramount. Neil shares some of his personal tips to cut down on the drafting drudgery: avoid redrawing components that can be pulled from an IDF or another application—simply annotate “copy from slide 7 of the IDF” as a directive. And when it comes to modifications, why not start with a print-out of an existing drawing and manually add your edits?

At the heart of Neil’s methodology is a balance between efficiency and quality. By delegating the drawing process, attorneys at Harrity & Harrity are empowered to dedicate their expertise to the core elements of patent applications. This not only enhances the firm’s productivity but also upholds the high-quality standard that clients have come to expect.

What inventive methods do you employ in your practice to ensure your patent drawings are the epitome of efficiency and precision? At Harrity & Harrity, we’re committed to learning and sharing insights that propel us all towards excellence in the ever-evolving patent landscape.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Streamlining Inventor Approvals in Patent Drafting

As patent attorneys, one of our principal objectives is to draft applications that not only meet legal standards but also receive the nod of approval from the inventors we represent. It’s a delicate balance of interpreting technical ingenuity and presenting it through the stringent lens of patent law. Join us this week in our Practical Patents series, as Neil Kardos offers seasoned advice on how to navigate this process effectively, ensuring that when inventors review our applications, their most frequent response is an affirming “looks good.”

The process begins with the inventor interview—a critical juncture where the foundation for a robust application is laid. Here, we delve into the nuances of the main embodiment of the invention. Yet, it’s not just about the present innovation; it’s about potential future iterations as well. This is where the art of questioning becomes paramount.

Neil advises that to unlock the full narrative of an invention, one must go beyond the surface. It starts with identifying the novel aspects of the technology at hand. The question “What are some other ways this could be done?” not only helps in outlining potential alternatives but also safeguards against future design-around efforts. By brainstorming these alternatives preemptively and discussing them with inventors, we can stimulate a more dynamic and comprehensive exploration of the invention’s scope.

The inquiry doesn’t stop at what exists; it extends to what could follow. Asking inventors to envision further improvements or next steps in their innovation journey can reveal valuable insights into the invention’s future applications or enhancements. This foresight is crucial in crafting a patent application that is not only relevant today but will stand the test of time.

Lastly, a thorough wrap-up question such as “Is there anything we’ve overlooked?” ensures that all relevant details have been captured. It’s an essential part of the interview that can uncover overlooked aspects, leading to a more complete and robust application.

Setting expectations with the inventor is equally vital. The level of detail and focus in the patent application often correlates with the inventor’s experience with the patent process. For newcomers, it’s beneficial to outline what the patent application will include and why certain aspects will be highlighted over others. This clarifies the document’s focus on novel elements and prepares the inventor for the application’s format and content.

By adhering to these strategies, Neil asserts that patent attorneys can significantly reduce the need for subsequent revisions and increase the likelihood of obtaining that initial “looks good” from inventors. This approach not only streamlines the review process but also fosters a collaborative relationship with the inventor, ultimately leading to higher-quality patent applications.

The key is about understanding the inventor’s vision and ensuring that the patent application accurately and effectively communicates that vision within the legal framework. By incorporating these practices, patent attorneys can enhance their drafting process, resulting in greater satisfaction for both the inventors and the legal professionals tasked with protecting their creations.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

The Evolving Landscape of Automotive Patents Among German Automakers

The patent landscape in the automotive industry has been a topic of interest for stakeholders seeking to navigate the technological advancements and innovations shaping the market. A recent analysis by Harrity Analytics illuminates how the tides have turned in patent acquisition among Germany’s top three automakers—Mercedes, BMW, and Porsche—over the last two decades.

In the early 2000s, Mercedes led the pack in annual patent acquisitions. This period can be characterized as one where Mercedes aggressively sought to protect its intellectual property, a strategy that aligned well with the company’s pursuit of technological leadership in the industry.

However, a noticeable shift occurred around 2010. At this juncture, Mercedes began acquiring fewer patents annually, leveling the playing field for BMW and Porsche. Both companies seized this opportunity and started acquiring patents at a rate that put them in line with Mercedes. The trend suggests a strategic repositioning by BMW and Porsche, possibly driven by a need to catch up with Mercedes’ early lead and to solidify their own footing in rapidly evolving areas like electric vehicles, autonomous driving, and connected services.

The most significant transformation has been observed in the past five to seven years. During this phase, BMW and Porsche have not only caught up but have surpassed Mercedes in annual patent acquisitions. This shift signals a substantial realignment in the industry’s innovation focus, with BMW and Porsche ramping up their efforts to secure technological advancements through intellectual property. Conversely, Mercedes has fallen well behind, prompting questions about its long-term strategy in a landscape increasingly defined by disruptive innovations.

Understanding these shifts is crucial for industry players, investors, and policymakers as it provides insights into the competitive dynamics and innovation strategies of these automakers. The data suggests that while Mercedes may have been an early pioneer, BMW and Porsche have been more agile in adapting to new technological paradigms, as evidenced by their more robust patent portfolios in recent years. It will be interesting to observe how technological advances continue to disrupt the automotive industry and whether these three big players will adjust their patent strategies.

Keep an eye on the Patent 300® Dashboard to see how these trends play out!

Check out our other Patent Analytics services HERE.

Understanding the Sequence: Navigating the Nuances of “First” and “Second” in Patent Claims

In the meticulous practice of patent application drafting, the choice of words can be as crucial as the invention itself. Neil Kardos explores the subtleties of using sequential terms in the latest edition of the Practical Patents Series. Clarity and precision in claim language are the cornerstones of a robust patent application, a principle that Neil emphasizes in his discourse.

The common practice of denoting elements or steps as “first” and “second” serves a fundamental role in distinguishing components within patent claims. However, Neil cautions that these seemingly straightforward terms can be a double-edged sword. He presents a scenario that many practitioners encounter: defining a sequence within an invention. The term “first” might intuitively imply the beginning of a sequence, but as Neil elucidates, its interpretation in patent law can be broader.

Neil urges that when the order is pivotal to an invention’s functionality, the terms “first” and “second” should be used with discernment. For instance, if the intention is to specify the very start of a sequence, more explicit language might be warranted, such as “an initial time period” or “the earliest-occurring time period.” These alternatives leave no room for ambiguity and ensure that the claims are understood as intended.

In his practical guidance, Neil also highlights the importance of aligning the specification and drawings with the claims. This harmony across the patent application is vital for delineating the exact meaning of sequence terms, especially when dealing with inventions where timing is key.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Monitoring U.S. Patent Maintenance Fee Data: A Look at Strategy Shifts

Monitoring U.S. patent maintenance fee data provides valuable insights into the behavior and strategies of patent owners. At Harrity & Harrity, we have been actively tracking this information since 2015. Our analysis reveals a consistent pattern in maintenance fee payments, with data generally falling within a single standard deviation. However, 2020 stands as an exception, with activity moving outside this range for the first time. This anomaly could be attributed to various factors, such as the economic uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic or shifts in specific technology sectors.

As we look toward 2024, it becomes increasingly important to observe whether this data will experience further deviations. These trends could indicate either a return to previous payment behaviors or the emergence of new strategic approaches by patent owners. Factors like innovation cycles, market demands, and global crises could all contribute to shifts in data.

For patent owners, the implications of this analysis are significant. A consistent reevaluation of patent maintenance strategies is advisable to ensure alignment with long-term organizational goals and current market conditions. Harrity & Harrity’s commitment to patent analytics and consultative services aims to provide clients with the necessary insights to navigate the complex landscape of intellectual property rights effectively. As we approach 2024, we will continue to monitor these trends closely, offering valuable data to help patent owners stay informed and agile in their maintenance fee strategies.

Check out our Patent Analytics services HERE.

Navigating Patent Prosecution: Understanding Your Examiner for Better Outcomes

In the world of patent prosecution, understanding the intricacies of the process can be the key to success. Neil Kardos shares some invaluable insights into how to achieve better outcomes during patent prosecution. With a background as a former patent examiner at the USPTO, Neil brings a unique perspective that can significantly impact your patent application journey.

Neil’s journey from a patent examiner to his current role at Harrity has given him a unique perspective on the patent world, and he’s here to shed light on a crucial aspect of the process – working effectively with examiners.

When Neil embarked on his career as a patent examiner, he encountered the familiar hesitation that often plagues newcomers in the field when it comes to allowing patent applications. This sentiment was widespread among his peers, and the challenges were amplified by his assignment to a business methods art unit. Neil’s early experiences reflect the reality of the patent landscape, as his examiner score in PatentPrufer started at a modest 56 out of 100.

Experience Breeds Confidence

Time and experience proved to be Neil’s greatest allies. With the accumulation of years spent in patent examination, he gradually became more comfortable with granting patents and, equally crucial, collaborating effectively with applicants to fine-tune claims for a higher likelihood of success. Neil’s journey underlines a universal truth in patent prosecution: grasping the unique dynamics of your assigned examiner is a cornerstone of success.

In the world of patent examination, each examiner brings their distinct perspective, expertise, and approach to the table. Acknowledging and embracing this individuality is pivotal in navigating the intricacies of patent prosecution. At Harrity & Harrity, we recognize this fundamental truth.

Harnessing the Power of Examiner Analytics

Within our firm, we harness the potential of examiner analytics to make well-informed decisions during the prosecution process. A critical judgment involves evaluating whether to request the presence of a primary examiner during inventor interviews. This decision hinges on the experience level of the examiner assigned to your application.

Moreover, you have the opportunity to request a specific primary examiner based on their performance score. This score offers a rough indication of their likelihood to allow your patent application. It’s a strategic move that can significantly impact your prosecution strategy.

In closing, Neil’s remarkable journey underscores a profound truth: the art of patent prosecution is as diverse as the examiners themselves. By delving into the intricacies of each examiner’s approach and leveraging the power of examiner analytics, you hold the key to unlocking a world of possibilities in the ever-evolving landscape of patents. As you embark on your own patent prosecution journey, remember that knowledge truly is power, and harnessing it can lead to transformative success.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Revolutionizing the Patent Landscape: The ‘Driving Diversity’ ADAPT Webinar Unpacks the Future of Diversity in Patent Law

Today, we’re diving into a subject that’s close to our hearts: the advancement of diversity in the patent law field. If you’re as passionate about this issue as we are, you’ll want to know all about the Diversity Dialogue: ADAPT Webinar that recently took place. This event brought together some of the brightest minds in the industry to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in patent law.

In a world where innovation drives progress, it’s important for the teams behind the patents to reflect the diversity of the world they serve. This isn’t just an ethical imperative; it’s a business necessity. Diverse teams bring fresh perspectives that can catalyze groundbreaking ideas. And that’s where the ADAPT initiative comes in, as a collaborative effort aimed at making tangible changes in the industry.

Harrity’s Elaine Spector was joined by panelists Gail Su (Google), Mike Binns (Meta) and Judy Yee (Microsoft) as this collective wisdom came together to delve into the ADAPT initiative, each contributing their unique perspectives and expertise.

How ADAPT Came to Be

Elaine Spector kicked off the discussion by recounting the founding story of ADAPT. The goal? To transition from mere talk to meaningful action. The thought that collective action from power players like Google, Meta, and Microsoft was the key to making waves in the patent law ecosystem. So they formed a DEI collective and gave it a name worth remembering: ADAPT.

Why DEI Isn’t Just a Buzzword

DEI isn’t a corporate fad—it’s a corporate strategy. Gail Su hit the nail on the head, reminding us that diverse teams don’t just check boxes; they break new ground. Also, Mike Binns pushed us to think broader about what diversity means. It’s not just about color or gender; it’s about varied educational backgrounds, experiences, and even diverse ways of thinking.

The Progress So Far

ADAPT is more than just a collective on paper; it’s making real moves. From mentorship programs to data analytics for tracking DEI metrics, this initiative isn’t playing small. ADAPT isn’t here for the short game, but is looking to build sustainable diversity.

As we look to the future, the objectives for ADAPT extend well beyond the present moment. The panelists articulated a strategic vision aimed at institutionalizing DEI practices within the patent law ecosystem. Elaine Spector emphasized Harrity & Harrity’s unwavering commitment to not only supporting but also actively contributing to these pioneering initiatives. The ambition is to elevate DEI practices to the level of an industry standard, setting a precedent for excellence and inclusivity that other firms in the patent law field will aspire to meet.

Questions to Spark Your Imagination

  1. How can your firm adopt a data-driven approach to keep DEI at the forefront?
  2. What unorthodox strategies could you utilize to attract and retain diverse talent?
  3. Could DEI be the secret sauce for your organization’s long-term success?

If this post has piqued your interest, don’t miss the chance to watch the entire ADAPT Diversity Dialogue Webinar here. Until we meet again, let’s continue to challenge the status quo and reshape the future landscape of patent law.

Watch the full webinar here:

Want to get involved? Check out the useful link below!

ADAPT.LEGAL


Want more? Watch Elaine Spector’s Driving Diversity series HERE. Elaine shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in this weekly short-video series.

Leveraging AI in Gap Analysis Reports

Gap Analysis Reports are instrumental for companies to understand the comparative strengths and weaknesses in their patent portfolios. At Harrity & Harrity, we have begun to incorporate generative AI technology like ChatGPT to rapidly identify and summarize these crucial differences between portfolios, based on data provided by the Harrity Analytics Team. The use of AI in this context is not just an experimental venture; it presents a significant opportunity to make the patent analysis process more efficient, quicker, and potentially less costly, particularly in matters of litigation and licensing.

Our Patent 300® Dashboard helps users easily filter between companies and technology areas for easy to view gap analysis, which AI can then quickly delineate. Let’s take a case study that involved comparing the patent portfolios of NVIDIA and Intel Corporation. This analysis highlighted several interesting differences and competitive focuses between the two tech giants. For example, NVIDIA has a noticeable lead in ray-tracing technology with 33 patents, while Intel trails with only 13. When it comes to learning methods, a domain essential for artificial intelligence, Intel surprisingly leads with 31 patents as opposed to Nvidia’s 14. In the areas of texture mapping and processor architectures, both companies appear neck-and-neck, each holding five patents, suggesting a mutual recognition of the importance of these technologies. Furthermore, while NVIDIA has made some headway in cooling technologies with four patents, Intel has none. On the flip side, Intel dominates in the domain of remote windowing with eight patents, dwarfing Nvidia’s single patent. Lastly, in terms of the organizational structure of processors, Intel holds twice the number of patents that Nvidia does, with six against three.

The potential implications of this rapid, AI-driven comparative analysis are significant. Firstly, by providing quick and accurate insights into patent portfolios, the AI can significantly reduce the time and financial resources usually required for litigation and licensing processes. Secondly, these insights can also be instrumental for a company’s strategic planning, particularly for directing R&D investments and identifying areas for competitive positioning. Finally, when aggregated across multiple analyses, this data may also serve as an industry barometer, signaling where innovation is heating up and where it is cooling down.

Overall, the integration of generative AI technology like ChatGPT in the patent analysis process offers promising advantages. By parsing large sets of complex data with both speed and accuracy, we are poised to provide our clients with more cost-effective and timely solutions without compromising the quality of insights crucial for strategic decision-making. The challenge now lies in considering how to further harness this technology.

Could there be other facets of the patent field where the capabilities of generative AI could be further explored for better efficiency and cost-effectiveness? Let us know your thoughts!

Check out our Patent Analytics services HERE.

Providing Context in Patent Applications: A Strategic Approach to Storytelling and Claiming

Patent professionals understand that the choice of language in patent applications can have far-reaching implications. This week, Neil Kardos explains how one such term fraught with peril is “background.” The concerns around this terminology are twofold:

  1. Admitted Prior Art: Any information presented in a section labeled as “background” may be considered as admitted prior art, which can negatively influence the patent examination process.
  2. Obviousness Rejection: Describing the problem solved by the invention under “background” could provide the examiner with a basis to argue that the solution is obvious, thereby facilitating an obviousness rejection.

Alternatives to ‘Background’

So, how can one maneuver around these pitfalls? Neil explains that there are two strategies that can be employed:

Omission or Renaming

The first strategy is to either omit a section explicitly called “background” or to rename it to something like “Introduction” or “Technical Field.” By doing so, you reduce the risk of the examiner interpreting this section as an admission of prior art.

Contextual Placement

The second strategy involves placing the context or “background” information within the “Detailed Description” section. Here, you can set the stage for understanding the technical problem without overtly admitting it as prior art.

Tailoring Context to the Nature of the Invention

Different types of inventions require different levels of contextual detail:

  • Technical Standards-Related Inventions: For an invention that closely aligns with technical standards, it’s crucial to clarify any standard-specific terminology. Failure to do so could lead to an examiner or court misconstruing your patent claims.
  • Consumer-Friendly Inventions: For inventions that are easier to comprehend, such as extending a phone’s battery life, a shorter, less technical explanation would suffice.

Addressing Section 101 Rejections

For inventions that stand a high chance of facing Section 101 rejections, it’s beneficial to frame the invention as a technical solution to a technical problem. This could make it easier to argue against any 101-based rejections.

In conclusion, Neil explains that choosing the right language and placing it appropriately can make a significant difference in the outcome of a patent application. By considering the nature of your invention and the potential pitfalls surrounding the term “background,” you can craft a more compelling and robust patent application. This strategic approach not only improves the chances of success at the patent office but also sets a strong foundation for any subsequent legal evaluations.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Rocky Berndsen Recognized as World Leading IP Strategist in 2023 IAM Strategy 300 List

Harrity & Harrity is pleased to announce that our Head of Analytics, Rocky Berndsen, has been honored by IAM as a 2023 World Leading IP Strategist. This prestigious award serves to recognize individuals who are at the forefront of developing and executing strategies that maximize the value of intellectual property portfolios.

As stated by IAM-Media.com, the selection process for this accolade is rigorous and involves confidential online nominations. The comprehensive research methodology includes face-to-face and telephone interviews, as well as email exchanges with senior figures in the global IP community.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that Rocky has earned a spot on the IAM Strategy 300 List, underscoring his consistent excellence and leadership in the field.

“Proud and humbled to be named among the top IP strategists in the world by IAM Strategy 300. It’s a testament to my team’s relentless pursuit of innovation and excellence in the IP world. Grateful for the opportunity to contribute to such a dynamic field!” he shared.

Rocky Berndsen leads the analytics group at Harrity & Harrity, specializing in delivering data analytics services to corporate clients. These services are designed to provide valuable insights and intelligence regarding not only the clients’ own patent portfolios but also those of their competitors, their external legal teams, and the patent industry at large.

The Power of Checklists in Patent Application Drafting

When it comes to the intricate process of drafting patent applications, even seasoned professionals can find themselves submerged in a maze of technicalities, client-specific requirements, and meticulous details. Neil Kardos highlights a simple yet effective strategy for navigating this complex terrain: the use of a checklist. This blog post delves into how a well-crafted checklist can not only improve the quality of your patent applications but also bring a new level of efficiency to your work.

The Quality Factor: More Than Just a Safety Net

First and foremost, let’s talk about quality. It may seem like a given, but when you’re working on something as complex as a patent application, it’s surprisingly easy to forget the basics. Running a spell check or utilizing patent proofreading tools might seem rudimentary, but these are the steps that ensure the polished finish of a professional application. Here, a checklist acts as more than just a safety net; it becomes an essential quality control measure. By ticking off these checks as you go, you make sure that no minor or major step gets overlooked, thereby elevating the quality of your entire application.

Navigating Client Preferences: A Customized Approach

In a professional landscape where one size rarely fits all, it’s imperative to cater to the unique needs of each client. Whether it’s about the sequence in which they want to review the application—be it claims, figures, or the entire draft—or the mode by which they prefer to receive submissions, client preferences can vary widely. This is where a customized checklist shines. Not only does it serve as a reminder of the individual needs of each client, but it also acts as a flexible tool that can be adapted to different processes, ensuring you hit the mark every time.

Drafting: An Art and a Science

When it comes to the art and science of drafting a patent application, most of us don’t approach it in a linear fashion. Neil, for instance, prefers to start with the context for the invention and the details of the invention itself. This initial focus allows him to fine-tune the claims, which are the backbone of any patent application. Once the claims are set, he then circles back to complete the summary, flow chart descriptions, and other interconnected sections. Here, the checklist serves as a tactical guide, ensuring that not only do all these pieces get the attention they deserve, but they also follow an optimized sequence for maximum efficiency.

At its core, a checklist is more than just a list of tasks; it’s a strategic tool that enables better planning, higher quality, and efficient execution in the patent application drafting process. Neil recommends creating master checklists that can be customized according to the diverse needs of each client. This approach not only fosters quality and efficiency but also brings a newfound level of clarity to your drafting process.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

The Art of Word Selection in Patent Application Drafting

Drafting a patent application is an art form that requires meticulous attention to detail, especially when it comes to language use. Neil Kardos accentuates this point by highlighting the potential pitfalls of using terms like “first” and “second” in patent claims. Such terms, while seemingly straightforward, can introduce ambiguity that may have far-reaching legal implications.

Neil presents a compelling example to illustrate the complexities involved. Imagine a claim that involves multiple signals, say a “first signal” that generates a “second signal.” If additional claims reference other signals, labeling them as “third,” “fourth,” etc., could create significant confusion. This is not just a theoretical concern; such ambiguity could actually compromise the enforceability or scope of the patent claim.

Strategic Approaches to Resolve the Issue

  1. Specific Labeling: One way to avoid confusion is to adopt specific labels for these signals. However, care must be taken to ensure these labels do not unintentionally limit the claim’s scope.
  2. Dependent Claim Labeling: Another approach Neil recommends is to only use “first” and “second” in the independent claim. This allows for the use of distinct labels for signals in dependent claims, minimizing the risk of confusion.

Considerations for Long-term Strategy

As patent attorneys, agents, and support staff, it’s crucial for us to think beyond the immediate challenges of patent drafting. For instance, how can we adopt an analytics-driven approach to identify common pitfalls in patent application drafting? How could automation aid in standardizing terminology and reducing errors?

Neil’s advice is not just a set of drafting tips but also a call for critical thinking in the patent field. His insights remind us that every word in a patent application carries weight and could have long-term consequences for innovation in the computer, electrical, and mechanical fields. As we continue our pursuit of innovation and quality in patent law, taking heed of such expert advice is indispensable.

Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Mastering the Art of the Inventor Interview: Ensuring Confidence While Asking the Right Questions

Greetings fellow patent enthusiasts! An inventor interview is not just an information-gathering session; it’s an opportunity to build rapport and trust between the inventor and the patent professional. Join us this week as Neil Kardos explains how the nuances of these interactions can significantly impact the inventor’s confidence in your capabilities to represent their interests adequately.

Pre-Interview Research: A Non-Negotiable Step

Before the interview, always take the time to research any unfamiliar concepts in the inventor’s documentation. This not only prepares you for the discussion but also avoids asking questions that could potentially undermine the inventor’s confidence in your expertise. A simple web search for unknown terms or concepts is often enough to provide the necessary context.

Tackling the Unknown: Phrasing is Key

There will inevitably be times when prior research doesn’t yield clear explanations for certain terms or technologies. In such instances, how you pose your questions can make all the difference. Here are some strategies:

1. Acknowledge Your Effort

Example: “I searched the web for XYZ, but I couldn’t find a really good explanation. Can you explain it to me?” This approach shows that you have made an effort to understand but have hit a roadblock, inviting the inventor to fill in the gaps.

2. Draw Parallels with Familiar Concepts

Example: “I’m familiar with how ABC works, but I don’t understand XYZ. Can you explain it to me?” This method acknowledges your expertise in related areas and humbly asks for clarification on the specific topic at hand.

3. Navigate Company-Specific Jargon

Example: “I saw that you’ve used the term XYZ in your documentation, and I couldn’t find a good explanation of what that is. Can you explain that to me, or is there another term for this that I could look up?” When dealing with internal jargon, this approach shows that you are proactive and willing to learn.

The inventor interview is a crucial aspect of patent law practice, requiring a blend of expertise, humility, and strategic questioning. A well-prepared and conscientiously executed interview not only yields the information necessary for drafting a robust patent application but also establishes a positive working relationship with the inventor.

So the next time you’re preparing for an inventor interview, remember these tips. A little preparation and strategic questioning can go a long way in ensuring a productive and confidence-inspiring conversation. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

A Strategic Approach to Preparing Patent Claims for Multiple Jurisdictions

Welcome back, fellow patent enthusiasts! In the dynamic world of patents, one size does not fit all, especially when considering international filings. As a seasoned patent professional, Neil Kardos delves into strategic tips tailored to the unique requirements of several major jurisdictions.

1. Understanding U.S. Application Trends: For U.S. applications, it’s customary to file with 3 independent claims and 20 total claims, maximizing the filing fee benefit without incurring additional charges for excess claims. As an illustration from software patent applications, Neil frequently files:

  • 7 method claims
  • 7 device claims
  • 6 computer-readable medium claims

2. European Patent Office (EPO) Strategies: The EPO permits 15 claims without additional fees. A savvy approach Neil adopts is leveraging method claims to craft a nuanced computer-readable medium claim. This involves:

  • Using the 7 method and 7 device claims from the U.S. application.
  • Adding a unique 15th claim: “A computer program product that, when executed by a processor, causes the processor to perform the method of any of claims 1 to 7.”

Further, utilizing multiple dependent claims, which the EPO allows, can be beneficial.

3. Navigating Claim Filings in China and India: Both China and India allow a filing of up to 10 claims without surplus fees. Given that each additional claim costs under $25, Neil suggests submitting between 10 to 20 claims from the U.S. application. Filing all 20 claims in these jurisdictions would cost approximately $250, a stark contrast to the EPO’s fee structure.

4. The Canadian Perspective: Canada presents a unique scenario, as there aren’t excess claim fees. Neil’s strategy here often involves deferring examination until the entire U.S. patent family (inclusive of parent applications and continuations) is finalized. Subsequently, a Patent Prosecution Highway request is filed with an amendment encompassing all claims from the sanctioned U.S. applications.


In conclusion, effectively preparing patent claims for international jurisdictions demands both a deep understanding of regional nuances and a strategic mindset. Neil’s insights, as presented, provide a robust foundation for such endeavors.

Thank you for reading, we invite you to share your experiences and tips regarding claim preparation in these or other jurisdictions. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Paul Harrity Featured in Washington Lawyer Magazine

In a recent feature by the Washington Lawyer Magazine, Paul Harrity, Managing Partner at Harrity & Harrity, LLP, shared his experiences and insights on the revolutionary ChatGPT technology.

In the article, Paul and other law firm leaders discuss the power of ChatGPT in boosting efficiency, experimentation with the tool’s capabilities when it comes to legal tasks, the ethical considerations, including the importance of confidentiality, to take into account when using ChatGPT, and the overall industry perspective of incorporating the use of AI into what once was a very traditional practice.

In particular, Paul’s exploration of ChatGPT underscores the potential of AI in revolutionizing the legal field, while also highlighting the need for careful consideration of ethical implications.

You can read the full article HERE.

 

Enhancing Claim Readability for a Competitive Edge

Greetings once again, esteemed patent aficionados! We’re back this week with Neil Kardos’ Practical Patent tips, as he shares a valuable tip that can not only enhance the readability of your patent claims but might also bestow a subtle psychological advantage when liaising with a patent examiner.

In the complex field of patent drafting, clarity and precision are paramount. Neil shares a valuable insight into refining the presentation of patent claims. The objective? To make them more reader-friendly and potentially create a positive impression on patent examiners.

Typically, claims are drafted using sizable blocks of text for each step or component. These blocks are neatly separated by semicolons and start on fresh lines with an indent. But what happens when a single step or component spans over four lines or more?

Neil suggests, “If you encounter a step comprising two lines, followed by a ‘wherein’ clause also spanning two lines, it can be cumbersome for readers. Instead of presenting it as a continuous four-line chunk, break it up.” He recommends placing a comma at the end of the first two lines, then initiating the ‘wherein’ clause on a new indented line. This technique breaks the invention down into bite-sized, easily digestible segments.

Possible Psychological Advantage with Examiners

Another potential upside to this approach is its optical effect. The same word count, when spaced out, consumes more lines on paper, possibly giving the impression of a more detailed claim. Kardos, drawing from his experience as a former examiner, expresses skepticism about the weightage of this theory. He says, “In my examiner days, I was mostly hunting for the claimed invention, irrespective of its presentation.” However, if an examiner vacillates about an allowance, and this presentation nudges them towards granting it, then the strategy surely holds merit.

Enhanced Readability Equals Improved Quality

Neil emphasizes that the chief advantage of this technique lies in its improved readability. An easily comprehensible claim not only facilitates the examiner’s job but also ensures that reviewers and inventors can accurately gauge if the invention has been captured aptly.

He concludes, “In the intricate realm of patents, clarity is a boon. By adopting this simple strategy, patent attorneys can significantly enhance the quality and perception of their claims. I genuinely hope practitioners find this tip beneficial.”

Thank you for reading, and we invite you to explore more insights and strategies in the patent field on our Practical Patents blog series. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Honing Business Methods Patent Applications: A Shift Towards Technicality

Welcome back, fellow patent enthusiasts! We’re back this week with Neil Kardos’ Practical Patent tips, as he draws on his experience as a former business methods patent examiner and his extensive work in the field, to offer strategic insights for navigating the complex terrain of business methods patent applications. Neil emphasizes the imperative of transitioning the focus from primarily business methods to technical aspects.

Understanding the Shift

Business methods often grapple with a common conundrum: they are inherently business-centric, which makes them particularly susceptible to invalidity challenges. The magic lies in reframing the invention’s narrative. Neil’s approach hinges on the following:

  • Engaging in Inventor Conversations: Start by discerning the technical elements during initial discussions with inventors. This sets the groundwork for refocusing the application.
  • Identifying Key Technical Aspects: Using an example of a system harnessing transaction data to inform users about sales in nearby stores, Kardos underscores the value of delving into the ‘how’ of the invention. This includes understanding:
    1. The mechanisms behind determining a user’s shopping preferences.
    2. The methodologies for identifying stores with ongoing sales.
    3. The intricacies of location-based messaging.

By interrogating these technical dimensions, the narrative can shift away from targeted advertising to spotlight the innovation’s technical prowess.

Deep Dive into Technicality

To reimagine a business methods patent application with a technical lens, consider the following questions:

  1. Data Processing & Analysis: How is the user data processed? Are there any transformative elements involved? Does the system employ machine learning techniques?
  2. Sales Data Acquisition: Does the system utilize web scraping? Is there an element of natural language processing involved? How are emails analyzed for sales information?
  3. Messaging Mechanism: How is location-based messaging achieved? How does the system discern store locations? What decision-making algorithms are in place for timely and relevant messaging?

Addressing these inquiries aids in capturing the essence of the invention’s technical novelty, presenting it in a light more favorable for patent allowance.

Conclusion

The patent application domain is rife with challenges, especially for business methods. However, with a tactful shift towards highlighting technical components, these hurdles can be effectively navigated. Neil Kardos’s expertise and willingness to share knowledge offer a beacon of hope for those navigating this intricate field.

Thank you for reading, and we invite you to explore more insights and strategies in the patent field on our Practical Patents blog series. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Paul Harrity and Elaine Spector Named 2023 Patent Stars in MIP’s IP Stars Rankings

Harrity & Harrity is pleased to announce that Paul Harrity & Elaine Spector were recently selected by Managing IP, the leading specialist guide to IP law firms and practitioners worldwide, as 2023 Patent Stars.

The annual “IP Stars” list recognizes leading lawyers and law firms for intellectual property work in more than 125 jurisdictions.

Paul is Harrity’s Managing Partner. He focuses on preparing and prosecuting patent applications. He began his career in 1991 as a patent agent at the United States Patent and Trade Office. Since leaving the USPTO, Paul has prepared hundreds of patent applications and thousands of Patent Office responses.

Elaine is a Partner at Harrity and has over 20 years of experience in intellectual property law. Her current practice consists primarily of prosecuting patent applications with a focus on electromechanical technologies. Prior to joining Harrity & Harrity, Elaine worked in private practice for over 15 years handling various intellectual property matters, including patent application drafting and prosecution, trademark prosecution and enforcement, as well as litigating complex patent cases in federal courts. Elaine’s extensive litigation experience provides her with a unique perspective in prosecuting patent applications.

 

Crafting Single-Party Infringement Claims: A Strategic Approach

Hello there, fellow patent enthusiasts! We’re back this week with Neil Kardos’ Practical Patent tips, as he explains how drafting claims capable of being infringed by a single party (as opposed to multi-party infringement) enhances the enforceability of your patent rights. Neil shares a pattern that he has found immensely useful in drafting such claims, particularly for process-based inventions. The pattern revolves around three key steps: Reception, Determination, and Transmission.

1. Identify the Inventive Device: “Where is this Invention Happening?”

When working with a process-based invention, it is essential to pinpoint the inventive device. This could be a server on the back end, a client device on the front end, or a router. Understanding the core hardware is the foundation for creating robust and clear claims.

2. Determine the Trigger: “What Triggers the Inventive Device to Perform the Invention?”

The inventive process often begins with a reception or “receive” step. Knowing what triggers the inventive device allows you to craft the initial steps of your claim more accurately.

3. The Novelty Lies in Determination: “What Does the Inventive Device Do With the Information?”

This stage often includes one or more “determine” steps and usually houses the novel aspects of the invention. The language here might vary, but focusing on what the inventive device does with the received information is pivotal.

4. Conclude with Transmission: “What’s the Result?”

Often, the inventive process concludes with a “transmit” step. Identifying what the inventive device does with the determination helps in framing the claim in a manner that aligns with single-party infringement.

Neil Kardos’ pattern of (1) Reception, (2) Determination, and (3) Transmission serves as an efficient framework for drafting patent applications for process-based inventions. While not universally applicable, it offers a cohesive approach to ensure claims are infringeable by a single device, and hence, a single party that controls that device.

Understanding the nature of the inventive device, the sequence of steps involved in the invention, and the novelty can streamline the claim-drafting process. This methodology not only simplifies the legal proceedings for clients but fosters innovation by providing a clear pathway to protect new inventions.

Thank you for reading, and we invite you to explore more insights and strategies in the patent field on our Practical Patents blog. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Elaine Spector: Thoughts on Mandatory Returns to Office

Elaine Spector shares her candid thoughts on law firms requiring an in-person return to office as we transition into a post-COVID environment below.

“I get so frustrated when I hear about another Biglaw firm requiring their lawyers to return to the office full-time with minimal remote work options. While various factors may drive these changes, they have the potential to affect lawyers, particularly those with families, disproportionately.

Remote work has proven to be a game-changer for many professionals, allowing them to effectively manage their careers and personal responsibilities. The legal field is no exception, as countless lawyers have thrived while juggling complex cases and family commitments from the comfort of their homes. However, a shift away from remote work in certain Biglaw firms could inadvertently create an uneven playing field, disadvantaging those who rely on remote work options to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Lawyers with families, in particular, could face challenges due to this shift. Many parents find remote work a lifeline, enabling them to be present for their families while delivering exceptional legal services. Eliminating or limiting remote work opportunities may unfairly bias these dedicated professionals. It doesn’t need to be this way.

When I went remote six years ago, my life completely changed. I didn’t have to waste time in my car commuting, and I could attend to my family and work more readily. I was so much less frazzled and present and happy. I became a top biller and a top rainmaker. Don’t you all want your lawyers to feel balanced and happy? I guarantee they will overperform if they are.

Are you feeling frustrated by the return to the office edicts? I’d love to hear your comments.”

Want more? Watch Elaine Spector’s Driving Diversity series HERE. Elaine shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in this weekly short-video series.

Elaine Spector Honored with the 2023 Stars of the Bar Award

In a remarkable acknowledgement of excellence, Elaine Spector, a partner at Harrity & Harrity, has been awarded the 2023 Stars of the Bar Award by the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia (WBA). This award celebrates women who have made significant contributions to the legal community and is emblematic of Elaine’s steadfast commitment to the principles that define her legal career and our firm’s mission.

About the Stars of the Bar Award

The Stars of the Bar Award is an annual recognition by the WBA Foundation, designed to honor exceptional women attorneys who have demonstrated leadership, community service, professional growth, and commitment to the WBA’s mission of maintaining the honor and integrity of the profession. This award adds to Elaine’s rich legacy of excellence in the legal community.

Dedication to Diversity

Elaine’s work in promoting diversity within the patent field echoes Harrity’s focus on increasing diversity and championing underrepresented groups in intellectual property law. Her alignment with the values recognized by the Stars of the Bar Award further emphasizes her dedication to this vital cause.

Innovation and Quality

Elaine has actively contributed to our firm’s endeavors in automation, quality, analytics, and innovation. Her role in building a progressive environment aligns with the innovative spirit rewarded by the Stars of the Bar Award and highlights Harrity’s leadership within the patent law industry.

Community Involvement

A firm believer in giving back, Elaine’s community involvement resonates with Harrity & Harrity’s values and the WBA’s focus on community service. Her generous efforts have fostered a culture of responsibility and compassion, reflecting the ideals celebrated by the Stars of the Bar Award.

Elaine Spector’s receipt of the 2023 Stars of the Bar Award by the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia is a notable acknowledgment of her professional excellence, innovation, commitment to diversity, and community service. This award aligns perfectly with Harrity & Harrity’s values, making it a proud moment for our firm. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Elaine and eagerly anticipate her continued achievements in patent law.

Want more? Watch Elaine Spector’s Driving Diversity series HERE. Elaine shares tips and sparks conversations to drive diversity in the legal field in this weekly short-video series.

Handling Different Types of Invention Disclosure Forms (IDFs): A Practical Guide with Neil Kardos

Greetings, fellow patent enthusiasts! We’re back this week with Neil Kardos as he shares invaluable insights into handling different types of IDFs in preparation for inventor interviews.

Understanding the “Good IDF”

According to Neil, IDFs commonly fall into three categories: the “good IDF,” the “sparse IDF,” and the “huge IDF.” In this particular discussion, he zeroes in on the “good IDF,” which many practitioners would consider the dream scenario.

With a “good IDF”, you find that the materials clearly elucidate the workings of the invention. You read through them, and you have a lucid grasp of the concept. There might be minor details that elude you, but for the most part, you understand it.

But here lies the pitfall.

The Trap of the “Good IDF”

If you’re operating in a fixed-fee world, it may be tempting to expedite the inventor interview. Neil narrates a familiar sentiment: “Thank you so much inventor. The materials you shared are fantastic, and I understand your invention. I just have two quick questions, and then we can both be on our way.”

This approach, Neil warns, is a grave mistake for two reasons:

  1. The Human Connection: You might perceive yourself to be in the patent business, but, as Neil underscores, you’re really in the people business. This interview might be the inventor’s only chance to thoroughly articulate their invention to someone. Rushing through the process might lead the inventor to think that you’re not giving their project the attention it deserves.
  2. Missing Out on Insights: Without delving into the invention, you may overlook misunderstandings or additional features the inventor wants to emphasize. Moreover, rushing the interview may rob you of the opportunity to brainstorm on the call, possibly missing key aspects that could enhance the patent’s value.

Conclusion: Embrace the Process

Neil’s parting wisdom is this: don’t succumb to the allure of the “good IDF” by thinking that you can bypass the inventor interview. You might save some time, but the loss in understanding and human connection will cost you in the long run.

His advice is not merely about patent law but transcends into the realm of human relations and communication. Thanks for watching, and we hope this guidance from Neil helps those venturing into the complex and nuanced world of IDFs. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Essential Tips for Conducting Inventor Interviews with Minimal Documentation

Greetings, fellow patent enthusiasts! We’re back this week with valuable insight from Neil Kardos as he unveils a strategic approach for acquiring comprehensive information about an invention when faced with limited initial documentation. In scenarios where only the title of the invention or a few descriptive sentences are available, this guide can be instrumental.

Understanding the Challenge

Sometimes, patent professionals receive scant details about an invention before an inventor interview. Reaching out to inventors for more information might be an option, but not always feasible. In such a scenario, Neil has perfected an approach that’s applicable to virtually any technology.

A Generic Outline of Questions

Years ago, Neil created a generic outline of questions, adaptable to different technological contexts. When dealing with a sparse disclosure document, this outline can be supplemented with specific inquiries about the invention.

High-Level Orientation

The outline begins with broad questions to set the context:

  1. What is the background and context for this invention?
  2. What is the problem being addressed?
  3. What are the advantages of this invention over alternatives?
  4. What are the novel elements of the invention?
  5. How does the invention align with business strategy?

Detail-Oriented Approach

After establishing the context, Neil delves into the intricacies. His inquiry typically focuses on two general questions:

  1. How does the invention function step by step? This question seeks to uncover the mechanisms, alternatives, and possibly the independent claims and flowcharts of the patent application.
  2. In what environment does the invention operate? This inquiry aims to identify crucial devices or components that elucidate how the invention functions.

Practical Recommendations

Drawing from his extensive experience, Neil recommends patent professionals to compile their list of questions or adapt his outline to individual needs. Being prepared with these questions ensures that even with minimal information, one can glean everything necessary about the invention during the inventor interview.

In conclusion, navigating an inventor interview with limited information need not be a daunting task. By following Neil’s structured approach, patent professionals can master the art of extracting vital information about an invention. His advice stands as a testament to effective preparation, innovation, and adaptability within the patent field, helping to ensure clarity and thoroughness in each patent application.

Thank you for reading! We hope these tips help you improve your patent drafting skills. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Efficiently Handling Overwhelming Amounts of Invention Disclosure Materials

Greetings, fellow patent enthusiasts! We’re back this week with valuable insight from Neil Kardos on dealing with a common challenge faced by patent practitioners: receiving an overwhelming amount of invention disclosure materials prior to a call with inventors. While most patent professionals might be familiar with handling situations where there is too little material, Neil sheds light on what to do when faced with an abundance of information that can potentially consume an entire day of review.

Navigating the Flood of Invention Disclosure Materials: When confronted with a plethora of materials, Neil advises that the first step is to skim through the documents to get an overall sense of the content. The main objective at this stage is to identify technical information and elements that appear new and innovative. Making a note of the slides or pages that contain interesting technical content is crucial to preparing efficiently for the inventor call.

Framing the Conversation: Once Neil has an idea about the potential new features, he supplements his regular outline of questions for inventor interviews with inquiries specifically related to those features. This tailored approach allows him to focus the conversation on the most relevant and critical aspects of the invention. During the inventor call, he also sets the tone by addressing the abundance of materials and enlists the inventors’ help in identifying content that is pertinent to the patent application, particularly focusing on the novel technical aspects.

Efficiently Capturing the Invention: By framing the conversation around the key features and focusing on what’s new and innovative, Neil ensures that the conversation is purposeful and streamlined. This approach enables him to efficiently capture and flesh out the details of the invention without being bogged down by unrelated or extraneous material.

Confirmation and Adaptation: During the call, if the inventor verifies Neil’s assumptions regarding the new features, he proceeds with his supplemented outline of questions to delve deeper into the invention’s specifics. Additionally, he makes sure to address the slides or pages that he earlier identified as important. However, if his initial assumptions were incorrect, Neil seamlessly transitions back to his original outline of questions to gain a comprehensive understanding of the invention.

In conclusion, handling an overwhelming amount of invention disclosure materials can be daunting, but using Neil’s practical approach provides valuable guidance for patent practitioners facing this challenge. By quickly skimming through the materials, focusing on the new and interesting technical aspects, and seeking the inventor’s input, one can efficiently navigate through the flood of information and conduct a productive and insightful inventor call. This not only saves valuable time and effort but also ensures that the patent application process is effective and aligned with the invention’s core features.

Thank you for reading! We hope these tips help you improve your patent drafting skills. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting!

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Boosting Patent Application Drafting Efficiency and Quality

Greetings, fellow patent enthusiasts! Today, we’re excited to share an invaluable tip from Neil Kardos on how to improve the efficiency and quality of your patent application drafting. We’ll delve into the benefits of this approach and explore how it can streamline the patent application process.

When it comes to patent drafting, timing is everything. One of the most significant time-saving strategies Neil employs is to draft claims and figures promptly after conducting an inventor interview. By capturing the essence of the invention while it’s fresh in his mind, he achieves remarkable results.

Here’s how he does it: After scheduling an inventor interview, Neil blocks off a few hours afterward to work on claims and figures. By setting aside a dedicated block of time immediately after the call, you can capitalize on the freshness of the invention in your mind, ensuring top-notch claims and figures. Ideally, he aims to draft the complete set of claims and figures right after the call. In certain cases where he’s deeply familiar with the technology, and the inventors are savvy, he may even prepare an independent claim before the call and get real-time feedback from the inventors—an incredibly beneficial practice.

In the real world, though, urgent tasks can sometimes intervene. Neil has a savvy solution for this too. At the very least, he outlines an independent claim and explores some dependent claim ideas before attending to other pressing matters. This keeps the momentum going and avoids the common pitfall of relearning the invention from scratch later on.

Neil’s method is a game-changer, providing a structured and streamlined approach to patent application drafting. With this technique, you’ll not only increase efficiency but also enhance the overall quality of your work.

Thank you for reading! We hope these tips help you improve your patent drafting skills. Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series. Until next time, happy patenting! ????????

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Improving Patent Application Readability and Avoiding Misinterpretation

Greetings, patent enthusiasts! In this latest blog post, Neil Kardos sharessome valuable tips for enhancing the readability of your patent applications and avoiding potential misinterpretations that could arise due to wordy writing.

As patent lawyers, we often find ourselves delving into complex technical details and intricate legal concepts, which can lead to a natural tendency to be wordy in our writing. However, it’s crucial to remember that great writing is often characterized by its conciseness and clarity. Therefore, we urge you to embrace brevity when drafting your patent applications.

One common issue Neil encountered while reviewing a patent application the other day was the excessive use of the phrase “in order to” instead of simply “to.” It might seem like a minor difference, but it can significantly impact the clarity of your patent application. In fact, Neil firmly believes that you can replace the phrase “in order to” with the word “to” in 100% of cases without losing any meaning.

Let’s take a look at an example to understand the significance of this change:

“The system may process multiple events… In order to save time.”

On the surface, this sentence may appear harmless, and most of us would interpret it as the system processing events to save time. However, if we reevaluate the phrasing, another interpretation becomes possible:

“The system may process multiple events in order… To save time.”

Here, the meaning slightly changes, leaving room for ambiguity. Are the events processed to save time? Or are they processed in a specific order that ultimately saves time? Such ambiguities can introduce uncertainties in your patent application and potentially lead to challenges during the examination process.

To uphold the clarity and precision of your patent application, it’s crucial to be succinct in your writing. As they say in the movie Ocean’s 11, “Don’t use seven words when four will do.” By trimming unnecessary phrases and being concise, you can convey your ideas more effectively and minimize the chances of misinterpretation.

In conclusion, it is strongly recommended to adopt a succinct writing style for your patent applications. Not only will this improve the readability for patent examiners and other stakeholders, but it will also reduce the risk of ambiguity and potential challenges during the examination process.

We hope these tips help you improve your patent drafting skills. Thank you for reading! Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series.

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Navigating the Pitfalls of “At Least One” in Patent Claims

Greetings, patent enthusiasts! In this latest blog post, Neil Kardos shares some valuable tips on how to avoid common mistakes in patent applications.

When it comes to drafting patent applications, precision in language is crucial. One common mistake is the misuse of the phrase “at least one of.” In patent applications, it is customary to include this phrase to indicate that certain data or elements can be present in different combinations. However, there is a significant distinction between using the word “and” versus “or” in this context.

Let’s consider an example: “Wherein the data includes at least one of a name, an address, or a phone number.” Notice that the word “or” emphasized. Unfortunately, some patent practitioners use the word “and” instead, which can be a mistake.

To illustrate why using “and” can lead to confusion, let’s use a simple analogy. Imagine someone saying, “I’m going to the grocery store, and I’m going to buy at least one of an apple, a banana, and a carrot.” Does this mean they intend to purchase at least one apple, at least one banana, and at least one carrot?

Most patent practitioners would not intend such an interpretation with this statement, but it’s easy to see how this wording could be misinterpreted. In contrast, if the statement were, “I’m going to the grocery store, and I’m going to buy at least one of an apple, a banana, or a carrot,” it would be clearer.

In this revised version, the speaker could buy only an apple, and the statement would still hold true regardless of how you interpret it. Of course, in real-life conversations, nobody talks like this. So, perhaps a simpler approach would be to drop the “at least one of” altogether and say, “I’m going to the grocery store, and I’m going to buy an apple, a banana, or a carrot.”

However, the desire to be explicit about the acceptability of combinations of an apple, a banana, and/or a carrot is understandable. This is where the phrase “at least one of” comes into play. Some practitioners may also include “or a combination thereof” at the end of the list. There are various ways to convey your point clearly, but our recommendation is to avoid saying “at least one of a, b, and c.”

In conclusion, using the word “and” instead of “or” in patent applications when expressing options can lead to confusion and misinterpretation. To avoid this common mistake, it’s essential to choose your words carefully and consider the implications of your language choices. Precision and clarity are key when it comes to drafting successful patent applications.

We hope these tips help you improve your patent drafting skills. Thank you for reading! Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series.

Note: This blog post is based on the opinions and observations of the author and should not be considered legal advice. Consult a qualified patent attorney for specific guidance on patent application drafting.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

Eli Mazour on The Art of SEP Claim Drafting: SEP Couch Podcast

In a recent episode of the SEP Couch Podcast, Eli Mazour, Partner at Harrity and head of our Prosecution Team, shared his insights on the complex world of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs). The conversation revolved around the intricacies of patent drafting, the unique nature of SEPs, and the challenges faced by innovators in the current patent landscape.

In the episode, Eli emphasized the importance of understanding the complexity of SEPs. He explained that SEPs are not just about the technology they cover, but also about how they map to the standards. This mapping is a complex process that critics often overlook.

The conversation also touched on the increasing volume of SEPs due to the complexity and size of modern technologies like 5G. Eli noted that there’s more SEP activity because there are more inventions happening. He also highlighted the trend of implementers trying to obtain more SEPs, with companies like Apple and Google building up 5G teams.

Also discussed are the threats posed by third parties challenging patents, a practice made possible by the American Invents Act. He expressed concern about the impact on independent inventors, as it makes it harder to enforce patents. He also questioned the value of these third party challenges, suggesting that it increases transaction costs and diverts resources from innovation.

The podcast also delved into the proposed European Commission regulation to set up a register for SEPs. Eli expressed skepticism about the feasibility and effectiveness of such a register, given the complexity of determining essentiality and the potential for data manipulation.

In his advice to in-house counsel and outside counsel, Eli stressed the importance of not getting stuck in “zombie mode” and continuing to obtain patents in the same way as in the past. Instead, he urged them to think about the best way to build a patent portfolio with valuable patents in a cost-effective manner, in line with where technology and patent law are heading.

The podcast provides a deep dive into the world of SEPs, highlighting the complexities and challenges involved. It underscored the need for a nuanced understanding of SEPs and a strategic approach to patent portfolio building in the face of evolving technology and legal landscapes.

Listen to Eli’s full episode on the SEP Couch Podcast with Tim Pohlmann below for a deeper understanding of SEPs and the evolving patent landscape:

Check out the SEP Couch Podcast HERE and subscribe on your favorite podcasting app!

 

Vault ‘Quality Of Life’ Rankings: Harrity Named Best Midsize Law Firm To Work For 2024

Harrity & Harrity has been named the Best Midsize Law Firm to Work for in the Vault’s 2024 rankings, among additional recognitions.

With an overall score of 9.594/10, Harrity & Harrity maintained the top spot in Vault’s Annual Associate Survey for 2024, making it the best midsize law firm to work for in the 2024, 2023, and 2021 rankings. The firm also nearly swept the rankings in individual Quality of Life markers, earning first or second place in 12 of the 15 categories.

The detailed rankings are as follows:

Overall Ranking: #1
Associate/Partner Relations: #1
Diversity: #1
Firm Culture: #1
Informal Training, Mentoring, & Sponsorship: #1
Selectivity: #1
Technology & Innovation: #1
Wellness: #1
Formal Training: #2
Hours: #2
Quality of Work: #2
Satisfaction: #2
Transparency: #2
Compensation: #4
Career Outlook: #7
Pro Bono: #17

Associates at firms with 200 attorneys or fewer were asked to rank factors most relevant to their overall quality of life, including overall satisfaction, firm culture, hours, compensation, quality of work, informal and formal training, mentorship, sponsorship, business outlook, career outlook, associate/partner relations, leadership transparency, and more.

Congratulations to everyone at Harrity & Harrity for our impressive performance in the rankings!

See the full Vault Best Midsize Firms to Work For Rankings HERE.

To learn more about working for Harrity, click HERE.

Harrity & Harrity LLP Achieves High Accolades in IAM Patent 1000 Rankings

In a profession where intellectual prowess and precision matter the most, being recognized by a prestigious global ranking is an achievement worth celebrating. We are proud to announce that Harrity & Harrity, LLP, has made the IAM1000 ranking. This is a significant achievement that demonstrates the firm’s leadership, excellent service, and depth of expertise in the patent law arena.

According to IAM, the world-renowned patent intelligence source, Harrity & Harrity, LLP is not just a part of the list but is highly recommended for its consistent provision of superior services. This ranking further cements Harrity’ s status as a leading provider of patent services, giving clients more confidence in our capabilities.

Harrity’ s recognition extends beyond the entity itself to the talented individuals that form its pillars. Five partners from Harrity have also been recognized in the individual rankings by IAM Patent 1000. Paul Harrity, Paul Gurzo, Elaine Spector, John Harrity, and Neil Kardos have all been included as recommended individuals in the 2023 rankings.

  • Paul Harrity – Known for his meticulous attention to detail, Paul is a force to reckon with in patent law. With deep industry knowledge and experience, he is admired by clients and peers alike. His recommendation underscores his considerable contributions to the intellectual property law sector.
  • Paul Gurzo – As one of the brilliant minds at Harrity & Harrity, LLP, Paul Gurzo has a proven track record in successfully guiding clients through the complexities of patent law. His recognition as a recommended individual is a nod to his diligence, expertise, and client-focused approach.
  • Elaine Spector – Elaine’s exceptional talents, skills, and dedication to her craft make her stand out. Her understanding of the nuances of patent law, coupled with her diversity centered initiatives, has rightly earned her a place in the IAM Patent 1000 ranking.
  • John Harrity – John’s profound understanding of patent law, combined with a strategic mindset and dedication, have paved the way for his inclusion in this prestigious list. His steadfast commitment to protecting clients’ intellectual property rights reflects his outstanding abilities as a patent lawyer.
  • Neil Kardos – Neil’s proficiency in the field of patent law is second to none. His ability to deliver high-quality services, coupled with his commitment to client satisfaction, have earned him his recommendation in the IAM Patent 1000 rankings.

This recognition from IAM Patent 1000 is a testament to Harrity’ s commitment to providing the highest level of service to its clients. It speaks volumes about the individual expertise of the team members and the collective capabilities of the firm. These are well-earned accolades and serve as proof that the firm is a trailblazer in the world of patent law.

At a time when innovation is crucial, and the protection of intellectual property is more important than ever, the services of proven experts like those here at Harrity are indispensable. The IAM Patent 1000 rankings provide an assurance that clients are entrusting their intellectual property matters to a firm and individuals who are at the top of their game.

The Harrity team continues to strive for excellence, anchored by our dedication to the craft, in-depth knowledge, and unparalleled customer service.

See the full list by IAM1000 HERE.

To learn more about our patent services, click HERE.

Tips for Improving Readability of Patent Claims

Greetings, patent enthusiasts! In this latest blog post, Neil Kardos shares some valuable tips on how to enhance the readability of your patent claims.

As we all know, patent claims can be challenging to comprehend due to the presence of legal and technical terminology. Neil sheds some light on one particular aspect of claim language: antecedent basis and how it affects the readability of your claims.

Antecedent Basis and Awkward Wording: Antecedent basis refers to using the word “the” to refer back to a word or phrase previously introduced in the claims. This practice often leads to peculiar phrasing, making the claims less accessible to readers. To illustrate this point, let’s consider an example. If the phrase “at least one widget” is used, referring back to it would require saying “the at least one widget,” resulting in awkward language.

Simplifying the Language: A simple solution to improve readability by replacing “at least one” with the phrase “one or more.” By using “one or more,” you can refer back to the widgets as “the one or more widgets.” This change brings the language closer to standard usage, eliminating the unusual phrasing of “the at least one widget.” In some cases, an even better alternative is to use the indefinite article “a” or “an.” For instance, instead of “the system includes one or more widgets,” you can state “the system includes a widget” and then refer back to it as “the widget.” In terms of claim interpretation, saying “the system includes a widget” is equivalent to saying “the system includes one or more widgets.”

Avoiding “One of a”: Try avoiding the phrase “one of a,” as it leads to cumbersome wording when referring back to it. For instance, using “one of a plurality of widgets” would result in “the one of the plurality of widgets.” A more concise alternative by rephrasing it as “a widget, of a plurality of widgets.” This way, you can easily refer back to it as “the widget.”

Enhancing Clarity: In general, it is crucial to be vigilant for instances where phrases create awkward wording upon reference. By identifying these situations, you can find alternative ways to make the language more fluid and understandable. The goal is to improve the readability of your patent claims for a wider audience, including examiners, potential licensees, and competitors.

In conclusion: Neil’s tips provide valuable insights into enhancing the readability of patent claims. By simplifying language and avoiding awkward phrasing caused by antecedent basis, you can make your claims more accessible to readers. Clear and concise claims are essential for effective communication and successful patent prosecution.

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to come back for more tips in the next installment of the Practical Patents Series.

Want more tips? Check out other Practical Patents videos with Neil Kardos here!

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