Wagenknecht creates and implements patent strategies consistent with business goals. A comprehensive patent strategy will include considering the different types of patents, whether US or foreign patents should be pursued, and how they can fit together to provide the right level of protection to accomplish the business objectives. Business considerations may include:
Is the company seeking investment?
Is the technology patentable?
Where is the market?
Are there prototypes?
Has there been public disclosure?
What is the product life cycle?
US Utility Patent Application
Utility patents are what most people think of when they are imaging a patent. Utility patents can be directed to various machines, processes, and compositions of matter. The term is typically 20 years from filing, subject to payment of periodic fees to maintain the patent.
Wagenknecht seeks to achieve the broadest patent protection possible for an invention while providing strong stand alone value against anyone attempting to make improvements to the original invention.
US Provisional Patent Application
US provisional patent applications may be appropriate when the basis of the invention has been developed but additional time is needed to prepare a formal patent application or conduct further testing. A provisional patent application functions as a priority document, which requires conversion within one year. After 1 year, the provisional patent application expires.
Wagenknecht counsels clients on creative ways to update provisional patent applications as further data is generated.
International Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Patent Application
Since patents are national rights, obtaining patent protection in foreign countries requires filing patent applications in each country where rights are sought. Wagenknecht regularly files patent applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) to centralize the foreign patent application filing process. PCT Patent Applications do not grant as international patents themselves but provide a centralized application that can be nationalized in member countries (called national phase) to obtain patents in more than 180 countries worldwide. In addition, the PCT Patent Application receives a preliminary examination report and receives a written opinion as to the patentability of the invention prior to national phase, which can be used to assess the likelihood of receiving a granted patent prior to investing in foreign patent protection.
US Design Patent
US Design Patents are granted for new and original ornamental designs embodied in/or applied to articles of manufacture. In other words, a US Design Patent protects the look of an invention. US Design Patents have a term of 15 years from issuance. With the emergence of online retailers and access to Chinese manufacturing resources, even simple ornamental designs are now quickly copied and imported into the US for sale through the Internet. Design patent protection can help keep these copycats offline through take-down policies adopted from retailers such as Amazon and Ebay.
International Design Patents & Registrations
Rights associated with US design patents can be extended to many foreign countries. Europe has a registered design offering and China permits design patents. Furthermore, the US is now a member to the Hague Agreement, which is an international registration system for registering up to 100 industrial designs in designated member countries by filing a single international application. Therefore, the Hague Agreement may provide a cost effective approach to registering designs from US design patents.
US Plant Patent
US Plant Patents are available for new and distinct asexually reproduced plants including mutants, hybrids and seedlings, other than tuber propagated plants or a plant found in an uncultivated state. The term of a US Plant Patent is twenty (20) years from the filing date.