California Patents (Intellectual Property) Questions & Answers

Q: Hello, I don't see Digirad patent # 5,677,539, date of patent Oct. 14, 1997

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Feb 15, 2019
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Try: https://patents.justia.com/patent/5677539

Q: Can you patent an idea?

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Feb 13, 2019
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
I think you need to look at actual patents that have been issued for apps. The Supreme Court does not like mere efforts to organize human behavior with a marketplace or other app to modify human behavior. You need to show that what you did would impress an engineer that makes apps.

http://bit.ly/Patent_Searching will get you started.

You need to patent specific ways of making equipment do something of value. General concepts of what you may want to accomplish are generally...

Q: Hello, do product patents cover all similar designs or just the design of the patented item?

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Jan 23, 2019
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
The focus needs to be on the patent claims. Not the title of the patent. Not the drawings. Not the abstract. Not the details in the specification. You cannot make something that has all the nouns, verbs, and other requirements that exist in an independent claim in a patent. Some claims are dependent claims that reference another claim and add another limitation. To infringe a dependent claim you have to infringe an independent claim and have the details of the dependent claim too....

Q: I am looking for a patent attorney to research and file a design patent.

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Jan 23, 2019
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
First, you are lucky as there are far fewer patent attorneys than attorneys as a patent attorney needs two different things, a bar license from a state and a patent registration from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. But, you can pick a patent attorney from anywhere in the country. You may want to ask your trusted general business attorney for a recommendation. Most of my new clients come from a referral from their attorney.

Another way to attack this is to look at some...

Q: how to see if a design is patent able?

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Jan 16, 2019
Griffin Klema's answer
Hire an attorney to conduct a prior art search and provide an opinion about whether your design is patentably distinct over the prior art. I recommend you budget about $2,000 for this work. Good luck!

Q: How can I determine if a patent i'm purchasing has been involved in a lawsuit since I can't search Justia by patent #?

2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Dec 29, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Buying a patent, or a portfolio of patents, is in many ways similar to buying a business, or a car, or a house. Before you agree to purchase the patent, you really need to have someone look at it. Someone who understands patent law, understands patent prosecution, patent litigation, etc. This process is called "due diligence."

Unless you are a patent lawyer, you really should not be doing due diligence yourself. At the end of the due diligence analysis, the patent attorney will...

Q: Are patents able to be assigned to other people in a will?

2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) and Estate Planning for California on
Answered on Dec 26, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Yes. A patent is a personal property that one can assign in a will just like an art collection, a car, or a stock portfolio.

How often does a patent pass through will in practice, is a different question. Typically patents are owned by companies, and not by the inventors themselves. Further, for most people who die at an advanced age, the days of inventing is in their distant past, so I would think that most patents expire before their inventors do.

Q: I have an aluminum foil idea but is it already patented? Or am I allowed to find a manufacturer with my new addition..

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Nov 29, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
It sounds like you need to do some searching to see if your new idea is already the subject of an issued patent or a pending application that has been published but not yet allowed. If I am right, then you may want to look at my slide set on patent searching. http://bit.ly/Patent_Searching

You may want to follow up with having a professional search done but it is a good idea to do some initial searching for low hanging fruit so you do not pay for a search when it would be easy to find...

Q: Am I allowed to patent an ingredient in a recipe my bakery business manufactured?

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Nov 19, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
The ingredient itself, as opposed to the recipe? Yes, you should be able to, provided, of course, that it is new. If you, for example, came up with a new type of a shortening, or new crystalline form of some sugar, etc. then it should be patentable.

You are facing two hurdles, though. You have to make sure that the ingredient is really new.

If, for example, it is some composition that nobody used in cooking before, but it was already known, then you won't be able to get a...

Q: My company has a few IP patents that are important to me as its CEO. If we merge with another company, how will that

1 Answer | Asked in Mergers & Acquisitions and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Nov 17, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Typically, if there is a merger, the patents will belong to the new company.

But it does not have to be that way. Issued patents are treated just like any other business asset. Your company can sell the patents along with all the other business assets such as inventory, production facilities, tooling, etc., or it can spin them off into another entity.

The question that needs to be answered is: how valuable are the patents to you, vs. how valuable are they to the buyer? If...

Q: US Patent number 7,855,232, maintenance fee is due. This application is a continuation application. Pay will cover all?

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Nov 4, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
There are often families of patents. They may have an initial provisional application or non-provisional application and then a set of branches with divisional applications, continuation in part (CIP) applications, and continuation applications.

Some of these may issue as patents. There may be several patents that issue in a family. Each patent will need periodic payments of maintenance fees by year 4, 8 and 12 to stay in force. Paying a maintenance fee for one patent in a family...

Q: What does California's "ARTICLE 3.5. Inventions Made by an Employee" protect?

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Oct 23, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Well, you are going to have to talk to a California employment attorney to get the best answer. I am not a California attorney, nor an employment attorney, but here are a few points.

(1) You are correct that the trademarks, logos, brand names, sales copies, and like, are likely not considered "inventions". However, the California Law does not limit inventions only to _patentable_ inventions, so I would expect California to interpret the word "invention" a bit more broadly than the US...

Q: Hi, is there a patent for stainless steel straws? I would like to sell on Amazon in different color variation.

2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Oct 23, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
There likely is not a patent on stainless steel straws. The Gauchos of Patagonia have been using steel straws for generations. There may be a patent on some small variation of it, but you should be able to make and sell stainless steel straws.

But to make sure, buy a package of them, and examine the straws. There should be some sort of patent mark on the straw. If there is not, the patent marking may be on the packaging. Finally, go look for patent information on the manufacturer's...

Q: I'm a hobbyist and have an idea to create something

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Oct 12, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
Generally yes. For example, if you created an accessory that could be used with a patented mountain bike, you could sell that accessory even though it is used with a patented product.

What you cannot do is make a mountain bike from scratch that has your accessory as you do not have rights to the underlying patents on the mountain bike. But if you are buying the underlying product (the mountain bike in this example) then you can modify the product.

I hope this helps....

Q: We are seeking an attorney for infringement on our Patent.

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Oct 8, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Sorry, but you don't have a patent. That patent publication has been abandoned over 4 years ago. You may want to reach out to the patent attorney who prosecuted it to see if there is anything that could be done to revive it.

The best that you could hope for is to see if the infringer infringed on your patent US 7,886,464 (which issued on the parent patent application), and file a lawsuit for infringing that patent.

Also, you or your patent lawyer should have paid the...

Q: Does this patent prevent me from designing a reversible razor that changes the razor gap, not the blade angle?

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Sep 20, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
Sorry, the question as passed on to attorneys does not include the patent number. The answer to the question is based on what is in the issued claims. Not the title, not the drawings, not the specification, not the initial set of requested claims but only what is in the issued claims.

I hope this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

Q: What types of products can be patented?

3 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Sep 14, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
A process, a machine, an article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. 35 USC 101

Almost any new and non-obvious invention can be patented. You can't patent things like new mathematical formulas, or something that is just purely a mental process, or products of nature.

Q: Hi, I'm trying to figure out if Open Table patents apply internationally, or only in the United States. Thank you

1 Answer | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Sep 11, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
A patent is good only in the jurisdiction that granted that patent. So US patent is good only in the US.

Now, it is possible that Open Table filed the same patent in other jurisdictions. Usually, these patents have the same inventor, and the same priority. You may search for them at https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/search.jsf

If you need help, please let me know.

Good luck!

Q: Snapchat's patent. What is legal?

2 Answers | Asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Sep 10, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
To answer this correctly, a patent attorney would need to read not just the claims but also the complete specification and likely at least a portion of the documents exchanged back and forth with the patent examiner in response to initial rejections of the claim.

This sort of very detailed question is not a great fit for off-the-cuff answers from patent attorneys providing general information to folks using a web site.

If this is critical to your current or potential plans...

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