Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I was right.

Way back on April 19th of this year, I wrote about the potential for patent reform occuring this year, and stating my case for why I was against it (http://www.lld-law.com/2007/04/will-patent-reform-occur-this-year.html#links). Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran a commentary article on the Patent Reform Act of 2007. Although I missed this article, I was lucky enough to see the responses the article generated in the letters to the editor section that was published in today's (8/14/07) Journal.

I'm not sure if it was my blog article which paved the way for these reponses or not (I'd like to think it was), but thier sentiments echoed much of what I wrote about in my original article 4 months ago. For instance, David P. Vandagriff, the VP of IP for Helius, Inc. (www.helius.com), an IP broadcasting company, noted how interesting it was that the medical industry, universities, and most venture capitalists are all opposed to the act, which was somthing I mentioned four months ago. Mr. Vadagriff goes on to echo what I stated in April - saying "this reform bill is the brainchild of a small group of very large computer technology companies including Microsoft, Intel, and Oracle. It is not coincidental that each of these companies has been a defendant in an antitrust suit. They rely upon market power to maintain their dominant positions and are serial patent infingers."

I don't mention this article simply to show my view is commonly held. I'm writing this blog article becuase this Act is not going away unless you, the individual inventor, the small company with great IP, or just a member of the the general public who doens't want big business to win dirty yet again, contact your representative or senator and tell him or her why you DON'T want this bill to be passed. If we don't get this bill killed, the US patent system will essentially be "run" by the biggest technology companies on the planet.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Who's the bad guy here?

Another day, another post. I'm obvously trying to quickly break us out of the blogging slump we were in...

So, in today's Wall Street Journal, an article states that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is suing the Red Cross for trademark infringement (WSJ Article Link). Apparently, J&J owns the trademark of a greek red cross in conncection with health care services. J&J had licensed the cross mark to the Red Cross & the Red Cross apparently licensed the mark to other companies, making a profit on their own licenses.

Although I'm tempted to jump on the side of J&J, I won't. J&J's argument is that trademark holders have a right to enforce their marks, and the Red Cross knew the cross mark was not their mark, yet they licnesed the mark out to others. However, the Red Cross may counter with an argument that a trademark holder who fails to enforce their mark may allow dilution of the mark or the mark may become "generic", and and the traademark holder may lose the right to enforce the mark. I think something like that is what's happened to J&J here. I don't know about you, but I've always associated the red cross mark with the Red Cross or healthcare services in general and not J&J. It will be interesting to see what the courts decide, but my guess is J&J loses.

The point? Enforce your marks early and often. That is all.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Is InventSAI breaking the law?

The post is wholly one attorney's opinion and in no way states the opinion of the firm, or attempts to establish any facts.

Today I learned that an Invention Promotion Company, InventSAI, may not be fulfilling their required duty, by law, of disclosing the profitability of companies using their services. In fact, there appears to be a question as to whether The InventSAI Network, LLC is violating not only the the letter but also the spirit of the Amercian Inventors Protection Act of 1999 (the "Act").

Under the Act, whose full text can be seen at http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/speeches/s1948gb1.pdf, an invention promoter or an invention promotion firm must disclose specific information regarding their past business practices. These mandatory disclosures are required by law. Specifically, invention promotion companies are required to provide "the total number of customers known by the invention promoter to have received a net financial profit as a direct result of the invention promotion services provided by such invention promoter."

InventSAI states "An exact number of inventors commercializing their inventions can only be estimated because InventSAI clients are not obligated to disclose financial data. Nevertheless, based upon client feedback, of the 815 total InventSAI clients contracting for commercialization services, at least 152 have reported commercial success with hundreds of cases still active." Thier online post can be seen here: http://www.inventsai.com/AIPA.html

The law requires InventSAI to disclose "the total number of customers known... to have received a net financial profit.". It appears InventSAI is playing the ostrich game - what I don't "know", I don't have to disclose. However, I read the law differently. The law requires InventSAI to disclose "known" profitably customers. InventSAI by its own admission does not know of any net profitable customer since its customers "financial data" is not disclosed. Therefore, under my estimation, InventSAI is required, by law, to state it knows of zero profitable companies that have used its services.

Moreoever, stating that "at least 152 [customers] have reported commecial success" is misleading and potentially dishonest. If InventSAI does not know their customer's financial data, how can they know if they're commercially successful? I'd like to know what InventSAI's definition of commercial success is. Moreover, by simply providing "commercial succes" data as opposed to "net financial profit" data, InventSAI seems to simply be providing data they want to provide, instead of the data they are REQUIRED to provide, by law.

WHAT ARE THEY HIDING? I welcome a phone call from InventSAI to explain thier position and why they feel they can get around this law in this manner.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

DAVISON ROCKS!!!

OK, for thos of you who don't know me by now should realize that I'm sarcastic. Hence, the title of this blog article.

Addtionally, it would be remiss of me if I failed to say sorry. I'm sorry that we've been absent from posting any recent blogs - I suppose the summer blog malaise started to seep as the temperature outisde started to push 100 degrees on a daily basis. So, although this new blog article is waaaaayyyyy overdue, in the hopes of kicking off a new blogging season with the type of article we wish we did not have to post, but feel it is our job to so do...

Once again, an invention promotion company has reared its ugly head to show us just how inept they actually are. As our blog articles on InventHelp and Advent Product Development disclosed their inability to create profit for their clients, Davison's own website (http://www.davison54.com/disclosures/disclosure.php) states the same thing. Here's what Davison tells us about themselves:

(1) 41,128 consumers signed licensing agreements and purchased research services from Davison in the last 5 years.
(2) 11,598 consumers purchsed product design services from Davison.
(3) Of these, "THE TOTAL OF CONSUMERS IN THE LAST 5 YEARS WHO MADE MORE MONEY IN ROYALTIES THAN THEY PAID, IN TOTAL, UNDER ANY AND ALL AGREEMENTS TO DAVISON, IS EIGHT(8)."

So, you have about a .0002% chance at making money with Davison if you purchase their research services. That means, that about 2 out of every 10,000 people who purchase these services with Davison make more money on their product than they spend with Davison. And if you spend the big bucks with Davison and purchase product design services your chances at makign money with them go up to a whopping .0007%. Or, about 7 out of every 10,000 people who contract Davison to help design their product make more money off of their product than they spent with Davison. So, if you're thinking of using Davison, my suggestion would be for you to play the lottery instead. They appear to have better odds: http://www.coloradolottery.com/games/scratch/featured.cfm?FeaturedGameID=101 (please note sarcasm statement at beginning of post).

Oh, and one more thing. Davison also states "THE PERCENTAGE OF DAVISON'S INCOME THAT CAME FROM ROYALTIES PAID ON LICENSES OF CONSUMERS' PRODUCTS IS .001%." This means that for every $1 Davison makes from licensing a product submitted to it, Davison is making $1000 off of the people submitting the products.

Numbers don't lie - and these are Davison's own numbers! As we suggst to our clients, do not use these companies - you are more likely to succeed if you are willing to put in the effort yourself and use reputable marketing and manufacturing organizations, while protecting yourself legally along the way. Contact Leyendecker and Lemire (www.coloradoiplaw.com) and we can steer you in the right direction.

Numbers are current as of June 30, 2007.

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