Welcome to the Cashman Law Firm, P.L.L.C. blog covering intellectual property topics such as patent law and patent litigation. We are located at 5142 Darnell St., Houston, TX 77096. Our phone number is 713-364-3476.

While scrolling down to view the law content, articles, opinions, and blog postings, please feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have.

Cashman Law Firm, PLLC, a Houston, TX law firm helps clients protect their inventions by filing for a patent, enforce their inventions when companies try to steal or infringe the patents [through licensing, negotiations, sale, or if necessary, a patent litigation suit], and protects the inventor and his company by protecting the inventor's assets, property, or home against foreclosure should it become in the inventor's interest to close up shop and file bankruptcy.

If you have any questions about the articles in this blog, feel free to
e-mail me at rzcashman@cashmanlawfirm.com.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Ethics question regarding using a domain name other than my law practice name.

I had a few questions regarding my http://www.patentprophet.com web site regarding the New York ethics rules as to whether you can use a name other than your law firm name as your domain name, and whether you are able to advertise using the domain name in addition to your law firm name. The reason I was asking was because the name "Patent Prophet" is a trade name of sorts, and I was reading the ethics rules which discussed the prohibitions of using trade names, and thus I was wondering whether the prohibition applied also to domain names. I found the answer below (which I believe is current), and I am pasting it here so that any of you who also have this question can easily find the answer.

In short, the answer I found was that YES, you can use a name other than your law firm name as long as the name is not misleading or doesn't hold you out as being an expert in something you are not an expert in, and as long as you do not use the domain name in lieu of your law firm name when referring to your law practice.

In my case, I registered http://www.patentprophet.com to provide non-legal services to inventors. I believe that the service I am setting up can be very valuable to companies with regard to streamlining their research and development efforts, and the company and trade name will be Patent Prophet. However, my law practice, Cashman IP Law will provide services for Patent Prophet, and is currently featured on the Patent Prophet web site for contingency fee patent litigation services. Once I have completed the preparations to launch Patent Prophet as a non-legal business entity of its own, I plan to either move the Cashman IP law pages off the domain and possibly purchase its own domain, or simply move the pages to another location on the Patent Prophet web site.

Pasted below is the ethics opinion I am referring to:

Source: http://www.abcny.org/Publications/reports/show_html.php?rid=123



TOPIC: Lawyers’ and law firms’ selection and advertising of internet domain names.

DIGEST: A lawyer or law firm may use a domain name that does not include or embody the firm’s name or that of any individual lawyer, under certain conditions: the web site bearing the domain name must clearly and conspicuously identify the actual law firm name; the domain name must not be false, deceptive or misleading; the name must not imply any special expertise or competence, or suggest a particular result; and, it must not be used in advertising as a substitute identifier of the firm.
CODE: DR 2-102(B); DR 2-101

QUESTIONS: In choosing a domain name, is a lawyer obligated to follow the rules applicable to the selection of law firm names, thus requiring the domain name to comprise some variation of the law firm’s name? If a domain name may under certain circumstances not include the law firm name, may the law firm ethically advertise its services by reference to its domain name rather than its firm name?

OPINION: The Committee has received an inquiry regarding the selection of Internet domain names for lawyers and law firms, and the corresponding use of such domain names in advertising the services offered by such lawyers and firms. This inquiry raises two questions of general significance to the bar: First, in choosing a domain name, is a lawyer obligated to follow the rules applicable to the selection of law firm names, thus requiring the domain name to comprise some variation of the law firm’s name? Second, if a domain name may under certain circumstances not include the law firm name, may the law firm ethically advertise its services by reference to its domain name rather than its firm name?

The Committee addresses these areas in the following factual context: A law firm primarily engages in the representation of personal injury plaintiffs. The law firm’s name consists of the names of three of its partners and complies with the requirements of DR 2-102(B) relating to law firm names. However, in considering its advertising and marketing activities, the firm believes that it can achieve better results if it is able to establish a web site using as its domain name a generic name or phrase that contains the word ‘attorney’ or ‘lawyer.’ (Examples of such an identifier might include phrases such as ‘Dial-a-lawyer’ or ‘New York Lawyer’). The firm has, accordingly, set up a web site that does not include its lawyers’ names as part of the domain name, but instead includes the generic name or phrase followed by ‘.com.’ The firm also wishes to advertise on television and radio using the domain name as its primary identifier and to include client testimonials alluding to the domain name rather than the name of the firm or any of its lawyers.

1. Law Firm or Attorney Domain Names
New York forbids a law firm or legal clinic from practicing under a trade name or other name that does not convey the identity of one or more of the lawyers practicing. DR 2-102(B) states in pertinent part:

‘A lawyer in private practice shall not practice under a trade name, a name that is misleading as to the identity of the lawyer or lawyers practicing under such name, or a firm name containing names other than those of one of more of the lawyers in the firm ...’ 1

Similarly, EC 2-11 states that "The name under which a lawyer practices may be a factor in the [lawyer] selection process. The use of a trade name or an assumed name could mislead non-lawyers concerning the identity, responsibility, and status of those practicing thereunder.’

Numerous opinions from New York have prohibited a law firm from identifying itself by a trade name because of the likelihood of confusion as to the identity and composition of the firm. See N.Y. City 95-8 (prohibiting trade name based on firm’s location; ‘the Code on its face prohibits all forms of trade names, and opinions construing the Code have applied that prohibition to locational trade names as well as other types of trade names.’); N.Y. City 82-44 (improper to engage in a law practice under the name "The 777 Lawyers Group"); N.Y. State Bar Op. 709 (operating proposed law practice under trade name ‘The Trademark Store’ is impermissible); In re Shephard, 459 N.Y.S.2d 632, 633 (3rd Dep’t1983) (finding ‘The Peoples Law Firm’ was a prohibited trade name); In re Shapiro, 455 N.Y.S. 2d 604, 605 (1st Dep’t 1982) (finding ‘Peoples Legal Clinic, Inc.’ was a prohibited trade name).

The threshold issue presented here is whether a law firm otherwise compliant with the rules of DR 2-102(B) can establish a domain name that does not include the names of one or more lawyers, but instead uses a ‘trade name’ or other terminology. There are no reported New York ethics opinions on this subject.

Two states, Arizona and Ohio, have issued opinions stating that domain names are not subject to the same regulation or scrutiny as a firm name and are permissible unless they are false or misleading. See Ohio 99-4; Arizona 97-04. In the Ohio opinion, the ethics panel concluded that domain names were governed by the general rules for lawyer advertising and, while it was preferable to use the firm name as a domain name, it is ‘not improper for an attorney to use letters, words or numbers provided that the domain name is not a false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, self-laudatory or unfair statement.’ Nor can the domain name be permitted to ‘imply special competence or experience.’ The Arizona State Bar opinion agreed that domain names were subject to the general advertising rules against false or misleading communications, and concluded that: (1) a law firm’s use of ‘countybar.com’ was misleading because it falsely implied an affiliation with the county bar association; and (2) the designation ‘arizonalawyer.org’ was misleading because the top level domain name ‘.org’ falsely indicated that the firm was a non-profit organization.

The Committee notes that many New York lawyers and law firms have established domain names that closely track the firm name. We also note the risk that permitting domain names that do not include any reference to the name under which the firm practices might in some cases cause some initial confusion among visitors to a web site.

However, the Committee believes that the mere designation of a domain name does not mean that the firm or lawyer is ‘practicing’ law under that name; accordingly, DR 2-102(B)’s strictures on law firm names should not apply and, instead, the selection of a domain name is more appropriately governed by the ethical rules and considerations affecting legal advertising and publicity. See DR 2-101. In so concluding, we specifically do not address the First Amendment and other legal issues that may affect attorney advertising, solicitation of business and professional designations because these issues are beyond the scope of this Committee’s jurisdiction.

As a matter of legal ethics, we conclude that a lawyer or firm may employ a domain name that does not include the names of lawyers under the following conditions:

(1) The web site clearly and conspicuously includes the actual name of the law firm and the law firm in no way attempts to engage in the practice of law using the domain name. At a minimum, the web site must clearly present information including the law firm’s name, office address and the telephone number of the attorney or law firm (DR 2-101(K));

(2) The domain name complies with DR 2-101(A), which forbids ‘any public communication or communication to a prospective client containing statements or claims that are false, deceptive or misleading.’

(3) The domain name does not imply any special expertise or competence, or suggest a particular result. In this regard, we note the abundance of existing law firm domain names accessible on the Internet that would appear to violate this requirement, e.g., ‘bigverdict.com’ and ‘bigjudgment.com.’ In addition, although New York’s Code includes no specific prohibition on puffery or statements that cannot be objectively verified, we believe names that seek to promote the lawyer’s skill or talent may be considered misleading, e.g., ‘bestlawyer.com,’ ‘greatattorney.com,’ and ‘personalinjuryexpert.com.’

2. Use of Domain Names in Advertising
Having concluded that it is permissible under certain circumstances for a law firm or lawyer to employ a domain name that does not embody the name of the firm or its lawyers, we believe this domain name may be publicized in advertising so long as the domain name is used to identify a web site rather than as a substitute identifier for the firm. Thus, assuming the law firm was authorized to use the ‘NewYorklawyer.com’ domain name, it would be permissible to refer to that domain name for the purpose of directing readers or listeners to the firm’s web site, but it would not be permissible to refer to the services offered by ‘NewYork lawyer’ or otherwise to replace the law firm’s name with its domain name in describing itself, its services or its personnel.

Similarly, a lawyer or law firm may use bonafide, non-misleading client testimonials in advertising provided the clients do not use the domain name as a sobriquet or substitute for the firm’s name. It would presumably be ethical for the client to identify the domain name as a means to learn more about the firm.

As set forth above, we conclude that it is ethical under certain circumstances for a lawyer or law firm to employ a domain name that does not include or embody the firm’s name or that of any individual lawyer. However, we caution that domain names may not be used as a substitute identifier for the law firm and must comply with the strictures of DR 2-101 as applied to legal advertisements generally.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Powerful Lesson on the Merits of Settling a Patent Litigation Case and the Dangers of Ego and Greed

[Originally published by Robert Z. Cashman, Patent Litigation Attorney on the Patent Prophet web site.]

There is a short and simple lesson in today's article from law.com, "Federal Judge Tosses Out $388 Million Patent Verdict Against Microsoft" written today by Alison Frankel from the American Lawyer.

Last April, Paul Hayes of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo representing Uniloc in a patent infringement lawsuit won a $388 million dollar patent infringement verdict against Microsoft. Today, Judge William Smith from the Rhode Island federal district court vacated the $388 million jury verdict and ruled as a matter of law that Microsoft did not infringe Uniloc's patent, stating that the jury did not understand the issues when they gave their ruling in Uniloc's favor.

The lesson here is that while every patent litigator has his or her day in court, so to speak, "going all the way" [to trial] in a patent litigation suit is not always the most responsible course of action. In trial, many twists and turns can occur where within the dance between the patent litigation attorneys, results may surface with a motion, a hearing, or a ruling which can destroy an otherwise valid case of patent infringement. On top of that, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) are set up to reward the party that offers to settle and penalize the party who pushes their case to trial after a settlement where their case is found not to have merit. For example, if a defendant in a patent lawsuit offers to settle and the plaintiff refuses the offer, even if the case ends up in the favor of the plaintiff, if the judgment is for an amount that is equal or less than the amount that was offered in the offer to settle, the defendant can ask for sanctions and attorney fees for the time and money spent fighting the case after they offered to settle. (This was actually the source for a defense tactic that I suggested to my peers when interning at Scully, Scott, Murphy and Presser PC, a subject to be discussed in another article.) Returning to the content of this article, the point is that going to trial has its benefits and its risks.

An alternative strategy to consider is settling the claims out of court. Too often in patent litigation (both with regard to plaintiffs who are suing because a company stole their patented idea and the companies being sued for patent infringement), ego takes a more prominent role than a sincere analysis of damages which hinders discussions of settling the claims before they go to trial. Too often a company accused of infringing a patent refuses to discuss licensing the technology from the often-seen-as "little" inventor and delegates any legal matters to their patent litigation attorneys who are instructed to fight this little guy with everything they can both regarding the merits, and via procedural tactics to boost the cost of litigation to a point in which the inventor simply cannot afford to move forward with the litigation and s/he just "goes away." If the companies ethically sit down with the inventor and review the patents involved and try to resolve the case and to determine damages without involving a billable-by-the-hour patent litigation attorney, they can save often hundreds of thousands of dollars and often millions of dollars in attorney fees and costs.

Case in point, Paul Hayes, a skilled patent litigation attorney went through the whole trial process and won a $388 million dollar patent infringement verdict against Microsoft. As of today he lost the whole case and both his firm and his client still need to account for all the likely thousands of hours of costs and fees spent litigating Uniloc's case. In some cases, the law firm can "eat" the loss of the billable hours, but depending on the jurisdiction, in some places the client is still on the hook for out-of-pocket expenses which can be expensive when the case goes all the way to trial. Had the two sides agreed to a reasonable settlement which compensated Uniloc for Microsoft's use of their patented technology, everybody would have been happy. However, I can't help but to think that somewhere along the line, greed, ego, or both stepped in and forced their case into trial.

If both sides came to an agreeable settlement early on, imagine how much money could have been saved in attorney fees on both sides. ...and Unicom would have some money in the bank whereas now they have nothing except for a gaping hole in their pockets.

-- Robert Z. Cashman, owner of Patent Prophet is a contingency fee patent litigation attorney in Houston, TX. He works for a law firm that specializes in contingency fee patent litigation, and in the past, he worked in house for a patent company as both a patent attorney and a patent acquisition specialist, where he interacted daily with inventors looking to sell their patents.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Patent auctions are where patents go to die.

I was just reading the New York Times article by Steve Lohr about how exciting it is that Zoltar Satellite Alarm Systems will be placing their patents up for auction as if a patent auction were some new and exciting forum where valuable patents can be made available for the public to benefit from them. The funny thing is that in my opinion, patent auctions are where patents go to die.

The article continues to boast Zoltar's patents stating that they have been litigated many times as if that boosts their value. I chuckled when I read this because the fact that the patents have been litigated only indicates that the value of the patents have deflated (like air escaping from a ruptured balloon) because there are no longer valuable prospects to sue. On top of that, I was surprised to see that the article mentioned that even in the lawsuits they initiated, the patents were found NOT to infringe which suggests to me that the value of the patents are even less that I thought they were by the impressive subject matter description of being a personal alarm device that transmitted a person’s location. In other words, it suggested to me that the patent claims were too narrowly drawn or were vague and unenforceable. Otherwise, unless the settlement offer was substantial (and a few million dollars is substantial, but the article suggests that they also spent a few million dollars which means they are only breaking even if they are lucky), there is no reason to settle unless Zoltar just wanted to get out of the lawsuit with the shirts on their backs because they learned at the Markman hearing that their patents had serious flaws and that it was not clear that they would have succeeded at trial.

I also found it interesting (and even funny) that the author gave a plug to venture capital companies like Intellectual Ventures, Acacia Technologies, Altitude Capital Partners, Intertrust, IPotential, Ocean Tomo, Rembrandt IP Management and Thinkfire. The reason I found it funny is that some of these companies (e.g. Acacia) are well known as being patent trolls who purchase patents for the purpose of licensing them to others under threat of suit.

Some of the other names on this list, such as IPotential, are not patent trolls, but are actual patent service companies who take a patent portfolio, wrap it up in a nice package where the value of the patents are clearly visible to buyers, and then find buyers who pay top dollar for the valuable patents they sell (quick plug and regards to Ron Epstein, the founder and CEO of IPotential). I find this service to be valuable because Ron knows the patent market and is not about to broker the patents off to a venture capital company who wants to pay pennies on the dollar for the patents. If I had some good patents to sell, I'd seek out Ron and convince him to take me on as a client before looking to any of these others on the list.

Another name on this list is Ocean Tomo, a patent auction house which holds fancy auctions in foreign countries making the whole process seem beyond five-star; I have written about them in the past. I like the concept of Ocean Tomo -- they'll package your patents in their high quality catalog with glossy pictures and fancy photos (I wouldn't be surprised if each catalog cost them upwards of $15-20 each based on the high quality). However, the chuckle here is that just because their catalog is beautiful doesn't mean the patents have any value. A prospective buyer will need to analyze the patents in depth as they would for any other patent purchase because listing it on Ocean Tomo's auction does not mean that there is any value to the patents. On another note, sadly, I hear that attendance to Ocean Tomo's auctions have been dying down and that only a fraction of patents listed recently have been sold which means that the auction house patent sale model might be losing momentum. That being said, I still like their idea of trading stocks on some kind of stock market forum. I'd succeed there because as a patent attorney and a patent litigation attorney, I'd see the valuable stocks and buy shares in them in an instant and watch the value grow in my patent stock portfolio.

All this being said, it's sad that the NY Times article is describing old players and making them seem new. Intellectual Ventures has been buying up patents forever. Acacia has been a patent troll forever. Ocean Tomo has been around forever. Some of the newer names such as Rational Patent Exchange in my understanding are offshoots of Intellectual Ventures (the same guys are running each patent chop shop), except they run the business like the mafia, stating, "buy into my elite club and you we'll protect you against patent trolls. Decide not to buy into our club, and we'll sue you ourselves with our army of patent litigation attorneys."

I could go on, but in sum, there doesn't seem to be anything new or exciting presented by this article. Just old sheep in new clothing, however the cliche goes.

Robert Z. Cashman, owner of Patent Prophet, is a contingency fee patent litigation attorney in Houston, TX. He works for a law firm that specializes in contingency fee patent litigation, and in the past, he worked in house for a patent company as both a patent attorney and a patent acquisition specialist, where he interacted daily with inventors looking to sell their patents.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I am looking for a way to add this blog into the mapquest.com directory. Hence, I am adding the tags below.

# Where:Houston-TX
# Where:Houston+Texas
# Where:Houston%20TX
# Where:77096

Houston, TX

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Black hats and white hats in the patent law system (summary)

Pasted below is a summary version of the article posted on JD Supra on "Black hats and white hats in the patent law system" that I wrote on 8/16/09.
Within patent law and the patent litigation system, there are good ways and bad ways to make use of the rules and laws that have been set forth for us to follow. Many patent practitioners and patent litigation attorneys follow these rules to further technology and to protect the rights of inventors via their patented inventions. In the analogy of white hats and black hats (terms used in the information security / hacker communities), people who do good by the law would be considered white hats.

However, within the patent litigation system, there are also black hats, namely venture capital companies, inventors, and attorneys who seek to harm others by writing, enforcing, and suing on patents where the protection does not cover the technologies these often non-practicing entities (NPE's) hope to target through the patents they assert. This causes havoc by overburdening the court systems with frivolous lawsuits, by devaluing patents already in existence, and by causing inventors to sell their patents to those who wish to profit and do harm with them. Often this results in the inventor making only a fraction of what she is entitled to, and the NPE's taking the majority of profits by suing or licensing on a technology they did not invent.
If you are interested in a patent litigation attorney or a patent attorney in Houston, TX, I have started an informative website using the name Cashman IP Law Firm which will be a resource for those who wish to obtain a patent or for those who would like to find out how to prevent companies from stealing their inventions. Services include help with entering into IP Agreements & Licensing options, IP Enforcement and Litigation, Strategic Counseling, and much more.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Black hats and white hats in the patent law system.

It took a few seconds to come up with this analogy, but after reading the “Wear a White Hat” article by Scott Gibson, I couldn’t stop thinking about how relevant the concept of black hat, white hat was not only to archetypes, hackers, and network security professionals, but also to patent practice professionals.

In the hacker / network security / cybercrime world, a black hat is a hacker who, among other things, penetrates networks and security systems and often wreaks havoc on the systems s/he has gained access to. Viruses can be installed, information can be exploited and/or manipulated, and general bad things can happen when a hacker penetrates your system.

On the other hand, there is also something called a white hat, which generally refers to an “ethical” hacker. Frequently, this is a programmer or a team of network security professionals who are hired by a company for the purpose of testing the company’s network for security holes, vulnerable entryways, and for weaknesses in the company’s network security system. While they may work with grey hats (best described as those who walk the fine line between violating laws and ethical hacking), these white hats help companies combat black hats who are intent in finding a security hole, penetrating a network, and exploiting the vulnerabilities inherent in that vulnerable network.

I see patents the same way. There are white hats who practice traditional patent practice whether on the side of patent prosecution, patent licensing, or patent litigation. These are the practitioners who write the patents and advance technology by sharing inventions with the public in return for amulti -year monopoly so that the inventor can benefit from their invention. The goal with white hat patent practitioners is that they are looking to help their inventors to find where the inventor’s understanding of the invention is lacking, and to help their inventors secure protection of their inventions by covering as many embodiments of the invention as possible to most completely and to most broadly describe the invention. This is similar to the white hat ethical hacker who finds security holes with the intent of writing a patch to fill those holes and to keep the network secure.

In licensing and in litigation, there are also white hat patent practitioners. These are the attorneys who help the inventor protect their inventions against companies who have knowingly or unknowingly taken the protected invention and have used the invention to make a product or a service which incorporates the protected subject matter of the patent. This white hat patent practitioner will often approach the company or individual using the protected invention of the inventor and will ask the company to properly compensate the inventor for the value of his/her contribution. If and when the company decides not to pay the inventor for the invention that is protected by law as belonging to him through his patent (whether their decision is in bad faith, e.g. denying the inventor compensation based on the company’s greed or whether their decision is based on a good-faith belief that the patent is invalid), the white hat patent practitioner (here a patent litigation attorney) will file suit to enforce the inventor’s patent rights. Throughout the proceedings, the white hat patent litigation attorney will develop evidence and will ethically move through the lawsuit proceedings so that the judge or jury will find that their client was wronged by the company who refused to take a license and pay the inventor his/her fair share of the value their invention contributed to the company’s profits, and in the end, if the inventor is in the right, the court will find for the inventor and will order the company or infringer to pay the damages rightly owed to the inventor.

Interestingly enough, just as there are white hat inventors and patent attorneys, there are also grey hat and black hat inventors and practitioners. Often known as patent trolls, these individual or companies will patent or acquire patents to inventions with the sole purpose of using them as a weapon to harm another company, whether it be to block them from making a product, or more frequently, to carve out a profit for themselves by asserting the newly acquired patent against the company. The stated purpose of patents are to promote and to reward innovation and to further the growth of technology; forcing a company to “pay up or else,” or to stop producing a product under threat of lawsuit blocks and hinders technology.

Black hat patent practitioners and black hat inventors usually fall into the category on non-practicing entities (NPE’s). These individuals generally see a patent as a commodity to be mined and exploited rather than an invention to further technology. You’ll often find black hat practitioners trying to reverse engineer and to invent around existing inventions for the sole purpose of suppressing the next step in the furtherance of technology, or to try to induce the real inventors and companies to “trip” (so to speak) over the patent and infringe it and then WHAM! the lawsuit and threats start pouring out. You’ll also find many venture capital companies acting in a black hat capacity by aggregating patents for the sole purpose of making a pretty penny by enforcing one or more patents against a target company with deep pockets who stand to lose the most by being confronted with one or more patents which may or arguably may cover the technology they are practicing.

Lastly, the distinction between a black hat patent litigator versus a white hat or grey hat litigator is how they conduct themselves in the preparation for and during trial. Black hat litigators will threaten, scream, intimidate, and will use scare tactics and legal maneuvers to intimidate the other side into settling with them WHETHER OR NOT they really are infringing the patents being asserted against them. Sometimes a party facing a lawsuit will settle giving money to a black hat litigator who has no leg to stand on just to save money on the expensive costs that will be incurred if they decide to fight the black hat litigation attorneys.

In the network security world, the job of the good guy belongs to the white hats who write security updates and patches to prevent the hacker black hats from causing damage through their illegal and often immoral activities. However, in the patent world, a white hat is often at a disadvantage when facing a black hat, and their only remedy is to endure the high costs of litigation and attempting to file a declaratory judgment and or summary judgement motion, or defending their client all the way through trial until a judgment is granted in their favor.

However, the real white hats in the patent world belong not to the patent attorneys and the patent litigators who ethically run their practice, but to the congressmen, the senators, and the lawmakers who are able to explore how black hat patent practitioners exploit and abuse the system, and they can pass laws to patch up the vulnerabilities in the law which allow black hats to do their damage. This can only happen through advice and letters from ordinary people like you and me who write them and share their thoughts, their feelings, and their experiences to best empower the real white hats to propose legislation changes to remedy vulnerabilities in the patent system as it is today.
If you are interested in a patent litigation attorney or a patent attorney in Houston, TX, I have started an informative website using the name Patent Prophet which will be a resource for those who wish to obtain a patent or for those who would like to find out how to prevent companies from stealing their inventions. Services include help with entering into IP Agreements & Licensing options, IP Enforcement and Litigation, Strategic Counseling, and much more.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Encryption when searching for patents?

LinkedIn Question by Vagelis Hristidis: Desired Features or Properties of a Patents Search Engine
I have been working for a year now on a search engine for patents. Clearly, a key property is the quality of search, that is, discovering the most relevant patents. But are there any other useful features (e.g., automatically email the results of a search) or properties (e.g., encrypt queries for privacy) that are missing from current patent search systems?
Dear Vagelis,

Interesting question regarding encryption. Generally, I have never seen anything in terms of encryption on the public patent searching sites. However, any web site that offers SSL or https:// access is encrypted and thus you likely won't have any issues when using those.

More generally, I have found that simply by using proper security on your system (e.g. connecting to routers with WPA) is sufficient to achieve your needs of privacy. In other words, if you're worried about people snooping on your patent searches, then don't connect to public internet wireless access points without proper protection.

As for e-mailing the results of a search, offhand I've seen that feature in a number of places. My favorite search tool is patentlens.net (http://www.patentlens.net/patentlens/structured.cgi) which allows me to save and e-mail my search results.

I hope this helps.

If you are interested in a patent litigation attorney or a patent attorney in Houston, TX, I have started an informative website using the name Patent Prophet which will be a resource for those who wish to obtain a patent or for those who would like to find out how to prevent companies from stealing their inventions. Services include help with entering into IP Agreements & Licensing options, IP Enforcement and Litigation, Strategic Counseling, and much more.