A blog about making your business leaner, faster and smarter

How much does it cost to get a software patent?

It’s important to remember that the strategic value of a valid software patent is in protecting your idea from inappropriate use by the competition as well as positioning your company for better earnings. The cost of a patent is relevant to the perceived value of the patent, so applying for a patent on a new miracle invention could be worth every penny you spend (and more). Applying for a patent on something that everyone knows how to work around, on the other hand, makes no sense and isn’t worth the basic application fee no matter how cool your workaround is. According to the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the typical software patent costs between $8,000 and $12,000 with the median about $10,000. Those prices including filing fees. The typical software patent on UpCounsel costs between $6,000 and $9,000 and includes representation after filing. Steps to Save Money on a Software …

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How To Transfer a Patent – Through a Change of Ownership or Sale

As objects of intellectual property, patents and patent applications may be transferred for a number of reasons, including a merger or takeover, an inheritance or bankruptcy, or as the result of some legal action. Often the person who created the idea is not necessarily the best person to market the idea and turn it into a fully commercial product – and many inventors prefer to invent, then let others do the marketing and manufacturing work so they can get back to more inventing. The idea behind a patent transfer is that it enables the inventor to sell their patent rights and let other people manage the intellectual property on both valuation and patent enforcement fronts. What’s Involved in a Patent Transfer? What’s involved with the legal transfer of a patent, also known as changing patent ownership? During examination of a pending patent application, or after the patent has been granted, …

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How Much Does a Provisional Patent Cost?

The answer to any ‘how much does it cost’ question is, as you might expect, ‘it depends’. Of course, as any lawyer worth their salt will also tell you that you should ask how much time are you are willing to spend on your provisional patent. When the inventor or entrepreneur puts in some of the effort and works closely with their attorney the cost of filing a provisional patent can be controlled. This is especially critical to businesses that are just starting up or entrepreneurs who have little money but big ideas that could earn big. Pricey and Cheap Provisional Patent Filing Methods How much a provisional patent costs depends on how you go about patenting the idea: You can write and file your own patent application (the cheapest way) to a total cost of about $900. You can hire a patent lawyer or patent agent to write and …

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How to transfer an H-1B Visa

The recent recession has had widespread reach – including into the lives of immigrant H-1B visa workers. People working in the U.S. on H-1B visas have some freedom in the job market in that they can change employers if the new employer files an H-1B application and that application is approved. The employee can do this in a couple of situations: – their current employment ends and they have the opportunity to work for another employer – they want to change jobs and work for a different employer – they stopped working for their original H-1B employer, left the U.S., and now want to return and work for a different employer As long as the visa holder’s H-1B visa has not expired, they can essentially transfer to a new employer. This action is often called an H-1B transfer and there are some risks and legalities associated with this particular event. …

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What should I do if my trademark is DEAD?

A trademark is nothing more than a symbol, design, word, or phrase that identifies a product to the public. An individual or business who has the trademark registers it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and that agency issues the trademark registration. As you can see from the following chart, the filing of trademark applications has been steady and strong in the U.S. since 2000. An active trademark is well-maintained and regularly published in ads, in blogs, and in publications. While a trademark is active, its owner can take action in court against unauthorized use of the trademark. On the other hand, a dead trademark is one that is no longer active and it faces certain risks depending on the popularity of that trademark. Keeping your Trademark Healthy To keep a trademark healthy, the trademark owner must continue to respond to requests by the USPTO and follow …

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Announcing our revamped Attorney Dashboard

Entrepreneurs all over the world have much to say about what it takes to build a great company. One key is obsessing over your customers and their experience. We spend a great deal of time doing this at UpCounsel. In a services marketplace, attention to the service-side community is paramount. We are always thinking about ways to improve the attorney-client relationship by empowering our lawyer community. Through this focus, attorneys spend less time with the administrative portion of managing their practice (invoicing, billing, communications), they can spend more time engaging clients, being responsive and providing top-notch legal services. Which is why today I’m excited to announce a number of updates focused on our attorney community that continue to make their practice easier and more efficient. Revamped Attorney Dashboard Our attorney dashboard has been redesigned to emphasize important information first. It includes a small metrics section that highlights your UpCounsel income, …

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Enforcing ‘fitness to serve’ to Legally Remove a Board Director

As a few high-profile board members have recently resigned amid some controversy: Lance Armstrong resigned from the Livestrong charity, Alan Goldfarb resigned from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., and Joel Blumenschein resigned from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, we are reminded of the fact that not every board director is so willing to step down. In fact, some directors resist efforts to unseat them, and when the situation – whatever the situation happens to be – reflects negatively on the directors and the corporation, the ‘fitness to serve’ protocol then becomes a self-enforcing mechanism that the board can use to enforce tough decisions. In some cases, the board is facing less cut-and-dried situations as in when there is a conflict of interest. When the behavior of a board member become obstructive to the board’s duties such that the board is prevented from functioning effectively, it’s time to …

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How to Achieve a Successful Business Partnership Buyout

Business partnerships have to end for a number of reasons. Sometimes there is a misalignment of goals, or one partner is at a different life stage, or one partner wants to sell and the other wants to keep the business operating as it is. In any case, when it’s time to buy out your business partner there are a number of legal intricacies that must be handled well if you are to achieve a successful business partnership buyout. The following are some important tips that will make things go more smoothly: Know how the buyout will affect the company and be sure you can afford it. Get a lawyer to help you reach common ground and tie up all the strings. Try not to fight over valuation. In the best scenario, you were both thinking about this situation ahead of time and you have a partnership agreement in place – …

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What is an acqui-hire? How does it work?

Over  the past five years or so, a handful of tech companies like Facebook and Google have begun quietly buying up early stage startups, and not for the reason you might expect: they are only interested in the talent. This strategy has prompted a new word in American business lexicon – acqui-hire, a combination of ‘acquire’ and ‘hire’ – and it has become an increasingly common tool by which large, successful, and expanding technology companies are satisfying their nearly insatiable need for engineering talent. Why Acqui-hire versus Simply Luring Talent Away? Acqui-hiring raises a host of unique questions across topics that are relevant to lawyers, including employment law, corporate law, intellectual property law, and more. Plus, there is an even larger question at hand: why go to the trouble and expense of acquiring the company when you could simply hire away the individuals you want? According to an article, Acqui-Hiring …

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Tips to Manage Your Startup Cap Table

The financial responsibilities of starting a company properly can be tricky, especially if this is your first time. Thinking about how to compensate advisors, employees, and the founding team is critical because they are your business’ core talent. Their commitment is key to ensuring the success of your venture. A capitalization, or cap, table is just one key to any startup. It is a record of the pro-rata stock ownership of the company’s founders and shareholders. The basic data included in a cap table are: Company stockholders Classes of stock and how much was paid How many shares of each class are owned and by whom Total ownership on a fully diluted basis (issued and non issued) As a startup business owner, your cap table should be well understood and managed carefully as it is often the most important ‘asset’ you own and the value listed in it belongs to …

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