Memo to the city’s start-ups, entrepreneurs and inventors:
If you have created the next game-changing product, widget or unique new stuff, then zip your lips tightly shut.
Get a patent attorney. You’ll need to file for patent protection and begin a fairly complicated process of application and review.
And be aware that international legal angles are to be considered as well.
These were the three key takeaways from a detailed presentation Monday on the protection of intellectual property. It came to us courtesy of long-time member Arles Taylor, a veteran patent attorney in Durham at the Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt law firm.
In 20 tightly filled minutes, Taylor took a full house to law school during a detailed presentation outlining the state of intellectual property laws nationally and internationally. (Class came for free, unlike the superb lunch that we have come to expect each Monday, which is covered in dues. We thank Taylor for the pro-bono work.)
The subject is particularly important in Durham and the Research Triangle, respective homes to start-ups and research organizations at the major universities and commercial businesses.
As Rotarian Don Stanger said while introducing Taylor and his widespread activities in law and the community, the upcoming discussion would be important to anyone or any organization dealing with “creations of the mind.”
Taylor opened by noting recent local filing data that would surprise nobody familiar with the region. In one year alone, key big players like Cree, IBM and Red Hat submitted about 700 applications for protection. The same year, large and small firms from the local biotech industry filed roughly 100 more. And an additional estimate of about 140 came from the major local universities.
Things around town are vibrant intellectually – no secret there.
Taylor outlined many provisions, possible grace periods, descriptions of process, previous distinctions between U.S. and foreign law, plus comments on the maintenance and enforcement of patents, among other subject matter.
Unfortunately, time ran short. Despite a number of raised hands, there was only time for one question posed by this week’s correspondent, who asked Taylor to name the day’s top lessons.
To repeat: Stay quiet, get a lawyer, and know that things can get more complicated overseas.
(Submitted by Mark Lazenby)