James E. Ruland has a B.S. with honors in chemical engineering from Kansas State University and a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Ruland has been practicing intellectual property law for over fifteen years. He is active in the leadership of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) and has served as Chair of the Online Programs Committee.
What to Know if Your Client Has an Intellectual Property Issue
Clients bring a variety of issues, such as intellectual property (IP), to their attorney, which may be outside their particular area of discipline. When serving their clients, an attorney needs to know what IP issues they can represent, what they should refer, and what pitfalls may be present. Consequently, it behooves a non-IP attorney to have a rudimentary knowledge of this subject matter to advise or properly refer the client. This paper provides a brief overview, definitions, attributes and some practical tips regarding IP for the non-IP attorney, including tips illustrated by hypotheticals for obtaining and defending IP such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.
Mining Diamonds from Tar Sands – Preparing and Obtaining Patents for Seemingly Minor Technical Improvements
Frequently during one's daily work routine, problems are discovered that are solved, at first blush, by seemingly trivial modifications to processes and apparatuses. Often these minor improvements can lead to quite valuable patent rights. Some examples of such minor improvements to products include VELCRO® fasteners on diapers and intermittent windshield wipers. Thus, even seemingly minor improvements can lead to worthy inventions.