When people talk about patents, they generally mean a “utility patent.” To date, over 8 million utility patents have issued in the United States. In contrast, only about 680,000 design patents have ever issued. Why that discrepancy? It’s hard to fathom, especially after Apple Corp. recently won a $1.05 billion jury verdict for design patent […]
Significant changes in the law in Texas with respect to trade secrets went into effect September 1, 2013, with Texas becoming the 48th state to adopt the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Previously, there was no central repository for Texas trade secret law, as it was a combination of the common law, restatements, and the Texas […]
The courts have been particularly active recently with respect to the question of what is patentable subject matter. Despite this activity, there has been no real guidance provided by the courts to practitioners. In CLS Bank v. Alice Corp., the Federal Circuit found the claimed computer-related subject matter not patentable. Unfortunately, there were seven different […]
Black Gold: Patent Battle Royale Moving From Silicon Valley to Midland, Texas? | Intellectual Property in the Oil & Gas Industry
We have all heard of the patent battles between tech giants Apple and Samsung. It is easy to imagine the countless patents that protect the new iPhone and Galaxy smart phones. However, intellectual property is not limited to the Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world. A huge amount of intellectual property is being developed, and protected, in the oil field. In fact, the next major patent dispute is more likely to involve a method of fracking than a processor on a smart phone. The reason, in part, is that as “easy oil” reserves become more and more rare, oil and gas companies are developing incredible technological solutions in order to harness oil, which was previously believed unreachable. In solving these complex problems, they are developing vast amounts of intellectual property. Oil and gas companies of all sizes need to begin protecting their intellectual property because their competitors are. Failing to protect intellectual property will place these companies at a huge competitive disadvantage in the long run.