What do the symbols TM, ® and © mean?

“TM” is common law trademark notice that can be placed adjacent registered and unregistered marks of the owner. It is best to make sure a new trademark is clear of conflict with other trademarks before adapting the trademark and using trademark notice. ® is used adjacent a trademark after it has been registered only. © is a portion of copyright notice that can be freely used adjacent any works for which the author or owner claims copyright rights. Full copyright notice is “©, year, owner” (i.e. © 2009 Heisler & Associates).

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Does Heisler & Associates assist with the marketing of their client’s inventions?

Heisler & Associates limits its professional services to providing the best legal protection possible for its client’s inventions. Often the biggest challenge to turning an invention into a profitable venture involves the successful marketing of the invention. It is up to our clients to plan separately for the marketing of their inventions. We do customize the protection strategy for our client’s inventions factoring in our clients’ marketing plans. Hence, our legal services are coordinated with our client’s marketing efforts. On occasion we are able to provide recommendations for manufacturing and marketing contacts, depending on the particular technologies and situations involved.

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Can I use “patent pending” without having a patent application on file?

It is a violation of federal law to use the phrase “patent pending” or similar language improperly. Some forms of patent applications are very easy to file and can even be filed without the assistance of an attorney, or with limited attorney assistance so that you can be legitimately “patent pending” quickly, easily and inexpensively. Patent applications filed informally can be upgraded later to a higher quality form when planned correctly. If this strategy is of interest for you, ask Mr. Heisler about filing “provisional” patent applications.

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Can I trust Mr. Heisler with my sensitive invention information?

The joke is that patent attorneys are boring at parties because they can never tell anyone what they’re working on. Mr. Heisler has decades of experience in handling sensitive client sensitive invention information and has developed a reputation for maintaining absolute confidentiality of client information. Secrecy is often most important before filing a patent application.

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Who will write my patent application?

Mr. Heisler personally writes over 90% of Heisler and Associates patent applications. In some instances, where the inventor has begun the patent application process or a particular technical expertise is required that Mr. Heisler does not have, assistance is obtained in writing at least portions of some patent applications. Ask Mr. Heisler about your particular technology. If his experience is not a good match for your technology, he will help you find another patent attorney who is a better match or plan to work with other skilled professionals.

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Is an attorney required to obtain patent, trademark or copyright protection?

A patent application can be filed either by one of the inventors or by a registered patent attorney (or patent agent). While it is not required that the services of a patent attorney be utilized when filing a patent application, the patent application process is rather complex (akin to filing a complex tax return). To become registered, the Patent Office provides a rigorous examination that must be passed by an applicant who also has an engineering or other four year science degree (or equivalent) before allowing such registered practitioners to assist inventors in obtaining patent protection. Trademark applications can be filed by the owner of the trademark or by any attorney licensed by a state bar. Copyright registration applications can be filed by the copyright claimant or any licensed attorney. Generally, we recommend that the services of a registered patent attorney be utilized when pursuing patent protection and that an attorney with experience in filing trademark applications be utilized when pursuing a trademark registration, for the best potential for a desirable outcome. For copyrights, we prefer to educate our clients as to how to register their own copyrights, and occasionally we provide assistance with the copyright registration process.

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What is the difference between a patent, a trademark, a copyright and a trade secret?

Patents protect a new, useful and nonobvious machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter, process or improvement thereof. Registration of a patent is required to obtain patent protection for an invention. Design patents protect new ornamental features while utility patents protect functional features.

Trademarks protect a name or design that is used to identify the source of goods or services. Some trademark protection is automatic upon use of a trademark. Registering a trademark (usually with the federal government) enhances protection.

Copyright law protects original works of authorship. Examples include music, paintings, sculptures, books, computer software, architectural drawings and motion pictures. Copyright protection is automatic, but benefits are provided by registering copyright rights for the work and by placing copyright notice on a work.

Trade secrets are information that is not generally known to the public and which have been made the subject of reasonable secrecy preservation measures. Examples include formulas, processes performed in secret and strategic business information. Trade secrets do not require registration but do require reasonable secrecy measures.

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