Intellectual Property

Modern businesses navigate a wide field of Intellectual Property (also known as "IP") rights, both in protecting their own work and in avoiding violating the rights of competitors. In helping you protect your business, we draw from a deep knowledge and experience on a host of IP rights, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, contract provisions, and unfair competition law. IP issues also arise in disputes such as business break-ups & divorces, employment issues, and licensing rights.

If your business has a logo, trademark, or is in any way in a creative field, you will likely have an IP issue. Many times, IP issues are only addressed when something goes wrong. We feel, as part of getting LAW DONE RIGHT TM, that helping to prevent a problem in the first place is better than litigating about it later. If you need help setting up your business with IP in mind, enforcing your own intellectual property, or defending against an aggressive competitor, then call us today. We work with businesses and entrepreneurs to manage risk in either avoiding or engaging in litigation.

Very often, disputes are not between strangers. We encourage businesses to get set-up right from the start. And we bring litigation and industry experience to the table. If you need legal advice or a case evaluation, please call us today.

Freedom-to-Operate and Patent Reviews

Before investing large sums to bring a product or service to market, it's helpful to know what patent rights are out there. We're experienced at evaluating business ideas against existing patents and in searching for patents that may be relevant to a new venture. If a close competitor is assembling a patent portfolio, you'll want to know how to avoid their territory, and even how to carve out a patent territory of your own.

Accordingly, we provide clients with Freedom-to-Operate opinions, verifying that no known patent rights apply to your business, or else explaining why your product or service does not infringe specific patent claims. Depending on the circumstances, Freedom-to-Operate patent opinions can range from short to complex. We can help you determine what is best suited for your situation and budget. And we can put a document in your hands that can be used to ward off competitors and that shows your business has a policy of respecting and avoiding the IP rights of others. Likewise, if a patent owner has overreached by claiming old technology as new, we'll write a patent invalidity opinion citing clear and convincing evidence.

A review of a technology portfolio is also helpful to decide what kind of IP rights are best suited to protect your business. We help to decide to whether patents, trade secrets, or contractual protections meet your needs and budget. Every situation is unique. And we evaluate your needs from the point-of-view of litigators with industry experience.

Trademarks and Unfair Competition

A successful business can be plagued by would-be competitors who seek to capitalize off a popular name or logo. When a competing business opens up nearby with a similar name, or uses a similarly named website or logo, having a team of litigation attorneys can make them back off.

Even when a business name isn't trademarked, unfair competition law can still apply to anyone who creates a likelihood of confusion by using a similar name. Both federal and Texas state law provide remedies, and injunctions can be obtained. If you need help with an aggressive competitor, we offer flat fees for drafting and sending demand letters or cease-and-desist letters, including negotiating a resolution. And we can enforce your rights in court if the infringer doesn't comply.

We encourage businesses to think about their IP rights from the outset, so that competitors know you are well protected. Accordingly, we advise on trademarks and can file applications for you with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, known as the USPTO.

Contracts and Licensing

Good contracts solve a lot of disputes before they start. We can set up forms and templates for your business that anticipate litigation issues and intellectual property rights. When forming a business, we help establish which party owns the business name and IP assets. This way, if business partners ever split, there's a clear road map for who owns what.

We also help with licensing, and we're experienced with drafting agreements by which companies can do business together with clear expectations and with contingencies addressed. Our attorneys have experience working with a wide variety of industries, and bring a common sense perspective to your business plans and risk management.

Contact the firm's Houston offices by email or call 281-949-8904 to arrange a consultation with Patent and Trademark attorney Erik Knockaert.