Patent Attorney Charlotte

Patent Attorney Charlotte

Are you looking for a Patent Attorney in Charlotte?

Here are some tips for finding a Patent Attorney that will fit your needs:
• Patent attorneys are subject matter specific based on their technical degree. For example electrical engineer, software, physics, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, or mechanical engineering, etc.
• Specific job experience can create subject matter expertise.

• Most patent attorneys are capable of filing patents on mechanical devices and/or systems.
• Small law firms focusing exclusively on intellectual property often provide specialized attention and service.

• Look for an entrepreneurial patent attorney (one who has his/her own inventions, issued patents or one who participated in starting a new business).
• In general you get what you pay for, avoid on-line legal service offerings.

Call now to for a FREE consultation with Patent Attorney Jeff Watson in Charlotte.


Patent Attorney Charlotte

How to find a Great Patent Attorney

Grell & Watson Patent Attorneys, LLC, 1800 Camden Road, Charlotte, NC 28203. (704) 625-7747‎ phone (678) 373-4746 fax

Jeff Watson , 3911 Carmel Acres Dr Charlotte, NC 28226. (704) 625-7747 phone (678) 373-4746 fax

By Jeff  Watson

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How to Find a Patent Attorney in Charlotte NC

How to Find a Patent or Trademark Attorney in Charlotte NC

Small law firms focusing exclusively on intellectual property often
provide the best attention and service for filing patent and trademark applications.

Patent and Trademark Lawyers are subject matter specific based on their technical degree(s) earned in college. Look for a patent or trademark attorney with a technical degree that matches your idea invention, such as electrical engineering, computer science, software, physics, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, or mechanical engineering, etc.

Work experience creates subject matter expertise.  Look for a patent lawyer who has relevant work experience to your idea invention.

Look for a patent and trademark attorney who has his/her own inventions, issued patents, trademarks or who has participated in starting a new business.

Call Jeff Watson for a Free patent consultation (704) 625-7747 or email me at

To search the US Patent & Trademark Office for a Patent Attorney near you click the link below or visit US Patent Office and search for “OED Patent Attorney/Agent Search.” Next enter your city/state or zip code into the USPTO search engine and the engine will generate a list of Attorney/Agents near you. Use the criteria above to find a Patent Lawyer right for you. US Patent Lawyer Search

find patent attorney, find a patent attorney, trademark attorney, trademark lawyer

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Intellectual Property (“IP”) – What is the difference between Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights?

Intellectual Property (“IP”) – What is the difference between Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights?

Intellectual property, also known as IP, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.  IP is protected by most national laws, including the US, by patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets.  Below is a breakdown of these four mechanisms for protecting IP and how they differ:


A patent protects your invention through federal law giving you a monopoly to exclude others from practicing the invention, including the right to prevent others from making, using, selling and/or importing your invention in the US. Inventions are your creative ideas for new products (articles of manufacture), machines, processes, methods, compositions of matter, ornamentation on, or shape of, products, or new plants. An improvement on an existing product may also be patented. Utility patents protect the majority of these. To be patentable, your invention must be useful, novel and non-obvious. Design patents protect the ornamentation on, or shape of, devices. Plant patents protect new plant varieties. Utility patents give you an exclusive right or monopoly for twenty years from the date of filing. Design patents give you a monopoly for fourteen years from the date of issue, and prevent others from making the patented device with your ornamentation on them or made of your shape. As an illustrative example, a chair is a useful device. If you could obtain a utility patent on a chair with a seat and supporting legs, you could stop anyone from making a chair. That would be a utility patent and would be very powerful. If your chair had an unusual ornamental shape or seat design pattern, and obtained a design patent on it, you would be able to prevent others from making chairs with that shape or surface pattern, but they could still make other tables. Plant patents last for twenty years from the filing date of the patent application. Infringement of your patent allows you to obtain damages adequate to compensate for the infringement no less than a reasonable royalty plus interest and costs.  If the infringement is willful, damages can potentially be  enhanced to obtain treble damages plus attorney fees.


A trademark (or service mark for services) protects names, slogans, logos and other like marks through both federal law and common law, or state laws. Your name, slogan, logo, etc. that is used to identify your product or service to your prospective customers as the source of the goods and/or services that you are offering is the subject of trademark protection. Even your business name or website address is a trademark if you use it with your goods or services. There are both federal trademarks and state trademark registration systems. There are also common law trademarks that are not registered at either the federal or state level. Trademark protection is typically based on when you start using the mark on the goods and/or services.  However, federal trademark applications can be filed even before you are using the trademark name, slogan, logo, etc. to reserve your trademark. These are called “Intent to Use” trademark applications. Federal and state trademarks must periodically be renewed. Trademark protections is valid forever as long as you continuously use the mark and keep the registration renewed.  Federal trademarks must be renewed every ten years. If you no longer use the trademark, you lose your rights. Infringement of your trademark allows you to potentially obtain treble damages and attorney fees.


Copyright protection is for protecting your creative artistic expression, but only once it is set into a tangible form. For instance, you create and write a poem. There is no copyright unless the poem is recorded or written, because there is no tangible representation of your artistic expression. However, once you write, record, photograph, draw, or otherwise create a tangible record of your artistic expression, you automatically have copyright. That is, you are the only one who has the right to make or sell copies. Ideas cannot be copyrighted as useful ideas are the subject for patent protection. Examples of copyrightable materials are written words, such as in books, magazines, poems, songs; written music; performances of music; paintings and drawings; photographs, videos, architectural plans, website content and layouts, and computer software. Copyright lasts for 70 years plus the life of the creator (or last to die for multiple authors) for new works under current law. If the work is made for hire, then the term is the shorter of 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation. Copyright protection for works of authorship is automatically granted once put into tangible form.  However, only once the work is registered with the Library of Congress does federal law provide you with the right to enforce your copyright. There is the possibility of obtaining statutory damages of up to $150,000.00, plus the possibility of being awarded attorney fees. Thus, it is very important to register your copyright as soon as practicable.

Trade Secrets

Finally, trade secret protection is another means of providing protection to ideas. However, the key word here is “secret” and protection is only provided for ideas that are actively kept secret. That is, you should have policies in place that prevent its disclosure. If the owner of a trade secret lets someone who has no need to know in on the secret, it is no longer protected. Trade secrets are most suitable to keep secret formulas or processes protected, i.e. think the formula for Coca-Cola. However, if it can easily be reverse engineered independently, it won’t remain protected for long.

f you are considering protecting your intellectual property, you should consult with an attorney of your choice. For more information, please visit or

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Amending Trademarks – USPTO Technology Evolution Pilot Program

On September 1, 2015, the USPTO began a pilot program to allow amendments to identifications of goods/services in trademark registrations that would otherwise be beyond the scope of the current identification. The program also provides an opportunity for IP owners to avoid abandoning existing registrations the goods and services of which are no longer offered as described in the registration.

Under the program, amendments will be permitted where they are deemed necessary because evolving technology has changed the manner or medium by which the underlying content or subject matter of the identified products and services are offered for sale or provided to consumers.

Trademark owners and their counsel should review their trademark portfolio to see if they should take advantage of the pilot program with respect to any registrations covering outdated technology. Counsel may be able to get greater protection for their marks if they can amend the goods and services identifications rather than delete out any obsolete technology.

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First-to-File vs. First-to-Invent

On March 16, 2013, with the enactment of the America Invents Act, the United States Patent Office has switched from a first-to-Invent system to a first-to-file system. Previously, with the first-to-invent system, patent rights were granted to an entity or person that is the first to invent a new, non-obivous and useful invention. However, the switch by the US conforms to the rest of the world, which already followed a First-to-File system, wherein patent rights are granted to the person or entity who is the first to file a patent application.

Proponents of the Act argued that the United States should adopt the First-to-File system to harmonize the United States patent system with the rest of the world. Additionally, proponents argue the First-to-File system is beneficial because it provides a clear, bright-line approach in determining the owner of a patent by simply looking to who filed the patent application paperwork.

On the other hand, opponents to the Act argued that the First-to-File structure will hurt small businesses and individual inventors. They argue the First-to File system is harmful to small business owners and individual inventors because they have limited resources to file a patent application. As such, opponents argue the First-to File system benefits big businesses that can afford filing patent applications, which can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000.

Nonetheless, the United States currently follows the first-to-file system, or FTF, where it is obviously an advantage to get an application on file as soon as possible, as the right to the grant of a patent for a given invention lies with the first person to file a patent application for protection of that invention, regardless of the date of actual invention.

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NCBA Intellectual Property Law section’s Patent law subcommittee announce: A United States Patent and Trademark Office Fall Patent Quality Discussion Series

The NCBA Intellectual Property Law section’s Patent law subcommittee announces: A United States Patent and Trademark Office Fall Patent Quality Discussion Series

Live or Webcast | Friday, November 6, 2015 | North Carolina Central University School of Law | Durham, NC

CLE Credit | 7.0 Hours

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Should I file for a patent NOW or can I wait?

Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer but “maybe.” Before we begin, the general rule of thumb is that it is beneficial for you to file your patent application now or as soon as possible. First, there is a very important statutory time limit, i.e. a “time bar,” which may prevent you from obtaining a United States patent. 35 U.S.C. § 102 (b) states: “a person shall be entitled to a patent…unless the invention was patented or described in a printed publication in this or a foreign country or in public use or on sale in this country, more than one year prior to the date of the application for patent in the United States.” In sum, if you have “publicly disclosed” your invention, then you have one year from the date of such disclosure to file for U.S. patent or else you lose the right altogether.

So what constitutes “publicly disclosing” your invention? Public disclosure generally refers to publicly using the invention, offering the invention for sale or disclosing the invention in a publication that is in general circulation. Public disclosure generally does not refer to disclosing your invention to family members or close friends. As such, if you disclose your invention to your mother, then the “time bar” is likely not to be triggered. On the other hand, if you attend a trade show and discuss your invention, then the “time bar” is triggered and starts the one year clock to file a U.S. application. Please note that generally it takes our firm 4-6 weeks to prepare an application. As such, if you are approaching the one year time bar, then it is wise to act quickly.

Secondly, it may not be beneficial to wait to file your application, as the US has switched to a first to file system, wherein patent rights are granted to the person or entity who is the first to file a patent application. Under such a system, there could be a race to file at the U.S. Patent Office in order to establish protection for your invention. As such, similar to the rest of the world, the U.S. Patent Office grants patents to the person or entity that is first to the Patent Office. As such, it is beneficial to file for a patent now, rather than later, because even if you are the first to invent something, you must also file it first to get protection.

Some countries do not allow a period of time after use to file a patent application. Once you publicly use your invention, you can no longer obtain a patent. However, if you have previously filed a U.S. patent application, you will have a year before you must file your patent application in the foreign jurisdiction.

As you can see, there are clear benefits to filing a patent application as soon as possible. Certainly, it guarantees you getthe earliest possible filing date and protects you from losing patent rights. Even in the event that you do not feel ready to start the patent application process immediately, we suggest you call to discuss strategies to best protect your intellectual property rights in the early stages of development.

The content of this article is not intended to be, and does not constitute, legal advice and does not create attorney-client privilege. Consult the attorney of your choice before embarking on any legal matter or any document preparation/filing.

Jeff Watson is a Patent Attorney practicing in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Grell & Watson Patent Attorneys LLC
3911 Carmel Acres Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28226

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USPTO Satellite Offices

USPTO Satellite Offices – Coming Soon To a Time Zone Near You


December 2014

Patent Case Summaries

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Patent, Trademark and Copyright Cases To Watch In 2015

Patent, Trademark and Copyright Cases To Watch In 2015

Patent Cases To Watch In 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide three patent cases involving claim construction, induced infringement and patent royalties in 2015, while the Federal Circuit grapples with the fallout from the high court’s recent patent-eligibility rulings and the standards for America Invents Act reviews.

Patent Legislation To Watch In 2015

After a bill aimed at cracking down on so-called patent trolls stalled in Congress last year, attorneys expect lawmakers to make a major push to enact legislation on the issue in the coming months, and also possibly weigh measures to clarify patent eligibility and extend the life of some drug patents.

Copyright And Trademark Cases To Watch In 2015

The worlds of copyright and trademark law are going to be anything but soft in 2015, with two trademark cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, a showdown between Google and Oracle over software copyrights looming, and more.

Fed. Circ. To Weigh Patent Impact Of ‘Raging Bull’

The Federal Circuit will consider whether the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Raging Bull” decision limiting laches as a defense in copyright cases applies equally to patent law, agreeing to conduct an en banc rehearing of its decision that an adult diaper patent suit was barred by laches because the patent owner waited too long to file suit.

Motorola Urges 9th Circ. To Overturn Landmark RAND Ruling

Motorola Inc. has hit back at Microsoft Corp.’s attempts to kill Motorola’s Ninth Circuit appeal of a decision that Motorola had breached an obligation to license its standard-essential patents to Microsoft on fair terms, saying that Microsoft is trying to evade infringement liability by hiding behind a breach-of-contract suit.


PTAB Says Filing Misstep Dooms Movie Studios’ AIA Bids

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has rejected petitions by Paramount Pictures Corp. and other Hollywood studios seeking inter partes review of two DVD patents owned by Nissim Corp., ruling that the petitions failed to list all of the interested parties in the dispute.

DC Circ. Voids $200M Judgment In Cuba Torture Row

The D.C. Circuit has refused to let a man who was allegedly tortured while incarcerated in Cuba in the early 1970s execute a $200 million default judgment upon patents and trademark registrations issued to nearly two dozen Cuban research institutes and enterprises, voiding the judgment.

Nexium Buyers Seek New Trial In Pay-For-Delay Case

A group of Nexium buyers has asked a Massachusetts federal court for a new trial over antitrust claims that AstraZeneca PLC and Ranbaxy Inc. used a patent settlement to delay the launch of a cheaper generic version of the heartburn treatment.

NY AG Says Actavis Can’t Suspend Antitrust Injunction

The New York attorney general has urged the Second Circuit to deny Actavis PLC’s bid to hit the brakes on an injunction that prevents it from halting sales of immediate-release dementia drug Namenda while the drugmaker pursues an appeal in the antitrust case, saying patients would be irreparably harmed.


Turtles Say It’s Game Over For Sirius’ ‘Fictional Analysis’

Three weeks after a New York federal refused to reverse her ruling that Sirius XM needs to pay to play pre-1972 records, the band that’s suing the satcaster is urging her to grant it full victory in the case.

9th Circ. Overturns ‘Pom’ Trademark Ruling

The Ninth Circuit this week vacated a lower court’s decision to deny Pom Wonderful LLC a preliminary injunction blocking the sale of a “pur pom” energy drink, saying the trial judge botched the likelihood of confusion analysis.

Google Pushes High Court To Take Up Java Copyright Row

Google Inc. recently told the U.S. Supreme Court that it isn’t trying to undermine copyright protection for all computer code in its battle with Oracle Corp. over the use of its Java programming language, saying only certain parts of the language aren’t copyright-eligible.

Shopping App Maker InMarket Ducks Injunction Bid In TM Suit

A New York federal judge has denied a request by Berkley Networks Corp. to bar rival InMarket Media LLC from using the “inMarket” trademark for its shopping discount app for smartphones, ruling that Berkley Networks can’t get swift court action after years of “lassitude.”

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New examination guide for specimens for service marks.

New examination guide for specimens for service marks.
This examination guide reviews the requirements for service mark specimens; discusses issues that frequently arise and
explains the relevant potential refusals; addresses the common types of specimens submitted in connection with modern
technology-related services; and provides examples.While the guide focuses on service marks for computer technology services in terms of discussion and examples, the stated specimen examination principles generally apply to all service-
mark specimens.
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Enhancements to the Electronic Trademark Assignment System (eTAS)


Enhancements to the Electronic Trademark Assignment System (eTAS) September, 2014


We are pleased to report that the following improvements have been made to eTAS during fiscal year 2014.  We believe these enhancements will assist our customers when filing and recording assignments with the Assignment Recordation Branch.

  • NEW CONVEYANCE TYPES: Added three new Conveyance Types to improve specificity in database and reduce need to file two documents in the case of merger and change of name:
    • “Merger and Change of Name” allows customers to select both conveyance types in a single submission
    • Entity Conversion
    • Court Order
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Patent Term Adjustment

Changes to Patent Term Adjustment in View of the Federal Circuit Decision in Novartis v. Lee: Notice of proposed rulemaking

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