File Early: How Provisional Patent Applications Increase Protection

dan-beckerBy Daniel Becker

Many applicants make the mistake of waiting until they have an ideal embodiment reduced to a high degree of precision before drafting a patent application. While skillful application drafting is important to the value of the patent, it is a mistake to presume that one should wait to file until the invention is crafted to a state of perfection.

The value to the public of a granted patent is a fulsome disclosure that advances the state of the art. Patent protection effected by the application extends to the degree that the applicant’s claims are adequately supported by that disclosure. The requirement that the disclosure must be at least as much as is claimed seems logical with respect to the benefit of the patent to the public. However, for the applicant, it creates an inverse relationship between depth of disclosure and breadth of protection.

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The Chair’s Comments: Welcome to a New Year and a New Blog

fruth-darrellBy Darrell A. Fruth

Please allow me to introduce myself as chair of the IP Section, along with our new blog format.  We will use this blog to share articles and keep you posted on networking events and other programs that we are planning for the year.  If I can get you to do one thing, please mark April 28, 2017 on your calendar when you (and hopefully your family) will be attending our annual section meeting in Wilmington!

About Me   

It suits me to write my first Chair’s Comments in the form of a blog post, as I prefer less formal modes of communication. I spent my formative years in Las Vegas and then studied engineering at MIT and UC Berkeley before attending Yale for law school.  After law school, I clerked for a federal judge in Reno, NV, the “Biggest Little City in the World,” and practiced patent litigation in San Francisco.  I also took full advantage of the outdoor adventures, such as downhill skiing and mountain biking, that abound in the Sierras.  My family moved to Durham in 2005.  I currently serve as a partner at Brooks Pierce in Raleigh, where my broad IP practice includes licensing, assertion, and white collar defense.  I also co-teach the Start-Up Ventures Clinic at Duke Law School.

This Blog

With the support of section leadership, our intrepid editors Lauren Anderson and Michael Morlock decided to embrace the 21st century: We have switched our IP Links newsletter into a blog available to the entire world.  This should allow more timely stories delivered in shorter bites, but only if section members generate and share content relevant to our section.

The Year Ahead

Our section has strong leadership in the form of capable officers and dedicated committee chairs.  The trademark committee just conducted a seminar about beer law in Asheville.  Expect similar, top-notch programs throughout the year.  The cornerstone annual CLE will be presented, in collaboration with the Sports and Entertainment Section, in Wilmington on April 28.  We need you there.  Unless we have good attendance, the Bar Association will encourage us to hold all of our annual meetings at the Bar Center in Cary.  More importantly, our section sees real value in spending time getting to know one another.  In addition to CLE options, our events will stand out as a way to connect with your colleagues across the state.

I look forward to seeing you at an IP Section event soon!