* The Sausage Factory (TM)

17 Seconds #39

Clocktower Law is committed to continuously improving its service. On 07/30/17 we launched The Sausage FactoryTM, a website powered by MAMP (open source software for the macOS operating system, the Apache web server, the MySQL database management system, and the PHP programming language) that now hosts the third generation of our IP law templates, which we use to communicate – in plain English – patent law and trademark law to our clients. For the curious, the first generation of templates were Eudora email templates, the second generation static HTML files, the third generation dynamic PHP files.

Converting our templates from HTML (a markup language) to PHP (a programing language) was nontrivial, because web browsers will render buggy HTML pages bugs and all, but a single error in a PHP file will result in the page not rendering, so zero room for error. Challenge accepted!

One cool thing about the project is that standard paragraphs (now called “includes”) are now automatically included in (i.e. linked from) multiple email templates. For example, if we change our address (as we did in 2016), then we only have to change one file (now called info-signature-informal.php), and all of the email templates that include the signature file are automatically updated.

There is a concept applicable to learning foreign languages and to marketing, namely the “seven times rule,” which states that a word (for language) or concept (for marketing) must be communicated seven times to stick. So we repeat ourselves a lot. It is intentional.

Here are the two new patent and trademark includes that are the most important for your business:

PATENT PLANNING – FILE BEFORE LAUNCHING. U.S. patent law changed significantly from 2011 to 2013 due to the America Invents Act (AIA) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leahy-Smith_America_Invents_Act). The AIA was fully implemented on 2013-03-16, which made the U.S. a first-inventor-to-file country (and replaced the former first-to-invent system). The U.S. is also essentially an “absolute novelty” country. As such, you should file your patent application before you launch (where “launch” is defined as sale, offer for sale, publication, or public use) your product/service/improvement. This is the only certain way to protect both U.S. and foreign patent rights.

TRADEMARK PLANNING – FILE BEFORE LAUNCHING. It is much more expensive (by about an order of magnitude) to cure trademark problems than it is to prevent them. As such, you should fully vet any new trademark (for a company name, logo, tagline, product name, service name) by searching the trademark and (if the search is positive) filing a trademark application. We have guided many clients through rebranding, which costs on average $50,000. In an ideal world, you would be the first to use, first to file, and first to register your trademark. Disputes with third parties can occur when one party is first at one thing and the other party is first at another. Registering your trademarks as soon as possible can also help you secure your brand on the Internet (including domain names and social networking usernames).

Everybody loves sausages but few like the inside of the sausage factory. We hope that The Sausage FactoryTM will be an exception to this rule!

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