Design Patents and Shading

Shading in design patent drawings is not merely an embellishment but an element that communicates elements of an invention. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) imposes stringent guidelines on patent drawings in design patents, making shading indispensable for designers and inventors seeking US design patent protection.

Design patent drawings serve as visual blueprints of innovations, dictating the scope and character of the invention. The inclusion of shading can delineate surface contours, textures, and three-dimensionality, facilitating comprehension and clarifying what is protected to potential infringers.

Two primary shading techniques are commonly utilized: stippling and line shading. Stippling, employing dots to create gradients, may depict textured surfaces or other surface features. Conversely, line shading, achieved through parallel lines of varying thickness and spacing, may be used to illustrate and accentuate shape and depth.

Several best practices streamline the shading process. Accuracy as to the drawing is required to be able to accurately cover clients’ designs. Consistency in shading within each figure and within the group of figures is of high importance. Consistency operates to maintain coherence throughout the drawings. Although shading can be integrated in a number of aspects of a drawing, there is a balance as to the amount of shading necessary for clarity and care should be taken to avoid excessive detailing that may obscure the claimed design.

Shading should strategically accentuate unique design elements, highlighting the invention’s novelty. However, caution must be exercised when shading overlapping components to prevent ambiguity or otherwise introduce clarity concerns as to what is being claimed in the design. Moreover, foreign design filings do not utilize shading in the same manner as the US, thus, it is important to consider how the shading will be interpreted or removed for the related foreign design filings.

McCoy Russell has a specialty design practice that makes use of both in-house drawing specialists and trusted drafts teams to support its clients’ designs. Integrating shading with the design drawings is an important aspect of ensuring clarity in U.S. designs.

Top Patent Attorney Recognition

Patexia recently released their patent intelligence report for 2024. This report provides insights into the performance and activity of patent attorneys and agents, patent law firms, and companies by evaluating and ranking them based on their expertise, experience, success rate, and overall performance before the USPTO in the areas of biotech, high-tech, and overall practice. Among those organizations receiving accolades is McCoy Russell.

Further, John Russell has been ranked among the Top 25 Patent Attorneys. John has received much recognition for his work in patent law and is at the forefront of thought leadership through his blog, which has become one of the most popular patent prosecution blogs available. Mr. IP Law has no paid advertising, and is fully supported by John’s personal involvement. Mr. IP Law helps elevate the practice of patent prosecution to a different level by sharing ideas, practical strategies, and opportunities with the Intellectual Property community so as to approve the ability of all innovators in securing the valuable intellectual property our economy needs to thrive.

McCoy Russell congratulates John on his recognition among the Top 25 Patent Attorneys in the U.S.

McCoy Russell Celebrates Another Year of Practice in Intellectual Property Law

McCoy Russell, a distinguished firm in intellectual property law, celebrates another anniversary as the firm continues delivering intellectual property legal services and portfolio development to its clients. Since its inception, the firm has garnered a reputation for its high-quality patent applications, global trademark strategy, and cost effective solutions, serving a diverse clientele ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies to government agencies and academic/research institutions.

McCoy Russell hosted a cake cutting at firm’s collaborative space in the heart of the Pearl. As the firm celebrates another milestone, McCoy Russell reaffirms its commitment to providing legal services and supporting client success.

McCoy Russell 2024 Best Law Firm

McCoy Russell continues to receive recognition from Best Lawyers in Best Law Firms 2024 for Patent Law in Oregon. This recognition as a Tier 1 law firm underscores the firm’s unwavering dedication to providing elegant patent and trademark solutions for its clients and recognition among its peers in Oregon.

With a team of highly skilled staff, McCoy Russell is renowned for its holistic approach to patent law. From conducting patent searches to providing strategic guidance on international regulations, the firm offers tailored solutions to safeguard clients’ intellectual property rights and maximize the value of their inventions and develop their intellectual property portfolios.

McCoy Russell Participation In INTA Annual Meeting

As a part of McCoy Russell’s continued support of INTA, the firm is proud to announce its attendance to INTA’s Annual Meeting in Georgia in May. With its membership across 181 countries, INTA’s Annual Meeting is the largest gathering of its kind. Featured programming, business development, discussion on brand rights and IP innovation INTA is a unique opportunity to develop and deepen relationships and collaborate in developing ways to protect and promote the rights of Trademark owners.

OPLA’s Salishan Conference is Back

An active member in Oregon’s Patent Law community, McCoy Russell is pleased to have Justin Wagner attend Oregon Patent Law Association’s (OPLA) Salishan Conference in April. This one of a kind event hosted at Salishan Costal Lodge is focused on continuing education on topics relating to Patent Law and fostering community among patent professionals in the Pacific Northwest.

McCoy Russell is proud to support OPLA and its continued efforts in bringing unique topics in Patent Law to the local community.

Wes Nicholson Best Lawyers

Recognized for his work in patent law, Wes Nicholson joins the top 6% of practicing attorneys nationwide recognized in the 2024 edition of Best Lawyer’s The Best Lawyers in America. Best Lawyers is entirely based on peer review to capture the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

McCoy Russell congratulates Wes on his inclusion and recognition by Best Lawyers.

With over 15 years of experience, Wes currently supports some of McCoy Russell’s larger clients in developing their patent portfolios. Outside of the firm, he has been an active member in the Patent Law Community, serving as OPLA’s president in 2020/2021 and past president 2021/2022 bringing advanced topics in patent law and fostering community. Wes continues to partner with local organizations in presenting topics relating to patent law.

Current Challenges in Software Patenting

As progress in software-based innovations continues, so do legal debates surrounding the patenting of software. Following various historical twists and turns, patents have come to be granted to “processes, machines, manufactures, or compositions of matter” that are inventive—meaning novel and non-obvious—and which the inventor enables the public to practice after the patent expires. However, software abstract in ways that tangible inventions are not, and as a result software inventions have been subjected to significant additional criteria. Moreover, the line between patentable software innovation and unpatentable software innovations can be difficult to discern, which in turn complicates the patenting of software.

One of the fundamental challenges in patenting software lies in navigating the boundary of patentable subject matter. Currently, patentable subject matter doctrine revolves around the presence of language in the claims related to “judicial exceptions,” which primarily encompasses things like “abstract ideas,” “natural phenomena,” and “laws of nature.” Due to the abstract nature of software (as well as its complex relationship to mathematical algorithms), judicial exceptions have proven to be a source of contention among patent professionals, as well as in the software industry. It can be difficult to distinguish between software that avoids issues related judicial exceptions in a patentable manner, and software that includes abstract ideas or mathematical concepts in a way that will prohibit patent protection.

Additionally, some critics believe that granting patents for software innovations can inappropriately stifle competition and hinder progress. One contention is that the rapid pace of technological advancements in the software domain, and the increasingly collaborative and iterative nature of software development, the traditional patenting process—which is often time-consuming and resource-intensive—may hinder rather than foster innovation. Another contention is that granting patents for software innovations can lead to the creation of patent thickets, where a multitude of overlapping patents cover a particular technology, creating legal complexities and impeding further development.

Finally, the high number of patent infringement lawsuits in the software industry may be attributable at least in part to ambiguities surrounding the patentability of software. The lack of clear guidelines for determining the patentability of software inventions has contributed to lengthy legal battles and an environment where patent trolls exploit the system for financial gain.

In the next post, McCoy Russell will explore approaches to patenting software inventions taking these challenges into account.

AUTM Annual Meeting

McCoy Russell Partners John Russell and Justin Wagner are back from AUTM’s Annual Meeting. With over 2,000 attendees, the Annual Meeting programming was a great opportunity to learn from Technology Transfer industry professionals and experts on topics such as innovation harvesting and monetizing ChatGPT and Generative AI. John and Justin enjoyed meeting in-person with several clients and establishing new relationships as well.

The Evolution of Software Patent Law

The evolution of patent law pertaining to software has been a complex and dynamic process, shaped by historical roots, statutory patent law, and legal doctrines of both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. From the early days of English “letters patent” to the modern-day Mayo/Alice test, various key concepts and judicial doctrines have impacted the development of patent law relevant to software inventions.

Judicial doctrines related to patent eligibility are particularly significant to software patenting. Historically, courts have grappled with determining what types of subject matter deserve patent protection. Such determinations have been applied to software, which has rapidly advanced (following its emergence) to become a fundamental context of technological innovation.

The state of software patenting today is heavily influenced by key judicial doctrines related to Subject Matter Eligibility, Written Description, Enablement, and Best Mode, as well as (to a lesser extent) judicial doctrines related to Obviousness, Means-Plus-Function Language, and Claim Interpretation in the context of Functional Language. These doctrines provide a framework for determining the eligibility and patentability of software inventions, attempting to take into account the unique characteristics and challenges associated with software-related innovations.

As technology continues to advance, the impact of these key doctrines on software patenting will remain a focal point for patent practitioners and innovators. At McCoy Russell, we understand that navigating these doctrines is critical to effectively securing and enforcing software patents in the modern era.

In the next post, McCoy Russell explores software patents and the challenges they present in greater detail.