Own it

Before your startup signs that joint development agreement with a big corporation, be sure to file proper patent applications.

After the agreement is signed, there is only a “collective you”, so now is the time to document your ownership of the IP that you will bring into the project.

PS: This thought got a good amount of traction on LinkedIn. One commenter rightly added that it’s very important to define in the development agreement what happens with the IP generated within the project. He said “Make i.a. sure that you have access to this IP to be able to market your products (and not to be blocked) in the area of business that is important to your company.”

Can software be patented?

One of my favorite questions, obviously. And it came up again in my lecture about patents for startups last Monday.

Short answer: It depends on what the software does. If it solves a technical problem, then yes.

For an initial “technicality” assessment, rely on your gut feeling, but ask a patent attorney who is specialized in computer-implemented inventions for the details.

Also, here’s an overview article I wrote that summarizes the basics of software patenting in Europe.

Choosers and pickers

Sometimes you need to be a chooser and weigh all options carefully. For example when you buy a house or pick your patent attorney.

In other situations you need to be a picker and save your mental resources for other things. For example when the waiter asks you what you would like to have for lunch.

The tricky thing is to know when to be the one or the other.

I got this picker/chooser idea from a podcast but can’t remember which one. Let me know if you know the source.

Productivity hack (for patent professionals) #1

Some folks asked me to share some of my productivity hacks, so here’s one of them:

At the end of each workday, I select the exact tasks I want/need to work on tomorrow. I put them in my calendar (yes, I really make appointments with myself). I make sure that everything I will need is directly in reach.

This involves things like:

  • Putting the paper file on my desk if I’ll work in the office
  • Downloading the files I’ll need from our document management system if I’ll be working from home
  • Putting that booking number directly into my calendar appointment so that I can check-in for my flight right-away
  • Putting the text for that scheduled social media post directly into my calendar appointment (having a clear structure for time sinks like social media is probably a topic for another hack)

You see, the overall goal is to minimize “ramp-up time” in everything I do.

Disclaimer: This works for me, but might not work for you obviously, so apply with caution.

Please let me know if this is helpful, and I might share more productivity hacks. Also, please don’t be selfish and share one of your productivity hacks in the comments 😉

Don’t sacrifice the important for the urgent (#myweek 08/2020)

My work backlog was just about to get somewhat tense, so this week’s focus was on down-to-earth patent prosecution work. Also, this week I had an unusual amount of unplanned but urgent things coming in, which always bears the risk of sacrificing the important for the urgent (think quadrants 1 and 2 in Stephen Covey’s time management matrix 😉). It was a good stress test for my scheduling and prioritization skills.

Personal takeaway: Plan ahead, but don’t overplan.

This means:

  1. Schedule your week ahead of time to make sure you move forward on your quadrant 2 projects (not (yet) urgent but important), BUT:
  2. Reserve an empty time block every day to take account of quadrant 1 things (urgent and important).
  3. Minimize quadrant 3 (urgent but not important) activities to the extent possible, and eliminate quadrant 4 completely (not urgent and not important).

This is actually taken from Stephen Covey’s all time classic “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“, which I can highly recommend. I just finished listening to the abridged 3-hour version on Audible and will now start the full book.

I give some more context in my #myweek video on LinkedIn and IGTV in case you’re interested.

How was your week? What are your top time management hacks?

#myweek 07/2020

Happy Friday everyone, here’s what happened in my week:

I attended the (very helpful) “Opposition and Appeal” seminar by epi and the EPO. One highlight was Marcus Müller‘s presentation of the new Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal (Mr Müller is the chairman of one of the Boards of Appeal and was part of the drafting group that created the new rules).

The new rules codify the current trajectory of the Boards to make the appeal procedure a judicial review only and not a second substantive instance. For the parties, the new rules mean that the procedure is heavily front-loaded, forcing everyone to file all requests, facts, objections, arguments and evidence as early as possible.

Let me know if this is an interesting topic and I’ll maybe share more.

How was your week? And what are you up to?

#myweek 06/2020

Happy Friday everyone. This week…

  • We had a video shoot at the firm with our video production company – thanks to the highly professional people of Regiepapst. Please follow my firm’s LinkedIn to see the results.
  • My colleague Maggie made her long-awaited return from parental leave and we’re happy to have her back again.
  • I’m working on a new patent application in the FinTech space. The objective is to bridge the gap between cryptocurrencies and the traditional financial networks. Fintech really is an exciting but challenging topic when it comes to patenting, let me know if I should share more on this topic.

Next week I’ll attend the “Opposition and Appeal” seminar by epi and the EPO. Looking forward to Cornelis A.M. Mulder’s and Marcus Müller’s practical tips as well as insights into the new Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal. Say hi if you’re there as well!

How was YOUR week? And what are you up to?