What is Patent Law? What is Patent? A patent is a form of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of years in exchange for publishing an enabling public disclosure of the invention. In most countries, patent rights fall under private law and the patent holder must sue someone infringing the patent in order to enforce his or her rights. In some industries, patent law is an essential law form of competitive advantage, in others, the patent law is irrelevant.
The procedure of patent law for granting patents, requirements places on the patentee, and the extent of the exclusive rights vary widely between countries according to national laws and international agreements. Typically, however, a patent application must include one or more claims that define the scope of protection that is being sought. According to patent law, a patent may include many claims, each of which defines a specific property right. These claims must meet various patentability requirements, which in the US include novelty, usefulness, and non-obviousness.
Regarding with American patent law, they have been in the news often as Apple and Samsung have used patents to obtain monopoly rights in certain inventions. Although many object to anyone having a monopoly on an idea or invention, such rights have always been a fundamental part of the patent system. The importance of granting monopolies for new inventions or patent law has been recognized in the United States since the adopting of the United States Constitution.
As for the patent law, the patents in the United States are governed by the Patent Act (35 United States Code), which established the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the USPTO). The most common type of patent law is a utility patent. Regarding with Utility Patent Law, the utility patents have a duration of twenty years from the date of filing, but are not enforceable until the day of issuance. Design patents protect ornamental designs. Plant patents protect new varieties of asexually reproducing plants.
To obtain protection under United States Law, the applicant must submit a patent application to the USPTO, where it will be reviewed by an examiner to determine if the invention is patentable. United States law grants to patentees the right to exclude other from making, using or selling the invention.
As for UK patent law, it is a legal right granted by the United Kingdom intellectual property office for a new invention. It allows the owner of the patent (the patentee) to take legal action against others who use his invention without his permission. The right has a maximum life-time of twenty years in most countries, from the date of the patent application. What a patent does not do is give the owner an automatic right to use the invention. He still needs to take care to avoid infringing other people’s rights.
Here are the best American and United Kingdom patent law firms.
- Oblon, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, L.L.P.
Oblon is an intellectual property law firm in Alexandria, Virginia, especially in the patent law firm. It was founded by Norman F. Oblon in 1968. Oblon is one of the largest law firms in the United States focusing exclusively on patent law. The law firm performs trademark and patent prosecution, as well as litigation and Post-Grant Proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The firm has been ranked first among law firms based on the number of utility patent law applications filed per annum for 27 years.
Oblon is consistently recognized as an industry leader, with annual accolades from reputable publications such as Chambers and Partners USA, U.S. News and Beast Lawyers (named “a Best Law Firm” for 2020), Corporate Counsel Magazine (named a “Go-to” law firm by the top 500 U.S. companies), and Intellectual Property Today (ranked first on the list of “Top Patent Firms”). The firm has obtained more U.S. utility patents than any other firm in the world for nearly 30 consecutive years.
Oblon’s attorneys and professionals collectively offer centuries of USPTO insights and expertise and serve as an invaluable resource to Oblon clients that have come to rely on the firm’s uniquely qualified experts, including many former patent examiners and administrative patent Judges (APJs) in patent law. Today, most of Oblon’s management team is made up of patent prosecution practitioners.
In addition to its renowned patent prosecution practice, the firm has a precedent-setting litigation practice, having litigated cases such as the Festo case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Oblon patent law firm has extensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of intellectual property litigation especially in patent law and trade secret disputes.
- Sughrue Mion LLP
Sughrue is an intellectual property law firm especially focusing in patent law. They handle every aspect of intellectual property law especially in patent law. They have kept this area, patent law as their exclusive as a way to ensure that they provide the highest possible expertise to their clients. They have obtained more United States patents than any other law firm in the world. And they have successfully litigated patent law disputes in every popular forum, including United States District Courts across the country, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).
With nearly 100 patent attorneys that have science or engineering degrees, many at the post-graduate level, they can provide in-depth coverage of any patent law area. The size of their patent law teams allow them to help patent law clients efficiently develop large patent portfolios and litigate complex patent law disputes. They are steeped in Post Grant Review proceedings under the America Invents Act, including Inter Partes Review (IPR), Post-Grant Review (PGR), Covered Business Method (CBM) , reexamination, reissue, and interference proceedings for which they are uniquely qualified due to their deep prosecution and inter partes experience before the PTO.
- Fish and Richardson P.C.
Fish and Richardson P.C. is a global intellectual property litigation, commercial litigation and patent law firm with more than 400 attorneys and technology specialists across the U.S. and Europe. Fish is one of the most sought-after firms for both patent prosecution and patent litigation services among Fortune 100 companies. Fish has been named the first patent law firm in the United States for twelve consecutive years. In 2016, Fish was a finalist for American Lawyer’s “Top IP Litigation Department of the Year”. Fish’s intellectual property practice received a top “Tier 1” U.S. ranking by Managing Intellectual Property Magazine from 2011-2015. The firm’s growing regulatory group advises clients seeking to market products subject to United States Federal Communications Commission and the Food and Drug Administration regulation.
As the market leader in patent law, the world’s most innovative companies trust Fish with their important, technically sophisticated matters. Their success is rooted in their deep expertise and experience, fluency in every technology area imaginable, their robust industry knowledge, and their strategic and tenacious problem-solving abilities. Fish’s trial lawyers dominate in every venue – scoring more high-profile wins across the board than any other firm.
Fish is the most active firm involved in post-grant proceedings, representing clients across a wide range of industries as petitioner and patent owner. For practitioners and those looking to learn more about post-grant proceedings, their team provides practical tools and interactive resources through their dedicated website. Organizations that value their patent law rights as a strategic and important business asset chose Fish for their technical depth, strategic patent, trademark, and copyright counseling and portfolio management, and their experience handling complex licensing and regulatory matters.
- Cantor Colburn LLP
For more than 50 years, Cantor Colburn has provided comprehensive patent law services to a diverse group of domestic and foreign companies. As one of the nation’s largest and most productive full-service patent law firms, their more than 100 attorney and agents provide exceptional counsel to clients from offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Hartford, and Detroit.
Acknowledged leaders in their field, they bring an unparalleled level of experience and skill to the challenge of helping their clients protect and defend their valuable intellectual properties. They proactively partner with their clients to devise targeted, timely, and cost-effective strategies and services – so that they can realize the full value of their patent law assets.
Their focused approach to patent opinion, preparation, and prosecution of patent applications helps clients successfully minimize the risk of patent infringement when bringing new products to market. At the same time, their astute patent portfolio analyses and strategic patent counseling help clients develop and maintain robust patent portfolios and positions that generate increased margins and growth.
With highly specialized knowledge and in-depth understandings of clients’ businesses, they support the technological innovations that are driving the world economy. Exceptionally, well versed in a wide range of cutting-edge technologies, they are ideally positioned to assist clients in a broad spectrum of industries, including aerospace, mechanical engineering, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, biotechnology, medical devices, software and chemical engineering.
- Birch Stewart Kolasch and Birch LLP
Birch, Stewart, Kolasch and Birch, LLP (BSKB) is an internationally-recognized and highly-respected intellectual property law firm especially in patent law firm committed to obtaining and enforcing patent law firm rights for their patent law firm clients.
Since 1976, BSKB has been providing a full range of patent law services to clients in the areas of patent prosecution, post-grant proceedings, litigation, opinions and counseling, design patents, trademarks and licensing. Their knowledgeable attorneys and agents hold advanced degrees and are experienced in the fields of chemistry, electronics and IT, mechanical engineering and life sciences/biotechnology.
They believe in offering every client quality, personalized service, and are committed to educating their clients to help them make the most of their patent law. BSKB has a rich tradition of offering seminars on patent law that have attended by practitioners from around the world.
- Allen and Overy
Allen and Overy LLP is an international patent law firm. It is a member of the UK’s Magic Circle of leading patent law firm. In 2019, Allen and Overy advised on more transactional deals than any other patent law firm in the world and was one of two firms to have surpassed the USD 1 trillion mark in terms of deal value, totaling USD 1.16 trillion USD. As of 2019, Allen and Overy is the world’s tenth largest patent law firm by revenue.
The original founders of Allen and Overy were patent law’s original odd couple, the former tall, dark and handsome, the latter a rather less imposing figure. According to the official history of Allen and Overy, they may not even have been particularly good friends, but the law firm they created endured to become what is now recognized as one of London’s “magic circle”.
The patent law team at Allen and Overy LLP attracts praise for its outstanding ability, client awareness and total commitment to the cases it handles. The group assists with a combination of contentious and commercial matters relating to the full range of IP rights. Recent work highlights include representing Huawei in Conversant’s high-profile claim for a declaration that it has offered FRAND terms relating to its SEP portfolio, as well as acting for Eli Lilly in its appeal to the Supreme Court against an order for the revocation of its patent for its Tadalafil product.
Global head of IP, litigator David Stone, has a particular experience in EU design law, while Jim Ford heads the commercial IP practice. Other names to note include patent litigator Mark Ridgway, who focuses on the telecoms, pharmaceuticals and biotech industries; life sciences and consumer products patents litigator Marc Doring; Mark Heaney, who has expertise in the hi-tech sector, and life sciences sector specialist Marjan Noor, who ‘brings a unique combination of client care and detailed involvement to a case’. Nicola Dagg departed to Kirkland and Ellis International LLP.
- Bird and Bird LLP
Bird and Bird is an international patent law firm with a focus on helping organizations being changed by technology and the digital world. They have over 1,300 lawyers in 29 offices across Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and North America.
Bird and Bird LLP’s patent law team has broad capabilities across the full range of rights, with a strong reputation for patent and trade mark disputes in the technology, communications, life sciences, and media and entertainment sectors.
Patents are the life blood of the innovation business. And in a world that moves at the speed of change, no business wants to be stopped in its tracks. To keep you ahead of the patent curve, their expert, straight-talking patent advice gets tangible results in the real world. Their vast cross-border experience, specialist sector knowledge and technical backgrounds in relevant scientific disciplines means that they are ready for you regarding with patent law. Their new inventions and their existing patent portfolio, valuing, counselling, protecting and exploiting would help you in patent law.
They go further, with a reputation, innovative approach and passion for tech that speaks volumes about what they can achieve in negotiation and litigation in patent law. The patent law team of Bird and Bird LLP is free for you to innovate with confidence and to give your business a clear competitive edge in patent law.
- Bristows LLP
Bristows is a full-service patent law firm, particularly known for its technology, patent law and intellectual property work. In January 2008, the firm relocated from Lincoln’s Inn Fields to new City Offices on the first two floors of 100 Victoria Embankment, London (also known as Unilever House). In May 2018, the firm opened its first international office in Brussels.
Bristows LLP has ‘a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise’ in patent law, trade mark and design portfolio management, advertising and marketing, sponsorship arrangements and other commercial ventures. The practice has a niche specialty working with major advertising and publishing houses such as the WPP Group, the Financial Times and Guardian News and Media. On the advertising side, Paul Jordan is experienced in multi-platform advertising clearance, regulatory matters, advising on influencer and promotion agreements and defending against Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) complaints, such as defending Gtech in a high-profile comparative advertising complaint brought by Dyson.
Bristows LLP has consistently ranked in the top tier in all major directories especially in patent law. This patent litigation’s practice combines technical expertise covering all the major scientific and engineering disciplines, with an unrivalled depth and breadth of litigation experience.
Whilst operating mainly in the Patents Court in London, their team is also very experienced in the coordination of international disputes (including arbitration), often also working with colleagues in complementary practices within Bristows in areas such as regulatory and competition law.
Whilst practicing mainly in the London Patents Court, the team also has substantial experience of acting in smaller cases in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, and the Patent Office where they also offer advocacy services. They deal with all types of patent disputes, including as well as infringement and validity cases, matters such as entitlement or ownership, SPCs, employee compensation, exhaustion of rights, and threats of patent infringement. The team also deals, often in conjunction with colleagues in the commercial and technology disputes group, with licensing disputes which may involve arbitration or other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
- Hogan Lovells International LLP
Hogan Lovells International LLP is an American-British patent law firm co-headquartered in London and Washington. It was formed on May 1, 2020 by the merger of the American patent law firm of Hogan and Hartson and the British patent law firm Lovells. Hogan Lovells has around 2,800 lawyers working in more than 40 offices in the United States, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Hogan Lovells attracts praise as ‘one of London’s patent litigation powerhouses’ according to clients it is ‘very experienced at running telecoms patent law disputes, which include FRAND issues’ but also has experience assisting clients across the life sciences, consumer good and automotive sectors. Practice head Paul Brown is highlighted as ‘the pre-eminent mobile phone litigator in the UK’. Daniel Brook is ‘the sort of person you would want to defend a difficult case’ in the life sciences sector, and ‘fantastic tactician’ Stephen Bennett’ brings a steady hand to the tiller in any complex multi-jurisdictional technology case’. ‘Standout’ counsel Emma Fulton is another key name to note for patent litigation in the life sciences and electronics industries, while Sahira Khwaja is highlighted for brand protection matters in the consumer goods and TMT sectors.
- Powell Gilbert LLP
Powell Gilbert is a specialist patent law firm with one of the largest, most innovative and highly regarded IP litigation and advisory teams in the United Kingdom. With extensive litigation experience and lawyers who have strong scientific and technical backgrounds, the firm is uniquely positioned to address complex and commercially critical IP matters.
They are widely recognized as market leaders in patent law. They offer a powerful combination of exceptional legal experience and market-leading technical and commercial insight to develop robust strategies. Powell acts especially in patent law dedicating to serving clients across the full spectrum of knowledge-driven industries, from cutting-edge technology and life sciences to creative and brand-driven businesses. Founded in 2007, the patent law firm has quickly established itself as one of the largest, most innovative and most highly regarded patent law firms in the UK.
Their work for clients often involves coordinating multinational patent litigation and they have been involved in many of the most technically complex, legally challenging and high-profile cases before the UK Patents Court, including the first patent case before the UK Supreme Court. Whether acting in ground breaking biotechnology patent cases or the most complex of mobile phone litigation and everything in between, they offer a breadth of experience and insight in patent law.
They regularly feature in the top tier for patent litigation in Legal 500, Chambers and IAM 1000: World’s Leading Patent Partitions and they are currently one of the most active patent law firm in the UK Patents Court in the Lawyer’s litigation tracker.