Stockton Patent Attorney 


Welcome to the premier intellectual property law firm in Stockton. We specialize in intellectual property, including patents. Our patent attorneys have decades of experience in securing patents for our clients. We understand the unique challenges and opportunities businesses and entrepreneurs face in safeguarding their innovations. We have the expertise to secure your patent rights and guide your business through the necessary processes to safeguard your intellectual property. We are committed to personalized service and legal excellence, so that we can protect your innovations and empower your business to thrive in a competitive market.

Complete Patent Services

Our law firm, staffed with experienced patent attorneys, specializes in delivering comprehensive patent protection services for large companies, small businesses, and individual entrepreneurs and inventors. We provide a full suite of patent services to our clients, as listed below.

Our services include:

  • Comprehensive patent searches and analysis.

  • Drafting and filing patent applications of all types.

  • Patent prosecution and maintenance.

  • Securing foreign patent rights. We guide clients through the intricacies of seeking patent protection through the Patent Cooperation Treaty process and direct filings in foreign patent offices.

  • Patent licensing and transfers.

  • Legal representation in patent disputes and patent infringement cases

Our patent attorneys are dedicated to providing exceptional service and strategic guidance to protect your intellectual property and support your business's growth and innovation.

What is a Patent? What Kinds of Patents are There?

The United States Patent System includes multiple types of patents that protect different types of innovations, which are all governed by federal law. It is important to identify the appropriate patent type that best fits your innovation before you a patent application is filed. Different types of patents cover different patentable subject matter. A utility patent can cover a machine, an article of manufacture, a composition of matter, or a new and useful process. An innovation that involve aesthetics is more appropriately covered by a design patent, which safeguards the unique ornamental design of a product. Plant patents protect rights to new and distinct plant varieties. Our patent attorneys have thorough understanding of the facets of patent law and the different forms of patent rights that can be pursued. We navigate the complexities of the patent system for our clients to ensure that each client's patent rights are fully preserved and protected, whether by utility patents, design patents, and/or plant patents.

Patent Search - The First Step in Pursuing Patent Protection

Our firm provides comprehensive patent search services, which is an essential step before filing a patent application. To ensure robust patent protection, a thorough patent search must be performed. Filing a patent application without performing a patent search leaves the applicant vulnerable to rejections by the patent offices that could have been foreseen. Our patent professionals conduct a search of both United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and foreign patent databases, as well as other forms of prior art. Prior art is any public information that is related to an invention and was publicly known prior to the filing date of the corresponding patent application. Prior art includes magazine articles, research papers, product manuals and brochures, Youtube videos, patents, patent applications, and any other related public information. We meticulously search the prior art to make a determination as to whether your invention qualifies as patentable subject matter. Once we determine the chances of success of pursuing a patent application, the client can make a business decision about whether to move forward with a patent filing.

Filing a Patent Application - Patent Pending

To pursue a utility patent application, a Patent Attorney must prepare a complete and through patent application that incudes a description of the invention that would enable a person of ordinary skill in the relevant art (field of technology) to practice the invention without undue experimentation. Additionally, a patent application is a highly formalized document that includes distinct sections that must be included: a written description that provides the thorough and detailed description of the invention, professional-level drawings, and one or more claims distinctly claiming the subject matter regarded as the invention. The patent application must meet these requirements in order to preserve your patent rights. If the patent application fails to properly disclose the invention, it will be rejected by the patent office. The filing date of the patent application sets the invention's priority date, which is the effective date of invention. The America Invents Act established that the first inventor to file a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has the better rights to an invention, regardless of who first conceived such invention. There are exceptions to this approach, e.g., in cases where the first person to file derived or copied the claimed invention from someone else, but first-to-file is the general rule. Once a patent application is filed, the invention is patent pending.

The patent application process generally includes the following steps:

  • Analyzing the patent search and prior to determine the available scope of the patent application and advising on available patent rights and patent application strategy

  • Drafting a comprehensive written description of the invention

  • Preparing professional and detailed drawings of the invention

  • Crafting strong patent claims in light of the patent search

  • Filing the utility patent application to secure a priority date and "patent pending" status

Our assistance and expertise provides inventors and patent owners confidence in navigating the patent application process. We work tirelessly to ensure that their innovations are protected and their patent rights are secured.

Provisional Patent Applications

When an invention is conceptual but not market-ready, the attorney may advise filing a provisional utility patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). These applications serve to establish an early filing date, securing the inventor's patent rights and establishing "patent pending" without yet moving forward with the formal patent examination process. A provisional application doesn't need to meet all the formalities of non-provisional utility patent applications, but it should contain a detailed written description to support future claims. Provisional applications provide a 12-month period during which the inventor can refine the invention and file additional provisional applications if needed, all while maintaining the initial provisional filing date as the priority date for subsequent non-provisional utility patent application filings.

The provisional filing date is effective for preserving patent rights, especially in the "first-to-file" system established by the America Invents Act. The non-provisional application, which claims priority from the provisional application, must be filed within 12 months to maintain the priority date. Provisional applications are not published, maintaining the invention's confidentiality and allowing for trade secret protection during its pendency. Importantly, the 12-month period of a provisional application does not count against the 20-year term of a subsequently filed utility patent application, thus not reducing the overall patent term. This strategy not only secures early patent protection but also defers the costs associated with non-provisional patent filing and examination fees, offering strategic and financial benefits while seeking comprehensive patent protection.

Patent Examination Process for Utility Patents

A Patent Attorney plays a crucial role in navigating the patent examination process for utility patent applications. Once a utility application is filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it enters an examination phase where a patent examiner reviews the application file and submitted patent documents. The against formal requirements of patent law and conducts a prior art search to assess the novelty of the invention in relation to other inventions. During this process, if the examiner identifies any issues regarding novelty or obviousness with respect to the claimed subject matter, an office action may be issued, prompting the applicant to respond. The patent applicant can respond by amending one or more claims and presenting legal arguments to overcome the rejections issued by the patent examiner. If the examiner is convinced that the invention is patentable, a notice of allowance may be issued. If the examiner believes that issues of patentability remain, a final rejection may be issued. A final rejection is not necessarily the end of the examination process. The patent attorney can respond to the further rejections if the examiner has misinterpreted the invention or there is a continuing basis to distinguish the claimed invention from the prior art. However, additional fees may be required to continue examination. Our attorneys efficiently prosecute patent applications on behalf of our clients to get a patent at the earliest possible time.

Throughout the patent examination process, the patent attorney aids in strategically responding to office actions, negotiating with the patent examiner, and refining the utility application to ensure that it provides the broadest possible patent coverage while distinguishing the claimed subject matter from the prior art. This careful negotiation and amendment process aim to secure exclusive rights for the invention without unnecessary narrowing of the claimed invention. If successful in this process and a patent issues, the patent applicant gains exclusive rights in the invention for a term of twenty years from the filing date, thereby securing the patent owner a long-term competitive advantage. While patent examination can be a lengthy process, the longstanding exclusive rights are well worth it if the patent covers an important product or innovation for the patent holder.

Issued Patent and Next Steps

An issued utility patent provides the patent holder with the exclusive right to exploit the patented invention, offering protection against unauthorized use, sale, or production. This legal safeguard encourages innovation and investment in new technologies. Patent marking, which involves labeling the product with the patent number, is crucial as it provides constructive notice to the public of the patented status of the invention, enhancing the patent holder's ability to claim damages in infringement cases. If the patent holder wishes to seek additional patent coverage, they have the option to file a continuation application, allowing them to pursue additional claims for the same invention. This strategy can be particularly beneficial for evolving technologies, where subsequent applications filed can extend the scope of the original patent, thereby reinforcing the protection of the patented inventions over time.

Foreign Patent Applications

Our law firm has the expertise and connections to assist patent owners that wish to seek patent protection beyond domestic borders through foreign patent applications. We can file an international application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which acts as an international provisional application. The PCT patent system allows inventors to file a single international application, securing a filing date that serves as the basis for pursuing patent protection in various countries. This step is vital for maintaining the exclusive rights to the an invention, enabling subsequent national phase submissions within 30 months of the initial filing date in the countries in which the patent owner wishes to pursue patents. The patent owner should only pursue patents in countries in which it will be commercially exploiting the invention.

The national phase patent applications must be filed in the patent offices of each country in which the patent holder wishes to seek rights. The pursuit of foreign patent protection is a strategic move to commercially exploit patented inventions on an international scale, necessitating experienced guidance from a patent attorney. This process involves navigating the complexities of foreign patent law in different countries. Our law firm has an network of foreign patent associates that assist with local rules and requirements, that enable us to guide our clients through the patent process in all jurisdictions throughout the world.

Contact our Patent Law Professionals for a Free Consultation

If you're a business owner or entrepreneur in Stockton looking to maximize the commercial potential of your innovations, our patent professionals can guide you through the process of obtaining an issued patent. Specializing in procurement and enforcement of patents, we understand the importance of protecting your inventions and designs to leverage their commercial potential. We apply our extensive skill and expertise in procuring strong patents for our clients. We aim to create valuable business assets from your creations. For personalized assistance in harnessing the full potential of your innovations, reach out to our Stockton office and schedule a consultation with an experienced patent attorney.

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Patent Attorney

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    Client Review

    "Partnering with Mark Miller at Sierra IP Law is one of the smartest choices I could have made in the world of bringing a new invention to market. He is extremely responsive, knowledgeable, and professional. I could never have conceived of the areas he has advised me on and covered in attempting to write a patent on my own. He and his team have not only insured that my Intellectual Property Rights are well protected, but they have advised and recommended additional protections that I could not have thought of otherwise. I highly recommend Sierra IP Law to anyone looking for a strong and trustworthy legal partner."
    Fraser M.
    Client Review

    Sierra IP Law, PC - Patents, Trademarks & Copyrights

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