Listed below are some of our patent services, but this doesn’t represent the limitation of our expertise. We can do everything you’d expect a patent attorney to do, and more. Our patent services are offered in complement with the rest of the professional and legal services you’d expect to help your business to succeed.
Inventors are far too modest. Despite being at the forefront of their industry, they often see their inventions as routine developments rather than something capable of attracting patent protection. We've got the technical foundation to understand the complexities of their work and the experience to draw out all of the special nuances that form the foundations of a robust patent. We will do this in a way that will educate and engage your technical staff, so as to continue to inspire their drive for innovation.
Harvesting the best of today's inventions is not enough - we will help plant the seeds of future inventions too.
Patent drafting is a skill that deserves mentioning all by itself. It is a skill that takes decades to finesse, and it's not difficult to see why. A patent specification is a technical document and a legal document. It must express your concept in terms broad enough to prevent your competitors from designing around it, yet provide progressive fall-back positions to be robust against attack. Drafting one is like drafting a contract from scratch, without precedent. It needs to be perfect from the start. Once filed at a patent office, turning back is almost never an option.
Our expertise and passion lets us draft the perfect patent specification for you. We'll do more than simply capture the essence of your concept; we'll make sure that the role of that concept in your business is reinforced.
Filing a patent application isn't only about procedure, it's about applying the right procedure to work in harmony with your business. Sometimes it is better to file following a slow-track procedure. This can keep your competitors guessing, reserving your rights for longer and delaying cost. Sometimes it is better to press ahead to crystallise the strongest possible protection as quickly as possible. Our filing strategy finds the perfect balance of protection, timescales and costs: one that complements your business strategy.
A patent filing does not automatically lead to grant. Your application will be closely scrutinised by an Examiner who is an expert in the field of your endeavour. Patents confer powerful rights and are only to be granted to those that have genuinely made a contribution. Examiners are the gatekeepers, and we know what they want to see to let your application pass to grant. However, we won't capitulate to them needlessly. We'll fight your corner before grant. Prosecution involves contending with Examiners to get you the broadest possible patent right for your business. This is something that we've been doing successfully for years. We'll win for you, because our experience has taught us which battles are winnable.
We'll fight your corner after grant too. We'll oppose and we'll counter opposition. We'll explore the possibility and benefits of avoiding disputes, but zealously step up to the challenge if that is the best or only option for your business. As a full-service law firm, we can implement solutions to resolve disputes outside the sphere of intellectual property too. After all, if you are forced to fight, it is shrewd to have many different lines of attack and defence.
Third-party patent rights are just as important as your own. Others may have conceived ideas similar to yours, and they may have done so before you. We provide patent searches and watches so that you can become informed and stay informed about what technology is protected, by whom, where, and how. Such knowledge can instil the confidence a business needs to launch a new product or to make a new investment. Moreover, it can guide development and patenting activity, serving as the inspiration for the next quantum leap in a technical field.
Standing on the shoulders of giants has never been so easy.
Completely avoiding risk is impracticable in the real world. We'll help you assess what your patent-related risks are, and ways in which the worst of them can be circumvented. This doesn't simply mean helping you pick an insurance policy. We'll get to know your business processes so that if a risk demands changing the way you work, we can find a solution that minimises disruption. We'll provide creative input about how, if you are forced to change, you can do so for the better. Our technical expertise means we can provide credible ways that your technology business can be made more agile to risk, without losing the core-competencies that are linked to its success.
Technical due diligence isn't simply about counting the number of IP rights, and confirming the chain of ownership. We ask the right questions so that the quality of the IP rights held by a business can be assessed. Patents can be particular tricky to assess, but we've got the technical knowledge to understand the very heart of a patent right, and the expressivity to clearly convey this to stakeholders. We'll flag areas where the purported role or coverage of patents are likely to fall short, or exceed expectations - and so where value is being lost unnecessarily or could be better leveraged. We'll also take a look at the ways a business treats its IP, and suggest non-intrusive ways that its capture and use can be used to boost value.
Most IP firms merely dabble in transactions, as these sit uncomfortably on the periphery of their professional remit. The case is refreshingly different with Ashfords. We are a law firm with a strong track-record for handling transactions. In 2016 we were rated the top firm for getting the largest number of deals done in the South West of England, and in the top 20 in the United Kingdom. Our patent services sit within our broader legal expertise, and so contracts, licences, assignments and agreements come naturally to us. With us, you'll get the depth of expertise of a patent attorney, and the breadth of knowledge of a law firm.