Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing are changing the manufacturing landscape. Copious numbers of companies are venturing into additive manufacturing and 3D printing for a variety of products and processes. Companies should be vigilant in protecting their IP rights in this area; this up-and-coming industry is estimated to be a U.S. 35 billion dollar industry by 2024 and will grow from primarily prototype use to everyday uses.
OBWB’s team of lawyers, patent agents, and engineers understand well the processes, materials, and applications for additive manufacturing. We also understand the challenges that additive manufacturing and 3D printing present to the current patent system by allowing for decentralized production and the special issues that may be raised in an infringement context. We assist clients with obtaining robust patents, as well as in navigating the complicated IP and licensing issues that arise in this industry. We represent clients using additive manufacturing and 3D printing in the following fields:
Since the early days of flight, the Aerospace industry has been considered the most technologically groundbreaking. Once mainly the realm of governments and extremely large entities, the aerospace industry is now booming among private enterprises of all sizes. Innovators in this industry are highly focused on obtaining, protecting, and commercializing their IP rights. Patents and licensing are especially important in this industry. Technology in this area is decidedly complex; rules, regulations, secrecy laws, and international treaties are extensive and nuances and small changes in technology must be considered when obtaining IP rights.
OBWB provides the full range of IP services relevant to design, engineering, manufacture, production, distribution, and use in the following areas of the Aerospace industry:
Today’s world is data-driven. Big Data is dynamic and powerful; voluminous amounts of data of all types and formats are being stored and analyzed. Machine Learning (ML) algorithms and neural networks allowing machines to not only analyze that data but also to learn, improve from experience, and predict outcomes are becoming more sophisticated. Everyday objects are becoming learning machines, and the Internet of Things (IoT) facilitates communications between those objects. This technology creates numerous and complex IP issues ranging from rights arising in the creation of the algorithms and machines to possible rights in IP created by the machines themselves. Due diligence in formulating patent portfolios and strategies, and infringement, validity, and freedom to operate opinions should be considered when developing a comprehensive business plan. Data protection and privacy, and information that may be viable and valuable trade secrets also are important considerations.
Many of OBWB’s lawyers, patent agents, and engineers have advanced degrees and experience in computer engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science. We help our clients to understand how and when to seek IP protection, when certain aspects of the business may be covered by trade secrets, and how to maintain a strong IP portfolio. Much of this Big Data industry is new and may force changes in certain areas of IP law, creating conflicts and disputes between industry competitors that are unseen. We help clients resolve disputes through licensing, dispute resolution, and aggressive litigation when warranted.
Specific areas of our expertise in this industry include:
The misappropriation of designs and plans has been a pervasive problem in the architecture and building design industry for many years, and the growth of CAD and online marketing has made this problem worse. Since the passage of the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act, however, architects, building designers, and engineers have robust legal protections available to them. Understanding and utilizing these protections is essential for this industry.
OBWB attorneys include nationally recognized pioneers and leaders in the field of architectural copyright law, and have obtained many of the largest judgments in this field, including a recent judgment for a building design firm for almost $29 million.
OBWB’s architectural practice includes:
The Automotive industry combines technologies from the mechanical, chemical, artificial intelligence, and computer sectors. Automobiles are one of the most complex products bought by consumers. The emergence of new entrants into this industry, as well as automated systems and driverless vehicles, create new challenges in the IP realm, while safety and security remain at the forefront. R&D is becoming increasingly expensive. New regulations and business models special licensing considerations, including FRAND licenses. OBWB assists its clients with patents, licensing, trade-secret theft, and other IP-related activities, facilitating innovation in every aspect of the Automotive industry, including:
The Beauty and Fashion industry has unique concerns when it comes to IP, especially considering the relatively short life span of fashion trends, the proliferation of counterfeits and imitation products, and the prevalence of social media posts of beauty and fashion items. Strong brand protection is essential to prevent counterfeits and to protect a company’s goodwill.
IP protection for things such as the color and design of apparel, jewelry, and shoes, and the unique formulations, textures, and scents of perfumes, cosmetics, and skin care products, may be vitally important to differentiate a client’s products from that of its competitor. Confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements and licensing are also critical in this industry. Gray market and first use considerations are common issues. Various phone apps that let consumers try on makeup and products before buying should be considered for patent protection. Counterfeiting and imitations are common in this industry and the advent of 3D printing brings additional infringement concerns. Finally, different jurisdictions around the world have differing laws in protecting fashion and beauty. OBWB has the expertise and background to advise its clients on all IP and related issues in this nuanced arena. Some of the more common areas in which we represent our clients include:
Although in relative infancy, Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is becoming a worldwide phenomenon. This technology will have a transformative effect on IP-intensive industries, making tracking and transfer of IP more efficient and effective. Using this technology both solves IP issues and creates new ones. IP litigation may increase as more businesses realize their own IP and that of competitors. OBWB works with clients to use Blockchain and DLT to achieve their business objectives, make IP more accessible, and make management of IP more feasible and economical. We also advise as to the patentability of blockchain technology developed by our clients. We are equipped to represent clients in areas including:
OBWB’s lawyers, chemists, chemical engineers, and scientists have the expertise and skills necessary to understand the most complex nuances involved with chemical compounds, compositions, and formulas, as well as processes used in chemical and materials engineering, manufacturing, and refining. Chemical and materials technology is employed in a vast array of products and processes. We incorporate a client-centered and solutions-based approach to provide our clients with strong IP portfolios involving all aspects of chemicals and materials including:
Computers, electronics, semiconductors, and software are and will be crucial for almost every aspect of any industry. Moore’s Law drives this industry. New innovations happen constantly and at extreme paces. OBWB assists its clients in obtaining and protecting their IP rights for devices, processes, and systems ranging from the tiniest component of a semiconductor to the vast range of applications for electronics. Cloud computing may one day overtake traditional computing. IP rights, especially the potential for shared ownership, allocation of cloud space, and territorial rights, as well as infringement issues, become exponentially more complicated in cloud computing.
IP rights in the Computers, Electronics, Semiconductors, Software, & Cloud Computing industry enable the ultimate innovation and growth for a business. OBWB’s proficient team of professionals represents clients on all IP issues related to this industry.
With OBWB headquartered in Houston, the Oil and Gas (O&G) Industry is front and foremost in our practice. Our clients range from multinational entities in the O&G industry to new start-ups. We represent clients in all three sectors of the Oil & Gas Industry, as well as supporting services.
Alternative Energy is energy derived from sources other than fossil fuels, including renewable energy and nuclear energy. Innovative technology in this industry will power both the developed and undeveloped world. OBWB assists its clients with IP rights relating to all sources of alternative energy, including:
IP and licensing rights are strategic tools used in development, production, and collaboration and are vital for commercial ventures. Our team is well-positioned to serve any IP needs this industry may require. We understand market fluctuations and help our clients formulate valuable IP strategies in order to remain sustainable and achieve their long-term corporate objectives. Licenses, due diligence, and freedom to operate remain invaluable in this industry. Not only do we help our clients establish and maintain their IP portfolios, we help them stay diligent in recognizing the IP rights of their competitors in the event that a competitor’s IP is obtained by a non-practicing entity (NPE).
The Sports and Entertainment industry thrives on trademarks and branding, but equally important to the industry are patents and copyrights, and the intricate licensing details of those IP rights is critical to cooperation among the industry players. A single sports product may be covered by a multitude of IP rights. Whether the client is a team owner, athlete, agent, clothing or memorabilia manufacturer or merchandiser, broadcaster, or event sponsor, OBWB assists its clients in bringing together all aspects of IP to form solid protection and monetization strategies. We assist clients with in the following areas:
IP rights have become extremely important in the Financial Technology (Fintech) industry. OBWB’s professionals understand the growing IP needs in this rising industry. We assist our clients in obtaining and protecting their IP in the following areas:
The Fintech industry is also involved in funding for research and development for many industries, as well as funding for IP litigation. We assist our clients in finding appropriate partners for these matters.
Suitable processes and products in the Food and Beverage industry are mainly protected by patents and, in some instances, are trade secrets. Trademarks cover brand names and product names. In some instances, design protection for a product may be valuable. OBWB’s team of professionals with biological, chemical, and engineering expertise help clients protect their investments in all aspects of the food and beverage industry, including the following:
Gaming and Virtual Reality has now become a multi-billion dollar industry. Copyrights are important to protect software coding, unique expressions, and the “look and feel” of the games. Trademarks protect branding. Patents protect the devices, processes, algorithms, and systems used in manufacturing the games and accessories to the game and in the games themselves. Virtual reality brings a word of complex issues to the IP arena. Infringement issues with “real-world” IP owners litigating infringement occurring in virtual world. OBWB represents clients with IP needs in the Gaming and Virtual Reality industry involving:
The Biotech, Life Sciences, Medical, and Pharmaceutical industry is vast and growing. For clients engaged in biotechnology, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, IP is the ultimate product and the single most important business asset. Global healthcare issues and the inclusion of smart technology in the medical field and in personal wearables make this industry ever more interesting. Researchers and developers, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical equipment manufacturers, and healthcare support services each have complex and different IP needs. OBWB has the requisite experience to evaluate the unique attributes important to each sector and represent clients in the following areas:
Manufacturing and Industrials processes turn raw materials into the products we use every day. Society depends on it. OBWB’s clients are involved in a wide variety of manufacturing and industrials practices, including chemical, mechanical, and physical processes. We help our clients stay innovative by protecting IP rights in those processes, as well as in the final products.
Nanotechnology is the wave of the future. Uses and advantages for nanomaterials and nanostructures are virtually limitless, making traditional industries more efficient and diverse. OBWB assists its clients with prosecuting and defending nanotechnology patents across a wide range of products and processes, and with leveraging those patents through licensing across a broad range of industries.
IP, especially patents, trade secrets, and design patents, are ever important in the Robotics industry. Products and processes using robotics are progressively moving into all avenues of life. More and more capital is being devoted to R&D and IP considerations are complex. OBWB assists its clients in determining the most suitable type of protection for their particular robotics devices and processes. We help our clients in navigating multifaceted issues, in protecting its R&D expenditures, and in securing a robotics portfolio that can be licensed and cross-licensed. We are also available to discuss upcoming questions of autonomous creation and IP ownership by artificial intelligence, an issue being considered in some jurisdictions. Some of the areas in which we assists our clients are:
The Telecommunications industry is responsible for the primary means of communication between people around the world. Participants in the industry continually strive for faster and more efficient data transmission. OBWB’s team has the requisite telecommunications experience and expertise to handle any IP need in this industry. We complement our expertise in the law with a working knowledge of the necessary telecommunications regulations and content property rights, to provide our clients with an industry advantage.
The Transportation and Logistics industry is one of the largest industries in the world, forming the global supply chain for many other industries. This industry is highly competitive and technological advancements quickly evolve. As a result, as with other industries, IP rights are becoming the driving force in obtaining market share and boosting commercial value.
OBWB helps its clients procure highly valuable portfolios and marketable or licensable assets. Most often, trademarks, copyrights, and non-disclosure agreements are key in this industry, but all types of IP are important. Businesses involved in global transportation must also understand the IP laws of multiple jurisdictions. We represent clients in the following areas, to make sure their IP rights are fully protected and are valuable business assets, and also that our clients protect the IP rights of their customers’ goods in transport.
We work in too many industries to list them all. If you do not see your industry listed, please get in touch with us.
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