Protecting your IP — how we can help
Our IP attorneys have experience in all areas of electronics in both the digital and analog domains, including:
- analogue and digital signal processing
- automotive electronics
- energy generation and distribution (including green energy)
- healthcare electronics
- mixed signal circuitry and applications
- semiconductor devices and manufacture
- telecommunications and security
Our electronics team works with a wide range of clients across the commercial and academic sectors. We act for high tech organisations of all sizes, from multinational companies to SMEs and start-ups, as well as for universities in the UK and around the world.
We pride ourselves in getting to the heart of the issue quickly and providing our clients with practical advice, tailored to their commercial environment.
We handle a wide range of work, from the preparation, filing and prosecution of patent applications in the UK and Europe to freedom-to-operate studies and the assertion of IP rights.
For inventions implemented by electronic circuitry, we can aim to protect the circuit itself, including the circuit elements, the manner in which they interconnect and the way they interact to produce the beneficial result of the invention.
We can also aim to protect processes, such as the way in which a device can be manufactured or the way in which signals are processed or communicated.
Obtaining patents generally takes several years and can be considered a medium- to long-term investment. It’s often possible to take steps to accelerate the patenting process, such as tailoring your foreign patent filing program or asking the relevant patent offices to examine your applications more quickly. On the other hand, some clients prefer to allow their patent applications to be dealt with at the usual speed which helps to retain the flexibility to capture competitor’s products with their IP or defer patent prosecution costs.
Detecting IP infringement is a common issue in the electronics industry, particularly for inventions that relate to device manufacturing processes (which are carried out behind closed doors) and inventions where the relevant circuitry is embedded deep within an integrated circuit (IC).
Where possible, we aim to prepare and prosecute patent applications in such a way as to mitigate these problems.
If you are new to the patent system, you should bear in mind that sharing your invention non-confidentially (e.g. with a customer or supplier) before you file a patent application will usually prevent you from obtaining effective protection for your idea. While non-disclosure agreements can be used in some circumstances, our advice is normally that a patent application should be filed before sharing the invention outside of your organisation.
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