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Chinh H. Pham is Co-Chair of the Emerging Technology Practice and is a registered patent attorney with experience in the strategic creation, implementation and protection of intellectual property rights for high technology and life science clients.

Chinh advises clients, ranging from start-ups to established companies, on the creation and development of patent portfolios through the preparation and filing of patent applications, the acquisition and exploitation of intellectual property rights through licensing and strategic collaboration agreements, and the preparation of invalidity, non-infringement, and freedom-to-operate opinions. Chinh also counsels clients on IP due diligence through the evaluation of client and competitor portfolios.

Chinh assists startup clients with strategies for leveraging their IP portfolio for high-value commercial opportunities, introducing them to funding sources, either through the venture community or the government, as well as identifying and establishing strategic alliances.

Gaming ConsoleVideo games were once associated with couch potatoes, but today there is growing legitimacy, especially around what is known as “eSports.” This type of professional competitive gaming is gaining popularity in the U.S., and eSports is breaking into the mainstream world — emerging technology companies, standard athletic programs, and even higher education institutions are jumping on the virtual band wagon.

According to Forbes, the U.S. started recognizing eSports players as professional athletes in July 2013. Last summer, ESPN.com began broadcasting an eSports championship, and Red Bull now sponsors a “Battle Grounds” eSports tournament.
Continue Reading Are You an E-Athlete?

Idea TreeConsider Provisional Patent Filings

Filing a provisional patent application in the U.S. is often a useful strategy for start-up tech companies. A provisional patent application allows a company to preserve an earlier filing date at a minimal expense and delays a much more significant expenditure associated with a non-provisional application by one year. By the anniversary of the provisional application filing, a non-provisional application must be filed in order to take benefit of the provisional filing date. A provisional application is especially useful if it provides a detailed description of the invention and preferably explains valuable alternative implementations. Otherwise any new subject matter added to the non-provisional application will not be given the benefit of the provisional application filing date.

Options for Non-Provisional Patent Filings

With the enactment of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) in 2011, there are now multiple opportunities to speed up the patenting process for which companies, such as those focusing on nanotechnology related inventions, can take advantage when filing a non-provisional. The two main options are (1) prioritized examination and (2) accelerated examination.


Continue Reading Provisional Patents as a Strategy for Tech Start-Ups

Top SecretTwo of the most important requirements of patentability are that the invention must be novel and non-obvious at the filing date of the patent application. In the United States, the prior sale, prior use or public disclosure of the invention by the inventor or others may affect your ability to obtain a valid patent.  Inventors may inadvertently jeopardize their ability to successfully apply for or be granted a patent by disclosing any information about the invention to the public, and thus, may fail to meet the requirement of novelty and/or non-obviousness.

Additionally, when you disclose an idea to the public, you risk waiving related trade secret as well as patent rights. Trade secrets are only enforceable when you have taken steps to ensure they are—and will remain—secret. Although an inventor has up to one year from a public disclosure to file a patent application in the U.S., it is strongly advised that an inventor first take precautions to protect all IP, or risk losing all IP rights. In the new U.S. first-inventor-to-file system, it is even more important to be savvy about disclosure – or you risk that another inventor could file a patent application before you.
Continue Reading Understanding What to Keep Secret

Multiple criteria have been used over the years by companies and investors to identify the commercial viability of Game Developer Creative Processa technology within a given industry. Included among these criteria are timeliness, market demand, and competitive advantage. These and other criteria may be applicable to more established industries; however, it may be more difficult to apply them when assessing technology within a new or emerging industry, such as video gaming.

In looking for potentially high-value opportunities, game developers may want to look at the patent system. In particular, the information available in a patent database, such as the US Patent and Trademark Patent Database, can provide insight into, among other things, early trends in technological advances, and when taken as a whole, such information can act as an indicator of potentially high-value opportunities.
Continue Reading Game Developers: What’s Your SWOT?