Once established, most intellectual property rights can be commercialized through the form of products and services or transferred to others. We prepare the commercial documentation to effect such transactions and, where necessary, record those transfers worldwide. Finally, protecting intellectual property assets from infringement by others or defending their use against the claims of others is the key to obtaining the expected value from creating or acquiring them. We assist intellectual property owners in protecting their rights through experienced counseling and representation in litigation and alternative dispute procedures.
In addition, the Technology Practice Group has extensive experience in representing users of technology, including purchasers of complex information technology systems. We have advised clients and negotiated agreements for acquisitions of both hardware and software, both customized and standard products. Indeed, our experience in representing technology vendors often proves useful in representing purchasers.
Specific substantive areas in which the Stoel Rives Technology Practice Group maintains expertise include the following:
Trade Secrets and Confidential Information
We assist clients with a wide range of matters relating to the protection of trade secrets and confidential information. Our work includes the preparation and negotiation of agreements with employees restricting their employment and post-employment activities (e.g., assignment of inventions, noncompetition, no solicitation, and "right of first refusal" agreements), preparation and negotiation of nondisclosure agreements, creation of internal systems designed to preserve and protect trade secrets, preparation, and negotiation of agreements with OEMs, VARs, and contract service providers designed to protect trade secrets, and litigation services associated with trade secret disputes.
The firm has experience in all areas of trademark protection and practice. We represent clients in trademark matters in state and federal courts and before the Patent and Trademark Office. Services to our clients include the development of trademark protection strategies; performing trademark searches; preparing, filing, and prosecuting trademark applications in the United States and internationally; preparing, filing, and prosecuting trademark oppositions and cancellations; and preparing and negotiating trademark infringement litigation.
We secure patent rights for inventions in numerous technological fields. These inventions include therapeutic and diagnostic biotechnology applications, electron devices, sophisticated analog and digital electronic circuitry, electro-optical systems, optical devices and systems, image display systems, color ink jet printers, hardware-and software-based computer systems, and numerous mechanical devices and systems. Our lawyers engage in the acquisition and licensing of patent rights in inventions and have experience in patent infringement litigation involving complex technologies such as holography, geometric optics, liquid crystal displays, automated machine vision, computer graphic displays, miniature electronic component testers, and automatic fluid analysis.
We secure copyright protection for original works of all appropriate kinds, including computer programs. Our lawyers have extensive experience in handling disputes involving material protected by copyright. Specific services include the development of copyright protection strategies; copyright searches; preparing, filing, and prosecuting copyright applications; preparing and negotiating copyright licenses; and providing services associated with copyright infringement litigation.
Technology Licensing and Distribution
Increasingly, our clients are acting as both licensors and licensees of technology. The subject matter of these licenses may be a patent, copyright, trade secret, know-how, trademark, or a combination of various forms of intellectual property. We have assisted clients with numerous foreign and domestic joint ventures and strategic alliances. Our lawyers have participated in organizing or restructuring major national and international distribution networks, and balancing and managing the many antitrust, technology protection, Uniform Commercial Code, export/import, and other legal concerns raised by complex distribution arrangements, including agreements with OEMs, dealers, distributors, and sales representatives.
Our intellectual property protection services include assistance in the development of company-resident protection programs. Such programs, developed according to each client's specialized needs, may include confidentiality agreements, employment agreements, trade secret protection programs, and intellectual property management.
We believe that effective protection of valuable proprietary information begins with the development of internal intellectual property education and confidentiality programs. Once established, these programs provide a strong foundation for effectively executing other types of protection programs, including patents, trademarks, and copyrights.