Intellectual Property

Patent Update: That Was My Invention, Not Yours!

September
2019
Patent Update
M. Henry Heines
The law permits only one patent per invention, but occasionally, two individuals separately apply for patents on the same invention. This can occur when each individual independently conceives of the invention without knowledge of the other. But, it...

Finding Unknown Anomalies before They Risk Process Safety

Conference Presentation
AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
April 3, 2019
Four out of every five oil historical refinery accidents resulted from unexpected, unknown process and mechanical anomalies rather than known,...

Patent Update: Will Secret Sales Be a Bar to a Patent?

June
2019
Patent Update
M. Henry Heines
In one of its rare forays into patent law, the U.S. Supreme Court redefined one type of prior art ( i.e., the pre-existing disclosures or commercial activities that can invalidate a patent), narrowing the opportunities for inventors who engage in...

Patent Update: Patentable Invention or Mere Optimization

March
2019
Patent Update
M. Henry Heines
Chemical engineers often adjust process parameters to improve the conversion, yield, or product purity of a chemical reaction. But, when is improvement to a known reaction enough to qualify for a patent? The recent decision in E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. and Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) v. Synvina C.V. answers this question.

Patent Update: The Long-Term Consequences of Not Paying Maintenance Fees

December
2018
Patent Update
M. Henry Heines
Maintenance fees must be paid to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to keep a patent in force. If the invention covered by the patent is not in use at the time a maintenance fee becomes due or if the patent owner is short of funds, the...

Patent Update: Prior Commercial Use Can Affect Patentability

September
2018
Patent Update
M. Henry Heines
Inventors sometimes decide to apply for a patent after the invention has been shown to have commercial value. However, an early commercial use by the patent applicant, rather than a competitor, can be detrimental to a later-filed patent. The case of...

Patent Update: When Patent Enforcement Becomes Explotation

June
2018
Patent Update
M. Henry Heines
Patents are intended to promote and reward advances in technology, but they can also be a nuisance to both startups and established companies if the patent owner uses the threat of burdensome litigation to coerce companies into paying licensing fees.

Patent Update: Your Invention: Patent Worthy or Merely Inherent?

March
2018
Patent Update
M. Henry Heines
Many composition-based inventions stem from the discovery of useful but previously unknown properties of the composition. When such a composition is patented, infringers are often tempted to dismiss the patent as merely claiming inherent...

Amp Up Your Engineering Toolkit with Modeling Skills!

Conference Presentation
Southwest Process Technology Conference
October 10, 2014
Modeling and simulation are essential tools in every facet of the process industry with applications continually increasing. The ready availability...

Patent Update: Patent Exhaustion: The Patent Owner’s Dilemma

December
2017
Patent Update
M. Henry Heines
A patent gives its owner the right to block others from making, using, or selling products within the patent’s claims, or to demand a license fee for doing so. However, if the patent owner sells a unit covered by the patent’s claims, the patent...

Patent Update: Challenging Your Own Patent — Know the Limitations

June
2017
Patent Update
M. Henry Heines
Employees typically sign over their inventions to their employers, but this does not prevent employees from later moving on to work for a new employer or starting their own companies. When the business of the new employer or company conflicts with...

November 2016 CEP Preview

November 9, 2016

In addition to this month's cover story on food irradiation, you'll find articles on condensate return systems, budgeting techniques, patent strategies, and much more.

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