Intellectual Property

We help our clients build their brands by leveraging the value of intellectual property, enforcing and protecting these valuable assets, and creating strategic plans for future growth.

The HSE intellectual property team advises businesses of all sizes – startup ventures to Fortune 500 companies – as well as entrepreneurs, investors, and individual inventors in numerous industries on securing, enhancing, protecting, and defending all types of intellectual property: patents, copyrights, trademarks and service marks, trade secrets, and trade dress. We deliver the quality of counsel associated with national firms at a significantly lower cost to clients.

Our team includes lawyers who have worked in in-house legal departments and who collaborate to nurture long term relationships with clients – start-ups as well as multinational brands. We work swiftly, but also thoughtfully and strategically, always with a client’s long-term goals in mind. 

IP Creation
HSE attorneys and lawyers in predecessor firms have secured IP protection for some of the nation’s greatest companies – including KODAK and Fisher-Price. Today, we work to secure patents, trademarks and copyrights for clients in myriad industries, including retail, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, office products and high technology. Our clients’ technologies include neural networks, integrated optoelectronics and gradient lens technology, dental and medical devices, biochemical and biomedical systems, ophthalmic and eye care products, blood sensing technologies, animal and plant genetics, steam generation, agricultural hardware and systems, and advanced materials applications.

IP Counseling
We work strategically – from availability searches to applications, registrations, and oppositions – to enable our clients to maximize the value of their IP portfolio. We assess potential threats and work to ensure that clients steer clear of conflicts with the IP rights of others. We produce comprehensive opinions regarding complex subject matter, while delivering information to clients in a format which supports business decision making. We work to anticipate changes in the legal landscape and anticipate potential conflicts.

IP Litigation
We represent clients in all aspects of IP litigation – in federal and state courts across the country and at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office – enforcing and defending the patents, trademarks, trade dress, copyrights and trade secrets of clients which have been infringed as well as defending clients accused of IP infringement. When necessary, we bring customs actions related to the monitoring and importation of infringing goods. Our IP litigators also represent clients in false advertising, defamation, franchising rights, and e-commerce (e.g., domain-name) disputes, and we defend the enforceability of confidentiality agreements and non-competition agreements.

IP Licensing
Our lawyers negotiate and draft licensing agreements relating to all types of intellectual property. We draft agreements which preserve as much flexibility as possible for our clients to respond to changing circumstances. We have managed licensing negotiations for IP portfolios for both U.S. and international clients.

IP Transactions
We represent clients in a full range of IP transactions including mergers and acquisitions, settlements in infringement cases, demands for revenue enhancement, and franchising agreements.

What We See on the Horizon

Contact our HSE intellectual property team for our latest insights about the following:

  • Navigating expected depletion of trademark designations. The available universe of word marks – trademarks based on words in an English dictionary – has shrunk to a level that is spurring fundamental shifts in the types of marks being sought. We work with clients not only to search the availability of marks, but to strategize brand development and protection in this new environment.

Food Safety Start-up: Protecting a New, Young Company Strategically

Where we started: Launched in 2012, Idea Boxx is a food safety start-up comprised of physicians, engineers and chemists who have developed a product, Hydra Rinse System, which cleans soft-serve ice cream machines. Hydra Rinse uses a technology-leading automated cleaning system, and the company’s senior management knew to expect that the well-established players in their sector would move quickly to duplicate the product. As a start-up, they wanted solid protection for their IP that wouldn’t cost a fortune.

Our strategy: We began by formulating a “jumbo” patent application for their invention – essentially encompassing each of the various technologies in the Hydra Rinse System that could be patentable. We explained that sometimes – especially when cost is a major consideration, as it is for any start-up and when the technology is well ahead of the marketplace – it’s best not to rush to get a patent. Instead, we recommend working to pinpoint the technology which is most important and get patent protection on that. Protecting the most important technology in the view of the marketplace provides the most valuable protection for the company in the long run. By building a jumbo application, we were able to preserve the ability to file at the appropriate time on any of the multiple technologies when marketplace intelligence was available.

The outcome: As is often the case with new products, it’s not possible to know exactly which technology or part of the invention will prove to be most commercially valuable. The company needed to launch its new product, watch the market response to it, and determine which elements of the product were most important to customers. Then, with the jumbo application in place, we were poised to file patent applications quickly – but only for the most valuable elements of the new technology. In this way, Idea Boxx got all of the protection they needed without paying for protection that wasn’t essential.


This website presents only general information not intended as legal advice. Although we encourage calls, letters and emails from prospective clients, please keep in mind that merely contacting Harter Secrest & Emery LLP (HSE) does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Confidential information should not be sent to HSE until you have been notified in writing by HSE that a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Information sent to us before then may not be treated as confidential by HSE or the court.

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