Patents & Trademarks: What’s Changing Now?

An interview with John D. “Jack” McConaghy, Esq.

Although copyright law has changed dramatically in recent years, I believe we are on the cusp of witnessing major new kinds of innovation in technology due to the impact of coronavirus on our global economy and the ways we work. As I like to say, innovation comes in naturally and grows individually.

In today’s world, trademarks remain one of the more important parts of intellectual property.  Trademark registration can stop others from selling and are useful tools in protecting intellectual property rights. However, copyrights are becoming harder and harder to protect. Within the entertainment industry, music and movies are accessible on the internet via sharing platforms and, with so many pieces and things copied electronically, the public no longer has a moral issue with copying things. Our collective mindset has changed. Patents used to be for devices, but now, because AI and computer programs are surpassing the efficiency of humans, it is more difficult to get patents on computer-based processes that can sometimes be viewed as generic.

The law can be enforced in places like the US, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Japan also offers reasonable protection of intellectual property. As Americans, we have to recognize that our protection is in a share of the market that
doesn’t include China.

At this pivotal time, we will be seeing more innovation, but it won’t be coming from large companies. I think it will be coming from the individual. In tough times, people become more innovative. Just look at 9/11 and the developments in communication that followed.

If you have an idea that will “set the world on fire,” patents are very valuable. Just look at the sewing machine or the steamboat. Because of coronavirus, we will see all kinds of innovations in technology, far beyond the medical field. And, because of employment losses, people will restart themselves and come up with new things.

We are at the dawn of an exciting new era in innovation. 

John D. (“Jack”) McConaghy is senior counsel at Karish & Bjorgum, PC. Mr. McConaghy represents clients in a variety of areas including patent counseling and opinions, due diligence, licensing, interferences, prosecution, reissue and reexamination in the mechanical, automotive and medical device arts, including trademark and unfair competition and trade secret counseling and opinions, due diligence, licensing, prosecution and oppositions. Mr. McConaghy is a lecturer and author, both domestically and internationally. Jack has been recognized by both Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers as a recommended intellectual property law practitioner in California. He is also a Martindale Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated Attorney and was named a 2011 Top Patent Prosecutor by the Patent Research Review.