SOURCE: Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks

September 15, 2005 07:02 ET

Winning the IP Game, Like Football, Takes Both Offense and Defense, Lawyer Tells Embedded Systems Developers

BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 15, 2005 -- Winning the intellectual property game is a lot like football: you need both a high-powered offensive and a tough defense, Edmund J. Walsh of Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C. told the Embedded Systems Conference here.

Embedded systems developers can use key intellectual-property-protection tools -- patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets -- to build an "IP toolbox" for both offensive and defensive purposes. Each tool gives the owner the right to exclude others from using its intellectual property, whether it's a patented invention, copyrighted creative work, registered trademark or trade secret, said Walsh, counsel with the Boston IP law firm.

"Offensive IP strategies let you block competitors, whether they're established companies, startups or former employees trying to rip off your property," he said.

On the offensive side, owning intellectual property lets you trade your right-to-exclude for something of value -- including royalties, favorable terms in a transaction or "anything else you can negotiate," he said. "With an offensive strategy, you can move the ball down the field and score points."

In contrast, defensive IP strategies come into play when freedom to operate is more important than enforcing IP rights.

"You can trade the right-to-exclude for freedom to operate by using techniques such as formal and informal cross licenses," Walsh said. "With a defensive strategy, you can block the IP rights of others and prevent them from moving the ball across the goal line."

The Embedded Systems Conference Boston is the most important educational forum on the East Coast for engineers and engineering managers developing intelligent systems that incorporate processor-based technology.

Founded in 1927, Wolf Greenfield is one of the most experienced law firms in the country specializing in intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, licensing agreements, copyrights, trade secrets and related litigation. Web: www.wolfgreenfield.com.

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