Lauren Edwards-Williams is the owner and CEO of Legend IP Consulting LLC, and an experienced intellectual property consultant who specializes in technical writing and intellectual property research. Lauren has spent over 5 years living and breathing intellectual property and every day her desire to help inventors and businesses succeed is furthered and inspired by the creativity and innovation of those around her.
FWM: You are the owner and CEO of Legend IP Consulting, LLC. Tell us about your background.
My academic background is law first and foremost – I have a First Class law degree from the UK. Pretty soon after graduation I moved to the USA to pursue an internship at a Patent and Trademark law firm where I quickly realized the intellectual property field is where I want to be! Through my work with IP law firms I gained a tremendous amount of experience and learned from many talented patent agents and IP attorneys on how to perform prior art patent searches and trademark search, draft patents, etc. I became General Manager of the firm within 3 years of my internship and was able to learn not only the IP law side of things, but also how to run a business and manage a team.
FWM: What services do you offer?
We offer IP research and IP technical writing. Particularly, we offer IP research such as ‘prior art’ patent searches and trademark searches to independent inventors, law firms, independent attorneys/agents, marketing firms, engineering firms – anyone who needs IP research basically! We offer IP technical writing which involves patent drafting assistance specifically for law firms and patent attorneys/agents.
FWM: Most of your team are inventors. They have been there and done it. Share the expertise of your team.
I’m lucky to have a wonderful team of very talented and knowledgeable people with a wide range of backgrounds. The beauty in our team is that we are all your ‘everyday’ type of people who happen to be really good at intellectual property! We have legal minds, ex mechanics, mechanical engineers, graphic designers, manufacturing experts, marketing experts, etc. Most of us have filed our own patents and gone through the patent process, and the marketing, prototyping and licensing process.
FWM: Why are clients coming to you today?
Our clients vary from first-time inventors who need guidance through the process, to patent attorneys who need help with their work to enable them to grow their business. We take immense pride in what we do and I believe our clients see that through the work we provide them and the customer service we provide.
FWM: What are some of the misconceptions when it comes to Intellectual Property?
Some of the big misconceptions I’ve come across in my experience are:
a) Many people expect that once they have their US patent that they will be protected worldwide. This is not true – patent protection in one country does not automatically provide patent protection in other countries.
b) Many people have an expectation that if the idea exists in a patent already, they can just change a small detail on their invention to get around the patent. This is not true. Whilst new ideas can be improvements on old ideas, they must be nonobvious improvements for a patent to be granted.
c) Many people don’t know that for the USPTO to allow registration of a trademark, they must be using their trademark in commerce in association with the goods/services they list in their trademark application.
FWM: How important is the one-on-one personal experience for every client? Can you share a few client stories?
One-on-one personal experience is of the utmost importance to us – our goal is to make every client feel like our only client and that their time is valued. Whether it means working all weekend to expedite work for a client or being on the phone with an inventor until midnight helping them organize their thoughts, I want my clients to feel as though I have their back.
FWM: For someone who has an idea and wants a patent. Take us through the process.
Assuming the idea is something that can be patented, typically, the next step is to perform a patent search. This is not required but is highly recommended as it allows the inventor to see what is already out there, assess how close to their invention it is and whether it is worth pursuing patent protection. Patent searches may be performed by the inventor – there are many free online resources for searching patents. However, it is recommended to use a professional such as a patent attorney or a professional IP research company like us.
Drafting and filing the Patent:
Assuming the patent search returns no close results and the inventor wants to pursue protection, they need to decide the type of applicable patent(s) – Utility, Design, or Plant. Utility patents apply to “useful” ideas; designs apply to “ornamental” ideas; and Plant patents apply to new plants.
Once the correct patent application is selected, preferably with the help of a patent attorney or agent, the drafting process begins. Once the draft is completed and approved, the attorney/agent will then file the patent application with the USPTO (or if the inventor writes the patent themselves they may self file).
Assuming the application is ‘complete’, an examiner is assigned to the patent application and decides whether to grant the patent application. Sometimes, a patent application will receive what is known as an ‘Office Action’ from the Examiner which explains reasons why the application does not meet requirements for issuing the patent. A response is required from the Applicant (or from their attorney) addressing the issues raised by the Examiner. After receiving the response, if the Examiner then determines that the application meets the requirements, a Notice of Allowance is issued. The inventor then must pay an issue fee. A patent number will then be assigned along with an issue date. The patent grant is then mailed on the issue date.