In an increasingly competitive and complex environment, we make your key priorities our key priorities: namely, to protect your invention, enforce your rights to your technology and commercialise your assets.
Today often the most substantial value of a business is based on its intangible assets. Intellectual property plays a key role in obtaining a competitive advantage. The right patent will prevent others from exploiting your inventions, or provide a substantial barrier to market access. We understand that your success can depend on the calibre of the patent granted, and with our combined technical and commercial expertise, we can ensure you are at an advantage from the very beginning. Our patent teams are skilled in creating cohesive IP strategies, including both commercialisation and enforcement, that will ensure the maximum value is obtained from your IP.
We can guide you through the full patent process, from before an application is filed, when the scope of the invention is still to be defined, to after grant, when the patent may need to be defended against third parties. We also have a track record of successfully opposing or otherwise invalidating a third party’s patent, carrying out Freedom to Operate searches and other due diligence work.
Patents can stand or fall by the quality of the first patent application, so excellence in drafting has always been a key focus for us. We write original patent specifications for a wide range of European companies and individuals as well as for an increasing number of overseas corporations. Such a wide client base means we are adept at fitting in with the range of drafting approaches. Some of our clients can provide us with a detailed Invention Disclosure document, setting out the invention over several pages with detailed drawings, a summary of the known prior art and some ideas for claim scope. Other clients do not have the resources or infrastructure to provide such detail and instead look to us to work with the inventor(s) to prepare the draft patent application. We have the technical experience and flexibility to meet each client’s preferred way of working.
In addition to technical content and assessment of the appropriate legal scope of the patent application, our drafting will always take into consideration the legal requirements of jurisdictions outside Europe, and we will tailor the specifications accordingly. We will also address commercial considerations such as any licensing or cross-licensing strategy, and structure claims in the most appropriate manner to accommodate them. We are also able to prepare patent drawings as required, both informal for initial filing and formal to meet patent office requirements around the world.
Filing and prosecution
Boult Wade Tennant offers an imaginative approach to patent prosecution and has enjoyed much success in having patents of commercially useful scope granted for clients worldwide.
We file thousands of patent applications each year at the European Patent Office, as well as the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office and, through local representatives, at national patent offices around the world. The prosecution process involves overcoming objections which can arise when an application is examined by the patent authorities, before a patent is granted. At any time we have responsibility for over 10,000 patent applications at various stages of prosecution. In order to meet these demands, we have invested in the latest systems and the operation of an online docketing system ensures that we meet all due dates for action.
Infringement and validity
Boult Wade Tennant has a wealth of experience providing both infringement opinions and validity opinions. Infringement and validity opinions can be provided on the basis of a specific patent (or design) right, or as part of, for example, a freedom-to-operate project. Freedom-to-operate projects provide an assessment, in advance of a proposed commercial launch of a product or process, of the intellectual property landscape and help to quantify the risks associated with third party’s patents and, if appropriate, designs.
A critical step in the process of preparing any infringement or a validity opinion is to thoroughly understand the technology. Our team has expertise in a broad range of technologies, so we can work directly with technical and business staff alike. The combination of technical experts and industry experience enables our firm to provide cost-effective pragmatic assessments of risk.
Boult Wade Tennant is well placed to guide you on enforcement so that you enjoy the commercial exclusivity that your patents are intended to provide. Should you become aware of a possible infringement, we will advise a practical strategy for resolving the situation. Ultimately, if it is necessary to commence proceedings, you have the confidence of knowing that our attorneys are experienced in providing litigation support. We work with the best IP litigators and barristers to ensure success for our clients in the UK Courts and overseas. We will build with you a winning litigation team that will not lose sight of your commercial objectives.
Choosing the right team to handle contentious matters is crucial. If you need to defend yourself against an accusation of infringement, or if you wish to challenge the validity of a third party patent, then you need to have confidence in your attorneys. Boult Wade Tennant is well placed to provide the litigation support you will need. Our attorneys have active and long-standing relationships with leading barrister and solicitor firms. We have the ability to put together a winning team that will work with you to bring matters to a successful, timely and cost-effective conclusion, whether that is in the UK Courts or overseas.
Opposition and appeal
Most days of most weeks you will find one or more of our attorneys representing clients at Oral Proceedings before the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich, The Hague or Berlin.
We have an enviable reputation for winning difficult oppositions and appeals. This has resulted in our attorneys being instructed to represent clients in cases of enormous value. Indeed, such is our reputation that we are often instructed on matters where the initial prosecution was handled by a different firm. Where the case merits it, we will put together a team of attorneys to work on the opposition or appeal, both during the written procedure and at the Oral Proceedings. We find that winning is about meticulous preparation and clear and confident advocacy.
Our attorneys are well placed to carry out due diligence investigations over a wide range of technologies and for all types of businesses. Our attorneys are regularly asked to review portfolios in preparation for acquisitions, mergers, fundings and re-financings.
A specialist activity in which we have become increasingly involved is the provision of IP due diligence reports for inclusion in company prospectus documentation for listings on the London Stock Exchange. We can assist in determining a reasonable scope for the report by indicating the areas which should be investigated and by considering the relevance of different IP rights in relation to the actual commercial activities of the business concerned. We are also experienced at contributing to stock market flotation reports. Characteristic of these exercises is that they need to be done to a budget and generally within very short time frames. Boult Wade Tennant is geared up to meet these requirements.
Our attorneys understand the commercial value of a well-managed IP portfolio. We work with clients to develop patent and trade mark portfolios, advising on filing or prosecution strategies and foreign filing programmes. We actively review existing portfolios to ensure that they are up-to-date and offer the maximum value possible.
While we obviously maintain a comprehensive record of all the patents or trade marks for which we are responsible, we also offer a docketing service of cases handled by third parties, so that clients can be confident of the integrity of the data before them. Flexible reporting allows clients to see their portfolio in a variety of different formats, while BoultView provides secure, searchable online access to your cases within our records.
The reliable maintenance of our clients’ hard-earned patent portfolio is crucial. We ensure that annual fee payments are made on time and accurately no matter what the portfolio size. Clients are kept up to date by the sending of payment reminders while budgetary forecasts are available on request. An AutoPay option is also available. We use our buying power to secure cost reductions wherever possible and, where details of the working of a patent or trade mark must be submitted, our dedicated team will also attend to that.