Handley Law Firm, PLLC 
Patent, Trademark & Copyright 
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817-426-3539 or 972-378-4990
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  • Registered Patent Attorney & Trademark Attorney
  • Located in DFW - Dallas & Fort Worth, Texas
  • Counseling Regarding IP Protection
  • Filing of Patent and Trademark Applications
  • Patent Novelty Searches and Clearance Searches
  • Opinions Regarding Infringement
  • Trademark Clearance Searches
  • Licensing Negotiation and Counseling


Patent Novelty Searches are useful for determining whether to pursue patent protection for an invention. A Patent Novelty Search seeks to discover prior art patents disclosing the particular features of the invention being searched, to provide an indication of the chances for securing a patent for the invention and the possible scope of such a patent. 

Patent Clearance Searches are useful for indicating the risk of a particular product infringing the patent of another entity. A Patent Clearance Search seeks to discover unexpired patents which the particular product under study might infringe. Patent Clearance Searches are often performed prior to significant investment in a particular product, and often lead to changes to the features of products to avoid infringement. 


Comprehensive Trademark Searches are typically performed by a third party search service which maintains a database of trademark registrations and common law uses of trademarks. 

Comprehensive Trademark Searches include search of Trademark Register of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, and State Trademark Registers.

Common law databases searched include content from an assortment of magazines and periodicals covering a wide selection of fields, Business Name Directories, Domain Names and Web Content. 

Initial cursory knock-out searches performed upon request, prior to initiating comprehensive trademark searches.


Design Patents protect the ornamental features of a product or article of manufacture. The term “Design” refers to ornamental design and not engineering design.

A Design Patent does not protect the same type of structure features protected by a Utility Patent, those which render the product as being operative or performing a function.

The features of a product which are required to have a particular appearance due to function are not considered as ornamental features of the patented design.

Design patents are considerably less expensive to obtain than Utility Patents and can provide excellent protection against others duplicating the appearance of a product.


Opinions regarding infringement of unexpired patents may be used as the basis for a defense against willful infringement, where a party knew about the patent and performed acts which infringe a patent.

The review and analysis performed in providing a written opinion regarding infringement typically provides direction as to possible changes to a product which may avoid infringement of a patent under study.


Trademarks are symbols or devices which are distinctive, being capable of distinguishing one supplier of goods and/or services from another. Rights in such symbols as trademarks are gained by use to advertise products or services of a particular class.

A trademark may become the generic name for a product and will no longer be considered distinctive. A trademark owner should carefully monitor use of its trademarks to avoid use in a generic or descriptive sense.

Trademark infringement occurs when there is a likelihood of confusion as to source, sponsorship or affiliation between the products or services of two different suppliers as a result of the similarity of trademarks, the similarity of the products or services, and similar channels of distribution.

It is always advisable to conduct a comprehensive trademark search prior to adopting a trademark.


Copyright protects against copying of artistic expression in tangible form.

Copyright only protects against copying of the subject matter for which a copyright is obtained. Copyright does not protect against reproduction of a particular work which occurs without copying.

A copyright is not required to be registered to remain in existence. However, a federal copyright registration is required to enforce rights under US copyright laws.

A Copyright Registration obtained prior to an act of infringement will provide for statutory damages (damages set by statute), so that proof of actual damages resulting from the infringement do not have to be presented at trial.


A License is a contract which transfers rights to use a patented invention, a trademark or a copyrighted work without being subject to a suit for infringement.

License Agreements will usually contain provisions for addressing which party assumes the obligations and risks of marketing the licensed products and for enforcing the exclusive rights of the licensed property against infringement by others.

A Royalty is usually paid in return for the grant of a license, often with the amount of royalty payment due being determined according to a percentage of the sales price for a licensed product.

Royalty payments may also be based on a flat rate, such as an annual amount or a price per product. A license may require the payment of a minimum royalty to maintain a license or to maintain the exclusivity of a license.

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