In First to File: Patents for Today’s Scientist and Engineer, Henry Heines ’67 cites a number of puzzling patent cases, perhaps none more entertaining than the application for the clothespin.
“The claim, which sets out the metes and bounds of what the patent covers and doesn’t cover…went on for something like two pages, which I think is hilarious,” he says.
Hear Heines’s thoughts on this patent and other recent patent disputes in the MIT Alumni Books Podcast interview.
In four decades of helping individuals and firms develop patent portfolios and intellectual property estates in San Francisco, Heines became a lifelong student of patent law, studying cases as the Patent Trade Office published them and helping his clients capitalize on their innovations.
Every employee, manager, CEO, and corporation should take stock regularly of its intellectual property, says Heines.
“It’s really a question of recognizing a potentially patentable invention when you see it. There are many very small differences that could lead to patents and that people very frequently think of as being trivial,” he says.
In the past decade, Heines has collected his observations on patent law into three books. First to File addresses some of the most fundamental changes in American law since the 2013 America Invents Act.
“It’s a fascinating and wonderful field at the intersection of technology and industry,” Heines says.
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