Anyone with a little smarts and a lot of perseverance can search patent documents and the internet. But searching and procurement often come down to knowing who should be searching and where they should look.
Prior Art Searching
Reviewing published patent literature is just the first step… we leverage our investigative expertise to unearth prior art in unorthodox places that can ultimately invalidate an asserted patent claim.
Oftentimes it’s our vast network of experts that lead us to otherwise “hidden” prior art, distinguishing our approach from so many others in the search field who rely merely on automated search tools.
We’ve successfully completed searches for:
- Validity / Invalidity challenges
- Infringement Investigations
- Patentability questions, and
- Clearance (Right-to-Use) matters
Reverse engineering is often the linchpin in a patent infringement investigation. And when a business depends on its inventions for its revenue, and sometimes for its very survival, our experienced technologists get right to the heart of the matter.
Product teardowns focus on “what’s inside”. This is the most basic level of electronics Reverse Engineering. Once a device is disassembled, subassemblies and circuit boards are identified and photographed, and component descriptions are created. Occasionally, merely identifying a product’s components can be all that’s needed for an infringement investigation.
System Level Analysis
System level analysis focuses on “how it works” … system design, operation, functionality and component integration. This type of reverse engineering can be the most complex because it takes the products totality of components into account. Key elements in system level RE can include general system design, layout, and operation; mechanical, electrical, spectral, acoustic, and materials characterization; software, firmware, protocol and signal analysis; system interface properties; and evaluation with respect to industrial standards and specifications. Unlike investigations at the component or chip level, it must take into account the various interconnects and interfaces between components and their ultimate compatibility and integration. System level investigations are performed on integrated products like displays, computers, cell phones, GPS, data storage systems/drives, biomedical and analytical equipment, and other similar items. We often utilize diverse analytical tools such as logic analyzers, oscilloscopes, “sniffers”, protocol analyzers, probes, spectrometers, simulators/emulators, and various signal generators, to provide customized test conditions for the system level analyses.
Process architecture analysis focuses on “how it’s made”... construction, materials and methods used to fabricate a particular component or system. Within a given technology, each product type, manufacturer and fabrication facility has its own peculiarities regarding how a device is produced. A variety of analytical techniques can be used individually or in combination to characterize the materials, process methods and process sequence used to produce or fabricate a product. Commonly used analytical tools include, but are not limited to, SEM/EFTEM (Scanning/Energy-filtered Transmission Electron Microscopy), AES/SIMS (Auger Electron/Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy), IR/UV Spectroscopy, and AFM/SCM (Atomic Force/Scanning Capacitance Microscopy) coupled with well established methods of failure analysis and process control are used to understand process issues.
Extracting a circuit is merely condensing a system’s transistors, interconnects and contacts into a schematic. But this is far more easily said than done. Today’s geometries are so small that circuit extraction has become it’s own specialty within reverse engineering – complete with dedicated electron microscopes to accurately view each level, and proprietary software to carefully “stitch” the circuitry of each level together, into a cohesive schematic. This time-intensive task can quickly devour a client’s resources; Cahn Litigation’s skilled staff has the requisite skills to strategically identify individual blocks for examination, and can deliver the required information for a fraction of the cost.
Accountants may play an indispensable role in preparing for M&A transactions, but there is no substitute for the skilled engineer to get to the bottom line of a patent portfolio or competitive analysis.
M & A Portfolio Evaluations
Many IP valuation practitioners simply don’t possess the requisite technical background to accurately value a portfolio. Running projection formulae through a spreadsheet can’t factor-in the state of the art, current engineering trends, or the likelihood of prior art or superseding inventions. Our industry specialists can tell when a key patent may be subject to invalidity challenges. They know your technology grouping and are likely to have an inside track on what’s happening in the industry.
Competitive Analysis & Market Research
Market information, estimates of unpublished sales data and technology investigations can provide the missing puzzle pieces for sound, strategic decision making. Cahn Litigation Services not only identifies market segments that apply to your technology, but also provides analysis of a competitor’s IP portfolio and product literature. This takes the guesswork out of market or legal planning.