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Continued: The new 'first' in patent law

  • Article by: DAVID PHELPS , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 18, 2013 - 10:58 AM

A: There’ll probably be an increased number of filings. Companies will file more quickly and more often. This is a good step. It adds certainty to the process. It’s often difficult to prove when something was conceptualized. It’s a very subjective and difficult process. The new procedure is more black and white because now conception doesn’t matter. It was who filed the patent first. It’s simpler than the old system.


Q: Will this reduce patent challenges?

A: That’s called interference. When two entities claim they were first with a patent it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to sort that out. It’s very time-consuming and very costly and very uncertain.


Q: What’s the coolest patent you’ve ever handled?

A: That’s hard to say, but the clients I enjoy most are the individual inventors who walk in very excited and passionate about what they’ve done. I have large institutional clients but sometimes I take cold calls from the street. I’ve done everything from tackle boxes to the latest in fiber optics and software on your PC and everything in between. I get to see something new on my desk every day.


David Phelps • 612-673-7269

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  • Robert Kalinsky of Merchant & Gould in the lobby of his office at the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis.

  • Robert Kalinsky
    Title: Partner, Merchant & Gould.
    Age: 39.
    Home: Maple Grove.
    Family: Wife, Kristi; two children.
    Education: University of Iowa degree in biomedical engineering, 1996; University of Iowa law degree, 2000.
    Expertise: Alternative energy, computer technology, electronics, medical devices.
    Interests outside the law: Family, endurance sports, including running and triathlons.
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