Calhoun, Bhella & Sechrest, is a national law firm specializing in corporate and intellectual property services and counseling for startups and other small to mid-size entities.
We represent clients ranging from multi-national corporations to creative individuals in the worlds of technology, art, fashion, music and beyond. Our intellectual property team consists of experienced attorneys who have previously practiced at some of the largest intellectual property firms in the country. Attorneys on our team hold a variety of technical degrees and have handled matters in virtually all technical fields and industries. Indeed, we offer our clients a highly specialized, full service intellectual practice consistent with our firm mission of providing strategic, personalized counseling in an efficient, affordable manner.
Your business and creative work should be taken seriously. Whether you are interested in patents, trademarks, copyrights, or protecting trade secrets, Calhoun, Bhella & Sechrest can be your trusted counsel for all your intellectual property needs. Our attorneys have helped clients on a broad range of intellectual property matters, from strategic advice on obtaining, protecting and commercializing valuable IP to representing clients in complex litigation and appeals.
We advise clients on all aspects of their intellectual property needs including:
Obtaining Intellectual Property Protection
• Patent prosecution
• Trademark, service mark and trade dress prosecution
• Copyright registration
• Trade secret counseling
General Intellectual Property Counseling
• IP portfolio management
• IP monetization
• Due diligence
Intellectual Property Transactions
• IP portfolio sale and acquisition
• IP issues in mergers, acquisitions, and private placements.
• Patent infringement
• Trademark infringement
• Copyright infringement
• Misappropriation of trade secrets
• Unfair competition claims
Our team has litigated intellectual property cases and has been involved in appeals in courts throughout the country including the following jurisdictions where we are either admitted directly (*) or have practiced through pro hac vice admission:
• U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York*
• U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York*
• U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey*
• U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware
• U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas*
• U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas*
• U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas*
• U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California*
• U.S. District Court for the Central District of California*
• U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California*
• U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado*
• U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut*
• U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
• U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
• U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
• U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas
• U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky
• U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
• U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
• U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
• U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina
• U.S. International Trade Commission
• USPTO Trademark and Trial Appeal Board
• U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit*
• U.S. Supreme Court*
Intellectual Property Overview
The attorneys at Calhoun, Bhella & Sechrest focus on leveraging their clients’ intellectual property to help them achieve success in the marketplace. Our attorneys provide counsel on the most effective methods of securing and protecting intellectual property holdings so our clients can realize the most value from those assets.
Intellectual property laws are designed to incentivize creative and novel work. These laws offer protection in the following form:
Patent laws are intended to encourage the development of new and useful discoveries by granting an inventor certain exclusionary rights in the form of a limited monopoly on their invention. A patent allows its holder to prevent others from making, using, selling or offering to sell the patented invention. Once the term of protection has ended, the patented innovation enters the public domain. Patents can come in different forms, namely: utility patents, design patents and plant patents.
The procedure for obtaining a patent can often be challenging. Our attorneys can help you navigate this complex process by developing a strategy specifically tailored not only to your invention—but your overall intellectual property portfolio both domestically and internationally. Our team includes registered patent attorneys who are experienced in filing applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to obtaining U.S. patents for our clients. And we frequently work with colleagues abroad to help our clients obtain patent protection in jurisdictions worldwide.
Trademark protection is available for names, devices, or words that are used in connection with a unique good or service. A trademark is often referred to both the mark associated with a good and a service (also known as a service mark). Trademarks help distinguishes the source of your products or services from others. In short, a trademark allows you to prevent anyone else from using and profiting from your name or product. Our attorneys have experience helping clients—ranging from individuals to international companies—develop a trademark strategy consistent with their business goals and execute that strategy with U.S. and international trademark filings. We also have experience handling proceedings before the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Specifically, our attorneys have represented clients in both cancellation and opposition proceedings. Trademark protection can be one of the most cost-efficient ways to build your intellectual property portfolio. Let us help you protect what is rightfully yours in all phases of the trademark process.
Copyrights protect original works, both published and unpublished. These works must be fixed in a tangible form. Works that can be protected by copyrights are quite broad and include photographs, pictorial works, graphics, sculpture, paintings, live performances, movies, software and computer program (code), online writing and sound recordings. Moreover, design elements of certain useful articles are copyrightable if they contain artistic features that are separable from the overall useful article. The goal of copyright law is to protect your time, effort, and creativity. As such, the Copyright Act provides exclusive rights, including the right to:
• Successfully reproduce your own work
• Prepare other works based on the original (derivative works)
• Distribute copies for sale, lease, or transfer of ownership
• Perform publicly
• Display the work publicly
Our team is experienced in all aspects of copyright law and will help you develop a cost-effective strategy to protect your work.
Trade secrets consist of information that include: a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique or process. To meet the most common definition of a trade secret, it must be used in business, and give an opportunity to obtain an economic advantage over competitors who do not know or use it.
Although no specific filing or registration is required for trade secret protection, trade secrets can be easily forfeited. Our attorneys can help you build and maintain your trade secrets including the development of a legal strategy tailored specifically to your company.
Trade secrets are protected by both state and federal law. Federal law defines trade secrets as “all forms and types of financial, business, scientific, technical, economic, or engineering information” that the holder has “taken reasonable measures to keep such information secret” and “the information derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable through proper means by, another person who can obtain economic value from the disclosure or use of the information.”
We help our clients identify and protect their most valuable confidential data—and aggressively prosecute and defend against cases of alleged data theft. Our team has a strong record of wins at all levels of the judicial system and in numerous jurisdictions.
Patent Office Post-Grant Proceedings
Although patents are presumed valid, the United States Patent and Trademark Office allows for certain challenges to patent validity after a patent has issued. These post-granted proceedings include: Inter Partes Review (IPR), Post Grant Review (PGR) and ex parte reexamination (EPR).
IPR is an administrative proceeding before the patent office to challenge the validity of one or more claims in a patent. Such validity challenges are limited in IPR proceedings to only prior art consisting of patents or printed publications that anticipates the patented invention or renders that invention obvious.
PGR is another administrative proceeding conducted at the patent office to review the patentability of one or more claims in a patent. The grounds for challenging patent validity under PGR is broader than those provided by IPR—and include all grounds under 35 U.S.C. § 282 including Section 112 defenses. Moreover, obviousness and anticipation challenges are not limited to printed publications like in IPR proceedings.
EPR allows a third party or even the patent owner to request the reexamination by the patent office of an already-granted patent based on patents and printed publications. This request can be filed at any time during the enforceability of a patent, but the party requesting EPR must demonstrate that the submitted prior art establishes a substantial and new question of patentability.
We can represent both patent owners and patent challengers in such proceedings. Our team consists of both seasoned patent litigators as well as registered patent attorneys that work together to create the best strategy for your case needs.