Construction Today - January/February 2013 - (Page 64)

Industrial By Jeffrey R. Fougere and David K.S. Cornwell PROTECTING YOUR INNOVATIONS C ompanies thrive on innovation. Whether it's in the form of new products or techniques or improvements to existing products or techniques, many companies rely on intellectual property (IP) rights to protect their innovations. There are many forms of IP, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade dress and trade secrets. Of these, patent rights have proven themselves to be particularly valuable to innovative companies. Generally speaking, a patent owner can prevent others from making, using, selling or importing its patented invention. The patent law definition of "invention" is somewhat different from how the word is commonly used in everyday life. In particular, Congress allows patents on any new and useful "process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” In the construction industry, many companies are aware that patents are available for "classical" inventions such as machines, mate- 64 CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 rials, parts and tools. Not all companies are aware that patents are also available for inventions relating to software, processes, and techniques. Construction Patents The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) categorizes technologies into one or more classes. Many of these classes are relevant to the construction industry. For example, the USPTO recognizes technologies relating to mining, bridges, building units, construction elements, earth working, excavating, tools, joints, connections, road structure, static structures, structural supports, conveyors and construction materials, as well as thousands of other technologies. In addition, even ornamental designs of building units and construction elements can be protected through design patents. Beyond these examples, the construction industry abounds with innovative products and techniques that are protectable through patent law. For example, inventions relating to building information modeling (BIM) are protectable through patent law. Although the broad, general concept of modeling buildings is beyond the scope of patent laws, innovative processes, software, machines or techniques relating to BIM can be protected. Because of BIM's significant practical benefits, such as its ability to radically alter the speed, efficiency and costs of building projects, it's a great example of an innovation that has already transformed the construction industry. http://www.CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Construction Today - January/February 2013

Construction Today - January/February 2013
Case Studies
Best Practices
Business Management
Green Construction
Construction Materials
Consigli Construction – Wat Nawamintararachutis NMR Meditation Center Thai Buddhist Temple
The Michaels Organization – University Student Living
Clark Builders – The Mustard Seed
JC Beal Construction Inc.
Plaza Construction – ENV
Regalia Beach Developers LLC – Regalia
Batson-Cook Construction – SkyHouse Orlando
Billingsley – Cypress Water Dallas
Jon M. Hall Co.
Pratt Homebuilders
John Moriarty and Associates – Charlesview Residences at Brighton Mills
Daikin America – Plant Expansion Project
Morton Buildings
MSI General Corp.
ClearSpan Fabric Structures
TOPCOR Companies LLC
Coatings Unlimited Inc.
Brencal Contractors Inc.
Del’s Construction Co. Inc. – Cambria Production Facility Expansion
Paric Corp.
Archer Western – Consolidated Courts Complex
Tishman Construction
McCarthy Building Cos. – Mercy Hospital Joplin
University of Maryland Medical System – Trauma Center Expansion
Swinerton Builders – San Joaquin Community Hospital Cancer Center
The Lemoine Company – Lafayette General Medical Center expansion
L.F. Driscoll – Temple University
P. Agnes
FIP Construction Inc.
National Lutheran Communities and Services – The Village at Rockville
Carothers Construction Inc. – Special Operations Command South Headquarters
The Hillman Group
Taylor Woodstone
Tooz Construction Inc.
Woolley’s Classic Suites
Structure Tone – Novo Nordisk Inc. North American headquarters
Gilbane Building Co. – Potawatomi Bingo Casino hotel
Pacific Building Group
Denark Construction – Owensboro-Daviess County Convention and Events Center
Traylor Bros. Inc.
Bobcat Contracting LLC
Reliable Contracting Co. Inc.
Union County and KemperSports – Galloping Hill Golf Course Clubhouse and Learning Center
E.L. Robinson Engineering
INDOT: 1-69 Corridor
Palmetto Corp
Monroe Tractor
Wood's CRW Corp.
Last Look

Construction Today - January/February 2013