Any company or individual who has gone through the process of obtaining a patent or trade-mark is well aware of just how complex an exercise it can be. In fact, a patent application is one of the most complicated documents known to our legal system, and for that reason should ideally be entrusted to an expert in the field.
Patrick J. Hofbauer of Hofbauer Professional Corporation in Burlington, Ontario, is such an expert. What's more, Patrick is the only local lawyer who is also registered as both a patent and trade-mark agent, a welcome notion for local companies that have previously been forced to look to Toronto or elsewhere for counsel in this specialized area of the law. "In this age of increasing technology, computers have become the great equalizer," says Hofbauer. "We can now perform all of the same functions as large Toronto firms at a competitive cost. Moreover, we are able to offer our clients a more accessible, personalized approach."
Patents, trade-marks, copyrights, and industrial designs all fall under the general area of Intellectual Property (IP) law which, loosely speaking, concerns itself with the protection of ideas. While all four of these main areas of IP law offer varying degrees of protection, the qualifications for and extent of such protection is often a matter of considerable complexity. There are many grey areas where businesses can easily fall between the cracks, not fitting into any one specific category and thereby losing effective protection for their creative efforts. There is also the risk of infringing the IP rights of others.
"The first thing we have to do in any situation is to determine whether their product or other innovation is capable of patent, trade-mark, copyright, or industrial design protection", says Hofbauer.
"Deciding what kind of protection is needed can be difficult in itself. There is a lot of misinformation in circulation, and one of our strengths is that we can cut through the confusion and lay out the law in simple terms that our clients can relate to and understand. This is invaluable."
To be capable of translating the inventor's ideas into a protectable form comes only through years of experience and impeccable qualifications. Patrick Hofbauer, B.Sc., LL.B., has been specializing in the field of intellectual property for nearly 30 years. His ability to comprehend the very technical aspects of IP law is the result of a combined background in both law and science. As well as being a registered patent and trade-mark agent in Canada, Hofbauer is one of a very small number of Ontario agents registered to do the same in the U.S., a decided advantage for those corporations doing business-or aspiring to-in both countries.
Major clients of the firm include Sealy Canada Ltd./Lteé., The Faurecia Group, Durisol International Inc., and the Royal Canadian Golf Association. Internationally, Hofbauer Professional Corporation has contacts in more than 90 countries who are available to assist in procuring and enforcing IP rights on a global scale.