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Covington prosecutes and manages patent applications worldwide across a broad range of industries and technologies. We specialize in the care of our clients’ most highly valued intellectual property, and we are skilled in obtaining patents that cover commercial products, that are valuable for licensing, and that are positioned well in the event of challenge. In addition to our patent prosecution efforts in the first instance, we are regularly asked to troubleshoot patents and patent applications originally handled by others, and which are expected to be challenged in court or in oppositions and other post-grant proceedings around the world.

Many of our patent lawyers have advanced technical degrees or have previously held positions as engineers or scientists. Our backgrounds facilitate communication with inventors and an appreciation and understanding of technology. Patent applications are handled in a manner reflecting the significance of clients’ inventions at the research and development stages and that is consistent with business objectives such as protecting existing and planned products, securing markets and operations, and generating new sources of revenue.

Because Covington’s patent attorneys also have experience in patent litigation and Patent Office Trials, we plan beyond patentability toward meaningful enforceability of patents when tested in litigation or in other contexts. Headquartered near the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, we are able to work closely with patent examiners to help guide patent applications through the prosecution process.

In the post-issuance context, our expertise encompasses advising clients on activities such as ex parte reexamination, patent reissue, and patent term restoration. Following the America Invents Act, ex parte reexaminations remain a cost-effective tool to challenge U.S. patents. Patent reissue proceedings also remain available to correct and, in certain circumstances, broaden previously issued claims. Our patent lawyers work closely with clients with an aim to obtain reissued claims that are more resilient to challenge and that provide better protection of commercial products. As for seeking patent term restoration, we are well-versed in the interplay between the U.S. patent and regulatory systems that underlies the term restoration process.

Our patent lawyers are also experienced in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of technology and intellectual property to be acquired, and we apply our knowledge of the patent law as well as our technical and industry expertise to provide advice regarding issues such as infringement, validity, enforceability, and freedom-to-operate. This advice is provided in a variety of contexts, including anticipation of patent litigation, licensing of intellectual property, research and product development, and with respect to marketed products.

In addition, we provide patent analysis as part of IP due diligence to assess the patent assets and liabilities of target companies in connection with an acquisition or merger. The breadth of the firm's corporate securities practice, and the teaming of intellectual property, regulatory, and corporate lawyers on such matters, help to ensure that we provide comprehensive due diligence to clients.

As part of Covington’s interdisciplinary approach to client needs, we advise as well on Orange Book listings and deliver counsel on various regulatory issues arising under the Hatch-Waxman legislation. Our patent policy work includes providing advice and advocacy in the Bayh-Dole, Hatch-Waxman, and follow-on biologics areas.