The Practice Group Spotlight: Mechanical

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The mechanical practice group at Hanley Flight & Zimmerman is an experienced team that handles a broad range of technologies. And with decades of prosecution acumen, HFZ’s mechanical group strategizes and crafts high-quality and thorough patent applications that lead to robust patents for our clients. Many Fortune 100 clients have retained HFZ for our consistent quality, deep expertise, and dedication to their business interests.

Mechanical and electro-mechanical innovations are diverse and all around us. They are in the sky: airplanes and aerospace technologies. In our hands: in the electronic devices we carry. Rolling on the ground: automobiles and bicycles. In the water: marine equipment.

The innovations that HFZ’s mechanical group protects are also found in medical devices as well as household goods (food and beverage packaging, outdoor cooking products, mailers and binding equipment and child care products) and industrial applications (fluid control devices and systems, door and loading dock equipment, pressure washer equipment, and coil processing & roll forming systems).

Prosecuting patents for such a wide range of innovations requires a team of patent attorneys, agents and analysts who have experience in a breadth of related fields. HFZ’s professionals are mechanical engineers who’ve worked for companies such as Abbott Laboratories, Motorola, Brunswick and Ping Golf, to name a few.

Many of our attorneys gained this industry experience before joining HFZ. By dealing with multifaceted and complex issues in the field, the HFZ team grasps our clients’ innovative technologies quickly. Additionally, many of the practitioners at HFZ employ their previous work experience as engineers to improve the patent applications they prepare.

As former design engineers, HFZ patent attorneys work with inventors to identify and develop patentable intellectual property. Rather than describing the current state of an invention, HFZ works with engineers to craft detailed, forward-thinking patent specifications and creative claims to benefit our clients’ business objectives and anticipate developments in their market space.

“We take a very thoughtful approach to obtaining robust and value-added IP protection for our clients,” said Sergio Filice, an HFZ attorney and one of the leaders of the mechanical practice group. “We understand their underlying business goals and apply prosecution strategies to obtain high-quality patents that help maximize the value and utility of their patent portfolios. Our clients consistently retain us because they can rely on HFZ to deliver outstanding services in accordance with their expectations and requirements.”

In addition to prosecution, the HFZ mechanical team provides counseling, including freedom-to-operate analyses, non-infringement and invalidity opinions, pre-litigation case assessment, litigation support, and trademark procurement.

“At HFZ, our primary focus is on the procurement of patent rights for our clients,” Sergio said. “Preparation and prosecution of patent applications is our core competency as an IP boutique. As a result, our practitioners are immersed in drafting and prosecuting patents on a daily basis. Therefore, unlike litigation-focused firms, patent preparation and prosecution are not a loss leader for us; it is our core competency.”

Furthermore, what sets HFZ apart from other patent law firms is the consistent work product. This is a result of the training program that HFZ provides to its practitioners, as well as the firm’s collegial work environment – which enables attorneys to bring a team-oriented analysis to all our clients’ IP matters.

HFZ attorneys also have extensive experience with IP portfolio development and management. For example, HFZ works with large companies that have significant in-house IP teams as well as smaller companies and universities that may lack their own dedicated IP counsel, and HFZ provides strategic advice in those varying contexts. In some instances, HFZ attorneys provide strategic portfolio management and strategic patent advice to many of our clients in a pseudo in-house counsel role. Some of our practitioners work closely with our clients to harvest invention disclosures and conduct and analyze patentability searches and develop a patentability strategy for our clients. We find that taking a long-term strategic view helps the client, improves our patent application drafting and prosecution, and results in a stronger patent portfolio that is more applicable to clients’ evolving needs.

Additionally, as part of our strategic portfolio development and IP analysis, HFZ is often asked by clients to conduct a competitive landscape analysis (e.g., in anticipation of a new product release, for collaboration or licensing, etc.). For example, clients often approach us for analysis when they are developing new products, as well as when a potential issue comes to their attention. Our partnerships with clients to understand their products and business objectives, as well as their patent portfolio, and to learn their competitive landscape helps us to craft informed, reasoned analyses of the prior art and identify blue sky spaces for innovation.

Further, through our relationships with firms throughout the world, HFZ secures not just U.S., but also international and foreign patent protection and provides strategic guidance relating to foreign patent rights. Our partnerships with foreign counsel have helped us understand the patent landscape of many foreign jurisdictions that aid us in developing comprehensive IP strategies worldwide. For example, in many cases, we draft and prosecute applications with the advice of international attorneys abroad, and, in other cases, we provide advice to international attorneys to assist them in the preparation and prosecution of international patent applications.