Attorney Patent: Dale B. Halling has prepared and obtained patents for numerous clients, from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, around the world.
Dale B. Halling, admitted to bar: Missouri, 1993; Illinois, 1993; Colorado, 1995; registered to practice before U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Education: Kansas State University (BSEE, 1982); University of Texas at Dallas ( MS Physics, 1984); St. Louis University ( J.D. cum laude, 1992). Co-author: “The New Age of Design Patents”, 1992. Member: American Intellectual Property Law Association.
Mr. Halling’s technical background includes a BS in Electrical Engineering from Kansas State University, and an MS in Physics from the University of Texas at Dallas. After receiving an MS in Physics, Mr. Halling spent several years performing research and development in free space laser communication systems at McDonnell Douglas. Then he worked for Tektronix doing sales and marketing of scientific equipment.
Upon receiving his JD, he worked for Wood, Phillips, Van Santen, Hoffman, and Ertel in Chicago dealing in a wide variety of intellectual property matters. He then worked in-house for Motorola, preparing and prosecuting patent applications throughout the world in the fields of cellular communications, communication systems, cable telephony, error correction coding, manufacturing systems and printed circuit board technology. Since leaving Motorola, he has prepared and prosecuted patents for Ameritech, SBC, Motorola, McDonnell Douglas, MCI, Cypress and several local high technology start-ups. These patent applications have covered: semiconductor circuits; internet applications; software, telecommunication systems: including ATM, Frame Relay, SS7 applications; fiber optic systems; computer memory systems; cable telephony systems; voice recognition systems; encryption; XML; database applications and others.
The U.S. Patent Office tends to be more critical of software enabled inventions. Those inventions directed to applications, such as spreadsheets, databases, etc. are the most difficult to get through the Patent Office. In addition, it often takes 2-3 years after you apply for your patent to receive an initial response. It can take 5-8 years to obtain a final result for your software patent. One of the reasons it takes so long to obtain a patent for software inventions is qualified examiners who specialize in software are hard to find and even harder for the Patent Office to keep. Another reason for the delay is the terms used in software are not highly standardized, so two patents describing similar inventions may use completely different terminology.
In order to obtain a patent for your software invention it is helpful to think of your invention in terms of a block diagram. Each block should have a well defined function and the messages or connections between the blocks should be well defined. This will help your patent attorney and the examiner better understand and define your invention.
Some people believe that software should not be patentable. The arguments against software patents have a fundamental flaw. As any electrical engineer knows, solutions to problems implemented in software can also be realized in hardware, i.e., electronic circuits. The main reason for choosing a software solution is the ease in implementing changes, the main reason for choosing a hardware solution is speed of processing. Therefore, a time critical solution is more likely to be implemented in hardware. While a solution that requires the ability to add features easily will be implemented in software. As a result, to be intellectually consistent those people against software patents also have to be against patents for electronic circuits.
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