Patent Attorney Interview with JD Houvener

Kelly Bankruptcy Podcast
Kelly Bankruptcy Podcast
Patent Attorney Interview with JD Houvener
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Transcript:

Intro Speaker: It’s time for KellyCanHelp hosted by Jeff Kelly, Attorney at Law with the Law office of Jeffrey B. Kelly. And now here’s Jeff Kelly.

Jeff Kelly: Okay. Welcome to the show today. Thank you, Mr. JD Houvener really appreciate you being here. I’m looking forward to talking to you about patents and helping my my listeners and former clients learn all about it. So JD, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

JD Houvener: Absolutely. Yeah. And, Jeff, thank you for having me on the show. This is a it’s a pleasure. I’m a patent attorney, and I’m the owner here at Bold Patents Law Firm. We’re based out of Mountlake Terrace, which is just north of Seattle, Washington. And we help inventors get patents, we were pretty passionate about working with solo and small inventors, small businesses that is, and really, without regard to any kind of technology. So you name it from your, as seen on TV type gadgets, you know, to high powered software apps, were really kind of across the board.

Jeff Kelly: Excellent, excellent. So how many years have you been in practice?

JD Houvener: Just over five years.

Jeff Kelly: Okay, where’d you go to law school,

JD Houvener: went to Seattle, you just right here in South Seattle, and went ahead and got my MBA as well from there is great institution.

Jeff Kelly: Excellent. How about your undergrad?

JD Houvener: University, Washington, graduated with an industrial engineering degree from there and kind of a funny story you got went off and chase that engineering dream for a bit, I worked for 10 years at Boeing aerospace company, you may have heard of them. They’ve been in the news lately. Mostly bad news. But I think they’re on the rebound. I helped design their 787 Dreamliner fiberglass wing technology worked there for 10 years as a systems engineer. And you know, it was a fantastic company to work for, I just kind of knew I was destined for I can own my own company or on my own business somehow. And Boeing was actually the the company kind enough to put me to school to get my MBA at Seattle U. And that’s when I started, you know, planted the seed toward business ownership, and thought about being leveraged by engineering, a technical background into patent law. And so I’ve been kind of launched into that. Helping inventors from the technical side, you know, argue with examiners about getting their patents granted, fell in love with it and started a company around it.

Jeff Kelly: Well, so like, what point did you realize, hey, I want to go to law school. I think I want to do this.

JD Houvener: Well, so I as part of the MBA curriculum, the last you know, course you take is a business plan competition. And I was the only one of the whole school to my business plan was to start a law firm. And it was I was really saddened by the fact that didn’t get into the final round, because it just the judges, like no one really cares about a lot. Like, no, everyone has kind of these hockey stick, you know, you know, started out, you know, SAP startups or new product whiz bang gadget type companies. I really liked it, because I was kind of in love with the show Shark Tank. And I think a lot of people were when it first launched in the early, mid 2000s.

Jeff Kelly: Yeah. Show? Absolutely.

JD Houvener: Yeah. And they always ask, Hey, awesome gadget, is it patented? Right? Do you have IP protection? That question always come up still does. And because it means a lot, it means this novel and means no one else can rip you off, you’ve got a limited monopoly, you can, you know, have 20 years of run ahead of anybody else. So I said, Well, what does it take to become a patent attorney? I know you have to have an engineering or science degree. Okay, check. You have to go to law school. Okay, well, that’s still yet to be done. And then you’re a patent attorney, you’ve got this sort of special status that I thought that’d be kind of a fun way to, to come up with some credentials, and it creates some niche in terms of joining a, you know, a new services field like law. And, yeah, I decided that I’m right. Then at the end of that competition, I’ve tried to kind of work the numbers and wanted to own my own firm, straight out of law school. So that’s what I did.

Jeff Kelly: Excellent. So you mentioned that you know, a lot of your clients are small and vendors What is your Who is your typical client?

JD Houvener: It’s it’s a gasps it’s well, typical, I would say, you know, it’s it’s someone who has a has a day job, okay, someone who works you know, kind of a nine to five or a 40 plus if they’re our job, but has got something they’re working on on the moonlight, right, some passion project, some dream they’re chasing. Maybe they’re further along, maybe they’re, you know, have, you know, one foot out the door where they’re part time with their day job and they’re with someone else partnered up, they’ve got a prototype and this is it. This is they want to change the world make a dent? And go for it. Right. Be bold. That’s our typical. I mean, we have a little avatar, right, someone who’s about 35 to 50. And it’s got it’s got some working capital knows how to take something seriously. is investing their time seriously into that we help secure their IP rights, introduce them to those on the business end. And maybe it’s restructuring, right? Maybe it’s sending them off to bankruptcy to kind of get their finances in order before they make a jump. And so we really help help our clients there, because it’s, it’s the big firms that just can’t reach, right, they just they can’t relate. They’re structured to help big companies, they really aren’t positioned to hear stories, to be able to lend that hand down and help someone else up that’s just getting started, it needs some education, before they really you know, spend the big bucks. So I’ve made that part of my mission. And so if you hopped on YouTube, or go to our website, you’d see I’ve done a lot of YouTube videos, just what is a patent? What’s the difference between that and a trademark? You know, how long are they lasting? Right? What is the difference between a design and a utility? It’s information that shouldn’t be secret, you shouldn’t have to pay 500 bucks an hour to learn about so. I’ve got tons of info there. And it’s been really helpful.

Jeff Kelly: You do trademark as well.

JD Houvener: We do. We do? Yeah, I mean, advertise you know, patents. But it’s, it’s really common that a lot of inventors will get, you know, filed in those that period where you’re waiting to hear back from the examiner, and they’re ready to get going, they want to launch they want to do a Kickstarter, or, you know, partner up and start talking to third parties. And you got to protect your brand too. So it’s a real natural fit to lock down the trademark. So we do help with research in the application filing as well.

Jeff Kelly: Excellent. Excellent. So what do you think is your your greatest strength as an attorney? What what separates you from the pack?

JD Houvener: Well, you know, me personally, doing the legal work is, in most cases, actually not the best fit. Okay. And I say that, honestly, I have a unbelievably talented team of patent attorneys, their experience exceeds my own. My personal best in number I can help a client the most is kind of doing what we’re doing now. And it’s networking, it’s been noticed to make a really good referral to help an inventor client be successful. The hardest thing is to launch a new product and to actually be successful, right to make money. It’s not easy, I 10 million patents issued. I think the last stat I saw was like 4% of all patents want to actually, you know, read, you know, net net profit, actually bring in some money. So I try to I try every day to change that. Change that stat and to give the inventors the best chance possible to make money and connect with individuals to be truly successful.

Jeff Kelly: Yeah. So you can represent somebody anywhere in the United States.

JD Houvener: Yeah, that’s it’s a federal practice. And same with trademarks. Right. So we have inventors from 41 different states. I just had to Sent my CPA, actually. So yeah, I mean, we’re almost everywhere. Our attorneys are kind of sprinkled across the country. We have six and we’re not gigantic firm yet. But we have six attorneys that are full time dedicated, work with inventors all over. Like I said, we do make sure that in you know if they’re going to launch a company, start a company write contracts, negotiate deals, that we make those introductions to state specific attorneys that know the state law. And so we built a really, really neat, close referral network that way. Or if someone’s in, you know, Louisiana, if someone’s in, you know, Miami, we’ve got at least one or two attorneys we can send their way. Send them to rather to help make sure they’ve got to get home base, because we’re really kind of more like the nice specialists, right? You got to make sure they’ve got a primary physician, you know, to go to for their everyday needs.

Jeff Kelly: Yeah. Excellent. Excellent. So tell us a little bit about your personal life. You got you got a family. You got kids?

JD Houvener: Yeah, I do. I do. I mean, just outside that door. I think we’re all work from our home office these days, right? But yeah, I’ve got three beautiful kids. Stella is six years old. Emma is four and Hamilton is two and a half. And yeah, it’s busy. We’re doing some homeschooling and you know, kind of being conservative with the COVID stuff. So but it’s been a really neat time to spend time with each other and we wouldn’t have been this close if it hadn’t been for that. So there’s a lot of a lot of cool blessings there. We’re actually we’re living up in Lake Stevens for anybody that’s familiar with that area. And we love it up here. It’s nice. It’s far enough away from the city. Great people up here. Like

Jeff Kelly: one of one. How did you meet your wife?

JD Houvener: We met at University of Washington actually freshman year, way back in 2003. When we weren’t we actually were you know, we were dating different people what we stayed in touch and we were actually was on one of the only COED floors. And when these dorms and way back in, in oh three. And yeah, we stayed in touch and started dating about three years after that. And we’ve married now for over 10 years.

Jeff Kelly: Awesome. That’s fantastic. So Yeah, you know, I want to ask you, you know, in the patent world, do you ever have clients? Do they meet with you? And then you say to yourself, man, I really wish you had done fill in blank fill in the blank before you came to meet me. You know, what kind of pitfalls Do you see clients fall into that they could otherwise avoid? If they had just come to you center?

JD Houvener: Yeah, the heartbreak stories are, hey, I’ve got this amazing invention, I really need your help getting this protected. Here’s the link to my website, and Amazon page where I’ve been selling it and ask very carefully, how long have you been selling. And if they tell me more than a year, I have to just I had to break it to them that it’s not eligible for filing club. If you’ve published or sold your invention for more than a year, you can’t file it’s not right. It’s just not gonna fit the patent office will reject it. Even if you were to file and lie, they’ll find out or anybody you try to sue would would find that hole. So it’s it’s a tough one. I try to get that message out as much as I can. I wrote a book about it. You know, it’s right behind me. I guess I’ll pitch the book a little bit bold ideas and vendors guide to patents. That’s a quick hour read. We’ve got a free pdf download on our bold IP comm contact page. And yeah, I mean, it’s, that’s the number ones Yeah. It’s like,

Jeff Kelly: Oh, no, don’t tell me that.

JD Houvener: You know, and it’s just there are ways to help. Certainly, you know, those folks, because sometimes they’re they’re on there, they’re already selling, we can help them give them an opinion on how to avoid infringing someone else’s patent. But in terms of securing their own rights, it’s by that time too far gone.

Jeff Kelly: Yep. Oh, man, that’s brutal. Yeah, yeah. often does that happen?

JD Houvener: You know, it’s probably one out of 30 one out of 40 potential clients come in. And they’ve had a Kickstarter up and there’s different flavors, you know, sometimes, you know, they sold, you know, widget a, but in the back, they’ve been working on version two. Yeah, net version two is different enough. You bet. We can look into filing and securing what’s different, what’s improved. But in almost every case, it’s like, it’s kind of marginal, right. It’s it’s incremental, as opposed to what what could have been?

Jeff Kelly: Wow, that is some good information right there. That’s power. I can totally see somebody you know, they get excited they invent something. Hey, let’s see if we can make some money on it. Wow. And a year ago, and they think I don’t need to get a patent. Wow.

JD Houvener: Yeah, yeah. I know. So we if we can catch them you know, before that year is up, we usually recommend doing a what’s called a provisional, provisional will secure your rights for up to a year. And then that your that’s when you want to do your testing, get your market research, make the improvements, and then follow the the full non provisional.

Jeff Kelly: So

JD Houvener: within a year,

Jeff Kelly: you mentioned your website. Is that how most clients contact you?

JD Houvener: We get a lot of press about 60% of our leads come through the website. We’re getting over it. We’re really fortunate now to get a good stream of referrals that are coming in. And we do have some some paid ads as well. So it’s been kind of a mix there.

Jeff Kelly: Yeah,

JD Houvener: but I think what’s helping people find our website is the the blog articles that I’ve written past couple years in those in those YouTube videos that send us,

Jeff Kelly: boldIP.com

JD Houvener: boldIP.com you got

Jeff Kelly: and you have a YouTube channel as well.

JD Houvener: Yeah, bold patents. Bold patents. Yeah, just right up there. So yeah, you check that out. We’ve got hundreds of videos that the latest ones are published just last month, and I do a weekly bold today show on Wednesday mornings at 9am.

Jeff Kelly: Yeah,

JD Houvener: it’s kind of like, kind of what you’re doing, Jeff. I mean, it’s kind of like an interview radio show where I bring on inventors, I should clients of ours, that are willing to share their invention that they’re now patent pending with. And I just love it and just sharing what they’ve gotten and inspiring others that are ready to you know, not sure if they want to get started or not. Right. It’s it’s been it’s been pretty cool.

Jeff Kelly: That is exciting. That’s good stuff. So in your local community, what kind of local organizations you’re involved with?

JD Houvener: Goodness, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s hard to say it’s hard. I mean, I guess you could say formally, I am part of the Washington State Bar Association.

Jeff Kelly: Yeah.

JD Houvener: And also the Washington patent law Association. So WSPLA those are the two biggies. The two things, you know, there’s alumni groups, but it’s it’s been challenging with COVID right. A lot of the stuff required these these really neat in person events. You know, they got to get everyone’s been challenged to kind of, what do we do now? How do we get together? So?

Jeff Kelly: Yeah,

JD Houvener: you bet. You bet.

Jeff Kelly: How about history? I mean history now. Do you ever think Favorite historical figure?

JD Houvener: One today top of mine is MLK. I mean, I heard it. I want mentors. Darrin already had a speech he he gave in 1968. He was just unbelievable. Three months before his death.

Jeff Kelly: Yeah.

JD Houvener: Anyway, he’s just he was like, wow, that man could speak. I mean, wow, just right to your heart. So But yeah, I mean, he’s, uh, he’s top of mind right now, but I’m not huge history. Yeah. How about you, Jeff, who do you Who do you love?

Jeff Kelly: You know, my I drift. You know, I mean, I drift a lot. But, you know, I’m going to say, a guy that I’ve been reading a lot about lately is Gayness Khan. And his story is so fascinating that if I were to tell you Gayness Khan was a space a woman that would be easier to believe, than the real. I mean, it’s amazing. I mean, you know, most of these conquerors, you know, they grow up in these highly educated worlds, and they’re born into privilege. And they had all this extensive training and data. For all intents and purposes, he grew up homeless, and you weren’t even part of a job. And he didn’t even want to, all he wanted to do is get married, have kids and go live in the woods. And somebody made the mistake of coming and stealing his wife. And they stole his wife. And so he had to go become part of a tribe. And he did. And you know, the story, he got his wife back. And that’s the beginning. That’s where it all begins. It’s just

JD Houvener: wow.

Jeff Kelly: Yeah.

JD Houvener: Okay, we, you have to send me kind of kind of where to start? I mean, if it’s a it’s a documentary, or if it’s a book, send me send me a little piece on that Jeff.

Jeff Kelly: Yeah, sure. Well, absolutely. Got some good stuff. So when you’re not working on patents, and you’re not chasing kids, what do you do for fun?

JD Houvener: Cool. I do like like football. And we’re the weather’s pretty rough right now. But you know, when the weather’s fair,

Jeff Kelly: yeah,

JD Houvener: that’s my jam. That’s my jam, like football. I do like basketball too. And that’s fine. And those are my sports. My go twos. There was a piece of sound Basketball League. I get into.

Jeff Kelly: Excellent. You still play?

JD Houvener: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Off the long play a little bit. I mean, I’m not I’m around like, you know, there’s levels I’m on See, right. Not quite D but i’m i’m see. It’s competitive. That’s fine.

Jeff Kelly: Yeah, yeah. Well, man, I so appreciate you taking the time to come on the show. I know you’re super busy. Is there a phone number that my clients could have if they wanted to reach out to you to call you if they’ve got we’re talking about,

JD Houvener: right? I don’t even see that. But 800-849-1913 that’s our that’s our main line. Okay, and you’re gonna get a mirror. You may also if you call apparatus or get our answering service, but the we offer a free screening session. It’s what we call it now. Kind of trained advisors. They’re not attorneys, but they’re, they’re darn, they’re darn good. I trained them myself. And they’ll help tell you, Hey, is patents the right fit right now? I mean, is this the right legal area at all for what you’re doing? And if it is, then they’ll help you schedule a consultation with either myself or Tom. Tom is our managing attorney. So yeah, check out the website. Give us a call. You know, that first step is hard. But you got to be bold, you know, just to see if it’s worth going after right now. Don’t make that mistake, right. Don’t go publishing selling your invention without

Jeff Kelly: trying to lose.

JD Houvener: Exactly, yeah, just just give us a call. It’d be great. Yeah. And any of your your clients, obviously, Jeff would be happy that we’d roll the red carpet out and make sure they felt right at home.

Jeff Kelly: Well, I’ve got a lot of colorful friends and colorful clients. I know somebody out there has got a world famous invention sitting out there somewhere. So then yeah, they need to give you a call. Buddy. I appreciate you coming on here. And

JD Houvener: you know, thanks for having me.

Jeff Kelly: I really appreciate it. Thank you, sir.

Jeff Kelly: Okay, this is Jeff Kelly. And I want to switch gears now that we’ve concluded the first part of the show, and I want to switch gears here now and and talk about bankruptcy, specifically chapter 7. We’ve had a lot of issues here recently with the current housing price. is sometimes can keep people from filing chapter 7 right now, a lot of people don’t realize this, but in the state of Georgia, the the most you’re going to be able to protect for a married couple for equity, the house is $43,000. And, you know, in the past 10 years ago, almost nobody had equity in their house period, because the real estate market was just horrible. But that’s not the case today, I have never in my life seen a real estate market. That is as hot as the current one. And, you know, I’ve got a lot of theories about this. Personally, I think that, you know, we’ve gone almost a decade without any kind of building boom, particularly for houses in the, you know, $100 to $250,000 range, there’s not a lot of those houses being built even now. And so it’s, you know, when you get a shortage of supply, and the demand goes up, that is going to drive prices up. And I’m seeing some of these old homes from the 1960s, that, you know, I would think nobody’s ever going to want to live in nobody would ever buy them, because they’re so old. They sell and they sell quick, because there’s nothing else out there. So another, you know, I want to just emphasize that you have to be careful about filing a chapter 7, because if you’ve got a lot of equity, and there are enough that a chapter 7 trustee is interested in and they make a move to sell your house, you can’t just quit, you can’t just get out of the case, up psych, nevermind, sorry, I filed, get me out. Or this is why it’s so important to meet with a experienced bankruptcy attorney like we have at my law office and have them review your entire situation and look at the tax value. Look at the Zillow value and have an honest conversation with you. Are you willing to risk your house in a chapter 7? And you know, there are some people that say ha, you know, there’s no way you could get x price for my house. And if somebody was going to give me $43,000 and put it in my bank account and sell my house and wipe out all of my debt? I’ll take that trade every day of the week. That kind of person can file chapter 7. But somebody who says absolutely not I’m scared to death, I don’t want to risk I don’t want to roll the dice.

Jeff Kelly: What what are my other options? Well, you could file a Chapter 13. And, you know, one of the differences between chapter 13 and chapter 7 is you can quit a 13 if you don’t like the way things are going. And usually, you know a chapter 13 trustee if we’ve got an appraisal on the house, when we’ve got tax assessor evaluations, Zillow evaluations, and so forth, they’re they’re not going to push hard to kick you out of a case based on the value of your house as long as there’s some good reasons to back it up. Now is a you know, how does that contrast with a chapter 7 trustee aren’t chapter 7 trustees reasonable? The only thing a chapter trustee is going to care about is what the real what his realtor says and if his realtor come by your house and or drive does a drive by and says I, I know this is a hot area, I think I can do it, let’s make it work, houses gone. Not so in a 13 you still have to comply with the code, you’ve still got to produce some proof that the house is worth x value. But you know, another interesting difference between the chapter 13 and the chapter 7 is that you can’t you know, if let’s just make up a number and say there’s, you know, $10,000 of equity that we just can’t get around. Well, you can file a Chapter 13 and you can pay that $10 $10,000 back through a chapter 13 plan and nobody is going to be able to sell or take your house. You’re, you’re good. So another point I want to emphasize is a lot of people think the only way you’re going to wipe out any debt is in chapter 7 in chapter 13. You’re paying all of your debt back. That is not the case. You can wipe debt out in chapter 13. The same way as a chapter 7.

Jeff Kelly: You know, we just have to look at your income, we have to look at your budget, we have to look at the type of debts. We need to look at your assets like your house. And so that’s why it’s so so important to meet with a bankruptcy attorney who has experience who knows the ins and outs of bankruptcy and knows where The traps are, and how they might affect you individually on your specific case. Oftentimes, I’ll have clients that will come meet with me, they’ll say, Well, my friend did such and such. And I know I can do it too. Well, not necessarily, because you may have a set of facts in your case, that is completely different from your friends case. But the good news is, we offer a free consultation, it doesn’t cost you anything, give us a call at 706-295-0030, we’re more than happy to sit down with you. Let us take a look at your situation. Let’s make sure that nobody is going to sneak up on you. And, and we’ll we’ll go over the 13 option, we’ll go over the chapter 7 option. And another good thing is that right now, you can get your case filed, you can actually attend your court hearing without ever leaving your home can all be done virtually. It’s about the only good thing that has come out of this COVID mess. And I anticipate it’s going to be that way for many months to come, you know, until we got this pandemic well behind us. And even then I’m not sure they’re going to change it back. Who knows. I’ve got a lot of good resources on bankruptcy. If you get a chance, go to my website, www.Kelleycanhelp.com and I’ve also got a podcast www.Kelleybankruptcy.com. You can see some of the episodes from you know prior radio show episodes, you can see those where we’ve interviewed attorneys and also where I’ve done, you know, just small podcasting on certain topics like like this. Also, I’ve got a free book on my website. If you scroll down to the bottom of it, you can type in your name, your email address, and we’ll email you a digital copy of it immediately. And if you would like to get a hard copy of the book, you can call us 770 I’m sorry 706-295-0030 and we will send you a hardcopy while supplies last. appreciate everybody tuning in today. And you know again, if you’ve got any questions at all you can shoot us an email at [email protected] we’ve got live chat on our website, and you can also call us at that phone number 706-295-0030.

Jeff Kelly: I’d also like to put a quick plug in for my my friend who runs a really great church out in our Mirchi. His name is Sam Bice and if you want to talk to super awesome pastor, get out there and get to know Sam it’s living living waters church. Hwy 27 right off Martha berry highway they are super, super great guys super great group of people.

Jeff Kelly: Again, if you got any questions at all, anything related to bankruptcy, don’t hesitate to give us a shout and I appreciate you guys tuning in today. Thanks so much. Have a go and one more thing I forgot to add. Don’t forget if you know anybody who is behind on house payments, if they are struggling with car payments, they’re worried about the car getting repossessed or they’re worried about their house getting foreclosed. Tell them to call me 7062950030 because we can help. We can stop foreclosures, we can stop garnishments we can stop lawsuits, we can stop car repossessions. So, if you know anybody who is in those situations, it is a free consultation. We are happy to talk to you and see if we can come up with a plan that works to give you a fresh start. Thank you so much.

Outro Speaker: You’ve been listening to KellyCanHelp with Jeff Kelly reached out to the law office of Jeffrey B. Kelly today by phone 706-295-0030 in Rome or visit Kellycanhelp.com.

Jeff Kelly