Computer Hardware and Software

Dicke, Billig & Czaja’s clients have included the world’s largest computer hardware and software companies since the earliest days of the firm. The practical experience we offer has contributed greatly to sustaining these and other client relationships for many years.


During their previous careers in engineering, a number of DBC attorneys personally designed computer hardware and/or wrote software. Since then, they have drafted hundreds of related patent applications. We have an intimate understanding of the challenges and opportunities involved in transforming innovative concepts into commercially viable hardware or software products. Whatever their size, our clients have found this combined experience invaluable – and profitable.


Protecting your business has never been more difficult than in today's evolving marketplace. By securing your IP amidst an equally shifting legal landscape, our knowledgeable team will work with you to enhance your innovation’s commercial and competitive potential. Founding partner Pat Billig even “wrote the book” on the subject: he was the original coordinating editor of Electronic and Software Patents: Law and Practice (BNA Books).


A majority of DBC attorneys possess electrical engineering degrees and related backgrounds. This expertise weaves its way through several of the more specific electronically-oriented Technology Areas listed here, such as Computer Hardware and Semiconductors.


As with Computer Hardware and Software and several of our other technical specialties, our electrical IP legal specialization is bolstered by several of our attorneys’ previous electrical engineering experience.


From testing avionics or manufacturing processes to designing high-voltage power systems for industrial plants or control systems for power transformers and regulators, our electrical group possess decades of problem-solving skills. But these are not only fellow engineers, but also patent attorneys with decades of experience in navigating a complex process who can speak your language as they guide you.


By patent experience alone, a vast majority of DBC attorneys can confidently count the mechanical discipline as one of their technical specialties. Perhaps more than any other technology area, the mechanical specialty speaks to the versatility of our attorneys and the work product they create.


Several DBC attorneys have degrees in either mechanical engineering or industrial or civil engineering, the latter of which requires much of the same curriculum one would find in a mechanical engineering program.


Mechanically-oriented matters benefit from the variety of backgrounds our firm represents, and matters which are relatively less mechanical in nature benefit from the tremendous flexibility of our mechanically-trained professionals. From medical devices (an area so robust as to demand its own category below) to manufacturing processes to imaging and printing technology, members of our team have labored over numerous patents for mechanical and electromechanical systems.

Semiconductors and Processes

For decades our attorneys have advised innovators in the highly profitable and highly volatile semiconductor technology sector. Certain clients are multi-billion dollar companies which have been ranked in the USPTO’s top ten patenting organizations for more than five years apiece. From Western Europe to the western United States, our semiconductor experience has global reach and commercially protective impact.


Memory devices have been and continue to be a strong focus of our patent prosecution practice. Various processes for semiconductor circuit design and fabrication and semiconductor packaging are also areas of extensive experience.


We have seen many trends in semiconductor and process technologies come and go. You may rely upon our Freedom to Operate services to ensure your innovation is on the right end of the trend line. We’ll work with you to assess whether it is protectable and worth the long-term investment in a competitive, fast-paced industry.


Medical Devices


DBC’s home state of Minnesota, nicknamed "The Land of 10,000 Lakes," could also be said to be the land of the life sciences, and our firm is honored to play a part in such an innovative scene. We have carefully cultivated a reputation for excellent IP legal services working for multiple divisions and subsidiaries of one of the world’s foremost medical device manufacturers. Working with medical device companies large and small to secure intellectual property that may -- pending FDA approval -- one day improve health outcomes for millions is both a thrill and a privilege.


Two of our attorneys are biomedical engineers by training, and many DBC attorneys are well-versed in the nuances of medical device patent language; we know our proximal end from our distal end! We have extensive experience in a multitude of medical device technologies and their applications to the human anatomy, including heart valve repair and replacement, ENT instrumentation, tissue ablation, pacemakers, stents, and minimally invasive delivery tools, to name but a few.

Chemical and Materials Sciences

The approach DBC takes to the chemical and materials science sector is as fittingly interdisciplinary as the versatile attorneys who are our top practitioners within it. One former chemical engineer is now our top trademark attorney; another is prominent in our patent work on behalf of one of the world’s biggest memory device manufacturers. Even DBC’s top patent litigator has a background in chemistry. All continue to work on chemical matters, bringing to that work a mental dexterity strengthened by the other aspects of their practice.


In the chemical field, we have experience in area such as food processing, plastics formulation and processing, and ink formulation. Our materials science experience includes many aspects suggested by the other technical areas listed here, such as conductive polymers and process manufacturing, engineering, and testing.


We secure effective patent protection through our thorough understanding of various optical principles and our extensive experience applying them. DBC attorneys know the difference between a Michelson interferometer and a confocal microscope, and appreciate inventions that capture and analyze light to determine characteristics of various materials or articles.


Example clients use optics to perform tests on semiconductors, evaluate characteristics of a cornea, and display interactive content in a virtual reality environment.