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Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Chicago/Rockford Consultants' Network.

Consultants In Private Practice Serving The Public.

A joint Affinity Group of the Chicago and Rock River Valley IEEE Sections.

For the best technology consultants, throughout the United States click here: Link to IEEE USA Consultants Database.



May 18, 2020


Please join us for our next meeting which will feature a presentation from Joseph T Cygan, Intellectual Property Counsel at Cygan Law Offices. Joseph will be presenting on a topic that has become a common feature of the new, smart world, patent law as it applies to software. What can be patentable, what isn't? Join us and your fellow consultants to get some insight in the complex world of patent law. Our meetings are free and open to anyone who is interested, not just consultants or IEEE members.

IMPORTANT: In order to receive your webex login credentials, you will need to register in advance for this event with a valid email. You will recieve an email with your webex info on Monday around noon on the day of the event.

Register Online to obtain Webex login info at: Link to IEEE Event RSVP.


"Patenting Software Related Inventions"

Navigating Patentability Under the USPTO Subject Matter Eligibility Guidelines

By Joseph Cygan of Cygan Law Offices P.C.


The 2014 Supreme Court case Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int'l, et al., 573 U.S. 208 (2014) ("Alice") has complicated the understanding of Subject Matter Eligibility (SME) for software related claims in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and in the courts. In Alice, the Supreme Court held that patent claims directed toward a certain software invention were not patent eligible because "the claims at issue" amounted to "nothing significantly more" than an instruction to apply an "abstract idea." Since the Alice case holding, the notion of an "abstract idea" has caused significant issues for those seeking patent protection for software related inventions, as well as for patent owners because patent infringement defendants have used the "abstract idea" analysis as a weapon in the courts to invalidate patents. In the presentation, we'll review how the USPTO has been applying the "abstract idea" analysis to patent claims and provide strategies for avoiding SME issues with software related inventions.


Joseph Cygan (Cygan Law Offices P.C.)

Mr. Cygan's law practice focuses on patent application preparation and prosecution for my clients before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, working in cooperation with international associate counsel to obtain patents worldwide under the Patent Cooperation Treaty and Paris Convention, patentability and infringement analysis and opinions, and various intellectual property related transactional matters.

Mr. Cygan has extensive experience in all aspects of patent procurement and technology patent portfolio development, and has personally drafted and prosecuted hundreds of patent applications for high-tech companies. He provides his clients with turnkey patent procurement services beginning with interviewing corporate inventors, including engineers and scientists, and preparing and prosecuting patent applications through to final disposition, including handling appeals before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). He also maintains a network of foreign counsel to assist in procurement of patents and trademarks internationally for my clients.

Mr. Cygan has assisted clients in handling cease and desist letters regarding patent, trademark, copyright and trade dress matters, and has defended client interests by resolving or negotiating and obtaining settlement agreements. He has also assisted clients with trademark consent agreements, patent, trademark and copyright licensing agreements, and software licensing agreements. He renders patentability opinions, non-infringement opinions, trademark clearance opinions, and freedom-to-operate opinions.

Link to Joseph Cygan on LinkedIn.
Link to Cygan Law Offices.


Do you know that networking is responsible for most professional jobs?  Do a friend a favor, invite him/her to a meeting.  There is no admission fee.  Don't forget to bring business cards for networking! Attendees may earn 1 PDH.



The board is currently planning meetings for the remainder of 2020. Schedule for Future Meetings:

July 27, 2020

September 28, 2020

October 29, 2020 (Rock Valley College, Rockford)

November 16, 2020

January 25, 2021


The board would like your input and suggestions for discussion topics for our 2019 meetings. We credit presenters on the WEB. Your professional credentials are enhanced. When someone Google's you it shows that you are an IEEE presenter. You can contact the board at the following email link.

Contact the Board


Information on past meetings: Please feel free to contact the presenter if you would like more information or an unlisted copy of the presentation.

On April 30, 2020, Dr. Ephraim Suhir, Research Professor with Portland State University, CEO of ERS Company, presented "Analytical Probabilistic Modeling (APM) in Aerospace Human-in-the-Loop (HITL) Problems". Dr. Ephraim Suhir on LinkedIn.

Dr. Ephraim Suhir


On January 27, 2020, Pat Helmers of Habanero Media & Sales Babble, presented "Selling for Technology Consultants". Pat Helmers on LinkedIn.

Pat Helmers


For information on 2019 presentations click here.
For information on 2018 presentations click here.
For information on 2017 presentations click here.
For information on 2016 presentations click here.
For information on 2015 presentations click here.
For information on 2014 presentations click here.
For information on past presentations click here.


The Objectives of the Network are:

* To foster and promote the interests of its members with respect to the business of providing professional and technical consulting services.

* To maintain, publish and distribute a directory of the members and the consulting services offered by each.

* To arrange for and provide technical and management talks, tutorials, and special seminars and workshops on subjects of interest to members professional development.

* To provide a networking forum for personal interaction through meetings, social functions and other events.

* To publicize the contribution to society by its members.

* To collect and distribute charitable funds on a voluntary basis, consistent with these objectives.


The Directors at their 2015 board meeting.

Left to Right: Robert Abrant, Roy Leventhal, Benjamin Miller, Michael Sullivan and Paul Johnson. Photo by Joseph Auer


Directors, Elected by Network Members; Positions Appointed by Board:

Rob Klein, Chair
Pete Kindinger, Vice-Chair
Robert Stemp, P.E., Secretary
Donald S. Zinger, Ph.D., P.E., Treasurer
Peter Salerno PMP, Webmaster
Steve Meanor, Director-at-Large
Joseph Auer, Director-at-Large
Robert F. Gillette P.E., Director Emeritus
Gary Blank P.E., Director Emeritus


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