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Archive for July 2008

USPTO Ends Patent Outsourcing to India

Posted: Tuesday, Jul 29, 2008 @ 10:02 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 8 comments
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Posted in: IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents, USPTO

On July 23, 2008, the United States Patent & Trademark Office published an interesting notice in the Federal Register. This particular notice announced nothing new in terms of the law, but will have an enormous impact on the way patent services are provided to many corporations and law firms. Specifically, it has finally come to the notice of the Patent Office that outsourcing is going on in the patent area, which is in clear and direct violation of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Finally, someone has noticed that our export laws prohibit the sending of information relating to technology overseas without a proper license. This should signal an end to the $2.2 billion per year patent outsourcing to India. For admittedly selfish reasons I am happy that export regulations will now be enforced as written. My professional efforts over the last 5 years to create a wholly domestic solution to the rising cost of patent preparation work may pay off in a big way, which will be a significant benefit to the US economy as well.



Obscure Patent: Pillow with breasts

Posted: Saturday, Jul 19, 2008 @ 3:02 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | Comments Off
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Posted in: IPWatchdog.com Articles, Museum of Obscure Patents, USPTO

Pillow with breasts
US Patent No. 7,386,902
Issued June 17, 2008 

This is an interesting invention indeed.  I am not posting this to poke fun of the invention, but rather because it is certainly unique.  Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that inventions are intended to provide exclusive rights for inventors to insulate themselves from competition.  So any patent that covers a product that has a market can be extremely useful to the inventor.  Now I have no particular knowledge about whether there is a market for this invention, but it does seem at least as interesting as much of the merchandise on sale at your neighborhood Spencer Gifts.  So I would have to give this invention a thumbs up because it is interesting and seems likely that with proper placement it could result in sales.



Beware Invention.net

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 2, 2008 @ 1:34 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 3 comments
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Posted in: Inventors Information, IPWatchdog.com Articles

Over the years I have written quite a bit about invention scams, and in fact one of my most popular pages is The Truth About Invention Promotion Companies, which typically comes up in the top few sites in Google and Yahoo when a search is done for invention promotion companies. It is sadly true that there are a lot of fraudulent operators in the invention and patent market, but one of the operators that I have had my eye on for some time is not a true invention promotion or scam company, but rather a patent attorney who gives all of the rest of us a bad name. Beware Michael Kroll and Invention.net!

I recently came across US Patent No. 7,389,739, which was issued on June 24, 2008, and is entitled Tailgate position indication marker. This patent was obtained for the inventor by Michael Kroll, and is listed as one of his successful patents on his website, Invention.net. Many frequent readers of IPWatchdog.com know that I have taught patent application and patent claim drafting courses now for over 10 years. As I read through the ‘739 patent I was appalled by the quality. Had a student of mine submitted this for a grade it would have received an F. I am not going to opine one way or another about whether this invention should have been patented, but this patent is surely evidence that not all patents are created equally. What is perhaps most sad is that some independent inventor spent a lot of money obtaining this poorly written patent. Maybe what is most sad of all is that the US Patent Office continues to allow Kroll to represent unsuspecting clients.