All Posts

Describing Your Invention in a Patent Application

When you file a patent application it is always necessary to file an application that completely and clearly describes the invention so that others would be able to understand the invention.  For new inventors it is sometimes difficult to understand the so-called description requirement to patentability.  It is not an overstatement to say that the description of your invention must…

No such thing as a Provisional Patent

I am frequently asked about the benefit of filing a provisional patent application.  I am a fan of provisional patent applications and encourage independent inventors and small businesses to start with a provisional patent application, but it is important to understand what a provisional patent application is, what benefits are provided and perhaps most importantly what a provisional patent application…

Trade Secrets & Patents Perfect Together

A trade secret is any valuable business information that is not generally known and is subject to reasonable efforts to preserve confidentiality. One of the world’s most famous trade secrets is the formula for Coca-Cola.  A trade secret will be protected from misappropriation from exploitation (through state law) by those who either obtain access through improper means or who breach…

Obscure Patent: Head Mounted Letter “M”

Head mounted letter “M” [ PDF ] US Patent No.6,834,453 Issued December 28, 2004  Searching for obscure patents can sometimes seem like looking for a needle in a haystack. Certainly, there are no shortage of patents that get issued on a weekly basis that should never have seen the light of day. Unfortunately, invalid patents are increasingly becoming a way of…

How Long Does a Copyright Last?

Answering the question about how long a copyright lasts, or whether a particular copyrighted work is in the public domain and can be readily used without the payment of royalties, is an impossible question to answer in the abstract.  This is because over the years the United States Congress has periodically altered the length of copyright protection and the formalities…

Obscure Patent: The Beerbrella

Beerbrella US Patent No. 6,637,447 Issued October 28, 2003 Here is a great invention, and one that is particularly appropriate to profile now that the heat of the summer has arrived. This device gets included here as an obscure patent because it is rather simple, something you don’t see every day, and completely ingenious. An umbrella for your beer! How…

Gene Quinn Elected to UIA Board

The United Inventors Association, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit which has as its principal focus the provision of information and support to inventors and entrepreneurs, recently held an interim election to replace the Jack Smith who resigned as the UIA President and Board Member.  Gene Quinn, a patent attorney with Zies, Widerman & Malek, and the founder of IPWatchdog.com, was elected to the Board…

The Wizard of Menlo Park

This cartoon is humorous on many levels.  Perhaps first and foremost is the fact that children under the age of 13 have never known a world without the World Wide Web, and for all intents and purposes everyone under the age of 21 (maybe even older) has no recollection of life before the advent of the World Wide Web.  For…

GlaxoSmithKline & Tafas Win!!! PTO Loses!!!

In the much anticipated decision from the Eastern District of Virginia the claims and continuation rules enjoined on October 31, 2007, were unceremoniously thrown out!  Judge Cacheris concluded: Because the USPTO’s rulemaking authority under 35 U.S.C. § 2(b)(2) does not extend to substantive rules, and because the Final Rules are substantive in nature, the Court finds that the Final Rules…

Obscure Patent: Mouse Trap

Trap for a mouse US Patent No. 6,655,077 Issued December 2, 2003 Build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door!  Here is a better mouse trap, at least according to the disclosure contained in the patent.  It would be easy enough to poke fun at the Patent Office by saying that “the mouse…

Obscure Patent: Sports jersey chair

Chair upholstered with sports jersey US Patent No. 7,340,813 Issued March 11, 2008 This is an interesting invention for many reasons.  While this may seem like a silly invention to some, I think this is a very creative invention that is well worth protecting.  Yes, I just might surprise long time readers of IPWatchdog.com by not making fun of a patent profiled under…

Don’t Send the Wrong Message

Many times inventors and entrepreneurs will unwittingly price products at a point where they are sending the wrong message.  Virtually everyone who has their own business, whether they are selling a product or offering a service, has fallen victim to the same problem at one point in time or another.  When you are starting out it is tempting to offer…

Obscure Patent: Skateboard deck

Composite sports board such as a skateboard deck US Patent No. 6,648,363 [ PDF ] Issued November 18, 2003 The picture gives this invention away.  If you guessed skateboard then you are correct!  In reality, the disclosure would also be sufficient to cover any type of sports board, not just a skateboard.  In fact, the wheels (shown above as 121A…

USPTO Online Inventor Chat – 2/28/08

Senior officials of the United State Patent and Trademark Office will be available live on-line this Thursday, February 28th, from 2 to 3 PM (EST). They will be answering questions and offering tips for independent inventors. Instructions for taking part in the on-line chat will be posted on the home page of the USPTO web site at 10 AM (EST) on…

2008 Paper Patent Bar Dates

The United States Patent Office recently announced that they will be giving the Patent Bar Exam in paper format on July 23, 2008 and Jul 24, 2008.  This is a yearly ritual that began when the Patent Bar Examination went to an on-demand computer format.  Since that time the PTO has given the exam at its own facility in Alexandria, Virginia to accommodate…

Varsity Sponsors

Junior Varsity Sponsors