Posts Tagged: "patents"

USPTO Names Iowa Library to Support Intellectual Property Information Needs of Inventors and Entrepreneurs

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the designation of Iowa’s Davenport Public Library as a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC). As the 81st library in the nationwide network, Davenport marks Iowa’s return to the PTRC program and serves as the first center geared away from the “paper depository” concept towards electronic access and training for patent and trademark information.

My Advice to Google – Keep Acquiring Patents

Most patents are obtained simply on the “refrigeration theory” as I call it. Just like if you are in food service you won’t get far without the preserving effects of refrigeration. Everything spoils unless eaten immediately. Likewise in technology; without the coverage of a patent, everything spoils unless consumed forthwith (first mover advantage). The decision is simple: if it is worth doing, i.e., putting resources into, it is worth patenting.

Patent Drafting Lessons: Learning from the Grappling Dummy

Such a long, detailed and narrow feature set may have been require to get a patent issued, but is the patent effort (i.e., time and cost) worth such a narrow set of claims? The answer can be a resounding YES, or a definite NO! It all depends upon what you want to do with the patent. One this is for certain though, if you add enough qualifiers and sufficiently narrow a claim you can get a patent on virtually anything, which is unfortunately a truth that invention promotion companies know all to well! In almost all circumstances the goal is to get the broadest valid claim you can possibly obtain. Getting a narrow claim is not likely going to be satisfying, which is why you really should do a patent search prior to deciding whether to even move forward with a patent application. Only by doing a patent search can you get any idea regarding the likely scope of patent claims that could be obtained.

The Constitutional Underpinnings of Patent Law

The United States Constitution grants to the Congress the power to grant patents; this power residing in the Congress is found in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8. Unlike most of the enumerated powers granted to Congress in the Constitution, the Intellectual Property Clause is a qualified grant of power, which does limit Congressional discretion in significant ways. The Congress does not have free reign to decide that patents should be easily or freely given, but rather must limit their exercise of power to the dictates of the clause itself. See Bonito Boats, Inc. v. Thunder Craft Boats, Inc., 489 U.S. 141, 146 (1989). See also Graham v. John Deere Co. of Kansas City, 383 U.S. 1, 5 (1966) (“The clause is both a grant of power and a limitation. This qualified authority, unlike the power often exercised in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by the English Crown, is limited to the promotion of advances in the ‘useful arts.’”).

Patents, Copyrights and the Constitution, Perfect Together

As James Madison stated in Federalist Paper No. 43, the usefulness of the Congresses power to award both patents and copyrights “will scarcely be questioned.” Madison, Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, at 512-13 (Hunt and Scott ed. 1920). Given that today’s business world is increasingly based on a company’s ability to innovate and acquire intangible assets in the form of both copyrights and patents, it would appear as if the constitutional goal of stimulating creativity and invention has been wildly successful.

PTO Makes Accommodations Relating to Japan Catastrophe

The USPTO is offering assistance in the form of flexibility on deadlines to the full extent allowable under our laws to Japanese applicants. However, because this catastrophic event occurred outside the United States and did not result in a postal service interruption of the United States Postal Service, the USPTO has no authority to designate a postal service emergency as authorized by 35 U.S.C. 21(a). The fact that the USPTO cannot declare a postal emergency limits what allowances can be made because in the event of a postal emergency the USPTO can treat as filed any paper that would have been deposited with the United States Postal Service but for postal service interruptions or emergencies as designated by the Director.

IP Exclusive: An Interview with Congressman Jason Chaffetz

Staffers worked with us to coordinate the interview with Congressman Chaffetz, which took place earlier today. I was told I would have 15 minutes with the Congressman, and graciously he allowed the interview to go a little long. We talked about the President’s States of the Union address, patent reform, the USPTO budget, innovation generally, manufacturing, job creation, China and more. I think many will find what Congressman Chaffetz has to say quite interesting and very encouraging. I myself found him to be well informed and refreshingly candid.

Patents, Innovation and Job Creation: A Virtuous Circle

Innovation and entrepreneurship are central pillars of America’s economic strength and critical vehicles for job creation. Reporter John Schmid of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote an article that was published on Sunday, January 16, 2011, aptly depicting the problems facing would-be job creators. Schmid wrote in part of his article about a professor from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who needed 11 years to obtain a patent on his revolutionary invention. How many jobs were lost as a result of unacceptably slow processing by the Patent Office?

Why Patents Matter for Job Creation and Economic Growth

According to Pascal Levensohn, Managing Partner of Levensohn Venture Partners, the problem with the US economy is the lack of Initial Public Offerings. He opines that without an increase in IPOs in the United States it will be difficult, if not impossible, to see the economic growth that we want. Without economic growth there will be no job creation, and the sluggish US economy will continue on its anemic path. He suggests that the best way to increase IPOs is to increase venture capital and make it more attractive. He writes that is our leaders really wanted to fix the job problem in America “there would be no higher legislative priority than promoting regulatory and tax reform to stimulate new capital formation and venture capital in the U.S.”

Protecting Ideas: Can Ideas Be Protected or Patented?

For goodness sake stop thinking that you will get rich by selling your idea to industry and sit back and collect royalty checks for doing nothing. If inventing were that easy everyone would be a filthy rich inventor! Many people will have great ideas, but what separates those who can turn their ideas into money from those who cannot is a strategy to define the idea enough so that it can become an asset that can be protected.

Proposal: Unlocking Job Growth with Patent Acceleration

The reality is that unless and until Congress steps up to the plate and does something, which seems extraordinarily unlikely, the Patent Office will be left to attempt to piecemeal together solutions. So while no one solution can or will solve all of the problems plaguing the patent system, if cascading solutions are employed at least some applicants can be helped and at least some applications can be accelerated. Of course, the name of the game today is job creation, so I propose a creative way to accelerate patent applications out of order upon proper showing that jobs will be created, and focus my suggestions on those companies that are most likely to create jobs; namely those 5 years or younger and with 99 or fewer employees.

NEWSFLASH: Duke Researchers Say Patents Block Competition

Last week, on Thursday, April 15, 2010, while many individuals were scrambling at the last minute to file income tax returns in the US, Duke University released a study that, not surprisingly, says patents block competition. WOW! Thank you so much for clearing that up Duke! What would we have ever done without the learned elite at Duke University telling us that patents block competition. Seriously… what was your first clue? For goodness sakes I hope you didn’t take much time or energy coming to that conclusion, given that is exactly what patents are supposed to do. You see, they provide exclusive rights, which means the owner of the right has the ability to exclude. So let’s all breath a sigh of relief that the money spent on an academic study actually reached a conclusion that is true and accurate. Now, if the conclusions drawn from the study were only as commonsensical as the discovery of patents conveying exclusive rights.

Patent Lessons from Monopoly® and the First Millionaire Game Inventor

As a result of his invention Darrow became the first millionaire game inventor, thanks to royalty payments. The irony, however, is that Darrow may not have invented the game at all, but rather he may have taken a locally popular game and made only a few changes. By the time Parker Brothers realized that Darrow may not have been the true inventor the game was already a huge success. In order to protect the game and its investment the decision was made to buy up all patents and copyrights on any related game, thereby ensuring the monopoly on Monopoly®.

Show Me the IP! Venture Capital Success Based on Patents

Earlier today Dale Halling, of Halling IP and State of Innovation Blog, brought to my attention an article on the IAM Magazine Blog from a few weeks ago. Joff Wild of IAM blogged about a study conducted by IPVision, Inc., which focused on analyzing the intellectual property positions of over 9,000 US venture capital backed technology companies. The study was…

Rebutting the Myth that Patents Last Too Long

One of the main criticisms of patents by those who are not intimately familiar with patent law, or on the periphery of the industry, is that patents last too long. The reality, if any generalizations could be made at all, is that the overwhelming majority of patents do not last “too long,” but if anything last for only a fleeting moment in the greater scheme of life. So while it is completely true to say that software and certain other high tech innovations should not be locked up for 20 years, the reality is that no patent provides 20 years of protection.