Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

They Invented What? (No. 41)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on March 28, 2007

U.S. Pat. App. Pub. No. 2007/0035812:  Godly powers.

JW Note:  Many thanks to Prof. Jeff Opperman for bringing this one to our attention.  Also, as a note to the less patent-savvy among us, this piece of work is merely a published application and not an issued patent.  Enjoy.

Abstract:

Christopher Anthony Roller is a godly entity. “Granters” had been given my powers (acquired my powers) (via God probably). These “granters” have been receiving financial gain from godly powers. These “granters” may be using their powers without morals. Chris Roller wants exclusive right to the ethical use and financial gain in the use of godly powers on planet Earth. The design of godly-products have no constraints, just like any other invention, but the ethnic consideration of it’s use will likely be based on a majority vote of a group, similar to law creation. The commission I require could range from 0-100% of product price, depending on the product’s value and use.

Claims:

1. Godly powers are being used on planet Earth. For example, technology (i.e. Electronic and Medical) is being assisted by godly powers throughout the planet. Godly powers could be used prior, during, and after godly product/procedure. For example; Before–in the making of a device, like a micro-processor chip. During–in the operation of a device, like an inkjet printer cartridge. Afterwards–like gradual scar removal from breast implant surgery. A magician might perform magic before, during, and after, for any given trick (“illusion”).

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They Invented What? (No. 40)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on March 21, 2007

U.S. Pat. No. 4,873,928: Nuclear-sized explosions without radiation.

JW Note:  Many thanks to Dr. Bill Ziehler for bringing this one to our attention!

  fakenuke

What is claimed is:

1. A method for producing a violent and destructive explosion having high shock energies comprising:

partially filling an expendible structure with an initial mixture of combustible gas and an oxidizer gas in concentrations rich in said combustible gas so that said initial mixture is incapabale of burning or exploding;

mixing additional oxidizer gas into said initial mixture after said initial mixture is in place and contained within said structure to thereby create an explosive mixture within said structure; and

detonating said explosive mixture to produce said explosion and thereby destroying said expendible structure.

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Accelerate This!

Posted in General Commentary by Mike Dockins on March 19, 2007

The USPTO announced that the first patent granted under its accelerated examination program issued on March 13, 2007. Brothers International, Ltd. was granted a patent for a printer ink gauge. The application was filed on September 29, 2006. For those keeping score, this means the patent issued in around six months versus the 25.4 months it usually takes to examine an application in the “ink cartridge technology”.

As originally discussed here on Anticipate This!, the accelerated examination procedure allows an application to receive a full patent review and a decision regarding patentability within twelve months. How is the USPTO able to accelerate the process? By asking the applicant to provide its own prior art and an explanation stating explicitly how the invention is useful and novel in view of the art. Also, an applicant is required to show how the written description supports the invention as claimed.

The grant of the Brothers patent indicates the accelerated examination process works and is effective. However, it is unclear how many of these accelerated patents will be ultimately granted and how strong the patents that are granted will be. Afterall, asking an applicant to provide his own prior art and distinguishing comments seems a bit like letting the inmates run the asylum. One thing cannot be denied: the accelerated patent examination procedure is yet another interesting and untested patenting tool for the savvy inventor and marketer.

They Invented What? (No. 39)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on March 14, 2007

U.S. Pat. No.6,702,582:  Device and method for solving circles.

JW Note:  In honor of Pi Day.  We hope you celebrated on time (3/14 at 1:59 PM . . . Einstein’s Birthday).

 piday

What is claimed is:

1. A device for visually demonstrating a characteristic of a circle, comprising: a cylindrical container having a body and a lid fitted thereon with at least three projections, a first projection located at a point on a circumference of a circle defined by an upper surface of said lid, a second projection in a center of said circle, and a third projection on the circumference of said circle opposite said first projection and in linear alignment with said first and second projections across a diameter of said upper surface; and a string attached at one end to said lid adjacent said first projection and having a length at least equal to the circumference of said lid.
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Geographical Patent Trends (2000-2005).

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on March 8, 2007

JW Addendum (June 6, 2007): We have updated this post based on reader comments.  The updated post may be found here.  Enjoy!  

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PTO Community Examination Project

Posted in General Commentary, Practice Commentary by Mike Dockins on March 7, 2007

As many may know, the Patent and Trademark Office is starting a pilot project for the community examination of patent applications. The project is scheduled to begin in the spring and evolved from meeting attended by the top recipient of U.S. patents for 14 years running, IBM, and New York Law School Professor Beth Simone Noveck. The patent applications will be posted on the Web and comments on the application will be invited. Further, a community rating system is part of the posting process and is designed to highlight the best comments for serious consideration by the Examiners. Registered participants for the project will vote on the information submitted, and the top 10 items will be passed on to the Examiner for consideration.

Similar to the feedback system utilized by Ebay, the system will separate experts in the field of the application and in patent prosecution from neophytes by offering extensive details about the information contributor. To help others evaluate the prior art cited against a patent, each posting will include measures gauging the quality of his other contributions to the site, such as “gold stars” given by the Examiners to contributors who have previously submitted useful information in prosecution of a previous application.

The implications for the project, if ultimately adopted on a full-time basis, are numerous. First, the level of gamesmanship between business rivals could reach a new level; each business may try to invalidate the other’s application to prevent them from obtaining “the next big thing”. Second, a patent application that may normally issue into a patent may now be blocked by an obscure piece of prior art found during the community review. Third, and arguably most importantly, under the “watchful eye” of a community of experts and novices, a massive amount of prior art previously unavailable to an Examiner may become available delaying prosecution and increasing the cost thereof, possibly to the detriment of small business.

On the other hand, the project may be beneficial. Presumably, any patent that issues after running through the project would be a strong patent having survived a more rigorous prosecution. Also, any company that allows its “next big thing” to be a part of the prosecution would certainly get some publicity and attention on the web. Such attention may be beneficial in gaining brand recognition, market share, and an increased perception of the innovation and R&D of the business.

The Community Examination Project should be a fun experiment, so hold on… it should be a fun ride.

They Invented What? (No. 38)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on March 7, 2007

JW Note:  Sometimes I worry about the progress of science and the useful arts.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,666,425:  Device for perfusing an animal head.

 discorporated

Abstract: 

This invention involves a device, referred to herein as a “cabinet,” which provides physical and biochemical support for an animal’s head which has been “discorporated” (i.e., severed from its body). This device can be used to supply a discorped head with oxygenated blood and nutrients, by means of tubes connected to arteries which pass through the neck. After circulating through the head, the deoxygenated blood returns to the cabinet by means of cannulae which are connected to veins that emerge from the neck. A series of processing components removes carbon dioxide and add oxygen to the blood. If desired, waste products and other metabolites may be removed from the blood, and nutrients, therapeutic or experimental drugs, anti-coagulants, and other substances may be added to the blood. The replenished blood is returned to the discorped head via cannulae attached to arteries. The cabinet provides physical support for the head, by means of a collar around the neck, pins attached to one or more vertebrae, or similar mechanical means. 

Claims:

1. A device for maintaining metabolic activity in a mammalian head which has been severed from its body at its neck, comprising the following components: a. veinous cannulae which are capable of being attached to veins which pass through the neck and receiving blood from the veins; b. arterial cannulae which are capable of being attached to arteries which pass through the neck and transporting blood into the arteries; c. an oxygenation device which is in fluid communication with the veinous and arterial cannulae, and which is capable of displacing carbon dioxide contained in the blood with oxygen; d. one or more pumps of a selected type which causes relatively low levels of damage to blood components; e. fluid conduits which are attached to each of the components listed above in a manner such that the components, when coupled to the veins and arteries of a severed head by means of the cannulae of parts (a) and (b), will form a system capable of circulating blood through the oxygenation device and through the head after the head has been severed from the body; and, f. means for securely mounting the head upon the device after the head has been severed from the body, in a position such that the veins and arteries which emerge from the head can be connected to the veinous and arterial cannulae.

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Pre-Appeal Brief Review Statistics.

Posted in Practice Commentary by Jake Ward on March 5, 2007

PABR stats

Patently-O has recently compiled some rough statistics related to appeals and the pre-appeal brief review process.  Of particular interest to us at AT! was the Pre-Appeal Brief Review (PABR) statistics. (See also the previous AT! post SARPABR – Should it be added to your patent vocabulary?). 

Based on the limited sample size that Prof. Crouch analyzed (87), the applicant won roughly 35% of the time (7% outright allowances and 28% reopened prosecutions).  In roughly 55% of cases, the USPTO decided to proceed to the BPAI.  The remaining cases were defective or their status was unknown.

Now, based on some of the comments from the esteemed readers of Patently-O, you would think that the PABR procedure was a “waste of time.”  However, we strongly disagree.  In our personal experience (albeit a much smaller sample size than even Patently-O analyzed), the success rate with the PABR is about 50%.  We also have not seen a bias providing positive results with § 102 rejections and less positive results with § 103 rejections. 

In any case, if a practitioner were planning to proceed with an Appeal, the filing of the SAPABR costs nothing more than the Notice of Appeal itself.  Thus, the PABR is a potential cost savings tool that practitioners can employ.  Assuming that Prof. Crouch’s numbers are sound, the procedure could represent a cost savings for the client at least 35% of the time by removing the necessity of filing an Appeal Brief (with the associated fee).   The SARPABR along with the Notice of Appeal is also a savings over filing an RCE (with the associated fee). 

The process is most definitely not a “waste of time,” particularly in cases where Applicant feels that the Examiner has made a clear error in facts or that a prima facie case has not been established.  

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