Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

National Waffle Day – August 24th.

Posted in Science and Technology by Jake Ward on August 25, 2010

Did you celebrate National Waffle Day yesterday?  According to this article at Time.com, August  24th is recognized as National Waffle Day because it is the anniversary of the first U.S. patent on the waffle iron.

Apparently, the first U.S. patent on the waffle iron is U.S. Pat. No. 94,043, a downloadable pdf of which is available here.  The patent issued to Cornelius Swartwout of Troy, New York, and describes both an “Improvement in Waffle-Irons” and the operation of the same.  The single patent claim reads as follows:

What I claim, and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States, is—

The handle M, with the connecting-rod N, or its equivalent, and the device P, or its equivalent, arranged so as to loop or hook over the lug S, or any equivalent thereto, and forming rivets through the ears K and L, substantially in the manner and for the purposes as described and set forth.

JW Note:  The Ward family celebrated National Waffle Day in grand style, including home-made waffles with blueberries and whipped cream!   Inventions can be delicious!

They Invented What? (No. 181)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on August 25, 2010

U.S. Pat. No. 6,145,838: Luminescent playing cards.

 

What is claimed is:

1. A set of playing cards, comprising:
          a plurality of cards, wherein each card includes distinct indicia printed thereon, the distinct indicia including a first image viewable under lighted conditions but substantially unseen in the dark and a second image viewable when dark but substantially unseen under lighted conditions, wherein the first image is revealed under lighted conditions and the second image is revealed under non-lighted conditions to offer a playing card with dual images.

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Ombudsman Pilot Program of the USPTO

Posted in General Commentary, Practice Commentary by Mike Dockins on August 19, 2010

The USPTO announced an Ombudsman Pilot Program in the Federal Register on April 6, 2010. The Federal Register announcing the Program may be viewed here. The USPTO Ombudsman webpage may be accessed here. The webpage includes information links concerning the Program, as well as the submission form that practitioners submit to initiate an interview with an Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman Pilot Program “is designed to enhance the USPTO’s ability to assist applicants and/or their representatives with issues that arise during patent application prosecution. More specifically, when there is a breakdown in the normal prosecution process, the Ombudsman Pilot Program can assist in getting the process back on track.”

After over four months, the USPTO scheduled a teleconference available to the first fifty (50) practitioners or pro se applicants that have used the Ombudsman Pilot Program. All of the Ombudsmen were present on the teleconference. We were lucky to have been participants on the conference call. Overall, the feedback regarding the Program was positive, and the participants on the call were all pleased with how the Program has worked so far. A few interesting things came from the conference call that we thought we should share: (more…)

They Invented What? (No. 180)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on August 18, 2010

U.S. Pat. No. 7,246,802:  Towable bag.

JW Note:  I’d bet this kid gets beat up at school.

 

The invention claimed is:

1. A towable bag comprising: a body having at least one wheel, a first tow bar comprising a plurality of articulated sections, a first end of the first tow bar being releasably attached to the body of the bag and a second end of the first tow bar being adapted to releasably engage a coupling means being worn by the user; wherein the articulation in the first tow bar is such that two adjacent sections may rotate relative to a vertical axis when the first end of the first tow bar is attached to the body of the bag and the second end of the first tow bar is engaged with the coupling means worn by the user; wherein the joint between any two adjacent sections of the first tow bar includes locking means for locking the two sections of the first tow bar in a fixed position relative to each other. 

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They Invented What? (No. 179)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on August 11, 2010

U.S. Pat. Appl. Pub. No. 2009/0188617:  Dog nose art.

JW Note:  You gotta love dogs .  I wonder if my daughter’s recently demolished flip-flops, courtesy of our dog Charlie “van Gogh” Ward, could be placed on display somewhere?

 

          1. A method of providing a dog nose smudge laminate (320), comprising:
           applying dog nose powder (240) to at least one dog nose smudge (300) to provide at least one nose powder coated dog nose smudge (305);
           collecting said at least one nose powder coated dog nose smudge (305), wherein said at least one nose powder coated dog nose smudge (305) is collected on a surface (260) of a dog smudge display layer (140);
          applying a transparent layer (160) over said surface (260) of said dog smudge display layer (140); and
          sandwiching said dog smudge display layer (140) and said transparent layer (160) between a top window layer (180) and a base layer (120) to provide a dog nose smudge laminate (320), wherein said surface (260) is facing away from said base layer (120) such that said at least one nose powder coated dog nose smudge (305) disposed on said surface (260) is visible,wherein said top window layer (180) defines a window aperture (280) enabling an observer to see said at least one nose powder coated dog nose smudge (305) through said transparent layer (160).

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Bill Signed to Authorize USPTO to Spend an Additional $129 Million.

Posted in Practice Commentary by Jake Ward on August 11, 2010

Per a media advisory from the USPTO, released yesterday.

President Obama Signs Bill to Provide USPTO Authority to Spend an Additional $129 Million of FY 2010 Fee Collections

Washington – On Tuesday, August 10, President Barack Obama signed into law P.L. 111-224 that gives the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) the authority to spend an additional $129 million of the fees the agency will collect in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010.  Due to an improving economy and increased patent examination productivity, the agency projects it will collect nearly $200 million more than its FY 2010 appropriation of $1.887 billion.

This bill was a response to President Obama’s July 12th request to Congress to provide the USPTO with access to all the fees it will collect in FY 2010.  In that request, the President said the money would “support efforts to reduce backlogs in processing patent applications—by spurring innovation and reforming the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to make them more effective.”

Following the signing, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos said, “We are grateful to the President for his support and to Members of the House and Senate for their exceptional efforts to move this legislation through the process so quickly.  This additional funding will allow us to continue the progress we’ve made in improving the USPTO and the patent process so that patents can be issued more quickly, investment in new technology and new products will be accelerated and much-needed jobs will be created.”

Kappos said that the additional funding would be used to fund investments needed to shorten patent pendency and reduce patent backlogs.  These investments include hiring new examiners, enabling additional examiner overtime and improvements to USPTO processes and IT systems.

CBS News Video on USPTO Backlog.

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on August 11, 2010

CBS News had a segment this weekend on patent office reform, including an interview with Director Kappos!  The video may be viewed online here.

Pollution-Eating Concrete Invention.

Posted in Science and Technology by Jake Ward on August 6, 2010

An article on an interesting invention was published today at CNNTech, found here.  The article discusses the use of titanium oxide coatings on concrete to remove nitrogen oxides from the environment.  Also, the article briefly highlights the “race” to explore new technologies for mitigating pollution.  

We recommend the article as a quick and interesting read, if you have a few minutes to spare.

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