Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

Proposed Rule Changes for Practice Before BPAI.

Posted in Practice Commentary by Jake Ward on July 31, 2007

In yesterday’s Federal Register Notices:  Proposed Rule change for the Rules of Practice before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences in ExParte Appeals.

Is the USPTO anticipating a bottleneck in Appeals to the BPAI with the upcoming changes to the rules on continuations?

EP-Oh! (Information about the European Patent Office)

Posted in General Commentary, Practice Commentary by Mike Dockins on July 25, 2007

We recently were posed a question about European Patent Office (EPO) procedure, specifically: “What is a European patent and what rights does it confer?”.

An issued EPO patent, while substantively reviewed and prosecuted, is nothing more than a conduit to enter European member states.  Once the EPO reviews, approves, and issues the patent, the applicant has 3 months to supply to the desired member state’s industrial property office a translation of the patent  in one of the member state’s official language or, where the State has prescribed the use of one specific official language, in that language.  The period of three (3) months may be extended on a state-by-state basis. See European Patent Convention (EPC), Article 65.  The only exception to the three-month rule appears to be Ireland, which allows the filing of a translation within six (6) months.  Once the time period for filing a translation has lapsed, the EPO patent is deemed void ab initio in all member states in which a translation was not filed.  That’s right, the EPO patent provides no protection in those countries and it is as if the application never existed.

The filing of a translation and payment of any fees required by the member state is the only step required to obtain patent protection in the state.  The EPO has already performed the prosecution and review.

The moral of the story is as follows:  once one obtains an EPO patent, the clock starts to get an application on file in all of the desired member states.  Once the translation is on file and the fees are paid, the member state will “rubber stamp” and accept the patent.  An English, a French, and a German translation should cover the vast majority (if not all) of the EPO member country requirements.  Admittedly, however, there may be countries in which that may require a translation in their particular language.

They Invented What? (No. 57)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on July 25, 2007

U.S. Pat. No. 6,352,259:  Pet lover’s board game.

 dog game

What is claimed is:

1. A pet lover’s board game, which comprises:

(a) a playing board having a predetermined continuous path with spaces for movement of pieces therealong in accordance with rules, said playing board including:
(i) marked breed spaces designating a specified dog, said breed spaces identifying its specified breed by name, pictorial representation or combinations thereof, and having a specified action of a player when a piece lands thereon;
(ii) marked action spaces, each designated so as to require a specified action of a player when a piece lands thereon wherein said marked action spaces are disparate corner spaces on said playing board and wherein at least one said corner marked action space is labeled “Take A Nap” wherein a player must skip exactly one turn before resuming playing after landing thereon after collecting accumulated play money from a middle of said board accumulated from payments made on dog spa and dog boarding spaces; and
(iii) marked event spaces, each designated so as to represent an event which may initiate a payment or other event of a player when a piece lands thereon;
(b) a random movement means for randomly determining numbers of spaces to be moved by players in accordance with rules;
(c) a set of dog ownership papers for marked breed spaces provided to a player in exchange for payment of play money if a player qualifies to purchase and elects to purchase in accordance with rules;
(d) a set of event cards corresponding to at least one marked event space to be read and acted upon by a player when a piece lands on a corresponding event space;
(e) a plurality of different icon pieces for use by a plurality of players wherein said icon pieces have a topographical shape of a dog;
(f) play money in predetermined denominations;
(g) a play money holding tray having at least one compartment sized and shaped for holding said play money and having a dog bone topographical shape; and
(h) rules defining use of the aforesaid by order of play, use of said random movement means, movement of pieces, acquisition of ownership papers, sale of ownership papers, action apace play, event space play, use of event cards, payments of landing fees, and how games may be won or lost.


Mixing Golf Inventions with Reality TV: Brilliant!

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on July 18, 2007


Americans love a good invention.  They also love their reality TV.  To capitalize on these interests, the television network ABC had developed the reality television show American Inventor.  Many independent inventors, for better or for worse, have participated in this show.  Even more viewers, including those in the IP blogosphere, watch the show on a regular basis.

Inventions and reality TV . . . what could be better (or worse), you ask?  Well, we happened across a show titled Fore Inventors Only this week on The Golf Channel.  This show narrows down, in full reality-TV glory, a field of individuals who have invented golf-related devices.  A cheap knock-off of American Inventor, or a brilliant concept whose time has finally arrived . . . you be the judge!

They Invented What? (No. 56)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on July 18, 2007

U.S. Pat. No. 5,616,089:  Method of putting. 


What is claimed is:

1. A method of gripping a putter comprising the steps:

gripping a putter grip with a dominant hand;
placing a non-dominant hand over an interior wrist portion of the dominant hand behind a thumb of the dominant hand;
resting a middle finger of the non-dominant hand on the styloid process of the dominant hand;
pressing a ring finger and a little finger of the non-dominant hand against the back of the dominant hand;
pressing the palm of the non-dominant hand against a forward surface of the putter grip as the non-dominant hand squeezes the dominant hand.


They Invented What? (No. 55)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on July 11, 2007

U.S. Pat. No. 6,025,810:  Hyper-light-speed antenna.

JW Note:  Thanks again to Michael Barclay at WSGR for bringing this one to our attention. 



All known radio transmissions use known models of time and space dimensions for sending the RF signal. 

The present invention has discovered the apparent existence of a new dimension capable of acting as a medium for RE signals. Initial benefits of penetrating this new dimension include sending RF signals faster than the speed of light, extending the effective distance of RF transmitters at the same power radiated, penetrating known RF shielding devices, and accelerating plant growth exposed to the by-product energy of the RF transmissions.

The following describes, in simple terms, what the present invention actually does. The present invention takes a transmission of energy, and instead of sending it through normal time and space, it pokes a small hole into another dimension, thus, sending the energy through a place which allows transmission of energy to exceed the speed of light. 

. . . .


1. A method to transmit and receive electromagnetic waves comprising:

generating opposing magnetic fields each having a plane of maximum force running perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the respective magnetic field;
generating heat from a heat source along an axis parallel to the longitudinal axis of the magnetic field;
generating an accelerator parallel to and in close proximity to the heat source, thereby creating an electromagnetic injection point; and
generating a communication signal into the electromagnetic injection point, thereby sending and receiving the communication signal at a speed faster than a known speed of light.


Continuation Rules Changes Approved by OMB.

Posted in Practice Commentary by Jake Ward on July 10, 2007

As reported by Prof. Crouch at Patently-O, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has apparently approved the USPTO’s proposed continuation and examination rules.  See here and here.  The Patent Bar now anxiously awaits publication of the rules to see whether or how much they have changed since they were originally proposed.

The Patent Baristas note that this approval was given despite the large number of complaints about the rules, and amid the OMB’s odd conclusion that the rules are not “economically significant.”

See these previous AT! posts on the background and development of the proposed rules:  A Continuation Christmas in July? and Proposed Limits on Continuations No More?

Are You an Inventor Looking For a Challenge?

Posted in Science and Technology by Jake Ward on July 8, 2007


The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has recently announced the creation of a new DDR&E competition, titled the “Wearable Power Prize.”  The goal of the competition is the development of a wearable power system that lasts four days and reduces the weight of the battery load typically carried by those in the U.S. military, although such a system has obvious uses in the civilian field as well (ever wanted to take your laptop on a hike?).  The competition is open to individuals and teams who are up to the inventive challenge. 

The complete power system must weigh 4kg or less and provide a minimum of 1920Whr.  The power system must operate continuously for 96 hours.   During the 96 hours of operation the system must operate: (1) continuously (i.e., 24 hours a day); (2) at partial power; (3) for a number of periods of high power of up to 200W for 5 min; (4) in a non-air breathing mode in a sealed container for a time to be determined; (5) be attitude or vertical orientation and motion independent; (6) provide output voltages of 14V and 28V.  The system must attach to a vest and operate while worn.  The U.S. government will provide connectors for the equipment on the course with additional cables, outlets, etc. 

The winning system will be the lightest under the 4kg maximum and will complete the full competitive demonstration.  In the case of systems with identical weights, a secondary “wearability” criterion will used. Wearability is measured by the maximum thickness of the system as it protrudes from the body when attached to a garment. The thinnest system wins the tie-breaker.

If you have an interest in wearable power systems, and/or feel up to the challenge, registration opens October 8, 2007.  By the way, did we mention that the top prize is $1 million?

Further commentary on this prize may also be found here at Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log.