Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

They Invented What? (No. 156)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on December 16, 2009

U.S. Pat. No. 3,820,265:  Animated Display.

JW Note:  Wishing a Happy Holidays to all!  See you in 2010! 

This and other modifications of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art, and this invention includes all modifications falling within the scope of the following claims.

1. An animated display comprising support means including an elongated arm, a first figure attached to said support means, said first figure being shaped to represent a vehicle, a plurality of animal figures each pivotally attached to said arm, said animal figures being spaced in aline along said arm, each of said animal figures being shaped to represent a draft animal, linkage means interconnecting said animal figures together, and means for actuating said linkage means and thereby simultaneously rocking the entire line of animal figures about their pivotal attachment to the arm to simulate a galloping motion of said animal figures, said animal figures being pivotally attached to said arm in pairs abreast by means of U-shaped brackets which pass through openings in said arm, the upper ends of each U-shaped bracket being bent over to form support arms for a pair of said animal figures, there being a pair of animal figures attached to each pair of said bent over support arms, and the openings in said arm for said Ushaped brackets being spaced along said arm to form a line of said pairs of animal figures.


Has U.S. Innovation Suffered During the Great Recession?

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on December 11, 2009


That is the assertion that this article at CNN Money today seems to be making, at least.  The article points to a 2.3% decrease in the number of patent filings in the United States in 2009, from 485,500 from 496,886 according to a preliminary estimate by the USPTO.  That would make 2009 the first year since 1996 in which fewer patent applications were filed year over year.

However, does a decrease in patent filings really have anything to do with the amount of innovation that is occurring in the United States?  Isn’t it more likely that the recession has just minimized patent budgets, forcing companies and individuals to more carefully consider alternative means such as trade secrets for protecting the innovations that they are still making?  Any thoughts from our readership?

They Invented What? (No. 155)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on December 10, 2009

U.S. Pat. No. 5,638,832: Programmable subcutaneous visible implant.


What is claimed is:

1. An implant for subcutaneous insertion beneath a skin surface, the implant comprising:

          a control module adapted to be located beneath the skin surface, the control module providing a display signal representative of an image to be displayed; and
          a display device adapted to be located beneath the skin surface, the display device displaying the image through the skin surface based upon the display signal.


Inventors Slam Patent Reform Effort – Popular Mechanics Article.

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on December 9, 2009

An interesting patent law article was published today at Popular Mechanics.  The article explored the impact that the Patent Reform Act of 2009 could have on innovation, primarily through the opinions of a variety of patent system constituents interviewed for the article. 

Although focusing heavily on the impact of the change from first-to-invent to first-to-file systems under the proposed patent laws, the article was well-written.  A great read if you have a few minutes to spare.  Check it out.

USPTO to Accelerate Examination of Green Technology Patent Applications.

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on December 8, 2009

Per this press release at the USPTO yesterday:

U.S. Commerce Department’s Patent and Trademark Office to Accelerate Review of Green Technology Patents to Speed Deployment to Marketplace 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Commerce Department’s Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will pilot a program to accelerate the examination of certain “green” technology patent applications, Secretary Gary Locke announced today. The new initiative, coming days before the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, will accelerate the development and deployment of green technology, create green jobs, and promote U.S. competitiveness in this vital sector.

“American competitiveness depends on innovation and innovation depends on creative Americans developing new technology,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “By ensuring that many new products will receive patent protection more quickly, we can encourage our brightest innovators to invest needed resources in developing new technologies and help bring those technologies to market more quickly.”

Locke announced the USPTO pilot program at a press conference with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today at the Commerce Department’s headquarters. 

“Every day an important green tech innovation is hindered from coming to market is another day we harm our planet and another day lost in creating green businesses and green jobs,” Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos said. “Applications in this pilot program will see a significant savings in pendency, which will help bring green innovations to market more quickly.”

Pending patent applications in green technologies will be eligible to be accorded special status and given expedited examination, which will have the effect of reducing the time it takes to patent these technologies by an average of one year. Earlier patenting of these technologies enables inventors to secure funding, create businesses, and bring vital green technologies into use much sooner.  

Patent applications are normally taken up for examination in the order that they are filed. The average pendency time for applications in green technology areas is approximately 30 months to a first office action and 40 months to a final decision. Under the pilot program, for the first 3,000 applications related to green technologies in which a proper petition is filed, the agency will examine the applications on an accelerated basis. 

Carl Horton, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel of General Electric, hailed the new initiative. 

“We hail this initiative as an excellent incentive to fuel further innovation of clean technology and a terrific mechanism to speed the dissemination of these patented technologies throughout the world,” Horton said.

Michael Sykes, an independent inventor who has spent the last 25 years working on technology to make homes more energy efficient, commented: “ All my inventions relate to energy and energy inventions pay for themselves- so speeding up the process helps me as a businessman, and helps the end user start saving.”

Additional details on the USPTO pilot program will be available in the Federal Register and via the USPTO’s website:

If successful, the USPTO will examine ways to continue and expand the initiative.