Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

They Invented What? (No. 186)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on October 26, 2010

U.S. Pat. No. 5,593,111: Safety system for removing a rider from a vehicle by deploying a parachute.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus comprising:
           a drag-inducing device affixed to a rider for lifting the rider from a vehicle and reducing the rider’s velocity after separation from the vehicle;
          an active deployment system connected to the drag inducing device; and
          a sensor system communicating with the deployment system,
          whereby the sensor system senses a crash condition and signals the active deployment system to actively deploy the drag-inducing device.


Anticipate This!™ at AIPLA 2010 Annual Meeting.

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on October 20, 2010

We are pleased to announce that Jake Ward will be presenting at the Annual Meeting of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) this Friday, October 22nd from 2:45PM-3:05PM, at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC. 

The title of the presentation is A Stumbling Blog Before the Blind? The Troll Tracker and IP Watchdog Cases.  A copy of the related paper will also be made available by the AIPLA.   The presentation is part of a concurrent track at the Annual Meeting entitled Blog On! Thoughts on Patent Blogging from Inside and Outside the Blogosphere, and will be followed by a blog panel discussion including Dennis Crouch (PatentlyO blog) and Donald Zuhn (Patent Docs blog).  Additional program details for the AIPLA Annual Meeting may be found here

If you happen to enjoy our humble patent law blog, stop by and say hello after the presentation.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Fiscal Year 2010 – Increase in Allowance Rate Over Fiscal Year 2009.

Posted in Practice Commentary by Jake Ward on October 13, 2010

Below is an excerpt from a recent post at the Director’s Forum:  David Kappos’ Public Blog, which commented on the hard work being done at the USPTO to improve patent quality and increase work output.

Overall in FY 2010, the allowance rate increased to 45.6%, compared to an allowance rate of 41.3% in FY 2009.  In addition, actions per disposal decreased to 2.42 from 2.73 in FY 2009.  Furthermore, as a result of a concerted campaign to begin turning the tide on our backlog, the patent application backlog dropped from 718,835 at the end of FY 2009, to 708,535 at the end of FY 2010.  Pretty remarkable considering that application filings were up about 4%, that our examiner workforce shrunk and we were unable to authorize overtime for most of the year due to funding challenges, and that we affirmatively gave our examiners *more* time to examine each application as a clear signal that quality is our first priority.

We note the allowance rate increase, which had been on the decline for a handful of years, is apparently now on the rise.  Kudos to Kappos et al.

They Invented What? (No. 185)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on October 13, 2010

U.S. Pat. No. 6,241,575: Brassiere having integrated inflatable bladders for the holding of comestible liquids.

Having thus described my invention, what I claim as new, useful, and non-obvious and, accordingly, secure by letters patent by the United States is:

1. A system for the securement of comestible liquids within cups of a bra, the system comprising:
          (a) at least one a bra cup;
          (b) at least one oblate flexible fluid-tight bladder formed of a medical grade material suitable for storage of comestible liquids, the bladder having a front lateral face deformable within an opposing inner surface of said bra cup, said bladder proportioned to fit within the size of said bra cup;
          (c) inlet means for the filling of said bladder;
          (d) outlet means of said bladder;
          (e) tube means in fluid communication with said outlet bladder; and
          (f) means for securement and positioning of said tube relative to said bra.


2010 Ig Nobel Prize Winners.

Posted in Science and Technology by Jake Ward on October 4, 2010

The 2010 Ig Nobel Prize winners were announced September 30, 2010 at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre.  Per this Wikipedia entry, the Ig Nobel Prizes are a parody of the Nobel Prizes and are given each year for ten achievements that “first make people laugh, and then make them think.” The prize is organized by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research (AIR).

The 2010 winners include:

ENGINEERING PRIZE: Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse and Agnes Rocha-Gosselin of the Zoological Society of London, UK, and Diane Gendron of Instituto Politecnico Nacional, Baja California Sur, Mexico, for perfecting a method to collect whale snot, using a remote-control helicopter.

MEDICINE PRIZE: Simon Rietveld of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Ilja van Beest of Tilburg University, The Netherlands, for discovering that symptoms of asthma can be treated with a roller-coaster ride.

TRANSPORTATION PLANNING PRIZE: Toshiyuki Nakagaki, Atsushi Tero, Seiji Takagi, Tetsu Saigusa, Kentaro Ito, Kenji Yumiki, Ryo Kobayashi of Japan, and Dan Bebber, Mark Fricker of the UK, for using slime mold to determine the optimal routes for railroad tracks.

PHYSICS PRIZE: Lianne Parkin, Sheila Williams, and Patricia Priest of the University of Otago, New Zealand, for demonstrating that, on icy footpaths in wintertime, people slip and fall less often if they wear socks on the outside of their shoes.

PEACE PRIZE: Richard Stephens, John Atkins, and Andrew Kingston of Keele University, UK, for confirming the widely held belief that swearing relieves pain.

PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: Manuel Barbeito, Charles Mathews, and Larry Taylor of the Industrial Health and Safety Office, Fort Detrick, Maryland, USA, for determining by experiment that microbes cling to bearded scientists.

ECONOMICS PRIZE: The executives and directors of Goldman Sachs, AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and Magnetar for creating and promoting new ways to invest money — ways that maximize financial gain and minimize financial risk for the world economy, or for a portion thereof.

CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Eric Adams of MIT, Scott Socolofsky of Texas A&M University, Stephen Masutani of the University of Hawaii, and BP [British Petroleum], for disproving the old belief that oil and water don’t mix.

MANAGEMENT PRIZE: Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda, and Cesare Garofalo of the University of Catania, Italy, for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random.

BIOLOGY PRIZE: Libiao Zhang, Min Tan, Guangjian Zhu, Jianping Ye, Tiyu Hong, Shanyi Zhou, and Shuyi Zhang of China, and Gareth Jones of the University of Bristol, UK, for scientifically documenting fellatio in fruit bats.

JW Note:  The Science Geist blog has provided primary citation links for each of the reference papers here.  See also our previous AT! post on the 2007 Ig Nobel Prize Winners  here.