Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

IGA Webinar Series – “Patently Good Ideas: You Don’t Need A Patent If …” Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on June 27, 2020
When do you need a patent? Join us on July 1st for our next Educational Webinar with Registered Patent Attorney & Founder of Ward Law Office LLC, Jake Ward! At 4pm Pacific, learn about when you actually don’t need a patent!

Jacob “Jake” M. Ward is a Registered Patent Attorney and Founder of Ward Law Office LLC, a boutique law firm specializing in the practice of patent and trademark law. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Toledo, College of Law, where he instructs on patent law and patent practice. Mr. Ward’s legal practice consists of preparation and prosecution of patent applications in various technical arts, as well as preparation and prosecution of trademark applications, at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

He is also the founding author of the Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog, which provides light commentary on the practice of patent law, trademark law, and science & technology.

Towards the end of each webinar we hold a live Q & A for our guest speakers, but we don’t have enough time for every question. Send your question early to with the subject, “VIP Question to Jake” to be considered!

Sign up here!

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Importance of Using a Registered Patent Practitioner.

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on June 7, 2020


Most anyone who has been involved in the filing of a patent application at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will tell you this – the patenting process is complicated.  It is full of strange rules.  To make matters worse, these rules seem to be in a constant state of flux.  As a result, the patenting process presents many potential pitfalls for inventors, and especially for those who decide to prepare and file themselves as “pro se” or without the advice of counsel.

Many patent practitioners can recall stories where pro se applicants have ultimately turned to them to fix their patent applications, or to otherwise complete prosecution from the inventors at the USPTO.  Some of these stories are quite famous, including the story of the Wright brothers’ patent attorney, Harry Toulmin, to whom the brothers turned after the patent application they had drafted themselves was rejected by the USPTO.  Unfortunately, depending on the state of the patent application filed, or the point in the process at which the patent practitioner is approached, the practitioner’s ability to help the inventor may be very limited.

For at least these reasons, the importance of using a registered patent attorney or agent for preparation and filing of a patent application cannot be over-emphasized.   Registered patent attorneys or agents are individuals who have been licensed and are regulated by USPTO.  Both patent attorneys and agents must pass a rigorous examination administered by the USPTO, and registered patent attorneys are also members of a state bar.  A list of registered patent practitioners is maintained at the USPTO website here, and may be searched to locate a registered practitioner near you.

Inventors should also beware using so-called “invention promoters.”  An invention promoter is defined by 35 USC 297 as being any “person, firm, partnership, corporation, or other entity who offers to perform or performs invention promotion services for, or on behalf of, a customer, and who holds itself out through advertising in any mass media as providing such services.” Invention promotion services are defined as being “the procurement or attempted procurement for a customer of a firm, corporation, or other entity to develop and market products or services that include the invention of the customer.”

The USPTO publishes complaints made against invention promoters, which may be found at the following website:

For more information from the USPTO about invention promoters and scam prevention, we encourage you to visit the USPTO Scam Prevention Website here and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Information on Invention Promotion Firms website here.  The USPTO also publishes a great pamphlet with information on how to avoid scams by invention promoters here.  Note especially the list of questions that invention promoters are required to answer by law (i.e., the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999).   Complaints against invention promoters may also be filed with both the USPTO and the FTC using the forms found here and here, respectively.

In sum, if you are inventor interested in obtaining a patent, we recommend that you search for and speak with an experienced registered practitioner before moving forward into the patenting process.  Likewise, if you have been the victim of a scam, it may also be in your best interest to speak with a registered practitioner sooner rather than later.

Should you wish to speak with the registered patent attorneys at Ward Law Office LLC, we invite you to contact us by telephone at 419-408-5500, or by email to

They Invented What? (No. 140)

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on June 7, 2020

Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

U.S. Pat. No. 5,421,089:  Fork with timer.


What is claimed is:

1. A fork with timer for providing a cue to a user after an elapsed period of time for indicating that another bite of food using the fork may be taken comprising, in combination:
         a rigid dinner fork having a head, four spaced and aligned tines extended from the head, and a handle extended from the head remote from the tines for allowing a user a firm grip for taking a bite of food;
         timer circuitry connected to the handle of the dinner fork and adapted for providing a cue after an elapsed period of time for indicating to user that another bite of food using the dinner fork may be taken, the timer circuitry further comprising:
          a countdown timer adapted for counting down a pre-programmed period of time, transmitting countdown signals in sequence during…

View original post 799 more words

They Invented What? (No. 139)

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on June 7, 2020

Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

U.S. Pat. No. 7,137,935: Office gym exercise kit.


What is claimed is:

1. An exercise kit for attachment to a chair having a central post, a base, and a chair back support, said exercise kit comprising:
         (a) a generally T-shaped flexible body constructed of flexible fabric, the top of the T-shaped flexible body comprising a generally rectangular portion having a plurality of retainers secured thereon, an elongated strap secured to said generally rectangular portion and extending outwardly from and substantially perpendicular to one of the sides of the generally rectangular portion, said elongated strap terminating in a free end, said generally rectangular portion further including fastening means located adjacent the sides of the rectangular body perpendicular to said one side for affixing said rectangular portion of said flexible body about a central post of a chair, means for affixing said elongated strap about a chair base, and…

View original post 516 more words

They Invented What? (No. 138)

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on June 7, 2020

Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

U.S. Pat. No. 4,834,212:  Sound muffler for covering the mouth.


We claim:

1. A human sound muffler and indicator comprising a unitary body adapted to be grasped and manipulated by a user, at least one end of said body comprising a saddle shaped body of compliant sound absorbing foam material adapted to fit over the mouth of a user and engage the face around the mouth to form an effective sound seal to receive sound directly from the mouth and absorb substantially most of the sound in the foam material, a microphone for receiving unabsorbed sound disposed adjacent the bottom of said foam saddle and providing an output signal responsive to the unabsorbed sound, and means in said body for receiving said output signal and providing an indication on said body of the intensity of the unabsorbed sound.

View original post 78 more words

They Invented What? (No. 137)

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on June 7, 2020

Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

U.S. Pat. No. 6,743,460:  Tomato raisin. 

What is claimed is:
1. A method of producing a tomato raisin, comprising:
     (a) removing the skin from a grape tomato to produce a skinless grape tomato; and

     (b) drying said skinless grape tomato to produce a tomato raisin.

View original post 228 more words