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Recent Blog Posts

More Perpetual Motion Patents

This is an update to my earlier post, Patented Improvements in Perpetual Motion. There have been several more patents issuing on inventions that are or seem to be impossible machines that promise to harness the “magical” lifting power of buoyancy so that the output energy exceeds the input energy. Here are three more: Tran U.S. Read More »

Short-Term Product Design Protection – Part III — Modifying the Vessel Hull protection law

Previously we have identified a European-Community style of Unregistered Design Right as a possible vehicle for short-term protection of original product designs. Another possibility, one which already exists in a very limited fashion, is right in front of us in the Copyright Code (Title 17, United States Code), Chapter 13, protection of designs of useful Read More »

Short-Term Design Protection, Part II Automatic Unregistered Design Protection

My earlier post pointed out a need to provide some sort of exclusive rights for original designs for marketable useful articles, at least until some other form of protection can be obtained, such as a design patent or product configuration trademark or trade-dress protection. These forms of intellectual property can require two to three years Read More »

Alice – An Obvious Looking-Glass?

Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, 573 U.S. _____ (2014) This June the Supreme Court decided the patent case Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, holding that an unpatentable method of accounting for financial risk can’t be converted to a patentable piece of intellectual property just by using a computer to carry it out. This shouldn’t be Read More »

Redskins Registration Cancelled

On Wednesday, June 18, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) ruled two-to-one that the Washington Professional Football team name, The Redskins, was an offensive or pejorative term to a substantial composite of persons, and that six of the team’s trademark registrations should be canceled. (Blackhorse v. Pro-Football, Inc., Cancellation 92/046,185). This was obviously not Read More »

Short-Term Product Design Protection

As anyone in the design world can tell you, any successful product will be copied the instant it hits the market, and there isn’t much if anything you can do to stop it. The Seventh-Avenue high fashion trade sees this every time a new fashion line is released, but it isn’t limited to that and Read More »

Shigeru Ban – Architect/Patent Holder

A week or so ago I learned that Shigeru Ban, a Japanese architect that I happened to represent in the late Nineties on a couple of US patent applications, had been awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The award was given to Mr. Ban’s based on his innovative use of materials and his dedication to humanitarian Read More »

Glossary Pilot Program

The USPTO is intiating a “Glossary Pilot Study” program to see whether including a glossary section in the patent application helps in clarifying just what a patent’s claimed invention is. The Glossary Pilot Program offers expedited handling (without requiring a petition fee). The participating patent applicants would be required to use a special petition form Read More »

Patent Claim Construction – Words and Phrases – “Adapted to”

Words and phrases used in patent claims are supposed to have an accepted, predictable meaning unless the inventor provides some special meaning. Occasionally a patent examiner will try to import a much broader meaning so that he or she can apply a reference patent that may actually be a bit too distant from the invention’s Read More »

Copyright Fair Use and Information Diclosure Statements

Copying scientific articles for the purpose of submitting them to the USPTO as background prior art would be a non-commercial fair use, and not copyright infringement, according to a recent decision of the District Court for the Northern District of Texas, in Am. Inst. of Physics v. Winstead P.C. This seems to hold even for Read More »