All posts by: Robert Yarbrough

About Robert Yarbrough

Last month, we discussed issues in obtaining a design patent. This month, we look at issues in enforcing the design patent. Remember that utility patents and design patents are separate and distinct and protect different things. A design patent addresses the appearance of something; for example, the appearance of a mousetrap that looks like a piece […]

Designers Take Note – Designs can be too ‘Obvious’ for a Design Patent There are two types of patents* – utility patents and design patents. Utility patents address what something is and how it works.  Design patents address how something looks.  An example of a utility patent is a patent for a better mousetrap with a […]

Maybe We’ll Actually Receive an Explanation from the USPTO The USPTO had a lot of patent examiners (8,568 to be exact) reviewing a lot of patent applications (462,000 new applications received last year).  Those examiners make thousands of determinations every day as to whether inventions are patentable or not.  Aside from forms, wording, fees, and whether […]

Those of us who work professionally in the fields of science and technology sometimes miss things that are not related to science and technology.  Here’s a remarkable essay from Dennis Crouch of the PatentlyO blog. — Robert Yarbrough

The new year of 1836, that is. 1836 was big for the U.S. patent system. It’s the year that the USPTO switched to the current patent numbering system, the year the USPTO started actually examining patent applications, and the year the patent office burned down – in that order. A little background – the Federal […]

Let’s say that you sell patented printer cartridges. Nefarious actors, both inside and outside the U.S., collect your used cartridges, refill your cartridges, and sell your cartridges, now refilled, to U.S. customers.  They’re thumbing their noses at your patents.  The nerve. The patent law should protect you, right?  After all, the law says that you […]

A ‘utility’ patent is different from a ‘design’ patent.  A ‘utility’ patent is directed to how something works – for example, how a mousetrap catches mice.  A ‘design’ patent addresses the decorative appearance of something – for example, a mousetrap that looks like a piece of cheese. Utility and design patents differ in their scope, […]

A sore point among inventors and invention owners is the time required for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to review a utility patent application.  That time generally runs between eighteen months and two and a half years or more. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has created a new “first-time filer expedited examination […]

Through a fog, an indistinct, faceless man in a white lab coat approaches you with what appears to be a heavy wooden log. The faceless man struggles under the weight.  The log morphs into a giant… syringe.  The sharp, menacing point of the needle extends toward you, an evil liquid oozing from the tip.   […]