All posts by: Robert Yarbrough

About Robert Yarbrough

The USPTO’s trial arm, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (‘PTAB’), cancels patent claims so frequently that the PTAB is usually the copyist’s first stop in defending against patent infringement.  Before the PTAB cancels the claims, the patent owner has a valuable (and expensive) asset, namely the patent.  When the PTAB cancels the patent claims, […]

The US Patent and Trademark Office published a patent application on August 13 owned by the United States Postal Service (‘USPS’).  The disclosed invention would incorporate Blockchain technology into a vote-by-mail system.  Blockchain is the technology used to implement cryptocurrencies and other types of secure transactions. Blockchain allows digital information to be recorded and distributed, but not altered, which […]

Let’s say you’ve developed a valuable machine, one that lots of people want to use.  You obtain patents for the machine.  An infringer learns about the patent and copies the patented machine.  You sue the infringer for patent damages. There is no question* that you can collect patent damages for the period of time after […]

Responding to Covid-19 requires innovation, and nothing encourages innovation like a functioning patent system. The USPTO has launched a program to quickly review Covid-19 related patents and to waive the fees usually required for prioritized review of those patent applications.  The average time for review of a  patent application by the USPTO usually runs a bit over […]

Lanyard Toys created a popular ‘chalk pencil’ that looked like a stubby pencil but that holds chalk.  Lanyard protected the invention with a design patent.  Remember that a design patent protects the appearance of a product, but not what it does or how it does it.*  Lanyard began selling its chalk pencils through a distributor to Toys-R-Us.  […]

Governments and scientists are scouring our vast pharmacopeia for something, anything, that may be effective against the current pandemic. While this particular infection may be new, inventors have been solving the problem of contagion since there have been inventors. This author believes that the scientists should investigate other disease-fighting inventions of the past.   In […]

We’ve all seen patent markings on products.  Something like “pat. US 6,568,969” printed, stamped or molded into the product.  Where the product itself can’t be marked, the patent marking can be printed on packaging or a label.  Here’s what the statute says, at 35 USC §287(a): Patentees… may give notice to the public that the [product] is […]

No, I’m not referring to a Cubist masterpiece. Consider the following:  After long, hard work, you’ve created a great design, say, the design above.  Eureka!  Your design would go great with anything.  You can see it on chairs, on baskets, on car seats, on bridges, on tattooed biceps everywhere.  Just think of the possibilities.    But everyone else will want to use […]

Mechanical inventions have been free of the uncertainty and chaos created by the Supreme Court in results-driven decisions surrounding the patentability of business methods, medical diagnoses and discoveries, and computer software.  That is, until now. The recent American Axle v Neapco decision of a three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit Court addressed a patent to a method for tuning a drive shaft to […]