Patent

02Jul 2020
COVID-19

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 […]

11Jun 2020
Chalk Pencil

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.  […]

02Apr 2020
disease fighting inventions

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 […]

19Mar 2020
Patent Markings

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 […]

13Feb 2020
Designs for patents

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 […]

06Feb 2020
gavel of justice

Newsweek has called it the “copyright case of the decade” and it may be right.  Google and Oracle are software titans battling over whether the freely available connections between software platforms (Application Programming Interfaces, or “APIs”) can be protected by copyright law.  APIs are generally free to use, and they enable developers to build programs […]

09Jan 2020
Designs for patents

Here’s a challenge for these modern times:  How do observant Jews follow the Biblical commandment to observe the Sabbath?  Rabbis generally agree that driving is prohibited, and that using electricity is not prohibited – but using switches to manually turn the flow of electricity on or off is prohibited.  This is why you may have […]

02Jan 2020
Designs for patents

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 […]

19Dec 2019
Designs for patents

Some patents are valuable and some are not. The claims of a patent determine whether the patent is valuable or not valuable.  If the claims are too ‘narrow;’ that is, if the claims protect too little, then the patent is not very valuable and your competitor can make minor changes to a copy of your product […]