Harvey Ball

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 […]

USPTO inventions

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 […]

patent rights

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 […]

utility and design patents

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, […]

Question on a Keyboard

Dear Doc: The United States Constitution provides, in Article III, that, “The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.” How, then, is it legal for Judge […]

fear of needles

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.   […]

USPTO Government Shutdown

Oh, great.  Another government shutdown.  The last one lasted 35 days, ending January 25, 2019.  Before that, it was February 2018 and, before that, January 2018.  We’re about to have the government forcibly closed.  Planning on a trip to a national park?  Better reconsider.  Want to sell your product to the military? Fuhgeddaboudit. What about the […]