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 […]

Duty of Candor

You and your patent attorney have a ‘duty of candor’ to the USPTO You’ve created a great invention.  You hire a patent attorney and file a patent application.  While your application is pending, you poke around in Google Patents and come across prior art that would preclude a valid patent for one of your claims.  Do […]

Float ’N’ Grill

So you came up with a great invention – let’s say a floating grill for cooking your burgers.  You know that unless your grill has patent protection it will be knocked off immediately. Clearly, you need a patent. You read up on the topic and learn that you can file a patent application yourself – you […]


Between the stock market crash of 1929 and the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, the U.S. economy fell off a cliff.  During that three-year period, five thousand banks failed and nine million bank accounts were suddenly worthless.  In the calamity of the Great Depression, millions of people were thrown out of work, unemployment stood at […]

Telephone Scammer AI

This month the USPTO warned of scam telephone attacks on patent owners.  The scammers spoof USPTO phone numbers so the call appears to come from the USPTO.  The scammers pretend to be USPTO employees and ask the patent owner to pay fees over the phone or for personal information.   The USPTO warns that it does […]


A bullet dodged or the bomb-throwing Supreme Court declines  to destroy the patent system… for once. The Supreme Court does not take a patent case unless it can screw up the patent system and make things worse for inventors.  That’s why Your Faithful Correspondent was alarmed when the Court accepted the case of Amgen v Sanofi, which […]