Patent

Origami Boat

We think of the protection of intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets) as matters of Federal law.  What about the states?  Can, say, Pennsylvania protect an invention by state law independent of the Federal government? The principal impediment to state protection of intellectual property is the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution: “…This Constitution, and […]

Swimwear Technology

As we sit on the beach, trying to avoid the sun, what better time to contemplate  swimwear inventions?  Consider the ‘Two Piece Full Body Weighted Swimsuit’ of U.S. Pat. Pub. 2004/0221,355 by Garcia, published November 11, 2004 and shown as fig. 1.  It’s a training aid for competitive swimmers.  The dark patches are weights, up […]

Benjamin Franklin

Utility patents protect what things do.  Design patents protect how things look.  Design patents have existed for well over 100 years:  “[w]homever invents any new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture may obtain a patent therefor … .”  So the design patent only applies to an ‘article of manufacture;’ that is, a physical product, and only […]

Sonos

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) is not a Federal court – in many ways, it’s better than a Federal court where U.S. patents are concerned.   The USITC is a U.S. administrative agency charged with, among other things, handling claims by a U.S. patent owner that imported products infringe a U.S. patent.  To trigger USITC […]

Caltech

About a decade ago, there was a huge uproar over ‘patent trolls,’ also known as ‘non-practicing entities’ – companies that did not make products but that owned patents.  The business model of the patent troll was to sue or threaten infringers and to collect patent infringement damages.  The coordinated attack on the U.S. patent system […]

COVID Patent

Should the Covid vaccines be set free in the world, so that everyone can gain immunity?  Few would argue that’s a bad idea, since more variants may arise in under-vaccinated populations, those variants will undoubtedly spread to us, and those variants may be resistant to our vaccines. But what about the rights of the creative […]

Halloween

First your headlamp failed and then your backup light and then the light on your phone.  It’s pitch black. Not just shadowy black, but absolutely, completely black – so black that the fish have no eyes.  You’re in a limestone cave, deep underground. You’ve been utterly lost for hours.  There are no paths, only the […]