Friday, January 30, 2009

Patent Faceoff: Black & Decker vs. Stihl


Towson, Maryland-based Black & Decker has 3,481 U.S. patents-- here they are.

Stihl, based in Waiblingen, German, has far fewer-- a total of 817 in the USA, listed here.



Black & Decker's most recent patent is Portable Work Bench, U.S. Patent 7,481,254:

An improved portable work bench includes a beam, legs for supporting the beam, and at least one bracket having first and second surfaces for contacting respective first and second sides of the beam, wherein the second surface is movable between a first position contacting the second side of the beam, and a second position not contacting the second side of the beam. A spring biases the second surface towards the first position.

So there you have it, for this week's Patent Faceoff:

Black & Decker: 3,481
versus
Stihl: 817.


Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out http://www.freepatentsonline.com/ : All the Inventions of Mankind.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Eye, Tanya: Call for Engineers

Mike Kepka / The Chronicle

Tanya Vlach has a fascinating blog called Eye, Tanya-- and she has put out a "Call for Engineers."

On November 11, 2008, she wrote:

I am attempting to recreate my eye with the help of a miniature camera implant in my prosthetic / artificial eye. The intraocular installation of an eye-cam will substitute for the field of vision of my left eye that I lost in 2005 from a car accident. While my prosthesis is an excellent aesthetic replacement, I am interested in capitalizing on the current advancement of technology to enhance the abilities of my prosthesis for an augmented reality.


If that's not a clarion call for inventors, what is?

Engineers who lack inspiration should join Tanya's cause. Whether they do or don't, there's no better time to be an inventor. By the month, there are new, "speed the time to market" services to help IP-seekers of all types go from concept to product-for-sale, such as 72 Hour Patent Drawings and $299 Provisional Patents, from the cleverly-named PatentPen.



Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out http://www.freepatentsonline.com/: All the Inventions of Mankind.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Turning Back Time with Resveratrol

Last night on 60 Minutes, Sirtris was spotlighted. The Cambridge, Massachusetts research company is developing resveratrol-based drugs that are designed to slow down aging.

Resveratrol is found in red wine. But Sirtris says you would need to drink about 1,000 bottles of red wine per day to obtain what is contained in one Resveratrol pill.

Here are the Sirtris patents, a total of fourteen.


There latest is Sirtuin Modulating Compounds, a U.S. Patent Application from 1/8/2009:

Provided herein are novel sirtuin-modulating compounds and methods of use thereof. The sirtuin-modulating compounds may be used for increasing the lifespan of a cell, and treating and/or preventing a wide variety of diseases and disorders including, for example, diseases or disorders related to aging or stress, diabetes, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular disease, blood clotting disorders, inflammation, cancer, and/or flushing as well as diseases or disorders that would benefit from increased mitochondrial activity. Also provided are compositions comprising a sirtuin-modulating compound in combination with another therapeutic agent.

Sirtris clearly is aiming at a massive market opportunity: GlaxoSmithKline purchased them in early 2008 ... for $720 million.




Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out http://www.freepatentsonline.com/: All the Inventions of Mankind.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Patent Faceoff: Caltech versus Hopkins


Pasadena, CA-based Caltech, founded in 1891, has 704 patents-- see them here.



Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University, founded in 1898, has fewer-- a total of 455, listed here.

Caltech's most recent patent is in nanotechnology: Nanophotonic Devices in Silicon from January 22, 2009 [note, the best patent blog in nanotechnology is TinyTechIP]:

Systems and methods for manipulating light with high index contrast waveguides clad with substances having that exhibit large nonlinear electro-optic constants χ2 and χ3. Waveguides fabricated on SOI wafers and clad with electro-optic polymers are described. Embodiments of waveguides having slots, electrical contacts, and input waveguide couplers are discussed. Waveguides having closed loop structures (such as rings and ovals) as well as linear or serpentine waveguides, are described. Optical signal processing methods, such as optical rectification and optical modulation, are disclosed. Designs having responsivity of less than 1 volt-centimeter are described.

So there you have it, for this week's Patent Faceoff:

Caltech: 704
versus
Johns Hopkins University: 455

One of the very best websites about Tech Transfer-- finding IP in academia for potential commercial use-- is TechnologyTransferTactics.com.

Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out http://www.freepatentsonline.com/ : All the Inventions of Mankind.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Glenn Patent Group


In the intellectual property arena, there are Inventors and Assignees (an assignee is the company that owns the patent), but let us not neglect the important role of the Patent Attorney.

Consider Menlo Park, CA-based Glenn Patent Group, founded in 1991 by Michael Glenn. To date, they have helped inventors win 2,130 patents (U.S. and foreign).

Here are some of the patents Glenn Patent Group has helped make happen:

Cookie Patents for Netscape:

* 5,774,670 (Persistent client state in a hypertext transfer protocol based client-server system)
* 5,826,242 (Method of on-line shopping utilizing persistent client state in a hypertext transfer protocol based client-server system)

Clock Patents for The Long Now Foundation:

* 6,249,485 (Bit serial mechanical adder)
* D440,900 (Clock face)

Recent Patents for Morgan Hill Music:

* 7,446,247 (Suspended bracing system for acoustic musical instruments)
* 5,814,747 (Percussion instrument capable of producing a musical tone)



What makes the Glenn Patent Group so prolific? In their own words:

"It’s as easy as PIE: Passion, Intelligence, and Energy.
We love what we do. The rest is easy.
"


Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out http://www.freepatentsonline.com/: All the Inventions of Mankind.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Cell Phone Patent Tussle



Tyler, Texas-based Saxon Innovations has filed complaints against RIM, Palm, Nokia, Panasonic and other cellphone manufacturers alleging patent violations.

The case, which the US International Trade Commission (ITC) has decided to investigate following a vote last week, asserts that various products from the companies use intellectual property first filed in three patents by AMD, which were purchased by Saxon in July 2007. If the ITC finds in favor of the complaint, the manufacturers could be barred from importing their devices.

Saxon especially highlights U.S. Patent 5,235,635, Keypad monitor with keypad activity-based activation--

A keypad monitor which monitors the condition of a plurality of switches of a keypad is activated in response to receiving clock signals from an external clock source and is deactivated in the absence of the clock signals. The keypad monitor includes a key switch monitor which detects the closure of any one of the keypad switches to provide a first output signal, a clock detector for detecting the absence of the clock signals to provide a second output signal and any key down output logic which is responsive to the first and second output signals for providing an activation signal. The activation signal causes the external clock source to provide the keypad monitor with the clock signals for activating the keypad monitor.


Specifically cited devices include the Nokia N73, which Saxon claim violates two of three patents it puts forth, the Nokia N95, which violates a third, together with the BlackBerry 8100 Pearl, violating two of the patents, and the Palm Treo 700p, which also violates two patents.

The ITC next will hold a hearing on the complaint, with an investigation completion date usually established within the next 45 days.






Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out http://www.freepatentsonline.com/: All the Inventions of Mankind.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Patent Faceoff: Southwest vs. American Airlines


Southwest Airlines, founded in 1967, has just three patents-- see them here.

American Airlines, another proud Texas company, founded way back in 1934, has far more-- a total of 25 listed here.

A big part of the airline game is filling seats, and many of the patents are about reservations, like American Airlines' Interactive voice-activated reservation system and method from January 6, 2009:

An automated method comprises receiving a telephone call from a user, providing a voice prompt for a unique identifier associated with a reservation, receiving the unique identifier and looking up reservation information associated therewith, receiving a voice identification of change desired, and changing reservation information in response to the voice identification of change desired.

So there you have it, for this week's Patent Faceoff:

American Airlines: 25
versus
Southwest Airlines: 3

Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out http://www.freepatentsonline.com/ : All the Inventions of Mankind.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

BF Goodrich: What Else with Rubber?


What else can you make with rubber, besides tires?

How about an Inflatable hot tub with cover?

That's just what BF Goodrich successfully claimed in U.S. Patent 4,535,490 from 1985:

An inflatable hot tub is provided with one or more stacked endless loops of inflatable tubes and sidewalls and a floor or bottom wall. An insulating cover, preferably secured around its entire periphery with an elastic band to the topmost tube, is manually removable and provides insulation by preferably either rigid closed cell synthetic foam or one or more inflation chambers. The tubes may be connected together and to the bottom wall. Pressurized gas may be provided in air jet bubbles to the bottom of the tub through a motor driven pump and heater, with a supply hose extending over the top periphery of the tubes or through the bottommost tube and side wall if present. The air jets may lead from a rigid or flexible pipe or combinations thereof, extending around the lower periphery of the floor, which pipe may be circular in cross section or of quarter-round cross section having its right angle portion fitting in the corresponding right angled joint between the side and bottom walls of the tub. A floor drain may be provided with a conventional rotatable hose coupling.



It doesn't appear that this product ever went commercial for BF Goodrich, but they continued to contemplate alternative uses for their core raw material that is in tires everywhere-- in 2002, they came up with Escape slide with U.S. Patent Application 20020117354:

An aircraft life raft assembly for use as a deployable escape slide from an egress opening of an aircraft. The escape slide is a longitudinally extending structure with a center line that extends from the head end of the slide, adjacent the egress opening, to a toe end that is located adjacent the horizontally extending ground plane. Pressurizing means is operative to inflate the escape slide, which escape slide has panels or panel members of flexible material with an upper sliding surface that extends in the longitudinal direction. The escape slide has a portion of its length that is curvilinear in plan view, which curvilinear portion maybe close to the egress opening of the aircraft or anywhere along the length of the escape slide.


Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out http://www.freepatentsonline.com/: All the Inventions of Mankind.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Adaptive Glasses


Oxford-based Joshua Silver is changing the world with his seven patents.

Variable Focus Optical Devices from 9/9/2008 is U.S. Patent 7,423,811:

Variable focus optical devices, in particular lenses, can include a cavity at least partially defined by a flexible member, which may be retained between engaging portions of a frame member and a ring member, such that a peripheral region of the membrane is caused to change direction more than twice. The engaging portions of the ring and frame may be high-friction surfaces. In addition, methods of filling a cavity of a lens with transparent fluid, methods of adjusting the pressure of fluid in the cavity, and methods of sealing such a cavity are described, as well the use of such lenses in adjustable spectacles.

Silver's innovation: He's attached plastic syringes filled with silicone oil on each bow of the glasses; the wearer adds or subtracts the clear liquid with a little dial on the pump until the focus is just right. Once the wearer can see clearly, the syringes are removed and the "adaptive glasses" are good to go.

Silver is 62, a physicist at Oxford, and has distributed about 30,000 pairs of spectacles. The U.S. Department of Defense purchased 20,000 pairs to give away to poor people in Eastern Europe and Africa.

Silver has had offers to buy his IP for big money, but has a different goal. He aims to provide eyeglasses to more than a billion people with poor eyesight. He's working on distributing a million pairs in India over the next year or so. Today the cost per pair is around $19.00 but the inventor is working to move this down to just a few dollars.

In developed nations, about 65% of people wear corrective glasses. But in many developing countries, only about 5% can afford glasses, much less ever get a chance to see an eye-care professionals.

This effects the rate at which vision-deprived schoolchildren can learn, and limits the possible jobs and/or productivity of the vision-impaired adult.

Professor Silver's Adaptive Eyecare website is here. It says:

Imagine if...

corrective eyecare were available to everyone, everywhere.



Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out http://www.freepatentsonline.com/: All the Inventions of Mankind.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Patent Faceoff: Target vs. Wal-Mart

Which legendary retailer has more patents, Target of Minneapolis, MN or Wal-Mart of Bentonville, AR?

The answer: Target.

209 vs. 37


Target has this list of 209 patents and patent applications.

Wal-Mart? This list of just 37 patents and patent applications.

Our patent faceoff winner, in the Retail category, Target, earned this patent on the first day of 2009, Stored Value Vessel:

A stored-value vessel includes an end wall, a side wall, and an account identifier. The side wall extends around and away from the end wall to define a chamber there between. The chamber is configured to repeatedly receive one or more products for consumption by a bearer of the stored-value vessel. The account identifier is machine readable by a point-of-sale terminal and immovably included on at least one of the end wall and the side wall. The account identifier links the stored-value vessel to an account or record such that the stored-value vessel is configured to facilitate use of the stored-value vessel as one of payment toward a purchase of one or more of goods and services and an inventory tracking mechanism. Related vessels, cups and associated methods are also disclosed and provide additional advantages.





Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out http://www.freepatentsonline.com/ : All the Inventions of Mankind.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Stem Cell Patents


These days there is no shortage of patents on Stem Cells, such as Self-contained adipose derived stem cell processing unit issued last summer:

Cells present in processed lipoaspirate tissue are used to treat patients. Methods of treating patients include processing adipose tissue to deliver a concentrated amount of stem cells obtained from the adipose tissue to a patient. The methods may be practiced in a closed system so that the stem cells are not exposed to an external environment prior to being administered to a patient. Compositions that are administered to a patient include a mixture of adipose tissue and stem cells so that the composition has a higher concentration of stem cells than when the adipose tissue was removed from the patient.


The Assignee is San Diego, CA-based Cytori Therapeutics; thee firm has seven (7) patents today-- here they are. Cytori (NASDAQ: CYTX) has a market cap of over $100 million on revenue of about $5 million.


StemCellPatents.com does a superb job explaining the IP in this mind-numbingly complex space; here's their write-up on Cytori's U.S. Patent 7,390,484.


Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out http://www.freepatentsonline.com/: All the Inventions of Mankind.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Pixar: Volumetric Hair Simulation



Emeryville, CA-based Pixar, the movie house behind Ratatouille and Wall-E , has 172 patents today.

To give you a sense of their animation genius, consider U.S. Patent 7468730 from December 23, 2008 , for Volumetric Hair Simulation:

A volumetric representation of a hair simulation model determines collective hair attributes. To determine inter-hair collisions, vertices include average velocities of the adjacent portions of the model. The average velocities determine target velocities. Forces for the model are determined from the target velocity values. To direct hair to a desired pose, vertices include target and current density values representing the density of adjacent portions of the model in the desired pose and current position, respectively. The differences in density values determine pressure forces applied to the model. To determine the illumination of the hair, vertices include density values representing the density of adjacent portions of the model. The density values define a hair surface, and signed distance values relative to the surface are determined for the vertices. Normal vectors are determined from the gradients of the signed distance values at locations corresponding the positions of the hairs.


US PATENT


So next time you're admiring the CGI follicles of a character like this, appreciate the IP behind it....




Have a Patent/Know About a Patent you want us to spotlight in our blog? Email plaque [@] freepatentsonline.com. And check out http://www.freepatentsonline.com/: All the Inventions of Mankind.