Monday, March 30, 2009

Dr. Charles Simone & Super Energy Drink

Dr. Charles Simone is a Medical Doctor, Medical Oncologist, Immunologist, and Radiation Oncologist. He's the author of Cancer and Nutrition, A Ten Point Plan for Prevention and Cancer Life Extension; The Truth About Breast Health and Breast Cancer, Prescription for Healing; and The Truth About Prostate Health and Prostate Cancer, Prevention and Cancer Life Extension.

Charles Simone graduated from Rutgers College of Medicine and also earned a Masters of Medical Science while investigating the cancer killing properties of plant herbals. After training in Internal Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic (1975-77), Dr. Simone was offered a position in the Immunology Branch and Medicine Branch and later in the Pharmacology Branch and Medicine Branch at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland (1977-82). At the National Cancer Institute, he trained in medical oncology and immunology.

In 1982 he accepted a position in the Department of Radiation Oncology at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; and in 1985 began as Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology and Nuclear Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia. Since 1988, he has been the Founder and Director of the Simone Protective Cancer Center.

Dr. Simone has three patents.

One is for a Rehydration Drink, earned in 1995:

A liquid composition to be used as a rehydration drink, particularly suited for the administration to people who do heavy work under severe conditions, e.g. at high temperatures, and to sportspeople and athletes, as well as to patients who exhibit dehydration symptoms due to severe illnesses such as diarrhea or vomiting, contains per serving unit water at least 1 to 100 g of at least one carbohydrate, such as glucose polymers, maltodextrin and fructose; 2 to 2500 mg of at least one electrolyte, such as an alkali and/or earth alkali salt; 0,1 to 750 mg of at least one ammonia neutralizer, such as D,L-magnesium aspartate, L-arginine and glutamate; at least one energy enhancer, such as members of the vitamin B group and branched chain amino acids; at least one antioxidant such as β-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium; 1 to 30 mg of at least one membrane stabilizer, such as choline chloride, betaine chloride and methionine; and 1 to 200 μg of at least one neuromuscular function enhancer such as octacosanol.

This patent led to the creation and commercialization of Simone Super Energy Drink, promoted as follows:

Muscle Cramping and Pain are major enemies of an athlete. Nothing is more frustrating to a highly conditioned athlete than being unable to continue a competition because of cramping and fatigue.

It’s an amazing new nutritional formula called SIMONE SUPER ENERGY Drink!

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Patent Faceoff: Gillette vs. L'Oreal

Gillette owns a big chunk of the men's market (shaving) and was founded in 1901 in Boston. It is now part of P&G.

Gillette has 2,568 patents and patent applications in the US, see them here.

Paris-based L'Oreal was founded in 1907; it tilts towards women as the world's biggest cosmetics and beauty company.

L'Oreal has 1,892 patents in the USA, about 75% of the number that is currently claimed by Gillette.

Gillette's latest patent application has nothing to do with shaving, it's Fuel Sources, Fuel Cells and Methods of Operating Fuel Cells from 3/26/2009:

Fuel sources, fuel cells and methods of operating fuel cells are disclosed. In one aspect, the invention features a fuel source for a fuel cell, including a housing made substantially from a fuel-permeable material, and a fuel in the housing.

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

Gillette: 2,568
L'Oreal: 1,892.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tata Motors

Tata Motors Limited is India’s largest automobile company, with revenues of $8.8 billion in 2007-08. The company is the world’s fourth largest truck manufacturer, and the world’s second largest bus manufacturer. And it's the producer of the clever new Nano, pictured above and below, which sells in India for the equivalent of about $2,000.

The firm has these 14 patents from around the globe

Most recently the firm earned Engine Protection System, European Patent Application EP2037110, from 3/18/2009 (Inventor: Narayanan Annamalai Sathiyasivan of Maharashtra, India):

This invention relates to Engine protection system which comprises at least one float sensor, auxiliary coolant tank, a relay, Fuel Injection Pump (FIP) solenoid switch and coolant level warning indicator wherein said float sensor is provided on an auxiliary coolant tank to sense the level of coolant inside the said tank. Said auxiliary coolant tank is provided to maintain sufficient coolant level inside the radiator. When coolant level inside the said auxiliary coolant tank drops beyond the specified safe limit then float unit of said float sensor moves down and completes the electrical circuit, because of which the FIP solenoid switch will cut off the diesel supply to the engine. After this even though the engine gets cranked but it will not start unless the level of coolant in a said tank resumes to the normal level. According to another embodiment the said FIP solenoid switch of diesel engine is replaced with electronic control unit for petrol engine.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

DEK Drain: Water Diversion System

Inventor Keith Risser of Columbia, Maryland is the man behind DEK Drain, and this is the relevant patent (one of his three)--

Sub-deck drainage system or gutter comprising a trapezoidal shaped panel of thermoset, thermoplastic, or modified bitumen membrane (U.S. Patent 6415571, published 7/9/2002)--

Five examples of the system for waterproofing an outside deck, thereby improving the usefulness of the space below the deck, are disclosed. Both inflexible and flexible panels are used. All panels may be made of fire retardant materials. Examples of both types of panels are installed at the time the deck is constructed and fit between the joists. They consist of panels which may be used in conjunction with each other in order to protect decks of varying widths. The other examples are added to previously constructed decks. One example includes a clip strip which is attached to the bottom of the joists and panels which are attached to the clip strip. A trim piece completes the installation. A second example involves the flexible panel with provisions for connection to a mounting bracket installed between the joists. Another example involves a flexible panel which may be installed by the homeowner along the bottoms of the joists. In each system there are provisions for insuring that the system remains waterproof.

The problem Risser aims to solve is that traditional deck drainage systems can be difficult to install, require expensive materials, and can be leaky.

Risser's invention offers the following benefits:
  • Pre-fabricated; no measuring, sawing, or cutting
  • Easy to install; caulk-free, pre-measured complete with all hardware in place made from extremely durable materials
  • Automatically forms a properly pitched drainage channel
  • Limited lifetime warranty.
DEK Drain has an elegantly simple value proposition: Keep the area under your deck dry.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Patent Faceoff: Nike vs. Adidas

Which firm is the patent leader in sneakers et al? We looked at all US patents, as well as those from Europe and Japan.

Adidas (based in Herzogenaurach, Germany ) has 499 patents today, they're listed here from the most recent. The firm generates about $16 billion in annual revenue.

And Nike? They have far more, a total of 3,775 as of this date-- here they are. Nike's revenue is slightly bigger than that of Adidas, about $19 billion per year.

Just last week, the Beaverton, Oregon company earned U.S. Patent Application 20090064538, ARTICLE OF FOOTWEAR WITH IMPROVED STABILITY AND BALANCE:

The stability and balance offered by an article of footwear is improved by including a rigid layer in an outsole assembly of the article of footwear. The rigid layer may include a material of at least a predefined rigidity. For example, an outsole may be fitted with a carbon fiber plate that maintains the shape and a flatness of the outsole assembly. The rigid layer may be attached to one or more other layers that may be configured for impact force attenuation and comfort. In one or more arrangements, the rigid layer may be sandwiched between two other layers. Alternatively, the rigid layer may be insertable into a layer of the outsole. A channel may cut into a layer of the outsole to distribute weight to an outside portion of the outsole. This distribution of weight to the outside portion of the outsole may improve stability and balance.

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

Nike: 3,775
Adidas: 499.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dr. Robert Fischell

Dr. Robert Fischell is one of America's most important inventors in the recent era. He is the man behind 212 patents, listed here.

He worked at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory full time for 25 years, and part time for another 13 years. Dr. Fischell invented the implantable insulin pump (became MiniMed, spun off from Pacesetter Systems, Inc. in 1985), many heart stents used to open clogged arteries (IsoStent, Inc. merged with Cordis, and in turn was purchased by Johnson & Johnson), and two feedback systems that give early warning of epileptic seizures (NeuroPace, Inc.) and heart attacks (Angel Medical Systems, Inc.).

Dr. Fischell donated $30 million to the University of Maryland College Park Foundation to create a bioengineering department and an institute for biomedical devices at the School of Engineering.

In 2005, he was awarded the TED Prize, and in accepting asked for help designing his portable Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator (TMS), a drug-less migraine treatment, pictured above.

Heart Stent

Here's his most recent IP, U.S. Patent 7494458, Means and methods for treating headaches, dated 2/24/2009 (one of the co-inventors is his son, David):

Disclosed is a system and method for treating headaches. The system employs a self-contained, battery operated, readily portable and easy-to-operate head-mounted magnetic depolarizer to generate a transient or time-varying high-intensity magnetic field into and around the user's head or neck. The magnetic depolarizer system can be used to depolarize the neurons of the brain and/or the trigeminal nerve. This type of neuronal depolarization has the capability for terminating migraine or other types of headaches.

Dr. Fischell's first patent was 46 years ago and has nothing whatever to do with healthcare. Published in 1963, it's titled: Energy absorption mechanism:

"This invention relates in general to energy absorption mechanisms, and more particularly, to an improved energy absorption mechanism for absorbing libration energy of a gravity oriented satellite."

Libration means "a real or apparent oscillatory motion, especially of the moon."

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Redbox: Eight Patents

Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois-based Redbox has been growing fast thanks to convenience, low pricing and the decline of traditional video rental shops.

Each fully automated redbox kiosk holds about 700 DVDs, including 200 of the newest movie releases. Consumers use a touch screen to select their favorite movies, swipe a valid credit or debit card and off they go. The complete rental transaction takes about a minute.

Customers can keep the DVD for as long as they’d like for $1 per night plus tax, and return it to any one of Redbox’s 12,000 locations nationwide such as McDonald’s restaurants, Wal-Mart and Walgreens stores. After 25 nights, rental charges cease and the DVD is the customer’s to keep.

Redbox has eight patents today, they are listed here.

U.S. Patent 7234609
appears to be one of their foundational IP pillars. Issued 6/26/2007, it's titled Article dispensing system and method for same:

An article dispensing machine and article transport storage unit are shown that permit articles slated for inventory to be delivered in secure manner from a centralized inventory supply center to an article dispensing machine forming part of an article distribution system. The article transport storage unit is locked during transport from the supply center to the machine and does not become unlocked until fully installed within the machine.

Redbox: delivering convenience to a convenience-obsessed America.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Patent Faceoff: Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon

We look today at four defense stalwarts--

As of March 13, 2009--

A recent Boeing patent relates to aerospace, but not perhaps the first area within aerospace of which you might think. This is U.S. Patent 7500430, Vacuum trash compactor apparatus from March 10, 2009:

The invention discloses differing embodiments of trash management systems and methods for the disposal and/or collection of trash. In one embodiment under the invention, a trash management system may include a mobile cart, a trash vessel connected to the cart, a piston adapted to compact trash within the trash vessel, and a passageway adapted to be connected to a vacuum trash disposal. The piston may be adapted to travel from one position to a second position, and back from the second position to the first position. This movement of the piston may be achieved utilizing multiple passageways which are each adapted to be connected to a vacuum source and a vent source.

The inventors:
  1. Claflin, Shawn A. (Everett, WA)
  2. Sauer, Steven H. (Seattle, WA)
  3. Leblanc, Thomas L. (Mukilteo, WA)
  4. Curtis, Vicki A. (Stanwood, WA)

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

Boeing: 9,640
Lockheed Martin: 5,616
Northrop Grumman: 3,390
Raytheon: 5,927.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Whatever Happened to Coleco?

Coleco was founded way back in 1932, and famously released the Cabbage Patch Kids series of dolls which were wildly successful in the 1980s.

They entered the video game console market in 1982 with the launch of the ColecoVision. When the video game market hit the wall in 1983 due to the rise of home computers, Coleco introduced Adam both as a stand-alone system and as an expansion module to the ColecoVision. Adam failed, largely because it proved unreliable, and withdrew from electronics early in 1985.

In 1986, they introduced an ALF plush based on the furry alien character who had his own television series at the time, as well as a talking version and a cassette-playing "Storytelling ALF" doll. The runaway success of the dolls could not stem the tide of red ink that had begun with the launch of Adam. In 1988, the company filed for bankruptcy, and in 1989, Hasbro purchased Coleco's assets.

In 2005, River West Brands, a Chicago-based brand revitalization company, re-introduced Coleco to the marketplace. In late 2006, they introduced the Coleco Sonic, a handheld system containing twenty Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear games.

Companies come and go but patents are forever-- the former Hartford, Connecticut firm has these 86 patents, recorded for posterity.

One of the last inventions was back in 1989 called Conversing Dolls (U.S. Patent 4857030):

Two or more dolls with speech synthecizing systems appear to intelligently converse while signaling each other via a radio frequency transmission to indicate what has been spoken, and to request a response which is intelligent with respect to the synthecized speech of the first doll.

Here's the fascinating River West positioning--

River West Brands LLC identifies, acquires, redevelops, and monetizes iconic brand intellectual property that is significantly distressed. We seek to manage a portfolio of holdings in well-led enterprises formed around the foundation of great brands, great people, great partners, and great strategies. Our goal is to grow this portfolio through the continued success of our positions today, and the selective addition of new ones over time. We recognized the opportunity presented by dormant brands in 2001, and have been working to systematically transform these brands from orphans into valuable assets ever since. We are the first company ever to successfully acquire and exploit brands in this new emerging asset class.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Aristotle's Baby Patent

The Aristotle Corporation (NASDAQ: ARTLP), founded in 1986 and headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, is a manufacturer and global distributor of educational, health, medical technology and agricultural products. Over 80,000 items are offered, primarily through catalogs carrying the brand of Nasco (founded in 1941), as well as those bearing the brands of Life/form®, Whirl-Pak®, Simulaids, Triarco, Summit Learning, Hubbard Scientific, Scott Resources, Spectrum Educational Supplies, Haan Crafts, To-Sew, CPR Prompt®, and Ginsberg Scientific.

The firm has a very interesting patent, U.S. Patent 6699045 from 3/2/2004 titled: Infant simulation device and method therefore--

A device and method is provided for simulating the activities of an infant. The invention includes a mannequin having a simulator position therein for generating a plurality of simulated activities by the mannequin at preprogrammed timed intervals. Simulated duties such as diaper change, feeding and burping, and attention are generated by the simulator. A user must respond by inserting a proper response element into the simulator in order to terminate the simulated activity. Indicators are provided to inform of the user's abuse or tampering with the simulator.

The inventors are:
  1. Daniel Christianson (Jefferson, WI)
  2. Judith Johnson (Deerfield, WI)
  3. Roger Lidicker (Fort Atkinson, WI)
The first claim is revealing:

We claim:

1. An infant simulation system, comprising: a mannequin; a control module associated with the mannequin and including an output arrangement for simulating one or more infant activities; a response arrangement operatively interconnected with the control module for terminating the one or more infant activities without terminating subsequent infant activities; and an operating arrangement associated with the control module, wherein the operating arrangement includes a series of programs, each of which corresponds to a predetermined schedule of the one or more infant activities, and a program selection arrangement for selecting at least one of the programs so as to operate the control module and simulate one or more infant activities according to the predetermined schedule of at least one of the programs.

And further, referencing the drawing above:

In a preferred construction, microcontroller 82 may be programmed for running four distinct event programs. Each event program consists of three types of programmed events: diaper change, feeding and burping, and attention. In the preferred construction, there are three programs that can be selected by an instructor plus a demonstration option.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Patent Faceoff: Disney vs. McDonald's

McDonald's is an Oak Park, Illinois company that has been around since 1955, and serving kids is a big part of their mission. You'd think they'd have a pretty big patent portfolio.

They do not-- just 19 patents, see them from most recent here.

Their last patent was back in early 2006, Automated Grill:

An automated grill automatically transfers frozen food from a freezer component to grilling component by an automatic loading device in response to a signal. Frozen food is loaded in a loading side in the freezer component. When the signal is received indicating that the food is to be grilled, food in a feeding side is raised and delivered to the loading device. When a sensor detects that food is positioned in the loading device, the loading device removes the food from the freezer component and into the grilling component. The food is then grilled as it travels between two substantially vertical grilling structures each surrounded by a conveyor belt. Preferably, the conveyor belt is made of a non-stick coated Invar. A lateral sensor detects and compensates for lateral movement of the conveyor belts. After the food exits the grilling component, the food slides onto a heated holding area for serving.

By contrast, Disney Corporation (Burbank, California), another kids-centric firm, has a very large patent portfolio-- a total of 401 patents as of this moment, listed here. Disney has been around longer, since 1923.

Many of Disney's patents of recent vintage relate to the web, but we especially like those that are about the amusement parks, like U.S. Patent 7392097, Automated attraction and ride maintenance verification system, from 6/24/2008:

A system for preventative maintenance of a ride or an attraction component at a venue. A validator establishes the identity of the ride or attraction component and a controller monitors the use of the ride or attraction component. The controller also manage the ride or attraction component's availability for patron usage and transmits this information to a system control panel. A blocking device controlled by the panel prevents patron usage of a ride or attraction component that is in non-compliance with pre-established operating standards.

There's a large cast of Florida-based inventors for this ride-related IP:
  1. Schweizer, Kenneth William (Orlando, FL)
  2. Bailey, Vincent Joseph (Kissimmee, FL)
  3. Diaz, Ivan Rene (Orlando, FL)
  4. Hutter, Rachel Strelecky (Orlando, FL)
  5. Lake, Craig Forrest (Clermont, FL)
  6. Orta, George Joseph (Eustis, FL)
  7. Schaeffer, Mark (Clermont, FL)
  8. Thomas, Johnie Larry (Orlando, FL)
  9. Winkelbauer, Mark Thomas (Kissimmee, FL)
  10. Seybert, John Howard (Montverde, FL)

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

Disney: 401
McDonalds: 19.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Coca-Cola: Over 1,000 Patents

Atlanta, Georgia-based Coca-Cola Corporation (NYSE: KO) has a powerhouse inventions portfolio-- it is 1,178 patents-strong as of today, see them here.

Not a few patents for Coca-Cola relate to sugar and sugar substitutes.

Coke's most recent IP activity was U.S. Patent Application 20090053378, Sweetener Compositions Having Enhanced Sweetness and Improved Temporal and/or Flavor Profiles, dated 2/26/2009--

The present invention relates generally to improving the taste of sweetener compositions having enhanced sweetness. In particular, the present invention relates to compositions that can improve the tastes of sweetness enhanced sweetener compositions including at least one sweetness enhancer and at least one sweetener by imparting a more sugar-like taste or characteristic. In particular, the compositions and methods provide at least one sweetness enhancer, at least one sweetener comprising a carbohydrate sweetener, a natural-high-potency sweetener, a synthetic high-potency sweetener, or a combination thereof, and at least one sweet taste improving composition.

The inventors for this sweetener-improver are:
  1. Indra Prakash (Alpharetta, GA)
  2. Grant Dubois (Roswell, GA)
  3. George King (Atlanta, GA)
  4. Rafael San Miguel (Atlanta, GA).

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Western Union

The telegram is passe but iconic American brand Western Union lives on, and today is far bigger than you might imagine.

Western Union (Englewood, CO) was founded in 1851 in Rochester, NY. It's now a public company (NYSE: WU) with 5,900 employees and $5.2 billion in revenue.

The firm has 1,047 patents-- check them out from the most recent here.

Western Union completed the first transcontinental telegraph line in 1861. The telegraph always was dominated by Western Union, which was long an industrialized monopoly. They were the first communications empire and a harbinger of communications as it is known today-- think about the decades-long passage from telegram-to-email.

In the present day, the firm is busy inventing anew: On 2/10/2009, WU received U.S. Patent 7487912 for Electronic Receipting by inventors Dean Seifert and Tim Keane, both of Dublin, Ireland [POS = Point of Sale]:

Certain embodiments of the present invention provide systems and methods for receipting transactions transacted at a POS device. More specifically, but not by of limitation, embodiments of the present invention provide methods and systems for electronically receipting POS transactions and, in some embodiments, of providing the electronic receipts to a destination selected by a party to the POS transaction.

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