You Won't See These Patents on the Runway...

Posted by Robb Evans on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 12:30 PM

 It’s likely that all of us have made a fashion mistake here or there, but these inventors have taken the notion of a fashion faux pas to the next level:Angel Ears – When regular earrings and plugs don’t quite cut it, these colorful pieces can add some pizzazz to any wardrobe.  These accessories are simulated bird wings for your ears and come in a variety of bright colors. Big Hair Hat- Issued in 1962, this patent is a rigid, plastic shower cap made for humungous hairdos.&nb…

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Top American Cities in Innovation

Posted by Robb Evans on Friday, October 28, 2011 at 2:00 PM

The U.S. has the most cities considered top-tier innovators.  You may think you’ve heard it all when it comes to Silicon Valley, but a couple of these other up-and-comers might surprise you.Silicon Valley (San Jose), California– Home to some of the world’s largest tech companies like Google, Apple, and Cisco, Silicon Valley tops the charts when it comes to innovation.  In 2010, more than 16,300 patents originated in the San Jose and San Francisco areas.  Further, the area ha…

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Whoa, Baby! Check Out These Patents.

Posted by Robb Evans on Monday, October 24, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Whether you have kids of your own or not, you may be interested in seeing some of the stranger ways that people are parenting these days.  Take, for example, this newly patented practice of bringing your baby into the world:Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force – This one is probably causing a lot of controversy- a table to which an expectant mother is strapped and then spun upon.  The idea is that the centrifugal force will encourage the baby to emerge. O…

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The Future of 3D Printing & Patent Law

Posted by Robb Evans on Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 5:00 PM

3D printers capable of outputting physical objects have been in development for over two decades.  The first commercial 3D printer was based on a technique called stereolithography, a concept invented by Charles Hull in 1984.Already, 3D printing has been refined to the point where digital models can be duplicated into physical prototypes, and prices of 3D printers have declined substantially in the past five years, to as low as $1,000 from $400,000.As a result, industries of all kinds have embraced 3D …

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Stingy Jack and the Patent for Jack-A-Lantern

Posted by Robb Evans on Monday, October 17, 2011 at 12:20 PM

Every fall, people adorn their porches, doorways, and windows with pumpkins.  Ghoulish faces illuminated by candlelight are a fundamental part of the Halloween spirit these days, though the practice of decorating “jack-o-lanterns” is one that originated in Ireland very long ago. Large turnips and potatoes served as their canvas for representing the many faces of Stingy Jack, the center of a traditional Irish folktale, until the practice was brought over to America and pumpkins were use…

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These Patents are Breaking Bad Habits

Posted by Robb Evans on Friday, October 14, 2011 at 2:00 PM

We’re only human, so naturally we’re bound to have a few bad habits here and there.  In most cases, it takes a great deal of time and will-power to permanently change our ways, that is, unless you want to go another route with one of these strange inventions…Not wearing your headgear? There's a quick fix for that.  An orthodontic alarm is implanted in a person’s braces, programmed to beep for a sufficient amount of time.  When the headgear’s mouthpiece is insert…

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National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Posted by Robb Evans on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Recently, President Obama named the five inventors that will receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation later this year.  The award recognizes those who have made lasting contributions toAmerica’s competitiveness and quality of life and helped strengthen the nation’s technological workforce.  The current recipients include:Yvonne C. Brill, for innovation in rocket propulsion systems for low earth orbit communication satellites. C. Donald Bateman, for developing flight…

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Diet, Exercise, and... Patents?

Posted by Robb Evans on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 3:15 PM

There are a lot of ways to get into shape these days: cosmetic surgery, exercise, dieting.  Sometimes, though, even popping pills is too much work.  And why bother when you’ve got these extremely out-there patents to help your figure?If your trouble is keeping away from food, consider this Hannibal Lecter-like device.  The Anti-eating Face Mask was patented in 1982 and is worn on the user’s head over the mouth.  It’s a face mask that will prevent the ingestion of food w…

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The (Stevie) Wonder of Trademarks

Posted by Robb Evans on Monday, October 3, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Stevland Hardaway Morris was born in May of 1950, and his premature birth left him in a condition of permanent blindness.  That didn’t stop the young talent from taking up instruments at an early age, though.  He began playing the harmonica at 5-years-old, mastered the piano by the time he was six, and kept up with the drums by the age of eight.After becoming the talk of his town, “Little” Stevie Wonder was signed to Motown Records before he turned 12-years-old.  His first s…

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Apple’s Request for “Multi-Touch” Trademark Rejected

Posted by Robb Evans on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 7:00 AM

The constant battle for patent and trademark rights has some people worried.  Companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google have built and acquired masses of patents, and are viciously turning on one another in litigation. Apple’s most recent attempt to trademark the term “multi-touch” went unsupported, the news causing some to wonder if the attempt to pare the mobile technology world to only a few leaders will result in a lack of innovation. Apple first applied for the tradem…

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Pet Patents - Are These for Real?

Posted by Robb Evans on Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 3:00 AM

You may think you’ve seen it all when it comes to patents for people, but what about when it comes to animals?  The idea for a doggie doorbell or a bird diaper may have seemed like a practical idea at one time, but when passed for a patent, a lot of these inventions can’t be taken seriously.For Fish Lovers: The Aquarium BathThis unique bathtub features a water-tight chamber that extends around the tub.  Designed so that the bather is surrounded by aquatic life while taking a bath, this…

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USPTO 2011 Trademark Expo

Posted by Robb Evans on Monday, September 19, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Is anybody going to the National Trademark Expo in Virginia next month? Over 10,000 visitors attended last month’s event, taking two days to marvel in the value of trademarks in the global marketplace. This year, there will be a focus on unusual trademarks and brand evolution, along with authentic vs. counterfeit goods, the history of trademarks, and 100 year-old registered trademarks. Starting on October 14th, the public will have free access to educational workshops, adult lecture series, …

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America Invents Act - Changing the Patent Process

Posted by Robb Evans on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 6:00 AM

  On Thursday, September 8th the United States Senate passed the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) by an 89-9 margin.  Passed by the House of Representatives in June, and now on its way to the President, this new legislation is said to shake the foundation of patent law and patent practice as we know it.This is one of the most significant patent reform legislations we’ve witnessed, though the new AIA contains several controversial provisions:-change from first to invent to first to …

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One Man's Patent is Another Man's Treasure...

Posted by Robb Evans on Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 3:00 AM

Every once and a while it’s fun to go back through the USPTO kids pages.  A popular favorite is the calendar of patents and trademarks time machine, where we get to go back through a history of patents obtained in any particular month.  Here a few of the more interesting September patents:The sunken treasure chest – Granted in 1998, this swimming pool search and retrieval game is comprised of a toy treasure chest equipped with a lid, lock, key, and nonbuoyant treasure pieces.  Wei…

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Apple's iPhone 5 - Missing Prototype

Posted by Robb Evans on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 3:00 AM

We recently mentioned two of Apple's most recent, and more exciting, patents that were passed.  Though those still remain, Apple has recently experienced some trouble with a device a bit further along in the production process. The Apple iPhone 5 prototype was reportedly lost in a San Francisco bar.  The device was traced back to a local residence, and Apple security employees accompanied San Francisco police to the house to look for the lost phone.  The homeowner claimed to have no…

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