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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Step Aside Science-Fiction, Sony's 3D Visor is for Real.

Posted by Robb Evans on Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 3:00 AM

It’s a movie-lover’s dream come true.  Sony is now the inventor and producer of a head-mounted 3D visor capable of enhancing users’ movie and gaming experiences.  Not only does it feature 5.1 surround sound in the integrated headphones, but it creates a movie theatre-like experience through two 1280x720 0.7-inch high definition OLED panels.  Mounted in front of each eye, these panels give the user a similar experience to watching a 750inch screen from 60 feet away.…

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New Patents Keep Apple Going Forward

Posted by Robb Evans on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 3:00 AM

If you haven’t heard the latest Apple news, CEO Steve Jobs has officially handed over the reigns.   It’s a historic shift that may or may not have a dramatic effect on the company and its successful line of products. Jobs, however, is confident about the future, saying, “I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it.”Proof of that may be in two of Apple’s most recent patent applications for new technologies designed to keep iphone, ipad, a…

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Inventors of Smart CCTV Keeping an Eye on Crime

Posted by Robb Evans on Friday, August 26, 2011 at 3:00 AM

Researchers over at Kingston University in London are on their way to producing a smart CCTV system that can detect, track, and record crime.  The technology works by teaching a computer to recognize “trigger events,” specific types of criminal behavior, like someone holding a gun. Comprised of multiple cameras, this system has the ability to record a full history of criminal events, tracking and following suspicious behavior and deleting other “regular” footage. Worri…

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Industrial Robot Inventor Dies at 99

Posted by Robb Evans on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 at 3:00 AM

George Devol, maker of the revolutionary mechanical arm, died last week at age 99.  A primarily self-taught inventor, Devol created a robotic arm that could be programmed to repeat tasks such as lifting and grasping in the early 1950s. It was the first of its kind, and in 1961, Devol received a patent for his new technology, which he named Universal Automation (now known as Unimation).  General Motors was the first to put this equipment into effect on their assembly line, replacing factory wo…

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