I Hope You’re Ready for These Crazy Cat Patents Right Meow

 

Note: Don’t worry dog lovers-We will be doing a dog patent one in the weeks that follow!

Device for collecting pet hair 
US 7011046 B1

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https://www.google.com/patents/US7011046#v=onepage&q&f=false

Method of exercising a cat 
US 5443036 A

us5443036-1

https://www.google.com/patents/US5443036

Vibrating cat litter scoop 
US 6022058 A

us6022058-2

https://www.google.com/patents/US6022058?printsec=drawing&dq=cat&ei=8ZVXUILxOufD0QHCrYHIDQ#v=onepage&q=cat&f=false

Bird trap and cat feeder 
US 4150505 A

us4150505-1

https://www.google.com/patents/US4150505?dq=cat#v=onepage&q=cat&f=false

Cat exercise wheel 
US D484284 S1

usd0484284-20031223-d00002

https://www.google.com/patents/USD484284?dq=cat+exercise+wheel&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwix-L6uod7QAhWrj1QKHQL3DOsQ6AEIHDAA

At Mohr IP Law we have completed several animal patent applications for our clients. Our IP Law services are the cat’s pajamas!  Don’t be a scaredy-cat-give us a call right meow!

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Who Was Edison? Why Was His Future So Bright-Get It?

Thomas Edison (1847-1931) held a whopping 1,093 US Patents in his name. He also held patents in the UK, France, and Germany on top of this. Who knows what the examination and granting wait time would be if he was still submitting applications to the United States Trademark and Patent Office?

If inventing the phonograph, modern camera, and long-lasting light bulb were not enough, he also invented or contributed to the following: electric light, power utilities, sound recording, motion pictures, the stock ticker, the mechanical vote recorder, the electric car battery, electrical power in general, music recording, and video recording. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison.

Oh and we need not forget that he and his business partners started a company you may have heard of in year of 1892: General Electric.

Edison started out working on trains eagerly selling candy and newspapers. He also sold vegetables on the street in Port Huron, Michigan. When a 3 year-old boy almost got struck by a train, Edison was able to push him out of the way and grab him to safety until his Dad came. His father, a station agent was so grateful that he decided to train Edison to be a telegraph operator for the train systems (a large improvement from his selling candy gig). While not working, he read and experimented. Everything went well with his experiment hobby until while working a night shift in 1867; he spilled sulphuric acid on the floor. The acid ran through his floor and onto the desk of his boss, a floor below. http://www.kids.esdb.bg/edison.html

After this experience, I presume he learned 1. Not to experiment with batteries and acid at his place of employment and 2. He needed to continue to combine his love of science and business to make something of himself. His first granted patent was for an “Electric Vote Recorder” (US Patent 90646)-granted June of 1869.

The wonderful article featured in Tech Times, “Thomas Edison’s First Patented Invention Was An Electric Voting Machine” not only reminds us that Edison’s 1093 patents were granted by the time he was 22 (what!?!), but that the time inventions occur may play a part in one’s success. Government bodies were interested in Edison’s voting machine but it didn’t work out as planned.

“…New York state Legislature and Washington, D.C.’s city council were considering the utility of a mechanical recorder in lieu of roll calling votes – i.e., actually having reps say “aye” or “nay” one by one, with a scribe tallying up the votes by hand. Edison’s plan was to speed up the process with a machine, which he named the “electrographic vote-recorder,”…After the legislators voted, a clerk would feed a piece of chemically-treated paper, which would then be used to “print” the votes out for everyone to see.”

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/132791/20160211/thomas-edisons-first-patented-invention-could-have-drastically-changed-u-s-history.htm

Unfortunately, legislative bodies in the US decided to use roll-call voting for the next ten plus years, Edison’s design was unused, and an inventor named Anthony Beranek invited a similar machine used in most American elections. The article’s author notes that the Senate (unlike many other groups) still use the roll call method and not a machine.

Edison was not just one person inventing. He had a team that worked with him in Menlo Park, New Jersey. His team called ‘Muckers’ which doesn’t sound too flattering, were newly graduated college or tech training students who not only wanted to learn about inventing, they were willing to do whatever it took to be successful. One student described working for Edison for six days a week at 55 hours a week and claimed it wasn’t the money he wanted but “the chance for [his] ambition to work.”

http://inventors.about.com/od/famousinventions/fl/Thomas-Edisons-Muckers.htm

It is said it took 10 years of ‘Muckers’ working to get the alkaline storage battery up and running. Thus we learn that there is no I in team no matter how brilliant (or crazy) you are. Edison reminds me of Henry Ford (who became friends late in life with Edison), and Steve Jobs (a more modern example).

Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” So were there really 1000 lightbulbs as the cliché/but still inspiring story is told to youth when questioning whether or not he or she should give up?

In The Book, The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas, author David Burkes seems to think there may have not been 1000 light bulbs (or 999 unsuccessful ones). He highlights that Edison worked with 14 or more engineers, machinists, and physicists (the muckers I spoke of earlier) and was not just inventing-he met with clients, investors, and the press frequently. http://www.businessinsider.com/thomas-edison-light-bulb-publicity-stunt-2013-11

Success on the 1000th try or not, Burkes and others who try to de-mystify greats actually inspire me. They remind us that it’s ok to fail, it takes a village or a team of muckers (or just good friends), and that we often arrive at our goals on paths that twist and turn.

As Alison Griswold, author of “Everything You Think You Know About Thomas Edison Might Be Wrong” tells us, “Burkus agrees that Edison was a superb marketer, even if the actual details are fuzzy — he tested 1,000, 6,000, 10,000, or some other number of filaments depending on the source. But the message he circulated in the press was clear. ” Burkus writes. http://www.businessinsider.com/thomas-edison-light-bulb-publicity-stunt-2013-11

Remember regardless of how good your ideas or inventions are, effective communication about them is vital. Thomas Edison wasn’t just a good inventor, he was a phenomenal marketer.

At Mohr IP Law, we are a great team of modern day legal service muckers (see explanation above on term) who love to help clients protect their ideas and inventions. We have clients from all different places and from all different backgrounds. You could be the next Edison or the next (insert your last name here).

 

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Intellectually Thankful-Turkey and the Fixings through an Intellectual Property Lens/Belly

Turkey 

A Method for Roasting Meat, 1974

us3804965-0

https://patents.google.com/patent/US3804965A/en

Turkey fryer with complete splatter protection, 2014

turkeyfryer

https://www.google.com/patents/US20140020569

Oil-cup (basically a turkey baster), 1906

baster

Stuffing

Instant Stuffing Mix, 1975

instantstuffing

https://www.google.com/patents/US3870803

 

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Cranberry Sauce

It appears Ocean Spray has been making canned cranberries for Thanksgiving since 1930. See this article: https://newengland.com/today/food/new-england-made/ocean-spray-cranberry-sauce/

cranberrysauce

Process for preparing cranberry sauce, 1962

https://www.google.com/patents/US3023108

Process for forming a jellied cranberry sauce, 1964

https://www.google.com/patents/US3142577

 

­­­­­­­­Mashed Potatoes

Potato-Masher, 1907

us874756-0

https://www.google.com/patents/US874756

 

Beverage Mixer (And now for blending everything), 1924

beveragemixer2

https://www.google.com/patents/US1480914

 

Preparation of dehydrated mashed potatoes, 1973

dehydrated-potato

https://www.google.com/patents/US3764716?dq=mashed+potato+patent

 

Pie

Pie Pan, 1922

piepan

https://www.google.com/patents/US1402065?dq=pie+pan&hl=en&sa=X&ei=BzxuVK7eNNb-yQSPuoGoCA&ved=0CF4Q6AEwCQ

 

corn

At Mohr IP Law we are thankful for our families, friends, clients, and food-large, delicious plates of food. We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember that any personal or political disagreements with family are always better with pie.

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IP Law by the Numbers

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Patents

1 Year

The time a provisional patent is ‘good for.’ In order to benefit from the earlier filing date of the provisional, a non-provisional must be filed within 1 year/12 months.

20 Years

For Non-provisional patent applications that were filed on or after June 8, 1995, 20 years is the patent term.

17 years

For non-provisional applications that were filed before June 8, 1995 and patents still under their term at the time of June 8, 1995, the patent term is 17 years from the issue date. Note: The USPTO 20 year term was set to match many international patent terms.

15 years

Design patents (not utility ones) are a term of 15 years from their issuance if they were filed on or after May 13, 2015

14 years

Design patents that were filed before May 13, 2015 have a 14 year term.

 

Trademarks

3 Months

About the time it takes for an examining attorney at the USPTO to review/’get to’ your trademark application after filing.

30 days

Once an examining attorney reviews a trademark application and completes his or her review (note-there can be office actions in between), it is published for opposition for 30 days. During this time any third-party can oppose the mark and file an opposition proceeding which then initiates a case governed by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

5 years

Rights to a trademark will cease to exist if a trademark isn’t used for 5 years. Note: “Unlike other forms of intellectual property (e.g., patents and copyrights) a registered trademark can, theoretically, last forever. So long as a trademark’s use is continuous a trademark holder may keep the mark registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by filing Section 8 Affidavit(s) of Continuous Use as well as Section 9 Applications for renewal, as required.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark

Between 5th and 6th year

“Specifically, once registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office the owner of a trademark is required to file a Section 8 Affidavit of Continuous Use to maintain the registration between the 5th and 6th year anniversaries of the registration of the mark or during the 6-month grace period following the 6th-year anniversary of the registration. During this period, a trademark owner may concurrently opt to file a Section 15, Declaration of Incontestability. A mark declared incontestable is immune from future challenge, except in instances where the mark becomes generic, the mark is abandoned, or if the registration was acquired fraudulently. Note, if the Section 8 Affidavit is filed during the 6-month grace period additional fees to file the Affidavit with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will apply”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark

10 years

“In addition to requirement above, U.S. trademark registrations are also required to be renewed on or about every 10-year anniversary of the registration of the trademark. The procedure for 10-year renewals is somewhat different from that for the 5th-6th year renewal. In brief, registrants are required to file both a Section 8 Affidavit of Continuous Use as well as a Section 9 Application for Renewal every ten years to maintain their registration.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark

 

Copyright

Life plus 70 years

Any work with a copyright that was published after 1977, the copyright lasts for the duration of the life of the author plus 70 years.

Between 95 and 120 years

If a work was done in an employment setting (for your employer, commissioned, etc.) or published anonymously or with a pseudonym, it will last between 95 and 120 years (depending on the date published—see number below for clarity).

1923

A work published before 1923 is in the public domain. The copyright has expired.

Huge copyright timeline chart with more number. Thank you Cornell!

http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm

ecmapaqbiAt Mohr IP Law we are no stranger to counting. We make calendars, database entries, and notes on our desks to make sure we not only timely inform you of any documents received regarding your application, we keep you on track after so you can successfully maintain and protect your intellectual property for years to come. We also count our blessings.

 

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Women Inventors Holding Patents with Pride

Both women and men are inventors and patent holders and rightfully so. However, it is estimated that women won’t hold as many patents as men in the United States until 2092. Adrienne Lafrance of The Atlantic wrote an amazing article called, “Why Do Women Inventors Hold So Few Patents.” In this piece she explains that it may have to do with various things: women sometimes have a lower paying job, less funding to engage in business risks, and tend to have smaller and lower-level professional networks than male counter-parts. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/07/the-patent-gap/492065/

There’s also a theory about education-that a gender tech gap of less women in scientific or tech environments leads to less women inventors and thus less patent holders. It seems though that these trends are changing. More women are in tech and tech related education programs. And the patent world is now available to both women and men who are not necessarily career inventors. It’s a time of personal innovation and business planning. http://fortune.com/2016/07/21/patents-women-gender-gap/.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research did a study this past July that looked at patent holders and gender. It found that four decades ago, 3 percent of all patents listed at least one woman inventor. In 2010, almost 19% did. What this means is 1. Women have quintupled as being patent holders (named as an inventor) and 2. That while there was a quintupling, more than 81 percent of patents have no named women. http://iwpr.org/publications/pubs/the-gender-patenting-gap/

Women have been inventing things for quite some time. This website http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/inventions/10-things-that-women-invented.htm  features stories about women like Mary Kies who was the first American woman to earn a patent in her own name. Her special technique of weaving straw hats developed in 1809 became extremely popular in New England.  “By receiving that piece of paper with her name on it, Kies led the way for other female inventors to take credit for their ideas.” Here is an other great resource that has great biographies of women inventors: http://www.biography.com/news/famous-women-inventors-biography

At Mohr IP Law we support the dreams and patents applications of both women and men. We want both young boys and young girls to know that regardless of who you are and where you are from, with hard work, process, and passion-things are possible. Please contact us today to schedule a 30 minute, no-cost consult to discuss the patent process with our team.

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Picture from: http://www.slideshare.net/padmasree/technology-and-the-global-marketplace-1430672/10-Front_Center_Mary_Dixon_Kies

 

 

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You Can Stand Under My Umbrella Patent

Umbrella comes from the Latin word “umbra” which means shadow. http://inventors.about.com/od/uvstartinventions/a/Umbrella.htm. It is believed that umbrella’s are over 3500 years old. They were used not just for rain but to shield powerful sunrays in Egypt, Assyria Greece, and China. I personally think they may be older. I’m visualizing our ancestors picking out the largest palm leaves and deciding they could serve as fans or umbrellas depending on the weather. Because I’m no umbrella expert, you can go to umbrellahistory.net, a site dedicated to the history of the umbrella, and learn about umbrellas that range from elegant Japanese parasols to plastic umbrellas found at your local drug store when in a bind.

Umbrellas of the west and closer to our time (1600s and 1700s is closer right?) were considered an accessory for women. “Then the Persian traveler and writer, Jonas Hanway (1712-86), carried and used an umbrella publicly in England for 30 years, he popularized umbrella use among men. English gentleman often referred to their umbrellas as a “Hanway.”” http://inventors.about.com/od/uvstartinventions/a/Umbrella.htm

As one can imagine, there are United States and International umbrella patents. Just to give an idea of the infinite amount of them-know that the United States Patent Office has four full-time examiners just for umbrella patents! “As of 2008, the office registered 3000 active patents on umbrella-related inventions.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umbrella Six plus years have passed so one can only imagine how many additional umbrella patents have been filed and/or granted since then.

And then there are umbrella accessories including but not limited to: umbrella anchors, umbrella stands, umbrella tables, an umbrella that’s also a walking stick, an umbrella with a handle bracelet, an umbrella with a flashlight at the end, and you can guess several of the rest. If you are really interested you can visit Songxia, China. According to local estimates, about half a billion umbrellas, or 30% of China’s production, are made here, supplied by more than 1000 factories. One single worker makes about 300 umbrellas a day.http://mentalfloss.com/article/75124/8-mind-expanding-facts-about-umbrellas.

Some more numbers to pour down on you: In the United States alone, the annual market for umbrellas is around $350 million. This comes down to 33-35 million umbrellas. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/09/11-interesting-things-about-the-umbrella/244754/.

When it’s raining cats and dogs you can buy an umbrella for yourself or just for your cat or and dog: https://www.google.com/patents/US6871616. Whether or not you would like to invent a new type of umbrella or a new line of dog and cat rain gear, the Mohr IP Law team is ready to help. You can stand under our umbrella. And remember these wise words from Rihanna:

When the sun shines, we’ll shine together
Told you I’d be here forever
Said I’ll always be a friend
Took an oath I’m a stick it out ’til the end


Now that it’s raining more than ever
Know that we’ll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella
You can stand under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh)
Under my umbrella
(Ella ella eh eh eh eh eh eh)

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Spooked and Impressed-Jack-O’Lantern and Other Halloween Patents

Jack-O’-Lantern

It is believed that vegetable and fruit carving occurred 10,000 years ago. The modern carving related to Halloween stems from Ireland and the Scottish Highlands where turnips or manel wurzels (large beets) were used to cave out grotesque looking faces. Halloween was also the festival of Samhain, a time when it was believed that souls of the dead roamed the earth. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack-o%27-lantern.

Nobody knows exactly when, but Jack-O’-Lanterns became actual lanterns that were sold, mostly made of metal (plastic as we know it today wasn’t invented until 1907). In 1889, G.A. Beidler was granted a patent for the “Jack-A-Lantern”. It essentially looks like a face on a stick which you can light on fire. These were invented for the purpose of amusing children but to also apparently…

…supply a long-known want, and which may be used as a campaign-torch, for celebrations, torch-light processions, political meetings, and other like occasions where an effective pyrotechnic display is desirable.”  https://www.google.com/patents/US396252

It seems that inventor ML. Barnes was not satisfied with the Beidler’s invention and decided that improvements needed to occur. In 1903, a patent for the “Jack-O’Lantern’ was granted. It was not only more balanced (could be supported by an upright position), it was perhaps more lifelike and creepy, if that’s even possible.

The primary object of these improvements is to produce a device of the character described of thin sheet metal which is composed of lower and upper telescoping members locked together by the pintles of a bail or handle, one of the upright walls of the shell being provided with an opening and a swinging closure for the opening, upon which is mounted suitable members representing a pair of eyes, a nose, and a month, one or more of the members being movable and operated manually when desired.” https://www.google.com/patents/US741293?dq=741293
Invisibility Cloak

The Harry Potter films caused a frenzy of invisibility cloak inventions since around 2006. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that US Patent Office issued U.S. Patent 8,253,639 titled “Wideband electromagnetic cloaking systems” was granted. The invention is an electrical resonator system that Is “… a plurality of concentric electrical resonator shells, each shell including a substrate having first and second surfaces and a close-packed arrangement of electrically conductive material formed on the first surface, wherein the closed-packed arrangement comprises a plurality of self-similar electrical resonator shapes and is configured to operate at a desired passband of electromagnetic radiation.” https://www.google.com/patents/US8253639

I was a little bit confused so I did some googling. There are a few Youtube videos which helped with my confusion. Here is one specifically showing the cloaking of a pipe; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BrVxpPYMiA. And here another that purports to show the cloaking of a man: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_bj5NTnd_0 We’re not yet to Harry Potter standards, but it looks like these inventors made amazing strides over the last decade.

Smoke and Fog Machine

A big thank you to Batt Howard who was granted a patent for “Method and means for producing smoke and fog effects” in 1937. By his patent application description it sounds like he knew exactly what he was doing:

“ My invention relates to method and apparatus for producing smoke and fog effects particularly adapted to the production of smoke screens and smoke and fog effects for stage and cinema purposes.” https://www.google.com/patents/US2070038

Anatomical Skeleton

Fake skeletons are scary especially when they are in places of comfort (a skeleton wearing a hat on a rocking chair on a porch for example). While there were skeleton models prior to 1911, they were not ideal replicas, weren’t always upright, and moveable in actual joint areas.  Inventor Charles Fleck set out to do this very thing with his anatomical skeleton.

“The object of my invention is to provide a skeleton of the kind mentioned, in which, when it is held or suspended in an upright position, all the vertebrae, ribs and other parts shall assume the normal position, but which shall still permit such freedom of movement as to allow the various motions of the bones in the living body to be performed as well as to admit of the bones being placed in the various abnormal positions and relations to each other which constitute bony lesions or departures from the true order of the living skeleton.”

https://www.google.com/patents/US983547

Granted, Mr. Fleck’s primary priority was for the creation of these skeletons to study osteopathy and to be used both in classrooms and medical settings. They certainly have served that purpose, but little did he know there would be future skeletons with moveable joints made of plastic, available for purchase at your local Walgreens.

At Mohr IP Law, we have a spooktacular team ready to assist you with your intellectual property needs. Contact us today.

 

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