It was seen that the works of founders of States, law-givers, tyrant-destroyers, and heroes cover
but narrow spaces and endure but for a time; while the work of the inventor, though of less pomp,
is felt everywhere and lasts forever.          - Francis Bacon Preface to a Treatise on Interpreting Nature

The Design of Everyday Things

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How to Design Breakthrough Inventions

A CBS interview of IDEO founder David Kelley

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

February 2013

Patent attorney Michael Hood (Brinks, Hofer, Gilson, & Lione) helped us understand what the new patent law means to inventors.  This law applies to patents and patent applications that contain a claim to an invention effectively filed on or after March 16, 2013.  United States Patent Office (USPTO) rules on how to implement the law are now available.
  • First Inventor to File   The date of invention no longer matters.  What matters now is the date a patent application is effectively filed at a patent office.  The inventor who files first anywhere in the world gets the first opportunity to get a patent.  So a reasonable strategy is to file provisional applications early and often as you develop your invention.
You may ask the USPTO to cancel or reject claims in a patent or patent application that are to your claimed invention if the named inventor did not invent, but derived from you knowledge of, the invention.
  •  Prior Art   The USPTO issues patents only for inventions that are new worldwide. Prior art (i.e., public disclosure of an invention before the effective filing date of a patent application claiming that invention) is evidence that an invention is not new.  Examples of prior art include a patent, published patent application, public use, and an offer to sell. 
 There are exceptions; not all prior art matters.  The law helps you avoid working against yourself.  Prior art by you, your co-inventors, or someone who learned of your invention (directly or indirectly) from you or your co-inventors, doesn’t matter for your patent application if the prior art first became available within 1 year of the effective filing date of the application.  Likewise, prior art by an inventor not named in your application doesn’t matter if,  before the effective filing date of the patent application claiming your invention, the invention disclosed both in the prior art and in your patent application were both owned by, or obligated to be assigned to, the same entity.  This feature lets an inventor file without penalty a patent application for an unfinished invention.  Realize that the law rigorously defines an invention.  Changing one small feature of your claimed invention during patent prosecution can change prior art that doesn’t matter into prior art that does matter.
  •  Filing a Patent Application       Many individual inventors will now pay 75% lower USPTO fees.  For example, the basic patent application filing fee for an inventor qualifying for the new micro entity status is $70, in contrast to the standard $280 fee or to the $140 fee for small entity status.
A company to whom an inventor assigns rights to an invention may now file a patent application for the invention.

If you need to get a patent quickly, a Track One prioritized examination will give you a decision on your application within about 12 months.  Fee: $2,400 for a small entity.
  •  Third Party Submissions   A third party may now anonymously submit documents relevant to examination of a patent application while the examination is in progress.  The party may also ask the USPTO to cancel claims of an issued patent.
Some additional advice:  Don’t submit pages of a lab notebook as a provisional application for a patent.  Such submissions will likely be challenged under 35 CFR 112 if the validity of your patent is ever challenged in court.

Thank you for this excellent presentation, Mr. Hood!

Patent Drawings by Richard McVicker

Some inventions patented by our members:

Bob Brand
3,179,907 Tuning system for television receivers
3,219,933 Television tuner switching system
3,241,072 Tuning control system
3,538,466 Television tuner cast housing with integrally cast transmission lines
4,503,740 Optical cutting edge locator for a cutting apparatus
4,503,896 Dog system for veneer slicer
4,601,317 Veneer slicing system
5,511,598 Veneer-slicer with remotely controllable blade angle adjustment
5,562,137 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
5,590,700 Vacuum flitch table with self-cleaning vacuum valve
5,678,619 Method and apparatus for cutting veneer from a tapered flitch
5,680,887 Veneer slicer with timing belt
5,694,995 Method and apparatus for preparing a flitch for cutting
5,701,938 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
5,819,828 Method and apparatus for preparing a flitch for cutting
5,868,187 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
7,395,843 Method and apparatus for retaining a flitch for cutting
7,552,750 Method and apparatus for cutting veneer sheets from a flitch

Rick Hanson
6,240,579 Unitary pedal control of brake and fifth wheel deployment via side and end articulation with additional unitary pedal control of height of patient support
6,253,397 Deployable siderails for a wheeled carriage
6,256,812 Wheeled carriage having auxiliary wheel spaced from center of gravity of wheeled base and cam apparatus controlling deployment of auxiliary wheel and deployable side rails for the wheeled carriage
6,264,006 Brake for castered wheels
6,507,964 Surgical table
D474,446 Sterilizable battery component

Bob Humbert
4,281,368 Keyhole illuminating apparatus

Ron Jackson
4,886,110 HVAC zone control system
4,943,039 Adjustable clamp
4,987,409 Level sensor and alarm
5,132,669 Level sensor with alarm
5,381,989 Adjustable spring clamp
5,944,098 Zone control for HVAC system
6,145,752 Temperature monitoring and control system
6,322,443 Duct supported booster fan
D347,596 Audible security alarm
D376,747 Door security device

Jerry McQuinn
D689,343 Universal Nutcracker

Richard McVicker
3,261,937 Three position snap switch utilizing interference blade means
3,319,477 Timer Escapement
3,332,704 Manually propelled treadmill vehicle
4,625,616 Thumb pick
6,309,076 Light barrier, screen or reflector
D240,237 Sculpture or the like
D356,653 Yard light
8389839 Thumb pick

Bill Pangburn
5,943,831 Device for Hauling Objects

Al Robbins

3,882,960 Ride quality control for surface effects craft
3,946,689 Air dynamo pressure regulation and modulation device for surface effect ships and air cushion vehicles
6,588,702 Lighter-than-air device having a flexible usable surface

Matt Thie
4,844,446 Multiple-compartment currency stacker-sorter
4,940,162 Rolled coin dispenser
7,298,280 Lighted fluid flow indication apparatus
7,617,826 Conserver

Richard Tucker
5,833,751 Powder coating booth having smooth internal surfaces
6,840,367 Material handling and manufacturing system and method
6,976,835 Manufacturing system and process
7,018,579 Manufacturing system and process

Don Walls
D707090 Torque key lever
RE36209 Door lock apparatus

Dave Zedonis
5,637,926 Battery powered electronic assembly for wheel attachment

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