Thursday, March 16, 2006
Friday, March 03, 2006
Chicago-based Ocean Tomo, a patent consulting firm that includes Ross Perot as an investor, will put on the auction block approximately 400 patents applicable to semiconductors, RFID (radio frequency identification), wireless communications, automotive technology, food, energy and the Internet. The patents will be grouped in 68 blocks ranging in estimated value from $100,000 to more than $5 million.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
With those events, the only thing remaining to get the seed industry going was legal protection. “The first federal law aimed at protecting agricultural intellectual property was the Plant Patent Act (PPA) of 1930. At the time that passed, and in the understanding of science of the day, it was believed that plants couldn’t be patented.
So when the PPA was passed it was limited to asexually-reproducing plants (those that reproduce by cutting or grafting). It wasn’t until 1970 that the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA) was passed basically to fill a gap left by the PPA. The Plant Variety Protection Act was aimed at sexually-reproducing plants and it granted patent-like protection to them.
More recently, utility patents were granted for living organisms and plants. The Supreme Court has confirmed that with advancements in technology plants and living organisms can be patented.
Two developments in the United States may mean that it will be easier to patent business methods, software and similar types of inventions. In Ex parte Lundgren, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences ruled that U.S. law does not require that an invention meet a "technological arts" criterion in order to be patented. USPTO then released a set of interim guidelines for USPTO examiners to use in evaluating inventions. The guidelines require that an invention accomplish a "practical application" in order to be patentable. These developments appear to broaden the scope of patentable subject matter, although the subject matter must still meet the stringent "novelty" and "obviousness" standards in the United States.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
A patent has been granted to a relatively unknown California Web-design firm for an invention its creator says covers the design and creation of most rich-media applications used over the Internet. The patent holder, Balthaser Online Inc., says it could license nearly any rich-media Internet application across a broad range of devices and networks.
Potentially tens of thousands of businesses--not only software makers employing its business processes but companies offering rich-media on their Websites--could be subject to licensing fees when they use rich-media technology over the Internet.***The patent, No. 7,000,180 or 180 for short, is entitled Methods, Systems, And Processes For The Design And Creation Of Rich-Media Applications Via The Internet. It contains 83 claims that encompass a wide range of rich-media Net application methods, systems, and processes.
The patent office faces a perfect storm: According to USPTO commissioner John Doll, the greatest number of new patent applications are for business processes or computer hardware and software innovations. And the former is one of the most difficult types of patent to evaluate.
"We do not have the ability to examine all the new cases that are being filed, and that's especially true in the high-tech areas," Doll says. The USPTO started 2005 with a backlog of 500,000 new patent applications, and ended the year with a backlog of nearly 600,000.
Examiners are supposed to evaluate applications against "prior art"--similar, earlier inventions. But in areas like software, "it's impossible for everyone to have their hands on every relevant piece of art" in the given time, says Kappos.
Few revolutions have been made with a hand-beater. But Mr Rich's was one. Before he began to experiment with flaking and precipitating soyabeans, whipped cream was a hit-or-miss affair. It would not keep, especially in the humid South. Nor would it freeze. Over-beating produced a buttery mess, and ambitious decorations sank gradually into gloop. To top it all, in wartime, heavy whipping cream was a banned substance. All available milk was needed fresh for the people, or dried and condensed for the troops. To dream of an éclair or a cream puff, even of a modest dollop nestling a cherry or topping off a sundae, was close to a traitorous act.
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