INDIANA PATENT BLOG

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Patenting better ways to pick up Fall leaves

by John Roberts on November 15, 2017

There have been numerous inventions directed to making the task of leaf removal easier, including the following:

Improvement in Rakes
U.S. Pat. No. 148,660

One of the earliest patents on a rake, U.S. Pat. No. 148,660 granted to Edmund Brown, March 17, 1874, is directed “to iron-tooth handrakes, such as commonly used in cleaning leaves and other debris…” The main appeal of the rake was an automatic cleaning feature because conventional rakes required frequent cleaning of the teeth by hand. The additional movable bar (B) could be forced down to clean the teeth.

Rolling Leaf Removal Device
U.S. Pat. No. 8,297,034

One inventor’s problem can be another’s solution: Edmund Brown recognized that leaves getting caught on the tines of a rake could be solved by being able to push the leaves off with a retractable metal bar. Brett Muller used this same principle to his advantage for his invention “Rolling Leaf Removal Device”, Pat. No. 8,297,034 granted Oct. 30, 2012. In this instance, leaves catch on the spikes of the roller to collect them, and then the spikes are retracted to release them.

Hand Scoop for Grass and Leaves
U.S. Pat. No. 4,378,670
Hands are a natural tool, but they are not the most efficient means by which to remove leaves. The innovation of Mathias Check and Ellia Goodby was to extend the efficacy of hands by making a pair of scoops, one for each hand, having a small rake at the end of them. The two scoops work together to sandwich debris between them, and they were granted Pat. No. 4,378,670 on April 5, 1983.

Yard Waste Collection System
U.S. Pat. No. 8,429,887

A lot of tools have multiple functions. While it is conventional to have a grass catcher attached to a lawn mower, an ordinary grass catcher can be easily overwhelmed; leaves can quickly create a large volume of material. Alan Sadler invented a collapsible collection system that works in tandem with a lawn tractor, and for his efforts he was granted Pat. No. 8,429,887, issued on April 30, 2013.

Backpack Blower
Pat. No. 5,813,088

Finally, one of the most efficient modes of leaf removal is the backpack blower. These are great at moving leaves and are not limited by the topography of the yard, but they are noisy and the leaves still have to be picked up (don’t blow them into the neighbor’s yard). A backpack blower allows the user to carry a larger motor than the user would be able to fit comfortably in the hand. Given the fixed position of the motor on the user’s back, the user still needs to be able to control both the speed and direction of the blower easily. Wagner et al. invented a backpack blower having a flexible arm with convenient hand controls and were granted Pat. No. 5,813,088 on Sept. 29, 1998.

Still, there remains room for improvement …

John Roberts

812-418-3663

www.indianapatentlawyer.com

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Mark Twain’s role in establishing modern copyright law

by John Roberts on November 15, 2017

“A day will come, when, in the eye of the law, literary property will be as sacred as whiskey, or any other of the necessaries of life.” — Mark Twain, speech in Montreal, Quebec, 1881.

And so it is. Mark Twain had an important role in establishing the Copyright Act of 1909, which allowed for renewal of copyright, bringing it to a total of 56 years. But it was not until 1976 that American authors were finally granted Mark Twain’s wish for copyright protection for “life and fifty years afterward.”

Mark Twain’s Copyright Fight | USPTO

Mark Twain’s Copyright Fight | USPTO

By Inventorseye Newsletter
“A day will come, when, in the eye of the law, literary property will be as sacred as whiskey, or any other of t…

John Roberts

812-418-3663

www.indianapatentlawyer.com

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Invention of the sports bra

by John Roberts on September 14, 2017

Today in 1993, two women inventors received a patent for a protective and supportive brassiere, otherwise known as a sports bra. Their idea developed during a conversation on the fact that there were many male inventors but not enough inventions for women. After discussing what they would invent for women, inventors Sheryl C. Unsworth and May N. Moy Au recognized that female joggers needed more support while exercising. Their invention includes rubber-covered plastic cups with air holes that provide ventilation and shock absorption.

See https://goo.gl/29LwyZ

John Roberts

812-418-3663

www.indianapatentlawyer.com

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“A patent is an incentive to develop technology to begin with and to tell people how it works,” said Chief Economist Alan Marco at a recent TEDxTysons presentation. Marco talked about patents and the market for technology, and how it all fits in with economic growth. Learn more by watching his presentation on the parable of the Land of Lincoln and what it has to do with the patent system: http://bit.ly/2g5LJ6z.

John Roberts

812-418-3663

www.indianapatentlawyer.com

7 Ways to Save Big Bucks On a Patent Attorney

by John Roberts on June 5, 2017

Good tips for choosing and working with a patent attorney-from Entrepreneur.com:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/229315

John Roberts

812-418-3663

www.indianapatentlawyer.com

New TMEP Available

by John Roberts on May 9, 2017

The USPTO has issued the April 2017 Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP). This revision clarifies USPTO trademark policies and practices and includes relevant Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and court decisions reported before March 1, 2017. This revision supersedes prior versions of the TMEP, examination guides, or any other statement of USPTO policy to the extent that there is any conflict. For a complete list of changes, see the section called “Change Summary.”



John Roberts

812-418-3663

www.indianapatentlawyer.com

The Patents and Trademarks Behind Lucky Charms Cereal

by John Roberts on March 17, 2017

Lucky Charms™ ever-changing kaleidoscope of multicolored marshmallow shapes are covered by a number of design patents for rainbows, clovers, hearts, balloons, horseshoes, shooting stars and more.

Read more about how General Mills protects their product’s unique appearance and branding with patents and trademarks:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/sponsored/patents-and-trademarks-behind-lucky-charms-cereal-180962517/?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=socialmedia

John Roberts

812-418-3663

www.indianapatentlawyer.com

Sincerely yours,

John Roberts

812-418-3663

www.indianapatentlawyer.com

Supreme Court Limits Foreign Reach of U.S. Patents

by John Roberts on February 28, 2017

This week the Supreme Court in Life Technologies Corp. et al. v. Promega Corp., No. 14-1538, 580 U.S. __ (2017) (see copy here) ruled that the supply of a single component of a multicomponent invention for manufacture abroad does not give rise to liability under Section 271(f)(1) of the Patent Act, which prohibits the supply from the United States of “all or a substantial portion of the components of a patented invention” for combination abroad. It does not matter if that single component arguably creates “a substantial portion” of the infringing product, because the Supreme Court created a bright-line rule that a single component can never be enough. Thus, to violate 35 U.S.C. 271(f)(1), an alleged infringer will need to have shipped from the United States at least two components of a device, that when assembled in a foreign country, reads on a valid claim of a U.S. patent.

The Supreme Court has not favored bright-line rules in its recent jurisprudence under the Patent Act. In fact, the Supreme Court has often overturned the Federal Circuit for creating such bright-line tests, which make the law easier and more predictable to apply but sometimes at the cost of doing justice in a particular case. Perhaps the Supreme Court has become aware of the havoc they have created with unintelligible decisions like Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S. __, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014).


John Roberts

812-418-3663

www.indianapatentlawyer.com

Roberts IP Law was pleased to attend the U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce’s Executives Forum and 20th Annual Chinese New Year Dinner Celebration in Chicago on February 2, 2017.

Roberts IP Law would like to thank Siva Yam, CPA, CFA, President of the Chamber, for hosting this event, providing an interesting panel discussion, and inspiring speakers regarding the future of US-Asia business relations. It was suggested that person-to-person social connectivity made possible by recent and forthcoming technology would, over the long haul, tend to bring people of like interests together worldwide.

John Roberts

812-418-3663

www.indianapatentlawyer.com

Justices to hear free speech clash over offensive trademarks

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Justices to hear free speech clash over offensive trademarks

By Sam Hananel, Associated Press
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will consider whether a law barring disparaging trademarks violates a band’s…

Interestingly, the law in question relates to prohibiting registration of trademarks the government deems offensive. Whether such marks could nonetheless be enforced as unregistered common-law trademarks under state law is a separate but potentially related question.

John Roberts

812-418-3663

www.indianapatentlawyer.com