The USPTO has adopted PDF as the default format for displaying patent documents from its databases, making it one of the last (if not last) of the major patent offices to switch to the world's most popular document image format. Since 1998, viewing US patent documents obtained from the USPTO website required the use of a TIFF plugin such as alternaTIFF or interneTIFF.
The USPTO reached another milestone on August 6, issuing patent no. 8,500,000 B2 to Elmer Berendas of Germany for a "Device for locking and unlocking the jalousie (rolling shutter) of a container."According to the patent, this type of container is commonly used in ATMs.
So far this year the USPTO has issued 173,546 utility patents, putting on track to issue more than 260,000 this year. At that rate the next milestone, patent no. 9,000,000, could be reached by early 2015.
Amar G. Bose, inventor of the audio system that bears his name, passed away on July 12 at the age of 84. In addition to being a successful inventor and entrepreneur, Bose taught acoustics and electrical engineering for 45 years at MIT. Bose received approximately 45 patents during his lifetime. His earliest patent, US2915588, was for a pressure wave (sonic wave) generation system. His most recent application, US2012177215A1, filed in 2011, discloses a transducer with an integrated sensor. The Bose Corp., whose motto is "Better Sound Through Research", holds more than 1,900 patents and pending applications.
The USPTO has launched a new patent search system called the Global Patent Search Network (GPSN). Initial coverage includes Chinese published applications, patents, utility models from 2008 through 2011. Users can search patent documents in the
English or Chinese language and retrieve full-text
Chinese patents and machine translations.Additional Chinese patents and other national collections will be added over time.
UFO enthusiasts and true believers are celebrating the 66th anniversary of the Roswell Incident, the alleged crash of an extraterrestrial spacecraft outside the small town of Roswell, New Mexico in July 1947. The event marked the start of a wave of flying saucer sightings around the world. Inventors were quick to capitalize on the public's mania for all things alien, filing numerous patent applications for everything from saucer-shaped salt and pepper shakers (USD161683) to advanced aircraft designs like the one above (US2718364). There's even a CPC patent classification for flying saucers, B64C39/001. UFO hunters looking for evidence of alien technology in the patent record won't find much. Aliens, it seems, prefer trade secrets.
Douglas C. Engelbart, the inventor of the computer mouse, died this week at the age of 88. He patented his simple but highly innovative invention, called an "X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System", in 1970. (US 3541541) Engelbart's invention helped launch the age of the personal computer. Millions of mice are produced each year. Engelbart's mouse patent has been cited in 137 patents. The CPC classification for computer mice is G06F3/03543.
On March 16, 2013, the Statutory Invention Registration was abolished under the provisions of the America Invents Act. The purpose of the SIR was to allow an inventor who did not wish to get a patent to disclose their invention in a published document, thus preventing others from patenting it. The USPTO has published approximately 2,500 SIRs since the program was established in the mid-1980s as a replacement for the Defensive Publication Program. The number of SIRs per year has steadily decreased since the USPTO began publishing applications in 2001. Only seven were published in 2012.
The USPTO is on track to issue patent no. 8,500,000 later this summer. At the current rate of about five thousand new patents each week, no. 8,500,000 should appear sometime in August. Patent no. 8,000,000 was issued on August 16, 2011, just two years ago. It took over 100 years, from 1790 to 1911, for the U.S. to issue its millionth patent. Since that time, the interval has been steadily decreasing. At the current rate patent no. 9,000,000 will issue in 2015.
I'm the librarian for research services in the Engineering and Science Library at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. I've been working with patent information since 1991, including seven years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I believe that the dissemination of patent information is a public good and should be promoted, especially in the education of science and engineering students.