Friday, May 25, 2007

PCT Publication Date Changes - May 17, Sept. 7, Dec. 21

According to the WIPO, official holidays in Switzerland this year will delay the date of publication for PCT applications as follows:

  • Ascension: Thursday May 17, 2007 - Publication date: Friday, May 18, 2007
  • Jeune Genevois: Thursday, September 6, 2007 - Publication date: Friday, September 7, 2007
  • Eid al-Adha: Thursday, December 20, 2007 - Publication date: Friday, December 21, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Searching 19th Century Patents

During a recent visit to the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, I snapped this photo of a handsome iron matchbox on display in the museum's 19th century general store. The cover is embossed with a hunting scene... a dog carrying a duck.

It wasn't clear to me when the matchbox was made, but the text "PATD JAN 21 1862" suggests that the design was patented on January 21, 1862. It was common practice in the 19th century to include the date of issue but not the patent number on patented products, especially articles of manufacture. Fortunately, it is possible to retrieve early U.S. patents from the
USPTO database by date of issue and a search (isd/18620121) retrieves some 50 patents issued on Jan. 21, 1862. Flipping through the first ten or so hits, I was able to quickly locate patent no. 34,230, an "improved box for matches" patented by Henry Howson of Philadelphia and assigned to W. F. Warburton. However, the drawings seemed to me to be very different to the finished article. Might there be a later patent? I zipped over to Google Patents and searched "Henry Howson" and found patent no. 39,994 issued on Sept. 15, 1863. The drawings and description in this patent more closely resemble the matchbox above. Howson also cites his 1862 patent. This is a good example of how to trace 19th century patents and why it's never safe to assume that the date embossed on an article of manufacture corresponds to the final patent. It's always wise to check for later improvements.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

U.S. Patent Counts - Jan-Mar 2007

The USPTO issued 47,332 patents in Q1 of 2007, a 5.9% increase over the same period a year ago but only a tiny increase over the previous quarter. Published applications (PGPubs) were also up 5.9% over a year ago, reaching 74,277 documents. This was the third highest quarterly total since 2001 but down slightly from Q4 of 2006.

Quarterly Patent and PGPub Counts

Q0 | Patents| PGPubs | Total
Q1 | 47,332 | 74,277 | 121,609
Q2 |
Q3 |
Q4 |

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Patents Key to Reducing Poverty?

Two recent studies suggest that patents have a key role to play in raising state per capita incomes and overcoming persistent poverty. A working paper published almost a year ago by two staffers of the Federal Bank of Cleveland and professor Scott Shane of Case Western University, suggests that patents and high school/university graduation rates are the most important determinants of per state capita income. A more recent study by researchers at the Univ. of Kentucky's Center for Business and Economic Research reaffirmed the Case Western's findings. (Reported in the SSTI Weekly Digest.)