Friday, June 17, 2011

PatentScope Mobile

PatentScope now offers a mobile search interface. As far as I know, this is the first patent office database optimized for mobile devices.

Also read that WIPO is planning to add "the bulk" of patent data from the IP5 patent offices, e.g. EPO, USPTO, JPO, SIPO and KIPO, to PatentScope in 2011. The EPO data was added a couple of months ago.

This will be a great addition to an already excellent tool.

Monday, June 13, 2011

2011 Patent Update @ Chemistry Librarians' Workshop

A couple of weeks ago I gave a brief update on patent search tool developments at the Chemistry Librarians' Workshop at the University of Toronto. One of the topics I covered was the recent addition of Markush searching in SciFinder. I'm still trying to figure out how to promote this powerful tool to faculty and grad students, most of whom are not too keen on reading patent documents.

Beach Chair Breaks New Ground

The first rule of inventing might be: no matter how commonplace a device is, someone will always think of a way to improve it. Take, for example, award-winning industrial designer Larry Laske's new beach chair. It's basically a chair backrest molded in plastic with two spikes to anchor it in the sand. Laske filed a U.S. application in 2004 and was awarded a patent in 2007 (7178875B2). According to the patent, Laske's intent was to create a chair that is "lightweight, easy to carry and simple to use." You can buy them in blue, green, yellow and orange on Laske's website With the exception of the elimination of one of the handholds, the finished product is identical to the patent drawing.

The beach chair has been reinvented many times over. One of the earliest patents, which the patent examiner cited in his review, was issued in 1919 (1312774).