The latest improvements to PatentScope include faster query response time, new and enhanced Boolean operators, improved search term highlighting and query tree displays. The operator NEAR can now be used with other Boolean operators and a new operator, BEFORE, can be used to search words in a specific order, e.g. fuel BEFORE cell.
The USPTO and NIST have launched a new IP Awareness Assessment Tool aimed at helping small businesses, entrepreneurs and independent inventors improve their knowledge of all forms of intellectual property.
Awareness of IP rights among entrepreneurs and inventors is low in many countries. In 2009 the Canadian Intellectual Property Office conducted a survey of small and medium-sized businesses and found that 62% of the respondents could not name a single form of IP. Copyright was identified by 20%, followed by patents at 16%, trademarks at 10% and designs and trade secrets at 1% each.
A pro-hockey player and inventor from Alberta thinks he's solved a problem that has plagued kids forever: how to get the last bit of peanut butter out of the bottom of the jar without getting it all over your fingers. The Toronto Star reports that Darren Kramer has applied for a patent on an improved peanut butter jar. The jar's top half twists off to allow easier access to peanut butter in the bottom.Kramer isn't the first inventor to tackle this problem. In 2009, Ryan Coffey of Wisconsin filed an application (US2009261098 A1) for a jar (that closely resembles the peanut butter kind) with lids at both ends, presumably to allow for easier access to the peanut butter at the bottom.
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.