A group of Canadian businessmen have launched a new product that they claim will protect hockey players from concussions.The Noggin is a form-fitting skull cap kitted out with gel pads intended to be worn under a regulation hockey helmet. Medical experts are skeptical about the product`s claims, however. According to the CIPO`s Canadian Trademark Database, an application for the mark Noggin was filed on April 10, 2012.
Over the years inventors have filed hundreds of patent applications for inventions designed to protect the heads of athletes from blows. More than 1,700 patent documents are classified in IPC A63B71/10, which covers protectors for the head. Designs include shock absorbing headbands and protective golf hats. One of the earliest designs is an 1895 patent (US532567) for a head protector for football players.
Ten inventors were inducted into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame earlier this month. The inductees included Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and holder of more than 100 patents, and Nobel Laureate (Physics) Dennis Gabor.
MaxVal, an IP research and services firm, offers a suite of useful (and free) patent tools. The graphical patent family tree generator is especially nice. The USPTO widget is also useful for compiling data about a specific patent from various USPTO databases.
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.