Interesting story about a Canadian man suffering from cystic fibrosis who patented a device that helps him breath. His patents for a "chest vibrating device" include US7416536 (B2)
and CA2563723 (C).
Medical devices are a bit more challenging to commercialize because they require the approval of various government agencies. In this case, Health Canada approved the device late last year, almost ten years after the first patent application and four years after the US patent was granted.
Tonight millions of Americans will enjoy firework shows in celebration of Independence Day. Millions more may even set off a few firecrackers and bottle rockets in their backyards. Many of these pyrotechnics can trace their origins to designs patented decades ago. Patents for fireworks and other pyrotechnics are found in the U.S. Patent Classification under 102/335. Firecrackers specifically are found under 102/361. The oldest patent in this subclass was issued on August 7, 1883 to Jinta Hirayama of Yokohama, Japan (US 282,891). Hirayama's invention, described as "day-light fireworks", consisted of a shell packed with powder and paper cutouts of birds, animals and people. Once lit, the shell would explode and shower the immediate area with paper confetti.
Reports of RIM's demise may be premature but the company's precarious situation might be a concern for officials at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. For the better part of a decade, RIM has been one of CIPO's best customers; since 2005-2006 it has consistently ranked as the top patent applicant in Canada. Last year RIM filed 569 new patent applications and received 244 patents. RIM's application and examination fees and the maintenance fees its pays on its large portfolio of patents represent a fair bit of income for the CIPO. The current standard filing fee for a patent application is $400, so RIM's 569 applications last year would have cost at least $227,000. If RIM dramatically reduces the number of applications it files, or stops filing altogether, it will cost the CIPO hundreds of thousands in lost revenue. If RIM sells all or part of its patent portfolio, then presumably the new owners would continue to pay the maintenance fees in order to prevent the patents from expiring.
The USPTO is planning to open three new satellite offices in Dallas, Denver and Silicon Valley, bringing the total number of regional offices to four. The first USPTO satellite office will open in Detroit on July 13. By coincidence, July 13 is also the 176th anniversary of the first patent issued under the Patent Act of 1836, US 1. In establishing regional offices the USPTO hopes to make it easier for applicants to obtain patents in a timely manner and reduce its backlog of pending applications.
Across the Atlantic, negotiators agreed that the European patent court should be located in Paris with offices in Munich and London. This decision moves Europe one step closer to establishing a single European patent granted by the EPO.
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.