Urban and Residential Living in a World with Climate Change

The theme for Earth Day 2015 revolves around climate change. Our lifestyles can have the effect of contributing to increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a major symptom and causal effect of climate change. For example, urban areas account for two-thirds of driving-related greenhouse gases despite public transportation opportunities. There’s been some research lately into the effects of climate change on urban areas, such as those areas of California that have been slammed by drought conditions, and a growing population is an issue that has to be taken into account. With the environment on our mind, we thought a close look at climate-change tech would be appropriate. We focus on a couple of innovations that will keep our society running in the face of a warmer atmosphere and higher sea levels, assuming that sea levels do increase as we keep being told they will.

As our atmosphere warms, there will be more of our country’s population that lives in a hot-humid or hot-arid climate rather than a temperate climate. Keeping energy costs within the home to a minimum is the objective of the technology protected by U.S. Patent No. 8978342, which is titled Residential Radiant Barrier Assemblies. Issued to Auburn University in March, it claims a method of radiant heat rejection by providing a radiant barrier material in a roof of a building along a bottom edge of a rafter to separate an airspace while supporting convective airflow that removes heat from the radiant barrier material. This radiant barrier could be installed in homes and other buildings to reduce summer heat gain in warm climates.

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04.22.15 | Patent Issues | Gene Quinn

A Greener Footprint with Carbon Capture and Next Generation Energy Production

On Wednesday, April 22, 2015, more than 22,000 partner organizations and more than one billion people in 192 different countries will honor the 45th annual Earth Day. According to organizers, this will be the world’s largest non-secular celebration. The theme of this year’s festivities is “It’s Our Turn to Lead,” sounding a call to action among anyone with an interest in environmental issues. With this in mind, we thought we would take a look at some intriguing, recently patented green innovation relating to carbon capture and energy production.

Our society is tied to our quick access to electricity throughout the home and across our communities. It’s hard to picture a consumer economy without the easy ability to obtain electrical energy from a wall outlet to power a variety of electronics. All of that electricity generation occurs at power plants which release a lot of carbon dioxide directly into the atmosphere. As a result, many have discussed the use of carbon capture and storage technologies as a way of counteracting some of the negative aspects of energy production.

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04.21.15 | Patent Issues | Gene Quinn

Hip Replacements – A Brief Patent History

Nearly one year ago, on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, I had a total right hip replacement. The surgery went very well. The biggest problem I encountered was nearly non-stop hiccups for the first week, which was likely due to the anesthesia. I was walking the next day, and I am now walking normally and continue to strengthen my leg muscles. With this personal anniversary, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the evolution of hip replacement technology through the lens of issued U.S. patents.

Hip surgeries have been taking place for at least 300 years, and have progressed from rudimentary surgeries to the sophisticated total hip replacement (i.e., total hip arthroplasty or THA) surgeries that are so commonplace today. According to the CDC, during 2010 there were 332,000 in patient total hip replacements performed in the U.S. Indeed, hip replacement surgery today is widely recognized as one of the most successful surgical interventions ever developed. See Early Attempts at Hip Arthroplasty.

Modern hip replacement surgery really dates back to the 1960s, with the development of new devices that reduced the wear sustained by artificial hip joints over time, and which provided more predictable outcomes.

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04.15.15 | Biotech, Patent Issues | Gene Quinn

Software Patents and the Internet of Things

The “Internet of Things” is a concept that just a few years ago seemed like science fiction, but today seems to be an impending science reality that promises to change the way that we are connected to and use information.

The speedy evolution of the“Internet of Things” (“IoT”) is why the phrase is frequently called a concept, but it really is much more than that. IoT is used to describe the not-too-distant future where ordinary, everyday objects are connected to the Internet. That means that those objects, which can range from wearable devices to washing machines to lamps and coffee makers, will not only be able to relate to the user, but will be able to relate to one another and act in unison.

As with any technology market predicted to rapidly grow, there has been a lot of innovation from a variety of leading technology companies, including IBM, Apple, Google, Samsung, Intel, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and many more. There have also been many exciting innovations from both individuals and start-up companies. Of course, patents can be found whenever there is a technology revolution, and connecting the world through both traditionally high-tech and low-tech devices is absolutely a revolution. But it is a revolution where the technical magic, such as it is, will come in the form of software.

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USPTO Still Accepting Applications into Glossary Pilot

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently announced that it is continuing to accept applications into the Glossary Pilot. The Glossary Pilot will run until June 2, 2015, or until the USPTO accepts 200 grantable petitions, whichever occurs first. To date, the USPTO has granted more than 100 petitions and has more than 50 others pending.

Beginning on January 2, 2014, the Patent Office initiated the so-called “Glossary Pilot Program” to study how the inclusion of a glossary section in the specification of a patent application at the time of filing the application would improve the clarity of the patent claims and facilitate examination of patent applications by the USPTO. There is no requirement that a glossary section be provided by an applicant as part of the patent application specification, and terms that are not defined are given their ordinary plain meaning as would be understood by one of skill in the art. In order to participate in the Glossary Pilot Program, an applicant is required to include a glossary section in the patent application specification to define terms used in the patent application. Applications accepted receive expedited processing by placing them on an examiner’s special docket prior to the first Office action, and will have special status up to issuance of a first Office action.

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