Jim Henson’s Puppet Patent: A Patent Post for Parents and Muppet Fans Alike

It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights, it’s time to meet the patent behind the Muppet Show delights. In 1958, Jim Henson filed an a patent application with the USPTO for a “puppet doll or similar article”.  The patent application, Patent Number D186119, was for a design patent, as the patent claim states it is for, “the ornamental design for a puppet doll or similar article as shown or described.”  If you check out the patent application, you will see a figure that looks similar to the Muppet known and loved throughout the world as Kermit the Frog. Henson’s Muppet mastery had debuted a few years earlier when in 1955, when Kermit the Frog made an appearance on “Sam and Friends”.

According to the Muppet Wiki, (more…)

Women Entrepreneurs Awarded More Patents in Recent Years

The number of women being awarded U.S. patents has increased sharply in recent years, according to a private study commissioned by the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC)  to determine the rates of women who have applied for and received patents from 1975 through 2010.  According to the NWBC’s announcement of their preliminary findings, 22,984 patents were awarded to women in 2010, up by an impressive 35% from 2009. This acceleration in the rate of patents being granted to women is impressive because in 2009, women received 17,061 patents, which was just a 4.5 percent increase over the 16,321 issued in 2008. (more…)

Google’s Patent Portfolio: As Impressive as Cars that Can Drive Themselves

Google’s patent portfolio has been in the news a lot lately, and not in reference to the plethora of patent litigation Google has found itself in in recent years. Google expanded its patent portfolio in 2011 by acquiring more than 2,000 of IBM’s patents and added another by having its patent application for a self-driving car awarded by the USPTO. Not sure which is more impressive? Let’s spell out the recent acquisitions: (more…)

New Year, New USPTO Series Code

The USPTO uses series codes to identify when a patent application’s filing date was. It is a two digit code representing a period of time. The series code precedes the rest of the six digit patent application serial number. These numbers are assigned chronologically as they are received at the USPTO.

Any patent applications that will be submitted in 2012 will belong in a new series code number, Series Code 13. Series Code 13 was implemented at the end of 2010, but the first application to be published with the series code 13 didn’t occur until May 2011. What was the patent application for? A light-emitting apparatus:

Can’t you tell from the image above? If not, check out the application here.

Top 5 Patent Law Blog Posts of the Week

Today we continue our weekly installment highlighting the best of the patent blogosphere from the past week. Highlights include a patent application for dispersing riots with sound, a new database for chemical patents, and an update on the delayed ITC decision. If there are any patent blogs you think should be highlighted by our Top 5, please comment on this post and we’ll check them out!

1) Patently-O: Design Patent Pendency – This post was selected because, although it’s just a paragraph long, it shares the blogging spotlight on the design patent. Design patents don’t get press like utility patents do. This post provides a chart on the progress design patent filings have taken over the years, and explains that the majority of design patent applications get filed within the year.

2) New Scientist: Riot Shields Could Scatter Crowds with a ‘Wall of Sound’ – A Massachusetts defense firm applied for a patent for a “man-portable non-lethal pressure shield” that would emit sounds causing people to disperse due to their physical inability to withstand the sounds. The article reports on how the patent works and how it differentiates from other sound emitting crowd control devices. You can view the patent here.

3) Tech Crunch: Apple Made a Deal with The Devil (No, Worse: A Patent Troll) – The interwebs have been a flutter about this post’s explanation of how Digitude Innovations partnered with Apple and has since been actively suing companies like RIM, HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony, Amazon, and Nokia. The article reports that Apple has transferred about a dozen of its patents in a patent litigation offensive strategy.

4) Bloomberg: HTC Says Decision in U.S. Patent Dispute With Apple Delayed – This post provides a quick  summary of how and why the hotly anticipated ITC ruling was delayed to early next week, and reiterates the impact the decision will have on all parties involved.

5) SiNApSE: New Chemical Database For Patent Search – This post explains the recent announcement that IBM launched of a new database which will provide access to more than 2.4 million chemical compounds extracted from about 4.7 million patents and 11 million biomedical journal abstracts from 1976 to 2000. The new venture is in collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb, DuPont and Pfizer.