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The Latest from Way Better Patents

The Human Touch?

21st Century Diagnostics
The Human Element
Humans are imperfect. Are machines better?

Inventions with business methods components are increasingly showing up in domains outside of the information technology space. US Patent 8,652,039 covers diagnostic testing usable in medical evaluation of a condition of a living body where the information obtained is for use by the diagnostician. (Classification speak.) Its business methods aspect include its use in automated business practice and healthcare management including record management, ICDA (International Classification of Diseases Abstracted) billing coding (even thought the patent doesn't address these facets directly.) But what is the human impact of this patented invention and how will it change how diagnostician's decision-making? Will this information maximization in this diagnostic business method improve outcomes?

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Apr 17 2014

Update: Pending Pendency Prognostications

A 50,000 Patent Backlog Explosion
USPTP dashboard gauge
Holy Patent Pendency Batman. We're Up By 15,968!!

The growth in the backlog of unexamined patents continues while the 8,000+ patent examiners are trained on how to classify patents using the new CPC. Based on March data posted on the USPTO dashboard, the number is up by almost 16,000. A February blog post by USPTO Commissioner for Patents Peggy Focarino quietyly announced that the backlog of patent applications is expected to explode by 50,000 patent applications between by May. The backlog won't return to its February 2014 level 600,053 applications as of February 26th, until September 2014. We're keeping count.

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Apr 9 2014

A Quest for Clarity

USPTO Glossary Pilot Program
USPTO Training Graphic
A brave and daring quest.

USPTO announced a Glossary Pilot Program to study how the inclusion of a glossary section in the specification to see if definitions in a glossary section enhance patent quality and improve the clarity of patent claims, by enabling the USPTO and the public to more fully understand the meaning of the patent claims. The most important part of the program description is in the last sentence of the last paragraph of the Federal Register Notice announcing the program.

An applicant cannot subsequently disavow the meaning of any term that has already been defined in the glossary section submitted on filing. Except for the correction of typographical errors, the glossary definitions cannot be amended or deleted during examination. The examiner will consider the glossary section as controlling for the meaning of the terms defined in the glossary section.
Will inventors and patent owners be willing to live with a set of definitions of the salient terms in their patents for the next 20 years? This is one to watch.

Read More About the Pilot Program →

Mar 30 2014

A Special Ingredient

Patents Production in MD-DC-VA
USPTO Training Graphic
Get a quarter. We need to take a look.

Monday's Washington Post Capital Business featured a series of articles on the growth of business accelerators and incubators in the Washington metropolitan area. One of the questions posed by Capital Business was how to measure the output of a business incubator or accelerator. How do you measure success? One of the important measures of performance and an important indicia of innovation is patent production. Integrating patent information into economic analytics provides a new dimension for understanding performance and resource allocation needs in science and technology driven markets. We took a look at the the top patented technologies for 2013 in Maryland, District of Columbia, and Virginia, our neighborhood.

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Mar 4 2014

Top Inventions in 2013

The Top Ten Classes
Ledger Image
A ledger invention pre-information age.

In 2013, 277,852 utility patents were granted by USPTO. Way Better Patents looked at the utility patent granted in 2013 to find the top ten technologies for the year. The top 10 technologies across all utility patents granted accounted for 65,151 or 23 percent (23%) of all utility grants or patents. Like we do with the weekly box scores, the annual count of patent grants is subdivided into three subdomains: the electrical (), mechanical (), and chemical () domains. Looking at the total, electrical (), mechanical (), and chemical () domain patent grants contributed 55%, 26%, and 19% of the total respectively. Here we look at the top inventions and provide an exemplar invention of the inventions that were hot in 2013.

Read Part 1 →   Read Part 2 →

Mar 1 2014

Pending Pendency Prognostications

A 50,000 Patent Backlog Explosion
USPTO Training Graphic
Holy Patent Pendency Batman. We need a new chart!!

It arrived unceremoniously. A blog post arriving in the email box. USPTO Commissioner for Patents Peggy Focarino reporting on the status of the patent office's transition from the venerable US Patent Classification System (USPC) to the new Cooperative Patent Classification System (CPC). The real news in the communique is hidden in the last paragraph of the post, that the backlog of patent applications is expected to explode by 50,000 patent applications between now and May. The backlog won't return to its current sizable level (600,053 unexamined applications as of February 26th) until September 2014. This is a problem. We're keeping count.

Read & Weep →

Feb 26 2014

Why We Love The Navy

Navy Logo
Bravo Zulu

One of the organizations USPTO will not have to deal with as it moves forward on its Attributable Ownership initiative will be the United States Navy. The Navy is not only clear that it owns a patent but provides the contact information for the people you need to talk to if you'd like to discuss licensing the technology. This is how all patents should be.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT. The Energy Harvesting System Using Flow-Induced Vibrations is assigned to the United States Government and is available for licensing for commercial purposes. Licensing and technical inquiries may be directed to the Office of Research and Technical Applications, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Pacific, Code 72120, San Diego, Calif., 92152; voice 619 553-5118; email ssc_pac_T2@navy.mil. Reference Navy Case No. 101636.

Read the Patent | Go Navy →

Feb 12 2014

NSA Funded Privacy Patent

We're watching you.

Today is The Day We Fight Back, a day to call for change in NSA's surveillance activity focused on US citizens. We thought it was particularly appropriate to bring you US Patent 8,141,160, "Mitigating and managing privacy risks using planning", a privacy patent funded by the National Security Agency (NSA), those folks collecting reams of information about US citizens compromising our constitutional rights to privacy and protection against illegal search and seizure. Prepare yourself. Cognitive dissonance and intellectual vertigo may set in.

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Feb 11 2014

Attributable Ownership

Checking on the playing field again.

We love box scores and patent data. The latest scorecard covers USPTO's estimates on how many ownership changes would be required to report the Real Party In Interest for all patents. USPTO published its Federal Register Rulemaking Notice on requiring reporting of the Attributable Owner of patents, their term for the Real-Party-In-Interest and ultimate owner of a patent. The 18,000+ word carefully crafted notice contains very interesting numbers on how many patents have ownership changes reported to The Office over their life now and how many transactions USPTO is expecting under its new rules. The private patent market is in for a change.

The Numbers →

Feb 7 2014

How To Read a Patent

Image of a 1960s frame for eyeglasses from US patent 3084595.
Where can I gets these fabulous spectacles? Can I add Google Glass?

In keeping with this week's "knowledge is power" meme, today we unlock the mystery of how our patentistas crank through a big pile of patents to figure out what they are about and which ones are worth a longer read. At Way Better Patents we eschew patent obfuscation in favor of helping you understand what patents and the discoveries they disclose are all about. In the patentsphere, reading (and grammar) is fundamental. The more you read these giant blobs of text, the better you'll be at understanding what's going with patents and the evolution of invention. Reading patents is good way to participate in the patent compact. Reading the patent documents that give an inventor 20 years of exclusive use of their invention in exchange for disclosing what the inventon is (does). If you work in an IP intense shop, be sure to check with the local patent police before embarking on a patent reading adventure.

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Jan 31 2014

Scientia est Potentia

Implantable Device
A step into the future of patient management.

Scientia est potentia means "knowledge is power". Clinical medicine and patient management systems are increasingly influenced by information technology and its ability to empower both clinicians and patients. Implantable sensors take patient management to the next level. New medical device inventions seek to empower patients with knowledge about their physical health. Much of this new technology is enabled by wireless networks, smartphones, and sophisticated diagnostic and alerting software. Today we look at a new implantable sensor and its impact on patient management.

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Jan 29 2014

A Local Affair

A map with pins.
Innovation coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

The Geography of Innovation. Today scientists, technologists and inventors collaborate across local, regional, state, and national borders. But most invention is still a local affair. The innovation economy is defined by its geographic clustering. People who are passionate about what they do want to be around other like-minded people. People and businesses gravitate to areas that have the resources that they need to optimize their economic growth. Whether it’s people and their skills, facilities, access to high speed internet, power, access to transportation, or financial resources, innovators and entrepreneurs follow the resources. Innovation is an organic homegrown and local brew where location counts.

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Jan 25 2014

Bespoke Analytics

Care unit transformed to enhance clinician accessibility to the patient
Sketch out some ideas and let us know what you need

Way Better Patents develops comprehensive custom analyses to help you use patent data and information about inventions, technology transfer and innovation for your business and economic development, site selection, business retention and recruitment, training and workforce development, talent alignment and retention or to keep track of inventions happening in your neck of the woods. The Patentistas at Way Better Patents have made a list of some of the ways you can use patent data to gain actionable insight into the innovation economy.

Ideas →

Jan 17 2014

The Business Methods Suite

Care unit transformed to enhance clinician accessibility to the patient
Luxury rooms transform into advanced medical units.

Advancements in technology are changing the ways we perceive medicine and the standards of healthcare. This week, we get a fresh look at tomorrow's in-patient rooms, which can autonomously alter the room environment to meet patient/clinician demands. Through utilizing a complex computer networking system, Stephanie Bechtel and Cerner Innovations Inc are able to establish method of building a smart clinical room that meets the fast-paced demands of a clinician while maintaining the comfort of the patient's home. And for a business methods patent, they packed it all into one elegant claim (with a few dependent for good measure).

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Jan 13 2014

Patents & The Digital Citizen

Open file cabinet.
Open Sesame. Unlock the treasures in government data.

Way Better Patents was selected as one of the first 50 open data preview companies featured by opendata500.com. The Open Data 500 is the first comprehensive study of U.S. companies that use open government data to generate new business and develop new products and services. The Open Data 500 study is funded by the Knight Foundation and conducted by the GovLab.

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Jan 4 2014

Happy New Year

Coin Operated Binoculars
On the lookout for more innovation in the new year.

Way Better Patents launched in early 2013 to chronicle the latest developments in intellectual property, innovation, inventions and patents and the emerging innovation economy. It was an amazing year that flew by. 2014 promises to be a great year with lots of new and interesting articles, analytics, and insight on the patentsphere. Please stay tuned. Thanks to all the people who made this year a novel one.

Jan 1 2014
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