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The Latest from Way Better Patents™

A Creative Polymath Speaks

Problem-solving isn't always a straightforward process.

How Do People Get New Ideas?

Inventors, artists, musicians, writers, scientists — or anyone and everyone, really — all have in common the need to solve problems. Problem-solving can take many forms, with perhaps the two ends of the spectrum being applying known solutions and developing a new approach through creativity. How does creativity happen? Can it be learned or systematized? Isaac Asimov offers insights in a previously unpublished essay, now made available at the MIT Technology Review. It joins Way Better Patents Book Club.

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Oct 22 2014

What's Going On? — Update

Statistical Map at October 14, 2014.
The October 14 update shows not much has changed.
Statistical Map on September 23, 2014
Looks like examiners have a different view on the CPC Statistical Map.

As the late, great Marvin Gaye asks, What's going on? Way Better Patents took a look at the progress on the transition to the Cooperative Patent Classification system for its presentation at the Patent Information Users Group North East Conference. We looked at the 40,000+ patents granted since March that have CPC data. The link below takes you to the presentation and supporting material.

See What's Going On →

Oct 15 2014

Do It On A Computer Patents

Troll Robot
The Babbage Analytical Machine — This is doing it on a computer.

Patent prognosticators are extolling the pending demise of business methods patents, what they refer to as the Do It On A Computer Patents, Software patents are crumbling, thanks to the Supreme Court". The news is that the courts invalidated either 11 or 14 "do it on a computer patents" in 2014. We've noted a decline in the number of business methods patents. Down to only 44 this week or about 4 times more than new business methods patents than have been invalidated. We suspect that new grants were suspended until USPTO could come up with its post Alice v. CLS Bank guidance and examination procedures. As of this week USPTO has granted 4,371 Business Methods patents so far. Not exactly crumbling yet.

Read Business Methods Watch →

Sep 17 2014

IP Strategy Works

Inventor, Innovator, R&D Visionaries, IP Strategist, Patent Monetization Entity

A lot of books on Thomas Edison focus on the light bulb and his work in Menlo Park. Few look at Thomas Edison's role in establishing the modern R&D organization or his role as a patent strategist. Edison and the Rise of Innovation by Leonard DeGraaf, despite its coffee table book format. is a great read on America's most well known inventor and is recommended reading for anyone who wants to understand the nature of innovation and the role patents play. Reading Edison and the Rise of Innovation illuminates the nuanced nature of intellectual property, innovation, patents, and the role of invention building American businesses.

Check out the other selections on The Way Better Patents™ Reading List.

The Reading List →

Sep 11 2014

Let the Dance Begin

The FTC PAE Study Is On
Troll Robot
Let's Get Ready to Rumble!! It's good to be back.

The Other Shoe Dropped. In the world of government bureaucracy one of the last steps before an agency can mount a data collection effort from the public is to get Office of Management and Budget approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act to conduct a survey. On August 8th, the Federal Trade Commission received approval from OMB to move forward with the Patent Assertion Entity Study. See what's next.

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Aug 18 2014

The Count

CPC Data on New Patent Grants
Notched Box Data Distribution
A New Visualization For Exploring Findability
  Click figure for an overview of the visualization.

Patents are the largest organized longitudinal collection of scientific, engineering, and technology information in the world. Changing how patents are classified and the system for making classification choices is a formidable undertaking that will directly impact the is findability patents. Today we take a closer look at what's going on with USPTO's change to the CPC and what's happening on the 30.4% of this week's patents that have both USPC and CPC data — the classification count...

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Aug 16 2014

What's Coming Soon

This week's heatmap of Virginia inventors. This week's heatmap of Virginia assignees.
Inventors on the left, assignees on the right. The Map Room lets you see where the patents come from.

Coming Soon™ Digests are state-by-state, town-by-town compendiums of the new patents granted each week — the foundations of new products, new businesses, and new markets. The Map Room provides a visual exploration of where innovation will be coming soon.

Way Better Patents™ combines its custom patent and innovation analytics with authoritative scientific presence data to help its users gain a deeper understanding of what is Coming Soon™ on the innovative landscape. The more you know about what is being discovered and created locally and the science and technology behind it, the more focused your business, economic, and workforce development efforts can be.

See What's Coming Soon™ →

Aug 13 2014

The Geography of Patents

Where Your Tax Dollars Are Going
Change Purse
Happening Here — Taxpayer Funded Patents By US County.

Inventors US County

The top 20 US counties receiving taxpayer funded inventions.

County Count %
Middlesex County, MA 591 4.75%
Los Angeles County, CA 475 3.82%
Santa Clara County, CA 383 3.08%
Alameda County, CA 314 2.52%
San Diego County, CA 306 2.46%
Montgomery County, MD 300 2.41%
Westchester County, NY 235 1.89%
Bernalillo County, NM 219 1.76%
King County, WA 212 1.7%
Cook County, IL 211 1.7%
Dane County, WI 200 1.61%
New York County, NY 190 1.53%
Durham County, NC 184 1.48%
Washtenaw County, MI 179 1.44%
Orange County, CA 153 1.23%
Baltimore County, MD 147 1.18%
Knox County, TN 147 1.18%
Fort Bend County, TX 139 1.12%
Contra Costa County, CA 135 1.08%
Olmsted County, MN 135 1.08%

Taxpayer Funded Patents So Far This Year →

Jul 26 2014

Taxpayer Funded Patents So Far

US Map
Where a new invention promises to be useful, it ought to be tried.
Thomas Jefferson

Government funded research comes from corporations, universities, research institutes, small businesses, and federal contractors through different types of contracts including procurement contracts, research grant agreements, and cooperative agreements for performance of experimental, developmental or research work. The University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act of 1980 (Bayh-Dole) allows recipients of federal research grants to patent their inventions and to retain the title to those inventions. So far this year there have been 9,898 patents that have either government interest statements or have US government listed as the titleholder (assignee).

See The 2014 Box Score →

Jul 19 2014

A Way Better Count

US Map
There is more going on than you think.

It's time to use more 21st century metrics for looking at the impact of inventors from different states. The nature of invention has changed. It's no longer the case that all of the inventors toil away in the same skunkworks. The internet and digital science tools have made collaboration across local, state, and national boundaries a critical element in discovery and invention. The Way Better Count looks at all of the inventors in each location not just the first named inventor. Here is how it works.

The USPTO Official Count of patents assigns patents to a state based on the residence of the first named inventor on the patent. If a US patent has inventors from more than one state, only the state of residence of the first named inventor on the patent is credited with a patent. The Way Better Patent Count looks at all inventors on a patent and credits a state with a patent if any of the inventors come from that state. The Way Better Count provides insight into how many patents a particular US State's inventors participated in.

View the Side by Side Comparison →

Jul 17 2014

A Tipping Point?

CPC Data on New Patent Grants
CPC chart
CPC vs. USPC Searches by Technology Center

This is an interesting week at USPTO. Way Better Patents has been monitoring the flow of Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) data. We want to see what resources are evolving to enable a smooth transition to using the CPC by patent practitioners (people not working at USPTO) as USPTO's examiners switch to the new classification system. We are fans of the venerable USPC, maybe because we love its claim focused approach to classifying patents rather than the more broad tell us what it is in light of the claims approach used by the CPC. Today's box scores raise an important question, has USPTO has reached a tipping point on its migration to the CPC?

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Jul 8 2014

A Closer Look At CPC Progress

CPC Data on New Patent Grants
CPC chart
Progress by Technology Center

Here is a domain-specific view of progress on the conversion to the new Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system — the number of patents granted this week vs. patents with CPC by Technology Center.

Tech Center Breakdown
1600 Biotechnology and Organic Chemistry
1700 Chemical and Materials Engineering
2100 Computer Architecture, Software, and Information Security
2400 Computer Networks, Multiplex communication, Video Distribution, and Security
2600 Communications
2800 Semiconductors, Electrical and Optical Systems and Components
3600 Transportation,Construction, Electronic Commerce, Agriculture
3700 Mechanical Engineering, Manufacturing, Products
Jul 4 2014

20% and Six Months To Go

CPC Data on New Patent Grants
CPC chart
Slow Growth in CPC — and the backlog.

As of January 1, 2015 the USPTO plans to shift to classifying patents according to the new Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system developed jointly by the USPTO and the European Patent Office (EPO). This is a major change for people who rely on classification as a guideline for finding appropriate prior art and for understanding the nature of invention in certain domains. As we learned in the February 24th blog post from USPTO Commissioner for Patents Peggy Focarino, USPTO was in the process of training examiners on how to use the CPC and as a result expected the backlog of unexamined patents to grow while this takes place.

We expect the backlog to rise as high as 650,000 by May 2014 before resuming its decline again falling below 600,000 by the end of this fiscal year, which ends September 30th.
Peggy Focarino blog post

The good new is that the backlog isn't growing as fast as expected. The numbers at the end of May showed growth of 19,859. At the same time we aren't seeing growth in the number of newly granted patents that contain CPC data. The table shows the rate of growth in newly granted patent that contain CPC data. We'll publish the chart every week as we march toward the 2015 CPC adoption date.

Jun 30 2014

Taxpayer ROI

Bayh-Dole Watch
The Human Element
Amazing new drug delivery methods. Stick free medicine!!

Under the Bayh-Dole Act, organizations that make discoveries and patent inventions as a result of work done on a federal contract or grant can retain the title to that patent. The goal was to accelerate commercialization of taxpayer research and development spending, the taxpayers return on investment. Each week Way Better Patents™ publishes the boxscores on patents with government interest statements. One of the patents we liked this week is US 8,708,966. Georgia Tech Research Corporation received US Patent 8,708,966 for Microneedles, devices for the transport of therapeutic or biological molecules across tissue barriers, such as for drug delivery. The microneedle devices permit drug delivery or removal of body fluids at clinically relevant rates across skin or other tissue barriers, with minimal or no damage, pain, or irritation to the tissue. Funding was provided by both NSF and DARPA.

This Week's Summary →

May 1 2014
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