Sunday, August 3, 2008

Zenni Optical offers a novel eyeglass shopping online

Again, I find myself too busy to shop around the local mall just to take care of my own accessories. Though I have written patent applications for accessory lanyards, USB chains and smart eyeglasses, I still have to go and actually shop for them. I was under an impression that I would get a demo or complimentary prototype of gadgets I am writing patents for, but, no luck in that department. I have not seen or written any patents regarding online shopping for personal, individual fit devices or accessories. From what I could find online is that it is possible to order eyeglasses from Zenni Optical, which needs an up-to-date eye prescription. I have seen a huge choice of high tech materials, shapes, functions, sun shades and price ranges, I like this frame: unique pattern of the eyeglasses makes it suitable for wearing with casual dresses Their prices are affordable, the choices are well sorted out on a straightforward menu. (The many options include a generous selection of frames, single vision lens, sunsensorphotochromic)lens, tinted sunglasses lens, bifocal lens and progressive lens. The secret to Zenni’s low prices is that they sell only their own manufactured frames direct to the customer, with no middlemen and virtually no advertising budget. This is a very convenient one stop shopping site for anyone like me, who is too busy to drive around and actually shop. Fox News TV has featured them, I was told. The popular U.S. talk radio host of the nationally syndicated consumer advocate program, The Clark Howard Show, has recommended them here.

European attorney also complains about USPTO patent examiner's English

Regarding the previous post on the USPTO's problems with English, an attorney from Europe had this to contribute:
This is fantastic! At last we have an admission from a practitioner that "the essential and functional nature of a patent is LINGUISTIC". This side of the Atlantic we've long suspected this to be case - perpetuated by the unfriendly terminology used not only by the USPTO but also the lawyers using the system. Many of my clients, several of whom have what they believe to be a reasonable command of English (having been brought up in England), constantly struggle against US examiners who get bogged down in semantics while the technical differences between an invention and the prior art seem to get lost in the process. Why your correspondent thinks that the job could be done without a technical degree is beyond me. I'm not saying our system is perfect - however, I've got a great deal of respect for EPO examiners who not only need to be technical experts (many are PhDs in their chosen technical subjects) but also have to have command (I use the term deliberately) of English, French and German. I have direct experience of working with a Greek examiner in the medium of English, discussing by telephone the content of prior art documents published in French and German. The discussion worked because we were both concerned with the technical content of the case, not with a theoretical and semantic debate on the words used. As a matter of interest, I had one heck of a job getting the same case through the USPTO precisely because we couldn't agree on the exact words to be used - the examiner kept insisting on changes that altered the technical disclosure to such an extent that the claim functionally was a mess. I think one of the fundamental disciplines that we as European Patent Attorneys learn at an early stage is to write patent applications in a way that aids translation - we know that any granted European Patent will need to be translated into a variety of languages so using plain English with standard meanings is essential. I can't tell you how many times I have had to help a struggling translator trying to translate a US originating patent application into French or German - whoever said we were two nations divided by a common language must have had this situation in mind at the time. I have no solution to offer, except to say that the job of an EPO examiner, while not normally for life, is considered a secure and useful graduate career, with a good standard of living in Munich and healthy tax breaks. I know nothing of the package offered to US examiners, but based on the perennial shortage at the USPTO would it be fair to suggest that the job is less attractive over with you guys?