Thursday, August 7, 2008

Your mom has never taught you these nonos:

In claim language these should be followed:

Never say, “capable of”rather “for”

Never use “comprises” in body of claim. (For an explanation of preamble and body read this post)

Don’t use “includes” or “consists of” in the preamble.

Case law: §112, paragraph 6 limits “means for” to what’s to what’s in specification and equivalents thereof. “a mechanism for” may work better.

never say "capable of". say "for".

More of these gems to follow.

An ingenious Wii game is a restaurateur simulator

In this jaded world of inventions, who would have known that there is still room for interesting Sims, especially in such a non-obvious genre as cuisine? Zoo Games has launched the SuperVillain Studios-developed Order Up!, a Wii-platform based game. Order Up! is a sumptuous blend of professional restaurant cooking and gourmet empire building, combined with memorable characters and intelligently humorous situations. The game puts you under the tutelage of an up-and-coming chef on the fictional island of Port Abello. Players will make the food, and, true to Order Up!'s sim element, they will build a restaurant from the ground up, obnoxious customers, food critics, health inspectors included. It is just like a real job, except no one gets paid and no one eats any food. Using the Wiimote in hand, a player graduates from burger to chateaubriand, and masters every aspect of running a restaurant kitchen. This is the real lfight simulator for anyone who has ever dreamed of being a world-class chef or restaurant mogul. The central gameplay of Order Up! is actual cooking. Players must whip up dishes in the heat of a restaurant kitchen, juggling their cooktop stations of grill, griddle, range, cutting board and the pass, while also having to manage assistant chefs. The gameplay in Order Up! is successful in being it all: fast, intuitive, fresh, creative and wholly original. Beyond cooking, the gameplay includes climbing the ranks from fast-food to world-class restaurants as chef and owner while continuously expanding your cookbook (database) of recipes and also continuously upgrading your equipment. The realism always stays fresh with the pressure provided by demanding patrons and discriminating food critics. Designed specifically for the Nintendo Wii, Order Up! takes advantage of the Wiimote’s motion sensing technology to simulate real cooking, with real kitchen tools like knives, wooden spoons, tongs, ladles, and more. Check out this Order Up! Trailer The premise wins the prize for inventiveness and combination of ideas - Cooking Mama plus the Sims plus Diner Dash. SuperVillain has shown that they have a solid development team, and the team has came up with a sophisticated, interesting experience for the Wii, which is more than a lot of teams can say.

Markush group gives punch to your claims

Patent claims, as we have learned in this category, is not an easy part of a patent, but they can make your life as an inventor a lot easier if the claims exploit all the possible claim tools known in the profession. Thus if you have invented a gadget that can be a gizmo, or a widget, or a thingie, or a dab, then you need to say it int eh claims. The catch it, you cannot use OR. In claims, AND is and and or. Claims, in this case, use the Markush group formula. According to this formula (X selected from the group of Y consisting of A, B and C) your invention's claim reciting the gadget's alternatives would look like this: ..., wherein said gadget is selected from the group gadgets consisting of a gizmo, a widget, a thingie and a dab. The only instance in the claim where OR can be admitted is when claiming an option on a device control, such as a washing machine dial: ...settings include operating a regular wash, a power wash, a spin, and a wash or spin only... aren't claims fun?

50% Off Small Rubber Stamps is a good deal for a patent agent

My patent writing business has grown to the point that I would need to make sort hard-printed patents, articles and client documents into several categories. Inside each client's file I also need to stamp documents according to their status and relative use, just to save myself time from having to reread irrelevant background information. This process is always simple for whatever that is stored on the office PC network. So I realized that I need to look for a simple solution. It was to order a series of rubber stamps, small stamps, like the ones that would say Provisional, Full Application, PCT, WIPO, etc. So I found that Vista Print's Rubber Stamps has an online way of ordering any type, personalized rubber stamps, and unlike my local print shop's rubber stamp selection, they have small, 1.42" x 0.47" stamps. I realized I would even order rubber stamps for home use, to stamp bills and mail to be sent back. Vista Print also offers a lot of other products besides rubber stamps: sticky notes, business cards, free brochures, car door magnets, checks, letterheads, window decals, lawn signs, free oversized postcards, and T-shirts. There are more uses for rubber stamps than business. Vista Print has a line of rubber stamps that are highly customizable and affordable. There are vary from small to large and can be ordered in bulk. Customizable stamps can use any own-computer, online-ready design or use a template that Vista Print has ready online. Rubber stamps are great since they save time when mailing massive amounts of items and you need to stamp stamp your return address or if you have to make the same statement on some papers you just stamp it instead. Check them out, type in the Stamps50 coupon code when ordering, and you get a 50% discount off your own, personalized small rubber stamps.

Careless language sinks patent

Here is a patent with very questionable claim language: Systems and methods for trading emission reductions (U.S. Patent 7,343,341) Claim 1. A computer-implemented method of promoting the reduction of emissions, comprising: registering participants voluntarily with an established entity; ... This claim (and the other independent claim) is badly constructed, making the patent unenforceable: First, voluntary is an unnecessary limitation. If such registration already exists that requires payment, it is completely obvious to have the registration be voluntary. If such prior art does not exist, there is no reason to limit the scope. Also, it is impossible to register with an unestablished, i.e., non-existent entity. Nowhere does the specification explain what is meant by an established entity. This clause more safely should read ... registering participants with an entity .... Second, after this use here, the phrase established entity isn't used elsewhere in the claims - it is synergistic with nothing. The reason for it to be in the claims: the rest of claim 1 has phrases like establishing an emission reduction schedule, etc. - all tasks presumably done by the entity. But there is no claim language that links the entity to the "do-ings", for example, ... said entity establishing an emission reduction schedule ..., which creates the synergy. This claim is fatally defective. The other independent claim 17 has the same defect. The patent is nearly unenforceable. The claim language might be corrected with a Reissue. In the eventuality of the Reissue, the assignee's lawyers should process the Reissue pro-bono :-), given the apparently slop-floppy claim language

Hollywood is too engineered to be patentable

Friday's Wall Street Journal has an interesting op-ed piece by JoAnn Anderson titled "No Affairs Worth Remember: who is to blame for the death of the romantic comedy?".she argues it is a combination of the sexual revolution and fading away of class tensions). One comment in the article is worth of quoting in the national media: According to Richard Schickel, a film critic for, "movies are more structured now than they're written; movies proceed more on beats now - an action sequence, a sex sequence - what gets lost in that are people trying to exchange witty dialogue." Schickel is correct - movies are more and more engineered structures made of action components with a known useful entertainment functions. And as the Patent Office has declared in an ill-defined way, functional structures are patentable. Patents in Hollywood just helps quicken the evolution of the entertainment industry into a formally engineered products industry, the convergence of Northern and Southern California. Which is why Ex Parte Lundgren must prevail - it is more consonant with the expansion of science and engineering into the entertainment industry than the science and engineering nonsense of Bilski.

Free Flow of Information Act encourages trade trade secret leaks

The Senate is considering what the House has passed the Free Flow of Information Act, which gives strength to federal law in the form of the right for reporters in most cases to protect the identity of their sources, even from prosecutors or judges. The business community is not happy with the Senate version of this bill, because unlike the House, the Senate version does not have a provision which requires reporters to disclose the identity of sources who leak trade secrets. Some state laws, such as in California, already protect reporters from having to disclose sources of trade secrets. The Senate bill would extend this protection across the country. And thus the concern of the business community. A nice article on this side effect appears in the 30 June 2008 Forbes, page 32, in an article by communications consultant Carter Wood titled "Too Much Freedom of the Press".