Transcript of November 16 On-Line for Independent Inventors Available
A transcript of the most recent On-Line for Independent Inventors (16
November 2006) is now available through the Inventor Resources pages.
You can read the transcript at the following url:
Doors open to the public at patent and trademark appeal hearings
Continuing to make the patent and trademark examination processes
Beginning on August 1, 2006, hearings conducted by the USPTO's Board
of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) and the Trademark Trial
and Appeal Board (TTAB) will be open to the public.
"The USPTO is committed in continuing to improve transparency in our
operations to enhance quality and public confidence," said Under
Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the
USPTO Jon Dudas. "The public's attendance at hearings conducted by
the BPAI and TTAB is another way USPTO is providing its customers
insight into the patent and trademark examination processes."
Hearings open to the public before the BPAI—an administrative
tribunal that hears and decides appeals from adverse decisions of
examiners and reviews interferences to determine who is the first
inventor, and the TTAB—an administrative tribunal that hears and
decides appeals and adversarial proceedings involving trademark
registrations, will be posted in advance on the USPTO Web site. A
limited number of spaces will be available to the public on a first-
come, first-served basis. No advance requests for attendance by the
public will be permitted.
For further information and procedures for admittance to board
hearings, click here.
National Inventors Hall of Fame Inducts 2006 Class
USPTO’s Jon Dudas Joins Celebration
The National Inventors Hall of Fame held its 34th annual induction
ceremony last Saturday in Akron, Ohio. Speaking at the ceremony, Under
Secretary of Commerce Jon Dudas hailed the new inductees for, “all you
have given to the world. In some cases you have saved our lives or the
lives of our relatives. Or you have cured our illnesses, improved our
ability to enjoy life or helped us to achieve a higher standard of
living.” The Under Secretary joined in presenting medals to eight
This year’s inductees were: Willard Boyle and George Smith for information
storage devices that led to the development of the hand-held video camera
and is the vital component in digital cameras, scanners and fax machines.
Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn, the “fathers of the Internet”, who designed a
system that allows supercomputers and desktop PC’s to share the Internet.
Robert Gore, the inventor of a process for producing porous products that
are extremely durable and strong. The materials produced by the process
are best-known by the GORE-TEX brand name. Ali Javan invented the gas
optical maser, which is the most widely used laser and is an important
tool in research labs, industry and telecommunications. Robert Langer was
inducted for the invention of the technology that allows controlled drug
delivery. He is one of the most prolific living inventors and holds over
300 U.S. and foreign patents. Julio Palmaz is the inventor of the first
commercially successful intravascular stent. The Palmaz Stent has
revolutionized cardiac care and over one million people every year undergo
coronary stenting to repair clogged arteries.
The National Inventors Hall of Fame was co-founded by the United States
Patent and Trademark Office in 1973. Since that time 313 inventors have
been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
COURT HALTS BOGUS INVENTION PROMOTION CLAIMS
Orders $26 Million in Redress For Consumers; USPTO’s Director Jon Dudas
Praises Court Decision.
A U.S. district court judge has ordered an invention promotion operation
to pay $26 million in consumer redress and has ordered a permanent halt to
the bogus claims the company used to recruit customers. The court also
ordered that in future dealings with consumers, the company make specific,
detailed disclosures about their track record in helping inventors market
their ideas. “This affirmative disclosure statement is needed due to
defendants’ blatant, varied, and repeated misrepresentations . . . ” Judge
Gary L. Lancaster of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of
Pennsylvania wrote in his decision.
“This outfit is typical of invention promotion scams,” said Lydia Parnes,
Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “They touted their
ability to turn inventors’ ideas into profitable products, but fewer than
one percent of the customers who invested in their services got royalties
from their patents that amounted to more than they paid the promoters.”
In a complaint filed by the FTC as part of “Project Mousetrap,” the agency
charged that the company used Internet ads and classified ads to lure
inventors across the country to sign up for their services. The agency
charged that they made false claims about their selectivity in choosing
products to promote, false claims about their track record in turning
inventions into profitable products, and false claims about the
relationship they had with manufacturers. They deceptively claimed that
their income came from sharing royalties with inventors rather than from
the $800 to $12,000 fees they charged inventors.
Jon Dudas, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property
commented, “Judge Lancaster’s decision sends a strong signal to all those
invention promotion and licensing firms that prey upon America’s
independent inventor community that fraudulent and unscrupulous practices
will not be tolerated.”
The agency alleged that the defendants made false and misleading
• Consumers who bought their invention-promotion services stand a
reasonably good chance of realizing financial gain.
• Their invention-promotion services helped many of their customers'
invention ideas become profitable products.
• Their invention-promotion services helped specific inventions
become profitable products.
• That they have a vast network of corporations with whom they have
ongoing relationships and regularly negotiate successful licensing
• That their invention marketing services are necessary for consumers
to license their invention ideas.
• That they prepare objective and expert analyses of the
patentability and marketability of consumers' invention ideas.
Judge Lancaster agreed that the company had engaged in deceptive
practices, noting that even after he had issued an order barring deceptive
claims, “defendants continued to engage in deceptive practices, albeit in
slightly different forms. Based on this past pattern of conduct, there is
a very real danger that defendants will alter their business again, yet
continue to engage in wrongdoing.”
To prevent those practices, he ordered the company and its principals to
pay $26 million for consumer redress and to provide any future clients
with a 10-point disclosure statement to allow them objectively to measure
the value of the defendants’ assistance. He ordered that when they
highlight or advertise specific consumer products or ideas in advertising,
they disclose whether the inventor earned royalties that exceeded the
total amount of fees paid by the consumer to the defendants. If the
defendants claim that they have “matched” or “targeted” an invention to a
corporation, they must disclose how many submissions they have made to
that corporation in the past five years and the number of licenses entered
into with the corporation over the past five years. He required them to
disclose that the “Pre-Inventegration” and “modeling” services they sold
to inventors were not necessary to achieve licensing agreements and that
they disclose that they are not providing consumers with objective or
expert opinion of marketability or potential commercial success.
The court also established record keeping provisions to allow the FTC to
monitor compliance with Judge Lancaster’s order.
Defendants in this case were Davison & Associates Inc., now known as
Davison Design and Development, Inc., Manufacturer's Support Services,
Inc., George M. Davison, President and CEO, Thomas Dowler, Gordon M.
Davison and Barbara Miele-Davison. The defendants are based in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, but have operated nationwide.
United States Patent & Trademark Office Issues 7 Millionth Patent
Patent Assigned to DuPont for Novel Fibers
On February 14, 2006, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued patent No. 7 million to DuPont senior researcher John P. O’Brien for “polysaccharide fibers” and a process for their production. The fibers have cotton-like properties, are biodegradable and are useful in textile applications.
It took 75 years to get from patent No.1 to patent 1 million. It has taken less than one tenth of that time to go from 6 million to 7 million patents.
- Patent No. 1 million was issued on August 8, 1911, for a tubeless vehicle tire.
- Twenty-four years later, on April 30, 1935, patent No. 2 million issued for a vehicle wheel to increase the safety and longevity of pneumatic tires.
- Patent No. 3 million issued 26 years later on September 12, 1961, to an inventor at the General Electric Co., for an automated system that translated letters, numbers and symbols to data processing code.
- Patent No. 4 million issued 15 years later on December 28, 1976 for a process for recycling asphalt aggregate compositions.
- Fifteen years later, on March 19, 1991, Patent No. 5 million issued to a University of Florida inventor, for a more efficient way to produce fuel ethanol.
- Only eight years later, patent No. 6 million issued on December 7, 1999, to 3Com Corporation’s Palm Computing for its HotSync® technology.
- And now just a little more than six years later, patent No. 7 million issues.
Patent No. 1 was issued in 1836. Earlier patents were not numbered, although the first U.S. patent was issued in 1790. Approximately 10,000 patents were issued between 1790 and 1836. The USPTO issued 151,079 utility patents in fiscal year 2005.