13 September 2011

The Patent Blog, live

The British Library is hosting a free evening event on the 4 October called "The Patent Blog - Live".

I relish the opportunity to meet any of my readers who would like to come along, and questions and debate will be welcomed both for me and for the UK Intellectual Property Office's Nigel Hanley. There will be a certain emphasis on patents in software and computing and how they are protected. For example, Nigel will explain about the "Peer to Patent" initiative, which helps the Office determine if an invention in software and related areas is really new.

Patents and the media has also been suggested as an area for debate -- do the media often get things wrong, such as the (fictitious) "world patent" I often hear about. 

The event runs from 18.00 to 20.00 at our Business & IP Centre, and while it is free, it is essential to book. More information is given at this page

02 August 2011

Dragon's Den inventions and blogging

The UK IPO has started a blog where they will comment on the intellectual property issues in each episode of TV's Dragon's Den.

Comments on the first episode are already available. A blog worth keeping an eye on to learn more about intellectual property. Of course, a lot of relevant conversations between the dragons and those asking for their money have to be cut out, and these may cover things that apparently go unmentioned.

I have posted frequently in the past on patents and trade marks relevant to the discussions on the programme.

16 February 2011

My favourite patent and invention blogs

There are huge number of blogs on the Internet, and many are on patents -- mostly American, and mostly on the legal aspects. Here are my favourite five blogs in the subject area, in no particular order.

The IPKat is a group blog consisting of eight individuals, who include Tufty the Cat and Jeremy Phillips, who I have met on occasion. Based in the UK and concentrating on European litigation, mainly in trade marks and patents, there are numerous, detailed posts, often with links to copies of the court decisions. If there is one blog you read to keep up to date with European case law in IP, this is it.

Ideas Uploaded is a site run by Tara Roskell, a freelance graphic designer who lives in Northamptonshire in the UK. There are lots of podcasts showing interviews with inventors, with discussions of creativity and how to commercialise inventions.

The Intellogist site has a blog with the strapline "Patent search questions, expert answers". The posts seem to be mostly or entirely by Chris Jagalla, of Intellogist itself, a site which analyses the different patent databases (lots of free content to look at, very useful). Chris is a dream -- he posts on the sort of very specialist topics that interest me in my profession.

The Patent Librarian's Notebook is by Michael White, of Kingston University Library, in Canada. His postings are mostly on patent classification or documentation, in both the USA and Canada. 

And then there is the Green Patent Blog® with its strapline "covering intellectual property issues in clean technology". Its author is Eric Lane, an attorney in San Diego. Court cases feature strongly, and there are numerous categories to click on to see posts on for example "energy storage" or "hybrid vehicles".

No doubt there are many other excellent blogs out there, but between them these keep me aware of new developments. It's a pity that no patent office seems to have a blog -- it's a matter of checking their press releases at intervals to keep up to date, and often what is important to me (in databases, say) is slipped in without comment.

There are some lists of "top" blogs, such as 50 best patent blogs. My impression is most of the blogs in patents and inventions concentrate on US law, but there are some which specialise in particular countries, such as Spicy IP for India. There are some which specialise in particular subjects, such as the Orange Book blog on US pharmaceutical patents. Many specialists will of course find such sites more valuable than the more general sites. 

17 December 2010

Call for evidence in IP review

I recently posted on the UK's new Independent Review of IP and Growth. A "Call for evidence" has now been made.  

Ian Hargreaves, who is leading the review, explains in it that there are two views on IP enquiries. The first is that the subject has been already "reviewed to death". The second is that it is a "subject of considerable economic importance where we have not yet succeeded in grounding policy securely in evidence". Professor Hargreaves holds the second view, which is why, he says, he agreed to lead the review.

It is important that anyone interested in the subject examines the questions set out in the Call for evidence document and submit suitable responses. [Professor Hargreaves has started a blog about the review -- Ed., 10 Jan.]

Interested parties are invited to submit evidence by the deadline of the 1 March 2011.

24 November 2010

The 50 best patent blogs

I'm pleased to say that this blog has been listed as one of the 50 Best Patent Blogs on the Guide to Online Schools site -- though sadly only as one of the "rest of the best" rather than among "our favourite five".

One of the favourite five was new to me, the Green Patent Blog®, by Eric Lane, a San Diego patent attorney. Its strapline is "covering intellectual property issues in clean technology". Understandably he focuses mainly on litigation rather than on the use of patent documents as blueprints for green innovation.

I was very interested in his post on Green patent policies and initiatives, where he discusses recent work. New to me was WIPO's IPC Green Inventory, a tool to assist finding patent classifications in the area. Once you have the right class, what do you do then ? I suggest my posting on using patent classifications is a good start if you are unsure.

I knew about the European Patent Office's final report Patents and clean energy: bridging the gap between evidence and policy, which has a lot of statistical analysis of trends in green patenting.

09 October 2007

Prior-art research and patent blogs

There are a vast number of patent blogs out there, but most seem to be about litigation. Very useful they can be, too, though most cover the American scene. For European litigation, I find the IPKat blog very useful.

For those dedicated to prior-art searching (that is, checking to see if an invention has been done before) there is much less scope. Mike White of Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario has the Patent Librarian's Notebook . His last posting, about sorting out the intellectual property of a rubber diaper fastener makes good reading: apparently twins are on the way. I look forward to reading about baby products for years to come, Mike, such as all those patents for pushchairs/ strollers for twins.

For those who need to download, Stephen Nipper's The Invent Blog® has an excellent, updated posting on downloading patent documents. It's not always a matter of going to Esp@cenet®.

I'd be interested to hear about other blogs with a special focus on the problems of searching for patent documents (or registered designs, or trade marks).

08 August 2007

Great Canadian inventions

I've just heard from Mike White, a librarian at Kingston, Canada whose Patent Librarian's Notebook blog makes entertaining reading. He mentioned a list of 50 top Canadian inventions compiled by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 

Beside wondering why I never see such a list for English inventors (I've seen lots for the Scots, Americans, etc.), I pondered what was on the list. Ranked as no. 1 was insulin, which was really a discovery, but certainly very important.

I was surprised to find Swedish-American Gideon Sundback (the zipper) on the list, which had a strong bias towards winter sports, and the coat hanger by Ontario-born Albert Parkhouse was omitted, among others. That invention is probably more useful than, dare I say it, instant replays.

One invention that I had not thought about before was new to me was alkaline long-lasting batteries. They went into production from 1959. Don't they sound boring ? Yet many a power-hungry device could not work without them. As the list does not cite any patents, it took me 10 minutes on Google to find a mention of the patent for it.

Apparently Lewis Urry persuaded his bosses that he had something useful when he had two toy cars, one with his new battery, one with a standard one, racing each other along the floor. His leaped forward, while the other barely moved. It's that sort of story that for me brings the world of inventions vividly to life.