Inventions are Either Dogs or Cats

Some inventions actually are dogs. You’ve met the dog I’m talking about. It’s that big, friendly, in-your-face, social charmer who wants — nay, needs — to be the center of attention. They wear their hearts on their shoulders (dogs don’t generally wear sleeves) and you know exactly what this dog … of whatever breed … is thinking.

A dog-invention is one that, once introduced, you can reverse engineer. You know what it’s made of, and you know what it does. It becomes clear from tinkering with the invention just exactly how the invention works.

Dog Interacting
Dogs Love to Interact

 

A dog-invention is something you need a patent to protect. You cannot protect a dog-invention in any other way. For a patent to issue, the best mode of making and using the invention must be disclosed at the time of filing the application for patent. No problem! The dog-invention’s best mode is disclosed when you publish the dog-invention to the world. You can’t hide it; its very nature is to be a big, friendly, in-your-face invention.

Some inventions are cats. You’ve met the cat I’m talking about. It’s that shy, skittish kitty that hides from the world and watches with distrustful eyes as you try to tease it out of its spot. The very last thing it wants in the world is to be the center of attention. It is the diametric opposite of a friendly dog. It is secretive.

Cat In Box
Cats LOVE to hide…

 

A cat-invention can also be protected by patent, but we need to remember that a patent is an exercise in disclosure, which is the diametric opposite of this cat-invention’s nature; for a patent to issue, the best mode of making and using the invention must be disclosed in the application … which is then published to the public. We also need to remember that a patent’s enforceability is finite; it expires, at most, 20 years from the date you file the application. This cat-invention might be happier, and its profitability could potentially last much longer, if you simply keep it as a trade secret and let it do what cat-inventions do — hide from the world, watching with distrustful eyes as others try to tease it out.

ATTRIBUTION: The dog photo is a free download from pexels.com (since I don’t have a dog); the original filename is pexels-pixabay-97082.jpg. The cat is a photo of of my class-clown-cat, Linus.

 

The Day The Music Died

US Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (3/15/1933-9/18/2020), the unlikely rock star and cultural icon known affectionately as “Notorious RBG,”  who loved her family, loved the law, loved the opera, and loved her country (not necessarily in that order), left this earth yesterday. She had just reached the halfway point between 87 and 88.

Words cannot express how her passing saddens me. I never met Justice Ginsburg (though I did see her on the SCOTUS bench on the day I was admitted to practice before SCOTUS), but I certainly knew her. I knew her through the humanity reflected in her decisions. I knew her through her fast friendship with her SCOTUS foil Antonin Scalia. I knew her through the many quips and quotes that trickled down from her lips to the public’s lives. I knew her for the gargantuan impact this tiny woman had on the law and on the world. I miss her. I join the world in praying for her and her family.

One of my cats is named Ginsburg, after her; that cat’s littermate is named after Justice Scalia. When they came into my life two years ago, I thought it would be fun to commemorate that unlikely friendship with these kittens’ names.

I can’t remember the Notorious RBG in any better way than in her own words. CBS News did a good interview with her when she was only 83 years old. Here’s the segment of that interview that is available on YouTube.

Rest in peace, Justice Ginsburg. If anyone deserves a rest, you do. You leave us with one hell of a great legacy.

Cool Foam Technology From NFL Concussion Experience

.The USPTO has a very cool article on its site. It seems former #NFL cornerback Shawn Springs holds a patent on helmet foam technology that minimizes  the effects of those skull-crushing impacts that football players suffer as part of the game. The technology is adapted from a child safety seat used in automobiles.

Enjoy the read!

USPTO’s Invention-Con 2020 Is Happening Now

If you’ve invented something, or are even thinking about inventing something, the US Patent and Trademark Office’s 2020 Invention-Con is The Place To Be. It started yesterday (8/20/2020) and continues through tomorrow (8/22/2020). This year’s theme is Your IP: A power tool for building success.

Click one, click all and get your FREE tickets to this premier USPTO event now!

Black Lives Matter

Today, Delain Law Office, PLLC joins the world in mourning the loss of George Floyd. We pray for his family and friends as they lay him to rest, and we pray for every family who has lost a loved one at the hands of violence … especially police violence. We pray for their strength and for their healing. And we pray that they forgive us all for failing them so completely.
It has been more than one hundred and fifty years since Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, more than 50 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, more than 10 years since we elected our first African American president. Many, many lives have been lost. Still, there is still no justice under the law for African Americans. It is still not safe to be Black in this country.
We live in a nation divided by race. African Americans have glaringly different outcomes than do those of European descent when it comes to nearly every system that has been erected in this country. Racism negatively impacts employment, housing, health, safety, and financial wellbeing.
We at Delain Law Office are shocked and saddened by the actions of the officers who callously and needlessly took Mr. Floyd from his family. That his six-year-old daughter can see that her daddy changed the world is amazing … and tragic. The world should already have undergone this change. We find it reprehensible that it so clearly has not.
I am a white woman, and I recognize that I sadly hold a privilege in our society based solely on the color of my skin. That privilege rings truly hollow when it comes at the price of innocent lives, regardless of the color of that life’s skin. Today, and every day, I stand in solidarity with the Black community. I stand ready to listen and to serve.
#BlackLivesMatter.

USPTO’s National Patent Drafting Competition Announces 2020 Winners

USPTO National Patent Application Drafting Competition 2020

…and Delain Law Office, PLLC congratulates them.

The National Patent Drafting Competition is a competition that the US Patent & Trademark Office holds for law students to introduce them to issues arising in US patent law. The point of the competition is to develop each team’s drafting, amending and prosecuting skills working with a hypothetical invention statement.

Competitions like this one vastly improve the quality of the work that a new law-school graduate can produce right out of the gate. Patent drafting is one of those things where practice makes perfect; the more practice a student gets, the more professional his or her initial work will be. The law students who have the opportunity to participate in competitions such as this one will join the ranks of the legal profession with some degree of experience under their belts … and this experience is invaluable to them and to their clients.

Privacy and Home Base in COVID-19

So. You’re being a good citizen of the world and sheltering in place. Your employer actually allows you to work from home and you’re accessing your employer’s information over your home-based wi-fi. You have a password on your router, a password on your local computer, your  and you have never seen a neighbor lurking on your internet system.

But now you’re accessing your employer’s sensitive and private intellectual property using your home-based internet. Is your home-based security sufficient?

My guess is that no, it is not.

Hackers love a challenge. And a home-based internet security system is usually not set up to handle a hacker’s attack. There are resources available on the internet to help you beef up your home’s internet security; the Federal Trade Commission provides these tips; here’s ZDNet’s article; Digital Guardian lists 101 Data Protection Tips; and there are other references available. You must be proactive in keeping your and your employer’s data secure.

The best advice, though, is to follow your employer’s internet security protocols. If they have a PITA VPN, use it. If they want you to use the Tor browser rather than your favorite Internet Explorer or Firefox or Safari, use it. Be careful about email, especially email that can travel across the open internet; you can simply assume, de facto, that emails are open communication with the world. And if you or your employer don’t want something forever on the internet, don’t put it there.

If you want to keep something private, you must keep that something private. Remember, not everything belongs on the internet.

 

CARES Act Reposting

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Grants the US Patent and Trademark Office the Authority to Manage Statutory Due Dates

Under the CARES Act, the US Patent and Trademark Office has the (temporary) authority to “manage” … postpone … certain statutory deadlines in patent matters.

The CARES Act, H.R. 748 116th Cong. (2020), gives the USPTO the authority during the emergency period to “toll, waive, adjust, or modify any timing deadline established” in the Patent Act or Trademark Act, including any regulations implementing these timing deadlines.” The Act is in effect from 27 March 2020 (the date the legislation was enacted) until 60 days after the state of national emergency is resolved.

There are only certain criteria under which the USPTO can waive statutory deadlines.

  • The timing deadline materially affects the functioning of the USPTO.
  • The timing deadline prejudices the rights of applicants, registrants, patent owners or others appearing before the office.
  • The timing deadline prevents applicants, registrants, patent owners or others appearing before the office from filing a document or fee with the office.

Once the director determines such a waiver is appropriate, the USPTO has to publish a notice to implement the waiver.

Within 20 days of issuing the notice, the CARES Act also requires the USPTO to report to Congress for any waiver that adjusts due dates for more than 120 days. Furthermore, the USPTO’s authority to alter these due dates during the emergency period expires two years after the date of enactment.

Until the USPTO issues such a notice, patent and trademark applicants and owners must still comply with the timing deadlines.