Patents

10 wild new patents: The future of tech?

Introduction

Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued its 8,185,968th patent since 1790. Here's a rundown of some of the grooviest tech patents from the latest crop.

About

Gina Smith is a NYT best-selling author of iWOZ, the biography of Steve Wozniak. She is a vet tech journalist and chief of the geek tech site, aNewDomain.net.

31 comments
alintr
alintr

Sorry, this kind of question. How can i save full article as PDF?

gljaeger
gljaeger

This looks like the identity flow system architected for a research and teaching hospital and university in 2008. The design took into account the various and multiple roles of individuals in the system from students to patients to doctors to nurses to clinicians, across multiple geographic sites.

chris-b
chris-b

Which of these "patents" is supposed to be "wild?" I can't say this often enough, but I abhor this presentation style that TR does for everything where you have to watch this stinking page load all the ads 10 times. I want my 4 minutes back.

rhslocum
rhslocum

It appears the budget cuts have hit this government office as well as many others. 10th grade drawings of ideas now meet the criteria for patentable inventions. I believe we should go back to presenting a viable model of the "invention" as the original patent office required.

garyoa1
garyoa1

These aren't patents. They're just a way to guarantee a company can leach of a new start up and either make money from them or kill them off.

cnoevil
cnoevil

It seems that large corporations are able to patent every thought that pops into their heads! Billing customers while providing content based on demand, that's patentable? You can patent a web page? I think I'm going to run out and get a patent on, "Conveying thoughts, concepts and information via symbolic representations of audible vibrations". You all better not try to steal it!

jdunster
jdunster

Much of what is 'patented' here is every day understanding, that is not supposed to be patentable. It looks as if some one may be taking large incentives for these if they are granted patents. Some are such that saying or doing anything conflict the patent. The IBM diagram, that's no different to what has been used in IT for 50 years. The sliding graph AT&T means that they can sue anybody for invoicing anybody else for anything at any time as it will fall into one of the bm areas. The rest are just as bad. Get some ethics, not greed. No wonder the world often thinks US business smells and is full of greedy bastards, it seems to be true, when it is supported by such stupid patent grants.

B4ME
B4ME

...that one of the inventors of these patents might just be reading your comments, try to be a sensitive and pretend your are saying what you are saying, face to face :-)

EZuellig
EZuellig

The patent office isn't a rubber-stamp agency. Filing the patent doesn't automatically guarantee that it will be granted; this is the meaning behind 'Patent Pending.' All patents are subject to a review process that tries to determine whether or not a patent has already been granted, or if a complex design includes other patented devices/ideas not belonging to the entity submitting the current one. At any point in the process, even after a patent has been granted, the patent can be challenged. The only problem with this is that there have been cases where, due to the high volume of patent submissions, some fall through the cracks and are only found in violation of patent law years later after the patents have been implemented or marketed. I agree that the list of filed patents shown in this article is questionable, and would not be surprised if most of the 'patents' on it are not granted. Seems highly suspect that a flow chart of any kind can be patented, regardless of its contents. And wiggle-your-nose goggles from Google? I'll bet there is a sci-fi movie somewhere that can lay claim to that one.

v0176
v0176

With this influx of patent applications from big corporations, it is almost impossible to verify its merit. The patent can just be a rubber stamp and enjoy the fees, and let the troubles be settled in the court. Yeah! deeper pocket wins. How can smart poor individuals fight with those dumb rich corporations?

greg_nw
greg_nw

I agree with others that this whole process is getting ridiculous. None of these patents looks like anything new, and a few appear to be just concepts. Thankfully, breathing is involuntary, and I don't think they'll patent it. Otherwise we'll all be paying royalties!

rdelisi
rdelisi

You should have more of these patents showing,,,it would help many to wake up to the futere and partiisapate with there own ideas,,,,plus,,,,try explaining them a little more so as we understand more exactly what it is and trying to acheive,,, i read you all the time,,,,good work,,,,,be well R.D.L

malcolm
malcolm

I go along with Sara here. I held a UK patent for 1 year (mobile phone with inbuilt torch). I couldn't afforde to renew after 1 year an let it lapse. During that year I contacted every mobile phone company who rejected it. Within a couple years of letting it lapse it became a standard attachment of many of the handsets. Doh! After seeing these "inventions" it has given me new hope. I'm going to patent the matchstick man and pick up millions in royalties!

ananthap
ananthap

Converging to SF. snow_crash.

Willy the JOAT
Willy the JOAT

The Facebook Patent really says everything you need to know: US 8,185,558 B1. The system is broken, and completely inside out. Once upon a time, when being a Renaissance Man was still possible, it made sense: build a working model, disclose the principles, have it reviewed by the patent office for novelty and conflict with other patents, and get protection for what was disclosed. Applications were written in a secret code known only to the beneficiaries of the system: patent examiners and attorneys, and the examiners were expected to understand the subject matter. You tried to claim the world, and the patent office narrowed down the claim. Now no model is required, the examiners don't have a clue about what they're looking at, and nobody could know or review over 8 million patents for uniqueness. Now, if you can afford it, you can patent plants and animals, obvious solutions to obvious problems, and the technique of scratching your ass with your hand; you can't patent perpetual motion devices, but that's just an arbitrary rule. Then you take the whole mess in front of a judge and let the courts decide what, if anything, the patent means. The deepest pockets win. The system is an out-of-control juggernaut. No-one is well served, except the sharks.

Professor8
Professor8

I thought patents were supposed to be for NEW and SIGNIFICANT processes and devices or process or device improvements which are not obviously derivative of what's already widespread. "USPTO... it is nothing more than a rubber stamp and hasn't a clue." There are bodies in the patent office but the lights are off (ditto USCIS, US DoL, US HUD, US HHS ... and the EPA, USTR, Treasury Department and DoJ, Energy, Commerce, State and Educationism these day come to think of it; maybe we should just give every employee of those departments and agencies a flat $30K just to stay home, don't do any "work" at all, and stay out of mischief for a year... you know, "first, do no harm").

maj37
maj37

Your comment about Microsoft 's "patent dominance" was a little confusing since you mentioned they got 45 but then later that IBM got 94, last time I counted to 100 94 came after 45.

mckinnej
mckinnej

They should have named that one Method# 4523 To Squeeze Every Last Dime Out Of Customers.

bobc4012
bobc4012

Too bad Perry won't be president. Along with those other gov. agencies he would eliminate, he could add the USPTO - it is nothing more than a rubber stamp and hasn't a clue. Whoever decided that S/W could be patented (after the horses left the barn) had their head where the sun doesn't shine.

onamish4life
onamish4life

Anyone notice that there wasn't a lightbulb moment patent in the latest round of patent applications? Maybe because the corporations behind this farce don't have their own "original" lightbulb moments.

ljgibson
ljgibson

Agreed, the American patent system is just open to misuse by US corporations. Pretty much everything here can be shown as having prior art yet they still give them patents. It is the laughing stock of the world.

sarai1313
sarai1313

I keep saying the the same thing . I look at the photo's of patent's and all i see are some ones or should i say a bunch of some one's idea's that have been put into a flow cart .that is not a patent . and if that is consider a patent then i have a whole file cabnet full .

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

There's no easy way. You'll need to build a document yourself, using the images and accompanying text, the print or save as PDF.

B4ME
B4ME

As one of the inventors of one of these patents I can tell you that financial considerations were not part of the thinking when I had the idea..

bobc4012
bobc4012

The basic problem is the USPTO is understaffed and cannot do a sufficient review. Another problem is S/W was only allowed to be patented in the 80s; Since aa lot of S/W had been written before, there is no way to verify in the patent archives that a patent is NOT prior art nor novel. There are (or were) "Technical Disclosure Bulletins" (TDBs) that also "protected" the possibility of some future patenting of an idea that had been deemed as not meeting the patent requirements at the time. Copyrighting S/W was another area where the "horses had left the barn". It wasn't done until the 70s. However, at least Copyrighting has a lot more validity. S/W applications make much more sense to treat them in the same manner as "books" (or a set of related books). Anyway, leave it to the lawyers to figure out another way to make some "big bucks".

bobc4012
bobc4012

IBM has led the pack year after year in the number of patents filed. IMO, filing patents at IBM is a "religion" that has replaced its "Think" philosophy! Of course, IBM also files a ton of H/W patents (which probably have more legitimacy).

bobc4012
bobc4012

All you need to do is say it advances the state of the art and is a non-obvious way of stating a solution to the problem. I'd recommend that your first flowchart be a step-by-step method for getting rid of the USPTO.

d3d4E4
d3d4E4

Please point me to a foreign patent office, which would refuse to accept these patents. This laughing stock is what makes America rich (or at least less poor than it would otherwise be) ;0)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

Your employer, on the other hand...

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

Repair. The idea behind the USPTO is good. It's the implementation than stinks.