Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Oh, patents! New Year’s ball drop

 Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

The countdown has started on some of the meridians to the right of Greenwich Mean Time! Not long 'till celebrations start ushering in the year 2014!
And perhaps that you will be in Times Square, in NYC, a little later to see the New Year’s ball drop! But before you bundle up and go, you might take a quick peek at the New Year’s Ball Drop patent!

The New Year’s ball drop patent, US2005138851, is an invention classified as a celebratory illuminating device. It is preceded by the disco light ball [US4389598], the synchronized confetti sprayer and descending illuminated ball [US 6260989] and the laser light show with holographic image projection [US5090789, although none of the prior art is specifically suited for the purposes of celebrating the New Year.  

There are many aspects to New Year's ball drop invention: the ball drop on a vertical post with an illuminated sign announcing the new year; the tracking mechanism to guide the movement of the ball; the configuration of the lamps required to light up the sign announcing the new year; the ball lights and the timing mechanism for the ball lights; the timing mechanism for the new year flashing lights once the ball has completed its descent, and its connection to real time in view of precisely synchronizing the descent  of the ball with the real time countdown for the new year.

The Abstract for the New Year's Ball drop patent US2005138851 summarizes the invention as follows:
The present invention 10 discloses a New Year's celebrating device having a vertically standing support pole 16 having tracks 18 thereon upon which a movable ball 12 is slidably mounted. The ball 12 also has lights 14 there on. A New Year display sign 20 having lights 22 thereon. In operation, at a predetermined time, the ball 12 begins its descent from atop the pole 16. When the ball 12 reaches its destination at the bottom of the pole 16, the New Year display lights 22 light up and the ball lights 14 flash.
Hurry now, as otherwise you will have to wait another 365 days to celebrate the New Year 's ball drop, synchronistically, in patent style! Happy 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Dr. Scholl's contoured sandals "revisited"

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
These two pairs of Dr. Scholl’s original exercise sandals made of wood with contoured soles (according to the specifications of US Patent 412494) were revamped by Packkitsch, in Seattle, Wa., to the tune of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (below) and fun sea world for little girls (to the right).. '

If you love’m, here’s the link….!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Oh, patents! Dr. Scholl’s® foot comfort

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Dr. Scholl’s foot comfort and footwear products were first manufactured at the turn of the 20th century in Chicago, Il.,, in 1906, by a podiatrist named William Mathias Scholl. Among the originally patented products there were various cushion insoles, ball of foot cushions, anti-corn pads, compression stockings, the “foot-eazer” (an arch support), and orthopedic shoes. The company was an international success as early as 1915 when a retail store was opened in London (UK).  

 To date the company produces lines of foot comfort products and footwear that respond to specific foot problems such as arch pain, corns, callouses and bunions, blisters, heel or ball of foot pain; or specific  lower back problems such as arthritis, as well as specific skin problems such as Athlete’s foot, foot odor or nail fungus.

The company’s very popular mid 1970s wooden “exercise” sandals which purportedly tone calf muscles, with a contoured sole that espouses foot anatomy and a colored leather strap, propelled Dr. Scholl’s footwear into the fashion world.

Today the company headquarters are located in London (UK), and it is owned by Merck & Co in the US, which markets all the Dr. Scholl’s® foot comfort and footwear products under the original brand name.

 Among the thousands of patents granted and assigned to  Scholl Inc. in Chicago, you will find below the abstract of patent US 4124946, granted for a Built-in insole and article of footwear containing same which discloses the Dr. Scholl’s® classic and well known contoured insole, where contoured is defined as: 

“ in keeping with the plantar surface of a human foot and in a manner to support the foot in an anatomically correct position while lending a cushioning effect on the sole of the foot as well as being absorbent to perspiration”.

 You will also find one of the patent drawings of the insole, and below a picture of a marketed Dr. Scholl’s® original contoured “exercise” wooden sandal with the colored strap. 

 Abstract US4124946

This invention relates to a supporting insole built into a shoe or other article of footwear, and to the article of footwear containing said insole, the insole being shaped to conform to the plantar surface of a human foot and seated in a recess in the outsole to which the insole and upper are attached.
Hmmmm, this is patented chocolate for your feet!...

Friday, December 27, 2013

Oh, patents! Nike Shox

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Your Nike footwear is choc' full patents! Take Nike Shox, the revolutionary running footwear, turned sportswear shoe, with a strange looking heel made of rigid plastic columns. That heal embodies some sophisticated technology  including the columns designed to reduce shock from the ground, and a cantilevered heel plate acting as a flexible spring to further absorb the energy imparted to the heel area. The materials for the heel columns are also patented sorts of plastic.

Below appears the Abstract of patent US2011239490 entitled:Article of footwear with shock absorbing heel, awarded to several inventors from Nike in Oregon, with a patent drawing, and pictures of the latest iteration of Nike Shox for both men and women.  

Astract US2011239490
An article of footwear with a shock absorbing heel system is disclosed. The heel system includes a lower heel plate, a set of support members, and an upper heel plate. Also, the heel system includes a heel cover configured to hide the upper heel plate from view. The lower heel plate is associated with a cantilever portion that supports the upper heel plate laterally. As force is applied to the heel system, the support members may compress slightly and the cantilever portion may lower,absorbing energy and or shocks applied by the ground.
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 If you like this footwear, you can customize it to your taste and specifications using Nike ID online.
Nike ID is design software available at Nike.com, although you will find out that software does not get patented as easily as the soles  and heels of your running shoes!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Shoes: chocolate for your feet – By Cathy Guisewite

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
Do you read the Sunday paper comic strips? If yes, then for sure that you have read Cathy®, a syndicated comic strip by Cathy Guisewite. During its heyday, the strip ran in more than 1400 papers, and it ran a total of 34 years, until 2010, when the author retired. Cathy® is all about coping, from a female perspective! One collection of her strips entitled: The four guilt groups covers Cathy’s four main coping domains: Food, Work, Love and Mom!

But for all shoe patent lovers, the one Cathy® comic strip collection that matters is called:  Shoes: chocolate for your feet! In it you will find a few gems about shopping, and in particular.. for shoes .. For example, here is what Cathy says after caving in to several pairs of shoes, one for each of several occasions: “Some people work to support their children, I work to support my feet”…. The cost of shoes is hardly a deterrent for buying yet another pair of shoes because “Shoes are chocolate for your feet!” And if you have to meet your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend then consider Cathy’s advice after buying a $200 pair of shoes: “Men look at the competition in the eye. Women look at the competition in the foot”!... Undecided about what to buy? Consider the advice that Cathy’s Mom provides when she suggests that Cathy buy it all, and return the rejects, and how Cathy sums it all up: “Born to shop. Bred to return.”…
What’s more contagious than the flu? “Black boot disease” according to Cathy’s co-worker, who just bought a fabulous pair of black boots for $300..., the looks and feel of which immediately sent Cathy out the door to do likewise…!
So, for a break that tastes sweet, and warms your heart – without the calories..  Try: Shoes: Chocolate for feet! You will smile and love the guiltless pleasure.


Guisewite, C. (2000) Shoes: Chocolate for the feet. A Cathy® Collection by Cathy Guisewite. Kansas City, Missouri: Andrews McMeel Publishing. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Oh, patents! Santa Claus detector

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Question: What does a patent translator give to another patent translator for xmas?
Answer: Reference to a Santa Claus detector patent!
Indeed, the Santa Claus detector patent, US5523741, was awarded on Jun 4, 1996 to Thomas Cane, a resident of San Raphael in California! And I suppose that every household should have such a device surreptitiously hidden inside a decorative stocking, hanging on the chimney, so that Santa does not trigger any other burglar alarms in the house! At the end of the day, Santa is a most welcome guest…. Even if he has to climb in through the chimney in the middle of the night, to make sure that no-one sees him delivering gifts!

The rational invoked for this invention is somewhat different, as the Santa Claus detector, disclosed in US 5523741, is designed to light up, signaling Santa’s imminent arrival or visit, in order to provide reassurance to children that indeed they have been good enough to receive presents!..

Thus, the disclosed Santa Claus detector includes a switch, a power source, as well as a light source, all of which are concealed, preferably within a decorative stocking. And, there is also a strategically positioned pull cord  (40) across the opening of the chimney designed to actuate the lights, which Santa would presumably actuate as he is climbing into the living room via the chimney.

I suppose that everyone could use a Santa Claus detector, at least for as long as there is someone in the house to believe it!

 Below, you will find the abstract and one of the drawings of this patented invention. 

Abstract US5523741

A children’s Christmas Stocking device useful for visually signaling the arrival of Santa Claus by illuminating an externally visible light source having a power source located within the device.           


Season greetings to all!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Oh, patents! Adidas Springblade™ shoes

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

For runners, sole cushioning is synonymous of running free of repetitive stress injury. And every running shoe manufacturer has their own patented system for cushioning the soles of their running shoe products, whether it is foam, encapsulated air, shock-absorbers like those of automobiles, or special toe and heel reinforcement pads.
The Adidas shoe designers have invented the Springblade™ to remedy some of the disadvantages of foam cushioning. They point out that the dynamic properties of foam are strongly weather-dependent, that is, foam hardens in cold weather, which is exactly the opposite of the desired cushioning effect. They also point out that foam wears out under repetitive compression and shearing loads, and every runner knows how to check the soles of their running shoes for signs of flattened and wrinkled foam. Finally, they also point out that the manufacture of foam soles cannot readily adapt to the weight of the user, or the shoe size, at reasonable cost, which results in both varying hardness of the soles and varying wear.  
The Springblade™ system, with its spring leaves engineered out of temperature independent and long life material, also adaptable to shoe size and easily manufactured, thus arises both as an alternative to foam and as remedy for its disadvantages.
Below, you will find the abstract of  patent US2011138652, titled Shoe and Sole with one of the patent drawings, and two images of the marketed product, the Adidas SpringBlade™ shoe. The blue shoe is the Men’s version and the Pink one is the Women’s version!...

Abstract US2011138652 - Shoe and Sole 
The present invention relates to shoes, in particular a sports shoe. The shoe includes a sole plate having in a forefoot area a plurality of leaf spring elements, wherein the sole plate and the plurality of leaf spring elements are manufactured as a single piece. Each of the plurality of leaf spring elements has one free end not connected to the sole plate. 
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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Oh, patents! Spinning shoes

Copyright © Françoise Herrman
Do you wear Skechers Jazz Hands spinning shoes when you dance? If not, perhaps that you should try!

WIPO Patent WO2012121741 was awarded for an invention titled “Spinning shoes”, and assigned to Skechers. These shoes have a pivot point, that is, a pivoting assembly inserted into the forefoot of the shoe sole. This enables you to spin and twirl vertically on the tips of your toes when you shift your weight to the forefoot of the shoe!
The assembly inside the sole is flush with the outsole, so that it is not visible from the side (as traditional roller skates), and the shoes look like regular casual sports footwear, which you can wear to walk about as usual.
To spin like a ballerina or twirl like a Dervish, you will need to shift your weight to the front of the shoe.
Below is the abstract of the Skechers Spinning shoe and a copy of Figure 1 extracted from the invention cover sheet.
Abstract WO2012121741
A spinning shoe having an upper and sole member in which the sole member has a spinning assembly In the forefoot. The spinning assembly is placed within a recess in the forefoot region of the sole member. Thus, the user may walk about wearing a normal shoe and then by simply placing their weight on the forefoot region, they may spin about on a vertical axis.                        
Now you can pirouette and twirl without the squished and aching toes…!

Oh, patents! Twinkle shoes for kids

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

altMy little neighbors, the three sweetest little girls --8, 6 and 5 years old-- have the coolest twinkle shoes! Their little shoes
light-up when they hop, skip and jump! The lights twinkle in
different colors, and it is very cute to see!
Of course this made me wonder who the manufacturer could
be, and whose invention this was.
The footwear is Skechers and the patent for the twinkle lights

is US2011271558. 

This patent, assigned to Skechers, is also one
among hundreds, since Skechers is a public, billion dollar, global manufacturer of footwear with more than 3000 shoe styles for men, women and children, marketed in more than 120 countries worldwide, via more than 900 stores!

Below is the abstract of patent US2011271558 titled “Lighted panel for an article of

footwear” and one of the drawings.

Abstract US2011271558
A lighted panel in combination with an article of footwear wherein the lighted panel includes a translucent display panel, a foam sheet, at least one primary light diffuser, and a reflective sheet that together act to illuminate and distribute light uniformly throughout, the translucent display panel without any concentrated points of light.


Twinkle, twinkle little shoes, now you too know what they are!...