Thursday, January 30, 2014

Oh, patents! Moulin Roty - solidarity and respect

Copyright @ Françoise Herrmann

This French toy and infant product manufacturer’s story is almost like a modern day fairy tale!

Scroll back to the year 1972 (in the aftermath of the 1968 student protests in France) and to a group of friends wanting to work together and to build a community, at the intersection of screen printing, art and crafts. Then picture them all relocating to a small village called Moulin Roty, on the west coast of France, renovating an old mill, and you have the workshop’s name which was later incorporated as a SCOP, that is, a 100% worker-owned cooperative.   

But this company organization, its ideals, and their original headquarters was never the hot selling point, or what made them really famous in the world beyond Moulin Roty (the small town).  In fact their original headquarters, including all of their work and the company’s stocks, were completely burnt down in a fire in 1988.The cooperative is just their story, and their way of operating, on the principles of solidarity and respect, ensuring that everyone is happily invested in their work, and that this work counts for everyone in the company.

What really made them famous is the extraordinary softness and beauty of the old fashioned toys that they manufacture with modern flare, exquisite fabrics and stitching, in color coded lines. The products are also sold in conjunction with a Doudou (softy) service that promptly expedites a replacement toy to any child who has lost a beloved Moulin Roty softy toy!

Soft indeed and super cute, since the company’s first big hit, in 1975, was a small, foam and fabric covered wooden toy car that rolled around on two small wooden wheels! Soon after, another softy line was launched with Les Douilletes rag dolls, and the rest is history: one softer line after another of the cutest play characters, with the sweetest names and stories, packaged in the cutest boxes and match boxes, suitcases and pouches, in addition to infant furniture and bedding

Moulin Roty is now, a three generation, baby boomer tale of toil and toys that has successfully negotiated the transition from workshop to industrial production, while retaining a business structure compatible with their original ideals. The business is now operating with a 12 million Euro turnaround, distributing their softy toys and infant product lines only to preferred partners in France, and since 2000 to the US, Australia, Japan, Great Britain and a few other European countries.

Below you will find the Abstract for FR 2838406, a cute Moulin Roty invention designed to convert shopping bags into closed gift bags, officially titled in English: Cover for open top bag converting it into gift wrapper, comprises strip with aperture for bag handles, scored fold lines and adhesive strips.  And you will also find included patent figure drawings of this invention, and images of the Moulin Roty marketed softy products. 

Abstract FR 2838406
The cover, designed to fit over the open top of a bag made to contain a gift, consists of a strip of rigid, semi-rigid or supple material such as card, paper or plastic, having an aperture for the bag's handles, scored fold lines, and adhesive strips for attaching it to the sides of the bag. It can be made from a variety of materials and have decorative edges or a motif.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

NYU Spring 2014 Kick off!

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

You gotta love shoes… They protect your feet… keep your feet warm… They are a stylish and fun accessory… With ever greater comfort, they are part of feminist and psychoanalytical history… (Google foot binding for a heartbreaking story of tiny feet in tiny shoes…)

And most importantly for your patents translation class, they’re ‘chocfull of patents… for outersoles, innersoles, and midsoles; for forefoot, midfoot, heel and arch; for fasteners, buckles and lacing; for materials, production lines, and your health, there’s a patent in almost every shoe you’ll ever wear!

So…. for a different dose of shoes… and to complete your emerging interest in re-discovering shoes as never before…. Please also visit a sister blog in French called SHOOOES – Un blog mode QUE sur les chaussures by Mathilde Toulot from France’s Le Monde daily paper.   You will find witty posts all about shooooes…. e.g.;  Une bonne reshoelution: ranger!, La running… (Dior Haute Couture)! Shoe trends! Shooooes at work! Shoe-pping! Do it your shoes…! Plus, lots more fun, sparkling and insightful reporting from the trenches of fashion and life.

It is always comforting to know that one is never alone going batty on shoes! In fact nothing could be farther from the truth.  Take a peek, and remember to lavishly pamper your feet! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Oh, patents! Nike+ running

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Every time I run, I launch Pandora and the Nike+ running app on my cell phone, which picks up data from the sensor inside the sole of my Nikes. During the run Nike+ will send a message every mile to inform me of the distance covered and at what speed.  At the end of run,  Nike+ will inform me exactly of  the distance I have covered, at what speed and even the number of calories burnt during the run! The app also tracks the route of my run, with the related terrain, weather and time information, and then adds the most recently completed run to a mileage counter. 

 I have almost 2000 miles covered pedibus……!

When something out of the ordinary happens in connection with a run, a very famous star such as Lance Armstrong or Serena Williams voices a pep message, such as:   "Congratulations on running more miles this week than last”!...

There are many additional functionalities associated with this app, such as the connection to your mobile ITunes playlists, or the possibility of setting goals to run faster, longer distances or more times per week or per month.  You can also connect with any one of the 11 million people who are members of the Nike+ community! And you can run statistics on the community too, such as how many miles, and where.

The patent for this invention titled Tracking fitness using a mobile device was filed in several places, including world-wide (under the Patent Cooperation Treaty), the US, Korea, Canada, China, Japan and Europe (under the European Patent Convention). The patent runs approximately 200 pages, and it contains 76 Figure drawings and flowcharts.

The invention arises as an easy way (from the user’s perspective) of monitoring performances. It is also designed as a motivator, considering the feedback that monitoring supplies, using both performance data and external means.

Below appears the abstract of the patent application US2012116550, titled Tracking fitness using a mobile device, and one of the patent drawings.  An image of the  Nike+ sensor, the Nike+ app logo and a screenshot of a run from the app are also included.

Abstract US2012116550
Athletic performance monitoring and tracking may provide multiple ways in which to track athletic movement and activity. In one example, an athletic monitoring device may include or be associated with multiple types of movement sensors and switch between the sensors or use both depending on various factors including type of workout. Workouts may also be tagged with various parameters including mood, weather, terrain, athletic equipment used and the like. In one or more examples, the parameters may be automatically determined based on location. User workouts and accomplishments may also be celebrated through messages from celebrities, family, friends and other users. In some cases, the messages may be triggered by various conditions. Coaching may also be provided to the user to help improve workouts and overall athletic performance. Running routes may also be automatically tracked, stored and shared.


Consistent with the invention’s rationale for motivation, this little app will really get you going!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Oh, patents! Roomba®!

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Ay, caramba! It’s time to Roomba®! This Autonomous surface cleaning robot for wet and dry cleaning is going to give you plenty of extra time to party since it will systematically, and autonomously, negotiate and mop every inch of your living surfaces, picking up dust, dirt and your pet’s hair, without your assistance…! And what is more it will probably give your pet a fun workout… chasing and playing…. saving him or her from any terrifying devices that make too much noise, or come too close for comfort!

This particular iRobot Corp., patent, US201203665, disclosing the automated mopping invention,  is 110 pages long and it has 65 Figure drawings, which should indicate the amount of details subsumed in  building the components of this floor cleaning device, and making them work according to robotic principle.

The Abstract of this invention is included below, with a drawing and a picture of a marketed iRobot Roomba®

Abstract US2012036659
An autonomous floor cleaning robot includes a transport drive and control system arranged for autonomous movement of the robot over a floor for performing cleaning operations. The robot chassis carries a first cleaning zone comprising cleaning elements arranged to suction loose particulates up from the cleaning surface and a second cleaning zone comprising cleaning elements arraigned to apply a cleaning fluid onto the surface and to thereafter collect the cleaning fluid up from the surface after it has been used to clean the surface. The robot chassis carries a supply of cleaning fluid and a waste container for storing waste materials collected up from the cleaning surface.

At the end of the day, the only real difficulty with the Roomba© is which one to choose! !

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Oh, patents! The bladeless Dyson fan

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Hot! Hot! Hot! You have probably seen those very elegant bladeless Dyson fans called air-multipliers.  There are in fact many patents associated with this brilliant invention. The Dyson bladeless fan produces a gentle airflow, with none of the choppiness and turbulence associated with blades. It is both safe (you can stick your hand straight through the hoop generating the airflow), and very energy efficient (at 40 watts compared to 2500 watts for an air conditioner).  

Dyson patents, associated with the air-multiplier bladeless fan, cover the special components of the fan: the nozzle and airflow system (GB2452490), the tilting mechanism (GB2468315), the adjustable surface for control of airflow (GB2486749), air changing means (GB2493231), as well as variations of the assembly and fan, such as a ceiling mounted bladeless fan (WO2012085527) or a bladeless fan for including ionizer (GB24999041), a bladeless fan with electrostatic precipitator (GB2499044), a bladeless fan with removable nozzle (GB2500008), a bladeless fan with a tapering nozzle (GB2496464), plus more patented variations and components.

Below you will find the Abstract for one of the bladeless fan patents, GB2502106, titled Bladeless fan, a patent drawing of the fan, and an image of the marketed product. A 3-minute YouTube video of Sir James Dyson explaining his air-multiplying invention is also included. 

Abstract GB2502106

A fan for generating an air current includes a body 12 having an air inlet 14, and a nozzle 18 connected to the body. The nozzle includes an interior passage 42 and an air outlet 20 from which the air flow is emitted from the fan. The interior passage extends about an opening or bore 32 through which air from outside the nozzle is drawn by air emitted from the air outlet. The body includes a duct 60 having a first end defining an air inlet 62 of the duct and a second end located opposite to the first end and defining an air outlet 64 of the duct, an impeller 70 is located within the duct for drawing the air flow through the duct, and a motor 94 for driving the impeller. A diffuser section of the duct is annular in shape and converges towards the outlet end of the diffuser. The cross-sectional area of the diffuser varies along the diffuser section by no more than 20% of the crosssectional area of the air flow path at the inlet of the diffuser.


NB.  Errata:  Sir James Dyson was knighted in Great Britain according to the Queen’s 2006 New Year’s Honours List, which explains the honorary form of address “Sir” in this post, and errata in my previous posts concerning Dyson inventions.

For a biographical note: Sir James Dyson trained as an artist prior to training as an engineer. His first invention “the ballbarrow” is reviewed in Patents on the soles of your shoes on 3/23/2013 in a post titled: Oh, patents! The Ballbarrow. His famous wind tunnel vacuum cleaner came four and half years later after 5,127 prototypes! The secret of the Dyson design and Dyson engineering firm, valued at 1 billion dollars, according to Sir James Dyson, in a BBC News article: (Dec. 2006) is:  “Making things people want to buy”.

That’s for sure!...



- Oh, patents! The Ballbarrow. Patents on the soles of your shoes - March, 23, 2013
- Sir James Dyson explains his bladeless fan. Youtube
- Knighthood for Dyson entrepreneur. BBC News – Dec. 30, 2006.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Oh, patents! "Trolling" rimes with "bowling" in the UK!

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

And to sweep it all under the rug…. my favorite vacuum cleaner, a Dyson DC33 with cyclone vacuum technology that never loses suction, was invented by the British industrial designer James Dyson.

 In the interview, linked below, with the NY Times on October 25, 2012, James Dyson speaks of a lawsuit filed against the Bosch company in Germany and the UK, due to proprietary information leaked out of his company in England.

 He also speaks of trolling (pronounced like “bowling” with a British accent) and of the companies that buy suites of patents to engage in patent “policing” activity, rather than using the patents to create new products. James Dyson concludes this interview with a comment on what he believes to be the true spirit of the patenting system.

  [NYTimes interview with James Dyson (10-25-2012)] Patience... the interview takes a while to load

Incidentally, in regards trolling, the US Congress passed the Innovation Act on Dec. 5, 2013, with an overwhelming majority of 325 vs 91. This is a piece of bi-partisan legislation introduced to curb the proliferation of patent infringement lawsuits filed by trolls.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Oh, patents! PIWAPEE° sustainable diapers

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Disposable diapers are unquestionably practical! However, in a green perspective, they amount to 1 ton of waste per child, contributing to the volume of landfills and resulting emissions of greenhouse gases.

It is this environmental concern that prompted PIWAPEE°, an infant hygiene company, to develop panty-type sustainable diapers, with a patented moisture barrier, for infants 0 to 3 years of age. The PIWAPEE° panty type sustainable diaper consists of an outer panty type garment, including the special patented moisture barrier system and an inner 100 % cotton absorbent pad which attaches to the inside of the panty garment.

The patented moisture barrier aims to resolve problems with gusset-type moisture barriers, which tend to leak, and to simplify the manufacturing process which just consists of adding an extra protection strip, termed a “hammock”, running from the front waistline opening to the back waistline opening, and slightly offset from the outer edge of the outer garment, and then attaching it to the inside of the outer garment with two strategically positioned seams running the full longitudinal length of each side of the garment.  The offset seams create two small wings that prevent leaking, and retain moisture. An elastic, added to the outer edge of the wings, shortens the wings slightly, allowing them to wrap snugly around the infants’ thighs.

This patented moisture barrier is also added to swimsuits and swim trunks for water play and initiation to swimming activities for small infants. The PIWAPEE° line of products also includes two green-certified detergents for sanitizing and washing these sustainable panty-type diapers and absorbent pads. The company also estimates that a family’s diaper budget is reduced by one half when resorting to these types of sustainable products.

The company, founded in 2007, also boasts fair trade and equitable labor practices, setting up partnerships in Indonesia and Turkey where the cotton is sourced, and guaranteeing a payroll that is 20% higher than local minimum wages, with an 8-hour work day, and no child labor.  

Below the English abstract of French patent FR2949670, titled Article vestimentaire à barriers d’étanchéité (in English, Panty-type garment with moisture barrier) is included with a patent drawing as well as some images of the marketed products. 

Abstract FR2949670

The article (1) has a main panties body (2) including a front portion and a rear portion that are connected together by a crotch portion, and provided with an impermeable outer layer and an inner layer. A protective band (3) i.e. hammock, is extended longitudinally between belt opening edges of the front and rear portions of the body. The band is integrated to the body by longitudinal sewing lines (4) extended along longitudinal edges (31) of the band. Each line is spaced from one of the longitudinal edges to form a wing (33) that forms a sealing barrier. The inner layer is made of permeable material i.e. cotton fiber.


More at:

Monday, January 20, 2014

Oh, patents! BEABA® Baby food processor

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Got a little toddler ready for solid food? Want to make your own baby food? Try the Béaba® Babycook® (Pro) food processor, specially designed for preparing baby food --- with a single hand… considering baby is going to be watching your every move, comfortably straddled on your opposite hip!

Large and small capacity food processor enables easy steaming, heating and defrosting of food placed in a basket, and the appliance also has blades to puree the fruits, vegetables or meat. The appliance includes a timer and is designed  for single hand operation. 

There are two models:  Babycook® PRO has two steaming/cooking bowls for separate preparation of vegetables, meat or fruit. A single bowl Babycook® version also exists.  

The company’s flagship store in Paris, France has a whole line of accessories for child nutrition, including bottle warmers, bottle and nipple racks, spoons and cutlery, plus much, much more!.

The abstract for US20013146045 titled Device for cooking and/or heating food is included below as well as two patent drawings and an Image of the larger Pro marketed model.

Abstract US20013146045 

A device for heating and/or cooking food, and especially baby food, including: at least one steam generator, comprising a bowl capable of receiving water, intended to tum water into steam for heating or cooking the food; at least one cooking and/or heating container, communicating with said steam generator, and receiving a removable cooking basket, capable of receiving the food to be heated and/or to be cooked; at least one closing means capable of closing the cooking and/or heating container, said means also simultaneously and reversibly closing the cooking and/or heating container and the steam generator bowl.
Bon appétit!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Oh, patents! Plumpy’Nut° Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann 

Below appear a few figures from the World Food Program:
ð  Hunger kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria & tuberculosis combined.
ð  842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat.
ð  The vast majority of hungry people (827 million) live in developing countries where 14,3 percent of the population is undernourished.
ð  Asia has the largest number of hungry people (over 500 million) but Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence (24.8 percent of the population.
ð  Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five, 3.1 million children each year.
ð  One out six children, roughly 100 million, in developing countries is underweight.
ð  One out of four of the world’s children are stunted, in developing countries the proportion can rise to one in three.
ð  80 percent of the world’s stunted children live in just 20 countries.
ð  66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone

Below a quote from UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund):
“Every day, 18,000 children under the age of five die from things we can prevent. They die of things most people in the US rarely worry about. Malnutrition. Unsafe drinking water. The lack of affordable vaccines. “ 


Within the above context of world hunger and in particular the plight of small children, the patent US2004052918 (originally filed as FR2815825, and almost concurrently as a rare OAPI – Organisation Africaine de la propriété Intellectuelle patent OA12530) titled High energy complete food or nutritional supplement, method for preparing same, arises as one small patented solution designed to offer high caloric nutrition to children, 6 months and older, suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), without the need for hospitalization.

Inspired by the delicious hazelnut and chocolate spread Nutella°, and in response to all the disadvantages of the prior art powered food solutions, requiring dilution with water, this invention marketed as Plumpy’Nut°, was designed by a pediatric nutritionist and a food manufacturer. 

 Indeed the prior art powered food solutions, requiring dilution with water, provided a perfect medium for breeding bacteria. Additionally, dilution with water required the use of soluble mineral salts which have a pronounced taste. These would sediment at the bottom of the mixture or float to the top if they were coated to prevent the more pronounced taste.  Powders also increased contact with ambient air, augmenting the risk of oxidization, particularly of the vitamins, and resulting in faster rancid powders when lipids were oxidized. And finally, powdered products are voluminous causing both storage and transportation difficulties.

This patented complete food product, termed RUFTReady to use therapeutic food, is now endorsed by such organizations as the World Health Organization, The World Food Program and the UNICEF as a standard for the treatment of children suffering from SAM. It has greatly increased the radius of action against malnutrition as treatment no longer requires hospitalization.

Following the success of this therapeutic treatment, the company, based in Normandy, in France, developed a whole line of additional RUFT products, including Plumpy’Mum° (for pregnant and lactating mothers) and Plumpy’Sup™   (for children suffering from Moderate Acute Malnutrition - MAM) , RUSF (Ready to use supplemental food) products such as Plumpy’Soy™  and Plumpy’Doz°, prevention and severe acute diarrhea products.  

The company sells to UN agencies, International NGOs and the Red Cross, Foundations, Trading Groups and other associations and research centers. Under fire because of the monopole of its patented technology, the company has developed a network of local manufacturing sites, providing only the added vitamins and mineral nutrients to the local nut manufacturing productions, connected to local nut growing areas.

Below appears the Abstract for US2004052918, and some images of the Plumpy’Nut° marketed product.  

Abstract US2004052918

A complete food or nutritional supplement consumable without addition of water and rich in lipids has not more than 2%-10% water by weight and has an osmolality of less than 100 mOsm/kg after immersion in a volume of water four times greater than its own weight. The supplement has a mixture of food grade products in powdered, granular or particulate form and has at least one powdered dairy product. It may also optionally have at least one product providing digestible carbohydrates and a vitamin and mineral salt supplement. The mixture is coated with at least one substance rich in vegetable fat including an emulsifier. It may also optionally have an antioxidant. The mixture does not include the protein, indigestible carbohydrate, and mineral of oleaginous seeds.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Oh, patents! CARMAT miniaturized rotary pump

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

A normal heart weighs approximately 300 grams, with slightly smaller hearts on average for women, and slightly larger hearts on average for men. A sick and older heart, or the heart of heavier folks, weighs considerably more as the heart enlarges to work twice as hard.

 The CARMAT heart weighs 900 grams with all components embedded inside the pericardial cavity.  The search for solutions to the anatomical constraints of the available pericardial space for a heart prosthesis invoked the miniaturization of components. Thus, the patent US2009132038 concerning a Rotary displacement pump with smaller radial dimensions, discloses one of the miniaturized components of the CARMAT heart.

The rotary pump of this patent is designed to handle the fluid hydraulics of the two heart ventricles of a cardiac prosthesis. These fluid actuators are driven by sophisticated hydraulic sensors which determine the amount of blood flow within each ventricle that is pumped to the aorta and pulmonary artery.

Below appears the abstract of US2009132038 and a patent drawing. Another drawing illustrating the green-colored fluid actuator pumps inside the ventricles is also included. This illustration is extracted from the French press (Le Monde, 23-12-2013). 

Abstract of US2009132038
According to the invention the rotary pump consists of an external gear (13) with internal teeth (16) in the form of a squirrel cage, and an internal gear (9), housed in an off-centre manner in the interior of said external gear (13) and fitted with external teeth (9D) intermeshing with said internal teeth (16) and consisting of a number of inferior teeth of a unit with the number of teeth of the later. The rotation means of said external teeth (13) comprise at least a bearing (11, 12) centrally laid out in a flange end (14,15) of said aforementioned external gear (13) and the aforementioned external gear (13) is at least partly dismantled in order to introduce said internal gear (9).

If a natural heart "beats", what does CARMAT heart sound like? Does it beep?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oh, patents! Aerosoles® dual zipper boot

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Have you ever slipped into a pair of Aerosoles®? This is sheer comfort and true bliss! Indeed, quite literally  “diamonds on the soles of your shoes!”. Here’s why!

The company Aerogroup International has many design patents on file, and markets sole comfort technologies.  The diamond flex soles are designed to absorb impact and disperse pressure with all of the sole diamonds functioning as small shock absorbers! 

The heel rest technology is designed to distribute body weight away from the ball of the foot to the heel for higher heeled shoes.

And how about memory foam footbeds inserted inside the sole? This explains the cushion feel with every step.

Aerosoles® also offer extended calf technology! This is a boot with two zippers:  one zipper is designed to slip the boot on and off; the other zipper is designed to offer 2.5 inches of extra space to accommodate larger calves, thicker socks or tucked-in jeans. 

This expandable boot invention titled Dual Zipper boot construction and system is recited in the patent US8510972. Below appears the Abstract and a patent drawing, as well as an image of a marketed model called the Infamous!.

Abstract US8510972

A dual zipper boot construction provides an enhanced comfort-fit for a user and a ready adaptation of the boot to a variety different calf shapes without stressing the boot stitching. A first full-length zipper allows the users to easily slide the boot on while a second mid-length zipper is in an open condition thereby providing additional space. Securing the first full-length zipper secures the boot in position. After the boot is secured in position, the user zips the second mid-length zipper to an optimal comfort-fit position on their calf. Optional elastomeric bridges between the zipper edges of the mid-length zipper allow the boot to accommodate partially zipped uses without disclosing the user's calf and while providing an enhanced style appearance.