Monday, October 31, 2016

Oh, Patents! Trick or treat!

Copyright © Fran莽oise Herrman

Happy Halloween! Here's a patented treat for you! 馃憼

US9022595 titled Illuminated Halloween candy container discloses an ornamentally designed jack-o'-lantern container with an isomophic internal container that is slightly smaller. The jack-o'-lantern contains three sets of LED lights. A first set of LED lights is included all around the rim of the container, functioning as floodlights for increased visibility. A second set of LED lights is included within the double walls of the lantern to make it glow, and a third set of LED lights is included for extra ornamental decoration within the walls of the lantern (e.g.; for the carved out eyes, nose and mouth of the jack-o'-lantern).

As a bonus the candy container may optionally include a digital media player, wedged between the walls of the container, with a control panel on the outside, enabling it to play music, and/or to optionally control the LED lights. The ornamental design of the candy container is not limited to a jack-o'-lantern. Within the context of Halloween, and of a candy container designed for Trick and Treating, the illuminated candy container may also be shaped as a bucket, a wolf’s head, or any other sort of festive head=shaped object.

The Abstract of this invention is included below with one of the US9022595 patent figure drawings showing the front and back of the jack-o'-lantern embodiment. The image of a glowing pumpkin jack-o'-lantern is also included above.  
An illuminated Halloween candy container that includes an open top, a rim, a handle, and a base, with a first container and a second container, the second container isomorphic with, but enlarged in respect to, the first container, the second container disposed surrounding and spaced apart from the first container, the second container joined to the first container by means of a rim plate disposed perimetrically around the rim, wherein a plurality of first, second, and third Light Emitting Diodes are included to respectively illuminate an ornamental pattern, floodlight for increased visibility, and illuminate a space between the first container and the second container, whereby the illuminated Halloween candy container is seen to glow, and a digital media player selectably plays recorded sounds, as desired.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Oh, patents! Oh, bubbles!

Copyright © Franoise Herrmann

Got a toddler? Then, it’s a good idea to stock up on bubbles!
And bubbles galore is what US6200184 titled Bubble maker toy is all about!

This 2001 patent discloses an electric bubble maker comprising a fan and a plurality of inter-connected bubble rings forming the bubble wand in view of simultaneously producing several streams of bubbles!

Considering the prior art of bubble maker toys, various concerns existed. First, the safety of an exposed fan made of hard plastic designed for children use, and secondly, the quality of bubble streams when a plurality of wands were used, which tended to result in the clustering of bubbles together, rather than separate continuous bubble flows.  

This invention thus resolves problems of the prior art by providing both means of directing the flow of air to create separate bubble streams, and a fan made of soft foam, so that its operation is safe for children to use.

The direction of the airflow for the purposes of producing separate bubble flows is achieved via several aspects of the invention. First, the fan blades are curved so that the airflow can be concentrated in the center of the wand. Secondly, the bubble rings are connected to each other to form a circular wand with arcuate connection arms, so that the airflow is further directed to twirl and flow through the bubble rings. This results in separate bubble streams, fanning out, and thus preventing their clustering.

The invention further provides ridges around the bubble rings and on the connection arms which function as small reservoirs for the bubble solution, "of suitable viscosity and surface tension, to cling across the bubble rings forming a film".

The fan and wand with the multiple bubble rings are contained in a housing, and a bubble solution dish is provided separately for dipping the wand.

In sum, when the fan is on, the air is thus directed to flow across the bubble wand, through the bubble rings which are connected in the inventive manner so as to create separate streams of bubbles.  

Below, the abstract for US US6200184 titled Bubble maker toy is included, and one of the patent figure drawings of the invention showing an exploded view of the wand with its plurality of bubble rings, the ridges functioning as reservoirs of bubble solution, and the fan with curved blades, separated from the housing beneath it. 

A bubble maker toy for producing a plurality of bubble streams from a liquid bubble solution.The bubble maker toy comprises a bubble wand and an electric fan. The bubble wand includes a plurality of bubble rings connected together by connection arms.The electric fan is configured for producing an airflow concentrated adjacent to the center of the bubble wand which forces the bubble streams outward from the center of the bubble wand and away from each other. The connection arms are arcuate in shape and connected to each other at approximately the center of the bubble wand causing the air flow produced by the electric fan to swirl in a rotating manner further forcing the bubble streams away from each other thus preventing the bubbles from sticking together or combining to form a cluster of bubbles. [Abstract US6200184]

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Oh, patents! More R. L贸pez-Irizarry products

Copyright © Franoise Herrmann

More Puerto Rican coconut food products are disclosed in another Rmon Lpez Irizarry patent!

US2712502 titled Method for producing food products from cocoanuts, granted in 1955, recites three additional sorts of food products derived from whole, tree-ripened, coconuts. The deliberate recitation of various different food manufacturing processes in a single patent actually resonates with a very modern concern for reducing waste and promoting sustainable manufacturing processes. Indeed, all three different processes are disclosed together in an explicit effort to make full use of the whole coconut without wasting all the byproducts that usually result from resorting to one process, separate from the other two processes. The disclosure recites:
Having in mind the defects of the prior art processes, it is the primary object of the present invention to provide a method for treating the meat and milk of fresh tree ripened cocoanuts to completely utilize the material and to provide pure fresh products therefrom. 
The three processes of the invention for the production of a flavoring extract, for the production of fresh solid food and for the production of pure virgin coconut oil, invoke a combination of the following steps: collecting the coconut milk and immediately pasteurizing it; collecting the flesh from the coconut and immediately comminuting it and then mixing it with 25% by weight of the comminuted flesh with alcohol or a mixture of alcohol and glycerol to prevent rancidity. The pasteurized milk and comminuted flesh are then combined and subjected to several extractions, filtrations and heating/cooling cycles, which will yield at various junctions: a filtrate for the flavoring extract, the separated fat for liquefying into two qualities of substantially colorless, odorless and tasteless pure coconut oil products, and the flesh residues from early extractions combined with unfiltered protein residues for uses as a food product for human consumption.

The processes of this invention thus eliminate all waste in the production of food products from cocoanuts. And consequently, the claims of the invention cover each of the processes invoked for obtaining the different sorts food products as well as a claim to the complete processing of the cocoanuts into the different sorts of food products.馃憼

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Oh, patents! Coco L贸pez

Copyright © Fran莽oise Herrmann

Here’s a little bit of warmth from the Caribbean for you!

Coconut cream is one of the most important ingredients in Pi帽a Colada, Puerto Rico’s national drink.  Ramn L贸pez Irizarry is the Puerto Rican inventor who, in 1947, was awarded a patent for a process enabling to preserve the freshness, full flavor and delicate taste of coconut flesh, which otherwise deteriorates rapidly after being exposed to light and air. Thus, Coco Lpez is the coconut cream with the full flavor of coconuts preserved according to Se帽or Ramn Lpez Irizarry’s invention, disclosed in US2426834 titled Food Product.

Sr. Lpez patent recites two processes.The first process is designed to treat the whole coconut in view of indefinitely preserving the freshness, full flavor, and taste of the coconut and producing a sweetened and thick coconut cream. The second process is designed to use the coconut meal and milk by-products of the first process to produce another sweetened essentially dehydrated food product with all the preserved characteristics and flavor of the coconut.

The first process of the invention invokes the steps of steaming and boiling the whole coconuts, and then immediately immersing them in cold water, removing and storing the milk for the second process; removing the flesh and then separating it from the shell and the skin attached to it. The flesh is then crushed, heated and pressed. The pressed juice is collected for mixture with sucrose in view of obtaining a product with a certain density and then flash pasteurized. The resulting pasteurized product in stored in sealed and vacuumed containers so that it remains protected from both air and light. 

Using both the juice collected from the whole coconuts and the coconut meal cake left in the juice press, the second process also admixes a certain amount of sugar to the by-products of the first process and then heats the mixture to obtain an essentially dehydrated product. 

The first Coco L贸pez food product recited in this patent may be used, for example, as a substitute for coconut in bakery products, for alcoholic beverages or cocktails and to flavor pancakes and waffles, whereas the second product may be used, for example, as toppings on ice cream, puddings, and cakes, or it might even be consumed alone as a snack. 

¡Rico! 馃憼 ¡Rico! 馃憼 ¡Rico! 馃憼

Monday, October 10, 2016

Oh, patents! Tiggly utlity patent

Copyright © Fran莽oise Herrmann

Back to Tiggly, the children’s AR (Augmented Reality) game that hinges between the virtual world narrative of an app and the real physical world of manipulatives, such as shapes or vowels objects.

So, how does Tiggly work? How are the physical manipulatives of the real world (the shapes and letters) detected by the computer, without the direct human contact required in capacitance-based screens?

The answers to these questions are essentially what the Tiggly  invention is all about. And, Tiggly  is an  invention disclosed in the Patent Application US20130302777 titled Systems and methods of object recognition within a simulation.

The Tiggly invention is disclosed as an interactive simulation tool with instructional purposes. Simulation is seen as a risk-free environment that lets the user perform tasks without the consequences occurring in real life. Thus, the patent discloses a simulation component capable of interacting with a user; means of detecting at least two points of contact between the real world object and the simulation device surface, and means to match the two points of contact with a predefined marking of the object to be identified. A processor coupled to a memory and a touch screen configured to execute the simulations are also part of the system.

The simulations are designed with means to detect an object on the screen surface and to determine compliance with the simulation rules and then to communicate the information. In turn, the information may prompt a similar object to appear on screen with cues coaching the user to comply more easily with the internal rules of the simulation. The simulation may also be equipped with a threshold for determining the degree of compliance, for lowering or increasing the difficulty of the compliance threshold.

The system also includes various strategically placed contact points on a capacitance-based screen for contact with the physical objects on screen, but not necessarily in contact with the user. Thus, the system includes various external physical objects which all have built-in means of being detected such as capacitative sensors, or materials that can alter the screen capacitance, even when there is no contact with the user. The processor connected to a memory and to the touch screen can also detect the manipulations of the objects on screen, as a function of the degree of compliance between the contact points of the object and the mapped points on screen.
Beyond the wonderful children’s game world experience that this invention affords, this patent is interesting in that the second paragraph indicates that a portion of the patent in copyrighted. This raises the issue of application software inventions, hinging on two different sorts of intellectual property law: copyright law and patent law. Indeed, programming code alone is not patentable as it is a set of written instructions that cannot satisfy all the conditions of patentability. Thus, programming code appears better protected by copyright law. However, written  code, is also executable writing, and therefore cannot be adequately protected by copyright law. either, since there is more than one way to execute a particular function. Thus the invention is patented as a simulation system that includes algorithms and all the supporting media enabling the execution of the program (i.e.; the processor, the memory, the touch screen and the tablet platform) in addition to the physical objects of the game, comprising capacitance sensors and /or screen capacitance-altering materials.

The abstract of US20130302777 is included below with Figure 24 of the patent showing the position of the capacitative sensors on the underside of the circle shape object. .

According to another embodiment, a system configured to execute at least one simulation is provided. The system includes a memory, a touch screen, at least one processor coupled to the memory and the touch screen, and a simulation component executed by the at least one processor. The simulation component is configured to detect a manipulation of at least one object disposed on the touch screen, determine a degree of compliance of the manipulation to rules of the at least one simulation, and communicate a characterization of the degree of compliance to an external entity.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Oh, patents! Plain meaning, huh?

Copyright © Fran莽oise Herrmann

Uh-huh, plain (ordinary and customary) meaning, and you betta believe it!....

The provisions of Chapter 2100, Section 2111.01  [R. 07-2015]  of the MPEP – Manual for Patent Examination Procedures set forth the plain meaning of the terms of patent claims, according to which:

“The plain meaning of a term means the ordinary and customary meaning given to the term by those of ordinary skill in the art at the time of the invention. The ordinary and customary meaning of a term may be evidenced by a variety of sources, including the words of the claims themselves, the specification, drawings, and prior art. However, the best source for determining the meaning of a claim term is the specification - the greatest clarity is obtained when the specification serves as a glossary for the claim terms.”

Just in case you are wondering about those “of ordinary skill in the art”.

 “The person of ordinary skill in the art is a hypothetical person who is presumed to have known the relevant art at the time of the invention.” [MPEP Chapt. 2100, Section  2141, C.]

This hypothetical person is also used as the standard against which the specification of the invention is determined sufficiently complete, since it is those skilled in the art who must be deemed sufficiently informed to both “make and use” the claimed invention, in compliance with the enablement requirement of patents. [MPEP Chap. 2100, Section 2164]

However, there are a few more details involved in ascertaining the meaning of the terms of the claims, in reference to the specification, per the rules found in Chapter 2100, Section 2111.01 of the MPEP. 

 Indeed, consider the following supplemental rules in regards determining the plain (ordinary and customary) meaning of the terms of a patent claim.:

“It is improper to import claim limitation from the specification”.
 [MPEP Chapt. 2100, Section 2111.01,parag. II]

This means that the broadest possible meaning of a term is retained for interpretation of the claims section, even if the meaning is more restricted in the specification by way of an embodiment. For example, the Federal Circuit court ruled in Superguide Corp. v. DirecTV Enterprises, Inc., 358 F.3d 870, 875, 69 USPQ2d 1865, 1868 (Fed. Cir. 2004):

Though understanding the claim language may be aided by explanations contained in the written description, it is important not to import into a claim limitations that are not part of the claim. For example, a particular embodiment appearing in the written description may not be read into a claim when the claim language is broader than the embodiment.” 

However, if the plain (ordinary and customary) meaning of a term is explicitly defined (or refuted) in the specification, then the general rule, mentioned above, in regards the specification serving as best possible source for determining meaning, and especially when the specification serves as glossary, applies, since according to Chapter 2100 Section 2111.01, paragraph IV:

“The applicant may be own lexicographer and/or may disavow claim scope.”

This means that the applicant might define his own meaning of the terms used in the patent and thus perhaps limit or extend the scope of a claim. And it also means that an applicant might specifically refute the ordinary and customary plain meaning of a term, when disavowing the full scope of a claim.  In all cases, however, there has to be clear and non-ambiguous evidence in the specification that the ordinary and customary meaning is not effective. Otherwise, For example: In  Merck & Co. v. Teva Pharms. USA, Inc., 395 F.3d 1364, 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2005), the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s construction of the claim term “about” as “exactly”.

” The appellate court explained that a passage in the specification the district court relied upon for the definition of “about” was too ambiguous to redefine “about” to mean “exactly” in clear enough terms. The appellate court held that “about” should instead be given its plain and ordinary meaning of “approximately.” [MPEP Chapt 2100, Section 2111, Parag. IV (A)]

Thus, to the extent that there are provisions for applicants to be lexicographers, then one might hope that applicants would want to proceed in this way, as a matter of more general practice, not necessarily for the purposes of refuting the customary and ordinary meanings of terms known to those of ordinary skill in the art, but precisely for the purposes of disambiguation, clarity and precision of the meanings of the terms used in claims.  Even, if perhaps, this would imply more widespread use of real glossaries within the specification, or a dedicated section to the definition of terms. Indeed, the inclusion of real, applicant-authored glossaries of the terms of the invention, within a patent specification, would really be great news for translators, terminologists, and machine translation designers too!
Now, if you still don’t believe plain meaning is regulated by a US Federal Agency… then, just check out the links to the MPEP, yourself! 馃憼

MPEP Chapt 2100
MPEP Chapt 2100, Section 2111-01 Plain meaning
MPEP Chapt. 2100, Section 2141.03 Level of ordinary skill in the art
MPEO Chapt, 2100, Section 2164 The enablement requirement

Saturday, October 1, 2016

World Vegetarian Day!

Copyright @ Fran莽oise Herrmann

The Vegetarian Society (Est. 1847 - UK)
IVU - International Vegetarian Union (since 1908 - UK)
EVU - European Vegetarian Union
V-Label - The European Vegetarian Label
The Vegan Society
NAVS – North American Vegetarian Society - World Vegetarian Day
SFVS – San Francisco Vegetarian Society
World Veg Festival (Oct 8-9, 2016) in San Francisco, CA
Meetup – The New York City Vegetarian and Vegan Meetup
GoVegan Radio
VRG - The Vegetarian Resource Group
The Vegetarian Channel (lifestyle)
Happy cow Net (vegetarian restaurants worldwide) 
Vegetarian Times (Vegetarian recipes)