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Red Bull Wins Trademark Lawsuit

The Wet nightclub, a popular Chicago bar, was ordered to pay over $500,000 in damages after people working undercover for Red Bull ordered drinks that mixed Red Bull with vodka but were served another energy drink.  The act of serving a less expensive energy drink and telling customers it was Red Bull undoubtedly caused damages to Red Bull.  Whenever any product is being…

Obscure Patent: Inside Out Clothing

Garments having inside out appearance US Patent No. 7,350,242 Issued April 1, 2008 The issuance of this patent on April Fools Day shows that someone at the Patent Office has a sense of humor.  This patent also reminds me of one of my all-time favorite obscure patents – Disposable boxer shorts – which was patented also on April Fools Day, just 5 years earlier.   In…

Inventors Workshop in Tampa, FL

Product Coach Matt Yubas and Patent and Licensing Attorney Mark Malek are hosting a workshop to help everyday inventors succeed in presenting product ideas to companies for royalties. Matt Yubas (www.Product-Coach.com), author of Product Idea to Product Success, will provide the step-by-step licensing process from idea to receiving royalties. Mr. Malek, an attorney with the firm Zies, Widerman, Sutch and Malek,…

US Releases 2008 IP Watchlist

On Friday, April 25, 2008, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released its annual “Special 301” Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection by U.S. trading partners. This year’s Special 301 Report places forty-six (46) countries on the Priority Watch List, Watch List, or the Section 306 monitoring list.  There are nine…

Describing Your Invention in a Patent Application

When you file a patent application it is always necessary to file an application that completely and clearly describes the invention so that others would be able to understand the invention.  For new inventors it is sometimes difficult to understand the so-called description requirement to patentability.  It is not an overstatement to say that the description of your invention must…

No such thing as a Provisional Patent

I am frequently asked about the benefit of filing a provisional patent application.  I am a fan of provisional patent applications and encourage independent inventors and small businesses to start with a provisional patent application, but it is important to understand what a provisional patent application is, what benefits are provided and perhaps most importantly what a provisional patent application…

Trade Secrets & Patents Perfect Together

A trade secret is any valuable business information that is not generally known and is subject to reasonable efforts to preserve confidentiality. One of the world’s most famous trade secrets is the formula for Coca-Cola.  A trade secret will be protected from misappropriation from exploitation (through state law) by those who either obtain access through improper means or who breach…

Obscure Patent: Head Mounted Letter “M”

Head mounted letter “M” [ PDF ] US Patent No.6,834,453 Issued December 28, 2004  Searching for obscure patents can sometimes seem like looking for a needle in a haystack. Certainly, there are no shortage of patents that get issued on a weekly basis that should never have seen the light of day. Unfortunately, invalid patents are increasingly becoming a way of…

How Long Does a Copyright Last?

Answering the question about how long a copyright lasts, or whether a particular copyrighted work is in the public domain and can be readily used without the payment of royalties, is an impossible question to answer in the abstract.  This is because over the years the United States Congress has periodically altered the length of copyright protection and the formalities…

Obscure Patent: The Beerbrella

Beerbrella US Patent No. 6,637,447 Issued October 28, 2003 Here is a great invention, and one that is particularly appropriate to profile now that the heat of the summer has arrived. This device gets included here as an obscure patent because it is rather simple, something you don’t see every day, and completely ingenious. An umbrella for your beer! How…

Gene Quinn Elected to UIA Board

The United Inventors Association, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit which has as its principal focus the provision of information and support to inventors and entrepreneurs, recently held an interim election to replace the Jack Smith who resigned as the UIA President and Board Member.  Gene Quinn, a patent attorney with Zies, Widerman & Malek, and the founder of IPWatchdog.com, was elected to the Board…

The Wizard of Menlo Park

This cartoon is humorous on many levels.  Perhaps first and foremost is the fact that children under the age of 13 have never known a world without the World Wide Web, and for all intents and purposes everyone under the age of 21 (maybe even older) has no recollection of life before the advent of the World Wide Web.  For…

GlaxoSmithKline & Tafas Win!!! PTO Loses!!!

In the much anticipated decision from the Eastern District of Virginia the claims and continuation rules enjoined on October 31, 2007, were unceremoniously thrown out!  Judge Cacheris concluded: Because the USPTO’s rulemaking authority under 35 U.S.C. § 2(b)(2) does not extend to substantive rules, and because the Final Rules are substantive in nature, the Court finds that the Final Rules…

Obscure Patent: Mouse Trap

Trap for a mouse US Patent No. 6,655,077 Issued December 2, 2003 Build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door!  Here is a better mouse trap, at least according to the disclosure contained in the patent.  It would be easy enough to poke fun at the Patent Office by saying that “the mouse…

Obscure Patent: Sports jersey chair

Chair upholstered with sports jersey US Patent No. 7,340,813 Issued March 11, 2008 This is an interesting invention for many reasons.  While this may seem like a silly invention to some, I think this is a very creative invention that is well worth protecting.  Yes, I just might surprise long time readers of IPWatchdog.com by not making fun of a patent profiled under…

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