April 13, 2013
If you don’t have money and free patent services are not working, you may want to use the US government’s www.uspto.gov site to get the image files for a patent document. We used a fresh Windows 7 machine and got the system working, but there were a few tips we thought we would pass along.
First, you access the images by running a query from this page: http://patft.uspto.gov/. You will want to pay close attention to the syntax for querying the USPTO system which reminds me of an old-style search service.
I ran a query for 7,953,642. Here’s what the USPTO system displays:
You will want to click on the “Images” link which is in the clump of red text at the top of the page:
When you click on Images you will see this if you have a Tagged Image File Format which supports an older image standard installed:
If you so see the patent document, you can generate a PDF by installing a freeware PDF printer. Just print each page of the patent and use software like Adobe Acrobat of FoxIt which allows a user to assemble individual files into a single PDF. When bundled, you have your complete patent.
If you do not have a suitable TIFF viewer, you will have to download software which supports the USPTO file format. I recommend Alternatiff which is available without charge from this page: http://www.alternatiff.com/
We learned that getting the TIFF viewer working was painless using Opera, Version 12.1. Your mileage may vary. Our efforts to get the viewer working with Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer were not productive.
One question which comes up whenever one of my team works with the the USPTO files is, “Why aren’t these folks using the Portable Document Format file type?” Another member of my team asked, “Haven’t these folks heard about HTML5, XML, or Word for goodness sakes?”
My response: “You want to question the United States government?”
I sure don’t.
Stephen E Arnold, April 13, 2013
October 19, 2012
It may be something. It may be nothing. But to Google’s expanding mosquito bites of legal woes, we can now add the issue of Motorola-originated smartphone technology. The New York Times reports on the “Widening Scrutiny of Google’s Smartphone Patents.” The Federal Trade Commission was already investigating the company’s search and search-advertising activities on antitrust grounds. Now, the agency is looking into the possibility that Google’s Motorola Mobility subsidiary is mishandling “standard-essential” patents, patents on technologies crucial for the basic operation of tablets and smartphones. Reporter Steve Lohr explains:
“Standard-essential patents, antitrust experts say, are the modern, high-tech equivalent of certain vital railway lines in the 19th century, like the Eads rail terminal and bridge across the Mississippi in St. Louis, the subject of a historic antitrust decision in 1912. Essential patents, like rail bridges, can become anticompetitive bottlenecks if the corporate owner withholds access to the technology or demands unreasonably high payment.
“In Senate testimony in July, Edith Ramirez, an F.T.C. commissioner, speaking of the potential abuse of standard-essential patents, said, ‘Holdup and the threat of holdup can deter innovation by increasing costs and uncertainty for other industry participants, including other patent holders.’”
Google picked up many of these essential patents when it acquired Motorola Mobility earlier this year, and pledged to license them out fairly and reasonably. The FTC is not too sure about the strength of that pledge. In fact, the agency is nervous about any “patent buildup” by the major players, rightly fearing that such collections can be used to inhibit the growth of newer and smaller companies.
Cynthia Murrell, October 24 2012
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com
September 3, 2012
Many folks are alarmed and confused about the current state of technology patents, and rightly so. We have found an interesting paper that explains in great detail what has been happening, why and how, and what the trajectory means for the future. To be sure, “The Giants Among Us” (PDF) from Stanford Technology Law Review is not a coffee-break-length piece. It is, however, full of important facts, insights, and observations. A must-read for anyone concerned about today’s tech patent landscape.
The paper, written by Tom Ewing and Robin Feldman, begins with this observation:
“The patent world is quietly undergoing a change of seismic proportions. In a few short years, a
handful of entities have amassed vast treasuries of patents on an unprecedented scale. To give some
sense of the magnitude of this change, our research shows that in a little more than five years, the
most massive of these has accumulated 30,000-60,000 patents worldwide, which would make it the
5th largest patent portfolio of any domestic US company and the 15th largest of any company in the
“These entities, which we call mass aggregators, do not engage in the manufacturing of products
nor do they conduct much research. Rather, they pursue other goals of interest to their founders and
Indeed. The rest of the paper supplies facts about such mass aggregators (particularly Intellectual Ventures); gives a nod to potential positive effects; delineates the potential damages from the trend; and wraps up with ideas on what can and should be done. Ewing and Feldman proscribe regulatory oversight, transparency, and undermining trolls’ profit motive.
Cynthia Murrell, September 03, 2012
August 26, 2012
MacRumors recently reported on one way to solve the problem of intellectual property theft in the article “Google’s Top Lawyer: Some Apple Inventions Are Commercially Essential, Should Be Made Into Standards.”
According to the article, there is some disagreement between Apple and Google regarding whether or not commercial inventions that impact “consumer welfare” should be considered as important as technical patents. Google says yes, while Apple strongly opposes this idea.
In addition to highlighting a portion of a letter written by Google General Counsel Kent Walker, the article summarizes Bruce Sewell, Apple’s top lawyer, stating that just because Apple products are popular among consumers does not mean that Apple has to license that technology to competitors.
In a rebuttal letter Sewell writes:
“The capabilities of an iPhone are categorically different from a conventional phone, and result from Apple’s ability to bring its traditional innovation in computing to the mobile market. Using an iPhone to take photos, manage a home-finance spreadsheet, play video games, or run countless other applications has nothing to do with standardized protocols. Apple spent billions in research and development to create the iPhone, and third party software developers have spent billions more to develop applications that run on it.”
While both sides bring up interesting points, we have to agree with Apple on this one and tell Google to go back to inventing its own stuff.
Jasmine Ashton, August XX, 2012
August 23, 2012
Jamie Condliffe of the GIZMODO blog recently reported on the latest in an ongoing patent infringement case in the article “Judge Sanctions Samsung for Destroying Evidence in Apple Case.”
According to the story, this is not the first time that Samsung has been in the hot seat. Despite the fact that Samsung is accusing Apple of deriving the original design for the iPhone from Sony, the companies accusations may not stand in court because it has a history of discovery abuses and has already been sanctioned four times. In this case, for destroying evidence which makes up part of the case it is fighting against.
“On Wednesday, Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal explained that Sammy had ‘failed to prevent the destruction of relevant evidence’ in the form of company emails, and went on to suggest the company could have done more to preserve them.
As Apple no doubt sat gleefully rubbing its hands in excitement, Samsung was forced to explain its company policy of deleting all company email after just two weeks. But the judge pointed out that Samsung continued to delete emails even after it knew about the litigation—so it should have taken steps to change the policy.”
It looks like Samsung is going to have to come up with a pretty crafty plan to get out of this one.
Jasmine Ashton, August 23, 2012
August 3, 2012
Though Google cited patent collection as a primary motivation for acquiring Motorola, The Wall Street Journal now tells us, “Google Says Patents, Tech Were Less Than Half Motorola’s Price.” In a recent regulatory filing, the company revealed that $5.5 billion of the $12.4 billion investment covered ‘patents and developed technology.” Nevertheless, I suspect the company is pleased with its purchase; as writer John Letzing notes:
“Google has sought to bulk up on patents as a protective measure, as a number of its technology rivals have targeted both the company and its Android software with litigation.
“Oracle sued Google for alleged patent and copyright infringement by Android in 2010, though a related trial earlier this year resulted in a victory for Google.”
Yes, the protection a trove of patents can provide is a valuable thing, valuable enough to put up with a lot. The article also reveals:
“Google reported second-quarter earnings that included Motorola results from a portion of the period. Google said Motorola contributed some $1.25 billion in revenue, though the new unit also posted a $233 million operating loss.”
Eh, the patents and an operating loss of $233 million are but peanuts to Google. All in the cost of doing its globe-dominating business.
Cynthia Murrell, August 3, 2012
June 27, 2012
December 13, 2011
What no game show?
Although it’s getting a lot of recognition lately, Apple’s Siri probably isn’t the smartest machine on the block.
IBM’s Watson, if you remember, was the one to beat Ken Jennings in Jeopardy. With the computer’s speech recognition, natural language processing, machine learning, and data mining, IBM is now pushing Watson into other applications.
..IBM itself is using Watson to help sell Watson (and other IBM products) to other companies. Now, using Watson’s data mining and natural language talents, IBM has created the Strategic IP Insight Platform, or SIIP, a tool that has already scanned millions of medical patents and journals for the sake of improving drug discovery — and in the future, it’s easy to see how the same tool could be used to battle patent trolling, too.
It seems there are a lot of present and future implications for the company, but where’s the cloud service which showcases this formidable system?
Andrea Hayden, December 13, 2011
Sponsored by Pandia.com
November 13, 2011
Their strategy has been to capitalize on the large patent portfolio they’ve built up when products like Android get marginalized. They end up making money from the success of other companies’ products. Microsoft’s has responded by saying that they are benefiting because of the natural evolution of a new industry.
Ars Technica said the following in the “Google: Microsoft uses patents when products ‘stop succeeding’” article:
“The Chronicle asked Porter the obvious question: should software be patentable? Porter refused to give a straight answer “There are certainly arguments” that copyright protection is “more appropriate” for the software industry, he said. But he would only say that “the current system is broken,” and that there has been “a 10- or 15-year period when the issuance of software patents was too lax.”
Back in 1991, Bill Gates became concerned that the industry could end up in standstill if software could be patent protected in the early days because a larger company could patent an integral and common piece allowing them to take all the profit. It seems like this day has come.
Megan Feil, November 13, 2011
October 16, 2011