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The United States Patent Office granted Letters Patent No. 1 to John Ruggles of Thomaston, Maine, on the 13th day of July, 1836. Ruggles’s patent was not the first patent granted by the patent office, but it was the first patent granted by the patent office after the Great Fire of 1836, which destroyed about 10,000 patent records, or after reorganization of the patent office in 1836.

A patent practitioner writing a patent application usually starts with a very sketchy description of the invention from the inventor and ends up with a very lengthy monograph of the invention. The extra information included in the patent application has to come from somewhere. Typically, the extra information comes from one or more of the following sources: the practitioner's knowledge of the field of the invention, the practitioner's conversations with the inventor, other related applications the practitioner has written before, other work the inventor has done before, published patent or non-patent literature, and impromptu inventions by the practitioner.

The term "non-practicing entity (NPE)" is often used to describe an entity that owns a patented invention, does not transform and will not transform the patented invention into an innovation, and has not abandoned the right to exclude others from transforming the patented invention into an innovation. Conversely, the term "practicing entity (PE)" can be used to describe an entity that owns a patented invention, has transformed or will transform the patented invention into an innovation, and has not abandoned the right to exclude others from transforming the patented invention into an innovation. To ensure that we're speaking the same language, an "innovation" is an invention, patented or not, that is engineered (tailored or adapted) for the marketplace and is new or introduced newly into the marketplace.

On July 24, 2009, Roy Schestowitz published a blog article with the title "Patents Roundup: Why Microsoft's Patents are Useless; More Patent Failure News."

One day, I walked into a Compass Bank to make a deposit or order a foreign bank draft—one or another of those odd tasks I have to do as a business owner—when I saw an ad written in bold white text on a framed, large red panel. The message was simple: the bank has innovative solutions for all my banking needs.