Archive for the ‘Patents’ Category
Startups and entrepreneurs both chuckled and nodded gravely when John Oliver used his comedic hour on “Last Week Tonight” to satirize Intellectual Property and the growing threat of Patent Trolls, warning that “arriving on the set of Shark Tank without a patent is like turning up to America’s Next Top Model without knowing how to smize or booty tooch!” However, he reserved the bulk of his biting humor for the one issue that keeps Inventors up at night: Patent Trolls. These unsavory characters, said Oliver, typically don’t invent anything or sell anything of value. They simply exist to buy patents and make their money threatening lawsuits in what many call the ultimate “shakedown.” “Calling them trolls is a little misleading: At least trolls actually do something: They control bridge access for goats and ask people fun riddles.” Oliver recognized the massive problem this posed to entrepreneurs across America stating that at least 3000 out of 4,700 lawsuits
I got some fantastic news last night from the organizers of TEDx: They have finally published my recent TEDx Talk on YouTube that had one critical, important message: Launching Your Idea Full Throttle Is The Only Option. It was a deeply personal journey for me because it focused on key milestones in my life that changed my trajectory as a patent attorney forever and allowed me to meet some of America’s most prolific and innovative inventors. Many of them, just like myself, started out with humble beginnings before making their mark on this nation’s entrepreneurial landscape. I hope you enjoy the presentation and would sincerely appreciate it if you could share with friends, family, colleagues and any aspiring inventors. Sincerely,
Just because your idea seems simple does not mean it does not have the power to disrupt an entire industry. I come across inventors regularly who tell me they were too embarrassed or afraid to see a patent attorney because they felt their idea did not have the complexity or scale to match those currently on shelves or in production. When I look around, some of the simplest ideas have revolutionized industries and generated millions of dollars in revenues for the inventor. The key thing I want you to take away from this video is that to ultimately make money from your idea you have to craft a patent with teeth so rivals cannot make minor modifications to your idea and get around your rights.
I reported recently on my medical device patent blog that the current regulatory and venture capital market is hindering leapfrog innovation in the medical sector. I am happy to report that while this may be the case several of my clients have revolutionized their industries, earning giant pay checks after selling their startup and related intellectual property. One of these major success stories belongs to Alexander Gomez, who doggedly pursued an idea related to laparoscopic surgery when just about everyone around him told he was crazy. He dropped out of medical school to solve a clumsy method used by surgeons he encountered during brief spells as a surgical technician:” Surgeons, operating in chilly operating rooms, were performing laparoscopic surgery which caused the camera lens to fog up when it was inserted into the warm body. “To counter this, they would dip the scope in a bucket of water to defog it. Our hospital was small and dated, so I assumed […]
Watch this illustrative Slide Share from The Patent Professor which reveals how one past famous inventor received a modest cash payout from his invention but lost millions in potential royalties. It all hinged on one fateful decision. How One Inventor Lost Millions in Royalties & How You Can Avoid The Same Mistake from The Patent Professor®
Excitement is building for Prof. John Rizvi, Esq., TEDX talk at West Broward High School on Thursday, November 10th. This will be his first presentation to the independently operated group in Florida and will focus on valuable lessons for inventors learned during his 20 year journey through patent law. Prof. Rizvi will discuss inventor themes that also feature prominently in his upcoming book entitled, Escaping the Gray: When Launching Your Idea Full Throttle is the Only Option, which is fast nearing publication. If you would like to attend the event, please find attendance details on The Patent Professor site which outline scheduling and costs. We hope to see you there!
There is a lot of debate whether it is now cool to be a geek. So-called nerds have changed society for the better with their inventions. One such creative type is Thomas O. Bales. This scientific genius used the proceeds from his patents to transform a Coral Gables, Florida, mansion into a virtual nirvana for inventive types. Anybody who enjoys whiling away a day tinkering with electronic and mechanical gadgets would have felt comfortable in this home laboratory. Now, according to sources, Bales has sold the 8-bedroom home for $12.6 million. Bales demonstrates that working at a home lab can be more profitable than Wall Street or professional sports. The creator of a battery-powered surgical instrument has for years been a top mind in the medical device community. Here are some of the amenities found in the two-story stucco home. Professional Grade Telescope Want to stare at the stars? Well, no problem at the former Bales estate. There is a […]
Before beginning to draft the patent application there is one step you must take to make sure you get MAXIMUM protection for your idea (and to make sure no one gets around it). And that step is establishing the hook. Allow me to explain what a hook is with a rather famous example in patent circles. Years ago a man caught a rather tragic news story. A woman had died from carbon monoxide poisoning while trapped in her garage. The story goes the woman drove into her garage and shut the door behind her BEFORE shutting off her car (this was up north, in the winter, where people normally do these things). By some series of events the woman fell out of her car before she was able to shut the engine off. Trapped on the ground unable to open the garage door or turn off her car, the woman suffocated to death. Now this is where the story gets […]
L.C. asks: Quick question. Would there be any issues going to angel investors, or venture capitalists before starting the entire patent process? Would that spark any legal trouble down the line? My answer. It’s not that it would spark legal trouble down the line. It’s that it could. Let me explain… The patent process grants you a few very specific and very attractive rights. Notably, the right to prevent others from making, using, selling, or distributing the patented invention without your permission. However, you do NOT get these rights before you patent the invention. So that means that if you disclosed your invention to anyone (say, an angel investor or venture capitalist) and they "stole" your idea…you could be out of luck. Now, one of the common ways people try to protect their rights before they get a patent is by using a non-disclosure agreement (or NDA). A common definition of an NDA is a legal contract between at least […]
I am NOT alone. It always amazes me how many people share my same problems (and are on the constant lookout for solutions – i.e. new products – for those problems). The other day a friend sent me a picture (below) of a bunch of “electricity splitters” plugged into each other…with one power outlet running a dozen or so devices. I looked at that picture and image the inventor of the power strip, getting frustrated at his growing number of devices/limited power sources. And finally inventing a solution that you can find in every office and home around the world. Yes – necessity is the mother of invention. With that in mind I browsed the internet for more “unorthodox” inventions. Now, it’s easy to laugh at these pictures, and you should. But remember…these people are CRYING for solutions to their problems (and in many cases people have paid MUCH MORE for a better solution). Nobody likes drinking warm beer The age […]
On April 24, Google celebrated the birthday of Gideon Sundback, considered the genius behind the zippers most people use today. The search engine is commemorating the occasion with a large, interactive zipper in place of its usual logo. In 1917 Sundback patented the "Separable Fastener". It is important to note that Sundback did NOT invent the zipper. That honor goes to, first, Elias Howe (who patented the "Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure") and then Whitcomb Judson who created the "Clasp Locker", the precursor to the device we use today. However, neither device gained popularity. And that is the main reason why Sundback is getting all this attention. His improvements to the zipper made it both easy to use AND marketable. He didn’t invent the thing…but he did make is so darned easy to use as to be irresistible to the buying public. So, what did he do to popularize the zipper? First, he increased the number of teeth per square inch. [&hell
Imagine if every time someone called you, your skin vibrated. Sound kind of weird? Well, that’s exactly what Nokia is planning to do with a new piece of patent pending technology called “Haptic Communication”. What is this new patent application about? The technology looks fairly simple. It’s just a piece of fabric that “vibrates” according to the strength of a magnetic field. What’s interesting though is that this fabric is attached to your skin. The unusual use is pairing this to a cell phone, so that you – and only you – will be able to know when it rings. I’m sure they’ve got other uses in mind. Imagine a battle zone full of soldiers equipped with multiple patches. Buzz the one on the right arm and the whole platoon heads right. Activate the one on the leg and watch as everyone hits the deck. Silently communicating with a multitude of people at once…there are plenty of possibilities. Here is an […]
I am often asked this question: "Should an Inventor build on his Strengths or try to overcome his Personal Weakness?" Well, I recently had to choose between the two. Like many people with a career that involves long periods of sitting behind a desk, I struggled with my weight. I’ve never enjoyed exercise, but luckily I do not have a sweet tooth either. To tackle this problem I chose to “build on my strength.” Instead of forcing myself to workout to get back into shape, I decided to eat healthier and eat less. Since then I’ve lost over twenty pounds. All of my significant success has come from situations where I ignored my weaknesses and maximized my strengths. On the other hand, my greatest failures have come from times I had to rely on my weaknesses and my strengths did not factor into the equation. Now, what’s this got to do with patents? This concept is of the […]
If you are an inventor with tattoos, you must read this… I just tripped upon this interesting little story about the patent behind the electric tattoo machine. Seems this tool was based on an engraving machine invented by Thomas Edison. It just goes to show how you can take an invention that is already out there…add a little twist of your own…and come up with an entirely new patent. Click the link for the full story: http://reason.com/blog/2011/12/08/got-a-tattoo-say-thanks-to-the-electric