Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On Inventing vs. Patenting

“Being imaginary, it was unencumbered by the real-world details one would need for a blue print, an engineering specification or a patent application.”

Alan Turing on imagining a computer, a machine to compute numbers.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Coming Citation Crush

"The last decades have seen a significant increase in worldwide scientific publications, to about 1.5 million peer-reviewed science and engineering articles in 2008 produced by 218 countries – up from less than one million publications in 2000."

Source:  WIPO

Consider 1.5 million peer-reviewed science and engineering articles and the hunt for prior art.

There has been much discussion on the use of patent citations to understand how knowledge moves among researchers and inventors and then out into the world of products and commerce -  the spillover of knowledge from one domain to another.

Way Better Patents is working on new ways to use citations - patent and non-patent literature prior art references - to help you visualize how scientific publications and patents converge.

Please stay tuned.

Pandemonium In Patent Pendency

The precarious position of patent offices and patent pendence world wide portends continued unrest in the patent sphere and the potential decline in protection of precious inventions.  Please peruse the particulars.

In 2010, the number of unprocessed patent applications world-wide stood at 5.17 million.

As of 2009, the number of patent applications filed globally was about 1.8 million a year. (The last year the global number of patent application is available.)

In 2008, the US share of that number was 482,871, about 27%.

In 2010 the number of US patent applications hit 520,277.

In 2009 the USPTO granted 191,927 patents.

By 2010 the US number of patents granted hit 244,341 - less than half of the volume of new applications coming in the door.

In 2008 the global number of grants was 777,556.

The average patent pendency - the period of time between the time a patent application is filed to the time a patent office makes a final decision - is around 32 months.  This number is lower than the US average which stands at about 34 months.

The number of patents in force in the US as of 2009 was 1,930,631.  The global number is a confusing hodge podge of counts by national patent office that doesn't lend itself to compiling one consolidated number.

The bottom line is protracted patent pendency persists.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Race Against The Machine

Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee published an ebook called, "Race Against The Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy."  At it's essence it offers economic and technical insight into why computers and information technology are irreversibly changing the employment and economic landscape of America and the world.

In a nutshell it's message is skills and technology rules.  Old school jobs for semi-skilled, high school educated people are disappearing and aren't coming back.  Entry level jobs that enabled people to gain a foothold in a company and work their way up have evaporated.  Mechanics need to be able to use computer diagnostics, high tech bar code readers recognize and sort package, ATMs replace bank tellers, and the nature of productivity is changing in ways we have yet to figure out.  Considering that Mr. Brynjolfsson and Mr. McAgee's ebook can be downloaded via Amazon and read on all manner of digital devices replacing printers, book stores, academic journals, and the whole food chain that goes along with it is an example of the very change described in this ebook with a very long title.