Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Sometimes Inscrutable Patent Argot

The Bioluminescent Novelty Device
Patent Argot — the strange vocabulary of patents — is the specialized idiomatic vocabulary that is peculiar to the patentsphere.
 "Argot" a special language, especially that of an underworld group, devised for private communication and identification; a language with its own style, grammar, and vocabulary."
(The underworld part is from the dictionary) 

Inventions have always created new vocabulary. 
Creating new words to describe inventions has been around for as long as man has been inventing things. In the 1500s, Leonardo Da Vinci created his own words for his inventions. Da Vinci's first flying machine was defined as the "ornithopter" — ornithos for bird and pteron for wing. In 1863, Ponton D'Amecourt invented the term helicopter to define his flying machine — "helico" spiral - "pter" for wings. A contemporary version of these inventions is the VTOL — the Vertical Take Off and Landing vehicle.
USPTO's Patent Argot — A Glossary of Terms from the USPC
Way Better Patents has assembled a master glossary of all of the definitions contained in the US Patent Classification System in alphabetical order along with the USPC Class from which the definition is drawn. This enables you to look up the USPTO meaning of words and terms of art based on the scientific or technical domain from which the definition came — definitions in context. This will help you understand how particular words are used relative to the specific types of inventions and patents.
Patent Argot and Patent Crafting and The Patentsphere
Inventors need to craft language that is as broad as possible so that their patent explains something previously unknown while at the same time providing vocabulary that can reach into the future to cover things not yet invented. Fuzzy boundaries on an current invention help a patent be more flexible. Inventors have defined Portable Law Enforcement Data Processing Devices (handheld parking ticket issuing devices), Single Action Ordering System (one click purchases - see Amazon and iTunes) and Social Expression Communications (greeting cards).
On a nice day in the patentsphere you let your kids play with the Bioluminescent Novelty Device.
An Impenetrable Wall
Patent argot creates an impenetrable wall between you and the patents that you care about. It can be what keeps you from finding what you are looking for; why you are never quite sure if your freedom to operate report covered all the right stuff; and what drives that strange feeling you get when you've read a patent and but have no idea what it says. (Have you ever heard someone say "preferred embodiment" in real life?) Way Better Patetns is hoping to help fix that problem.

To use the glossary start here.