Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fracking Fluid in Your House

The Obama Administration released its new regulations on fracking. Five minutes later, industry groups filed a lawsuit seeking to halt the regulations.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "In a move that upset environmental groups, the new rules require companies to publicly disclose chemicals they use through an industry-run website called FracFocus within 30 days of completing the fracking process." We're not sure why the environmental groups are upset, we're guessing because the site is run by an industry group. (Isn't it better for the taxpayer for the industry to pay for this, but we digress…)

We thought this would be a good time to drag out two articles written two years ago that highlight what's in fracking fluid and the contents common use around the house.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Coming Soon in South Carolina

This week's Coming Soon Digests are available.  It was a busy week.  Here's a look at what's coming soon in South Carolina.

Coming Soon™ South Carolina

Find Innovation in Your Neighborhood

So Far In 2015:

  • The Way Better Count of all patents granted to South Carolina-based inventors or companies shows 270 patents granted to South Carolina inventors;
  • 249 patents granted to companies and other entities that worked with inventors from the State;
  • 53 of those entities identified their location as being in South Carolina.

This Week

The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) granted 6,998 new patents to 18,974 inventors.

South Carolina inventors received 26 of those patents representing the work of 50 inventors from 19 State municipalities. Here is this week's down to earth look at innovation in South Carolina.

This week's heatmap of South Carolina inventors.

The location and concentration of South Carolina inventors this week
Explore This Week's Digest

Each week Way Better Patents publishes a state-by-state, town-by-town index of the inventors and companies granted patents, what these innovators are working on, where they are and who they are collaborating with.

Use Coming Soon™ to find, recruit, and retain the Commonwealth's innovators.

What's In Coming Soon™

  1. The Digests — Each week Coming Soon™ Digests present a state-by-state, town-by-town look at invention and innovation.

  2. The Map Room — State and National maps of the geography and topology of invention.

  3. Scientific Presence Profiles — A holistic look at science and technology activity; inventive and innovative trends, talent pools, and the depth of scientific, technical and engineering enterprise in each State.

  4. Great Resources — Tons of great free resources to help you understand why patents mean business.
Learn More

Who Uses Coming Soon™ Digests?
  • Economic and Workforce Development Professionals
  • Talent Scouts
  • Investors and Entrepreneurs
  • Science and Technology Public Policy Makers
  • Technology Transfer Professionals
  • Product and Business Development Managers

Thursday, March 19, 2015

EPA, Hotel Showers, and Infringement?

When is a government agency and a University inducing infringement?

EPA recently announced it was deeply troubled that we might be spending too much time in the shower when we travel.  EPA, aka The Government, wants technology to help  "modify traveler behavior".  EPA and the University of Tulsa and its investigators might have to modify their own behavior  where patented inventions are concerned.  EPA, University of Tulsa and its three student investigators apparently don't read patents.

EPA gave a grant to the University of Tulsa for a "Developing a Wireless Device for Monitoring Water Usage for Hotel Showers."

 It could have saved taxpayers the $15,000 by reaching out to the Oakton, Virginia based firm Water Cents LLC, and its three inventors, titleholders on US Patent 7,360,413, Wireless water flow monitoring and leak detection system, and method.  This patent granted in 2008, was filed in 2005 after the inventors filed a provisional patent application in 2004.

This patented invention -- A wireless water flow monitoring and leak detection system and method are provided. The system includes a base station, a memory, and a central processing unit configured to control the operation of the system and to analyze stored data -- looks remarkably like the EPA grant's deliverable.

Here's Claim 1 of '413:

What is claimed is: 

1. A wireless water flow monitoring and leak detection system comprising: a base station including a wireless receiver and transmitter, a memory to store data, and a central processing unit configured to control the operation of the system and to analyze stored data; a plurality of wireless flow sensor nodes each being installed on a supply line of a water fixture, at least one of the wireless flow sensor nodes being configured to periodically read and store a data point corresponding to either a flow condition or a no flow condition through the supply line of the water fixture; and a plurality of coordinator nodes each being spaced from the supply lines of the water fixtures and configured to wirelessly relay data between the plurality of wireless flow sensor nodes and the base station; wherein the base station is configured to periodically receive a stream of stored data points from the at least one wireless flow sensor node by way of at least one coordinator node and to determine based on an analysis of the stream of data points whether a leak exists in at least one of the water fixtures; wherein the at least one wireless flow sensor node is configured to store a data point corresponding to a flow condition when the flow through the supply line of the respective water fixture is about 1/4 cup a minute and larger. 

Looks like the EPA deliverable:

The proposed wireless device will have three main components: a flow meter, an embedded system and software, and a resource accounting system. This technology will provide hotel guests with the ability to monitor their daily water online or using a smartphone app, and will assist hotel guest in modifying their behavior to help conserve water. The proposed wireless device will be marketed to the hotel industry to reduce costs by promoting water conservation among hotel guests. An interdisciplinary team of undergraduate students from chemical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and management and marketing will work in a collaborative effort to build and test a prototype device, and explore the market potential of the wireless device.

So, patentistas, is EPA and the University of Tulsa inducing infringement?

By the way, we found the Water Cents patent on the first try.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Inventors Cocktails

We are fans of the patent system. We  have opined earlier that one of the ways to fix the patent system is to add more disclosure about who owns what and forcing those seeking to enforce their patents to show evidence of infringement.  

The other major fix is to bust open the patent echo chamber where all these patent people speak only to themselves. So when we say the posts on the Save the Inventor event at SXSW we were curious.  Breaking out is good. Reaching out is even better. 

But then there was the trailer which featured welders and wood workers and not chemists and scientists and folks in clean suits and pictures of multiplexed communication devices we were perplexed. Not the we don't like welders and woodworkers but are these guys in this video representative of the markets and technologies most likely to be caught on the spin cycle if the current already complicated patent process. 

The patent world is so strange sometimes.   We need another cocktail. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Atlas of Inventors

To Map Innovation, Map Inventors

Way Better Patents' Coming Soon™ Map Room contains a wealth of geographic information on the spatial distribution and topology of US patented inventions. 

Way Better Patents creates highly focused, science and technology specific maps of domain specific pools of talent, where emerging science is taking place. The maps provide talent scouts and site location professionals with actionable information on pockets of innovation to find talent, select locations for new outposts, or to mash up with economic and demographic data to spot new innovative clusters or find independent inventors and start-ups patenting inventions as the foundation of new innovative business ventures.

Each week Way Better Patents publishes US and State heat maps and collaboration maps including:
  1. Weekly Inventor and Assignee Heat Maps
  2. Yearly Inventor and Assignee Maps
  3. Weekly Inventor and Assignee Collaboration Maps
Business may be global, but innovation is local. See where invention is happening.

When you get there, make sure to scroll down to see the State weekly and year to date maps.

Here is this week's inventor map from Virginia:

Here is where the titleholders/assignees from Virginia are this week:

The Collaboration Maps are really interesting.  There are two for each state, one that shows inventors and one that shows assignees.  It helps you understand "cross-border" innovation, who is working with who and where.  The US map highlights the State and then shows the density of inventors or assignees working with their colleagues in that state.  

Here is a this week's Collaboration Map for California inventors and where their out of state collaborators are:

How The Maps Are Organized
There is a map for each state. To support integration of a wide range of economic and business data, we arrange our geographic data using the geographic groups defined by the US Census Bureau and the National Science Foundation. 

Use the maps to understand where inventors and IP focused firms are creating new inventions. Explore where the inventors are, where the companies are that are getting patents, and what these local luminaries are working on.  Go to About the Map Room to learn more about the maps and how they are created.
The Map Room is a down to earth view of innovation.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Flow of Invention

To grow the local innovation economy, it helps to understand the flow of innovation -- where are the inventors, who are they working with locally and around the country, what does the regional economy look like and what are these people inventing.  Who are the science, technology, and engineering local luminaries?  Where are the outposts of new and emerging technology?

Visualizations make it easier to see what's happening especially in the text and tabular intense world of all things patent.  

The Way Better Patents Map Room is our down to earth look at invention. The Map Room is part of Way Better Patent's weekly Coming Soon Digests. The maps there show inventorship and patent ownership nationally and within each US State. Each week these maps show what is happening this week and so far this year, cumulative, year-to-date, patterns. 

We just added a series of Sankey diagrams to give you  a new way of seeing US inventorship patterns. This link takes you to our latest article on how the new charts are constructed and how to use them. Take a tour by clicking on the links below.

Use the Sankey Diagrams in addition to the Coming Soon Digests, the Map Room and Scientific Presence Profiles

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


In honor of the late, great Marvin Gaye and his families successful case against those who would abscond with his copyrighted intellectual property, we bring you this iconic mid-afternoon groove.

At the moment Robin Thicke and Pharrell have got to give it up to the tune of $7M+.

Enjoy the groove.

Scientific Presence - The Resources for Innovation

Scientific Presence Profiles

Scientific presence is the holistic view of the science and technology infrastructure that drives invention, patents, innovation, emerging new markets, new businesses and economic growth.

Each Scientific Presence Profile assembles a comprehensive set of inventive, demographic, economic, and business intelligence data about activity in a State. Easy navigation and ranking information enables side-by-side comparison of profiles. The easy to use charts, tables, and score cards present a picture of inventive and innovative trends, where R&D funding is coming from and what it is being spent on and which higher education institutions and research labs are benefitting from the funding. Demographic information helps identify talent pools and the depth of scientific, technical and engineering in the community.

A Deep Dive Into the Data

Way Better Patents continuously monitors the best research and important data sources on the innovation economy. Way Better Patents scientific presence information lets us present a picture of emerging inventive and innovative trends, new and emerging markets and the nature of R&D efforts. We take a deep dive to find the best data to deliver subscribers one comprehensive source of scientific presence information so they have deeper insight into the indicia of future economic and market growth in today's innovation economy.

Check out the Scientific Presence Profiles for each state by starting here.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Out of Africa

I spent some time recently at a Collaborate event for inventors, makers, and investors. It featured many fascinating speakers from across the spectrum of innovative talent. 

Among the speakers was Josh Mandell from the Commerce Dept. who was evangelizing on how start-ups need to think globally from their beginnings, when they are nascent inventors figuring out where they want to go. 

A woman stood up to raise some points on going global. She wanted to talk about diversity among innovators. 

After a morning of diversity discussions focused on making women feel more welcome in tech land by calling in them first in meetings. (Really!)  I was preparing to pack up and leave when this woman raised a fascinating point. How about geographic diversity in immigration programs focused on bringing engineers and scientists to the US. She asked why there wasn't more diversity in the Visas so more talented people from Africa could come to the US. 

This was the best diversity question asked all day. We need more innovators and inventors out of Africa. 

Why Bother? Well, Because We Have To

USPTO is in the process of giving its website a facelift.  Modern fonts, the bootstrap framework, and lots of code in github.  We commend the new look.  The upgrade has not been without its own twists and turns.  We found tons of "differences" on the filed dates on the assignee pages vs. the full text database including dates like Jan 1, 0001 and our favorite patent number 12345678.

(It's usually a good idea to have data traps to catch bad data and to remove the test data before going live but we've had our own forgetting to remove the test deck fro the system when going live transgressions so we get it.)

There has also been more explaining of the goings-on in the patentsphere, giving the public some context about what it is that they are looking at.  Providing the public with more information on what the patent data means

One of the more interesting ones had to do with data on the assignee pages.  Our correspondent from Nebraska brought it to our attention being obsessed with all matters pertaining to who owns what.

"When relevant information is given to the USPTO to be recorded in the USPTO’s assignment database, the USPTO simply puts the information on the public record and does not verify the validity of the information. Recordation is a ministerial function--the USPTO neither makes a determination of the legality of the transaction nor the right of the submitting party to take the action."

You can see it for yourself here.  Right at the start screen of assignment search.

There are so many head exploding things going on here that it's hard to figure out where to start.

caveat emptor

USPTO is basically telling you the assignment data questionable and only as reliable as the reputation of the company providing it.  If you think Apple and IBM are reliable you might be happy with thinking their data is ok.  If you don't know who See Shell LLC is you might be suspicious.  

USPTO charges people fees and just put the information in their database and you people are on your own.  Which is worse - that USPTO can't rely on the information provided it by patent owners or that the impossible task of trying to figure out who owns what patent without spending a lot of time and money continues because the data from USPTO is "simply put on the public record and not verified."  

Then there is the odd phrase, "Recordation is a ministerial function..."  Or as our disgruntled Nebraska correspondent, data scientist and public records expert from Nebraska put it, 

"Can you imagine seeing a similar statement on the door of your local County clerk's office? The rotting respect for public records and government custodial integrity erodes..."
Get the pitchforks out.

this is a stick-up

USPTO is in the middle of the Attributable Ownership battle of the new century.  You can read all the gory details here.

The White House and just about anyone who believes that the exclusive right conveyed by a patent is based on disclosure of the invention including who owns it got tired of not being able to figure out who owned what patent.  A chorus of voices from the real world -- retailers, hoteliers, people who run businesses small and large, who got hit up by the patent monetization entities in extortion racket -- also have had it with how impossible it is to find out who is behind See Shell, LLC or other exotically named firms claiming infringement of their patents and demanding money, are also demanding better, easy to access, information.  So an executive order was drafted and signed that basically says you have to provide accurate and comprehensive information on the ownership and the real party in interest for a valid patent. Real party in interest basically says tell us EVERYBODY who stands to benefit from See Shell, LLC's ownership of the patent. 

USPTO's rule making requires that owners report ownership information every now and then --  when you get your patent, when you pay your maintenance fees or if something "material" in the ownership of the owner happens.  The Innovation Act making its way around the Capitol is much more stringent looking for updates within 90 days of something happening.

why bother?

Which brings us to the big question here, why bother?  Well, because they have to.  USPTO records and publishes what it gets because there is no meaningful or realistic way for them to put the hammer down and tell people to send in correct information with your fees or we'll invalidate your patent.  It's like all the other bad data they get from applicants.  

Patents are assets like deeds to your house or the title on your car, or those stock certificates stored somewhere.  It's time that patents are given the same level of scrutiny and respect as other types of property so that you don't have to wonder if the disclaimer on the new upgraded USPTO assignee page wouldn't make the fine people at the County Clerk's Office cringe.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Buying a Molecule, Mining for Nanoparticles

Yesterday's  AbbVie announced that it was purchasing Silicon Valley based Pharmacyclics for a vertigo inducing price of $21B.  There was lots of speculation that that AbbVie is was filling its product pipeline was its patent for the anti-inflammatory drug Humara is losing its patent protection next year.  

The abstract is that AbbVie gets Imbruvica, one of the world's best selling cancer drug.  The best quote in the coverage explaining what Pharmacyclics was and why it was worth $21B was this one,

"It bought the molecule that became Imbruvica during a fire sale by gene-sequencing company Celera Genomics in 2006."

Buying a molecule.  A patented molecule.

Along the line of really tiny stuff you need a really powerful microscope or a really vivid imagination to see, this week a new patent in the nanomedicine space was awarded to the Colorado School of Mines.  Yes, that is correct, the Colorado School of Mines. US Patent  8,968,705 was granted on Tuesday.

Gold Nano Particle

Gold nanoparticles (GNP) are really good contrast agents for CT and MRI diagnostic imaging improve contrast.    GNPs could be useful in the field of molecular imaging to give in vivo information on the metabolic activity of cancer and the expression of molecular markers, or in normal speak, these little particles can find their way to cancerous tumors so the clinicians on the outside can figure out that's going on in there.  GNPs may also be great for drug delivery and treatment at the molecular level.

There are lot of other interesting things going on in Colorado this week.  Explore the Coming Soon Digest for Colorado or if you would like to tour around the US, click here and pick a state.