The Rules of Attraction- Rule #1 Become a Bigger Fish in a Smaller Pond

The Rules of Attraction Series: Part One of Fourteen Practical Rules to Help Get the Right Clients, Talent and Resources to Come to You

What Steve Jobs really meant when he said ‘Good artists copy; great artists steal’

AFTER READING THIS, WEIGH IN…WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Apple’s Bud Tribble: “If you take something and make it your own … it’s your design and that is the dividing line between copying and stealing. That is part of Apple’s DNA.”

Tim Cook, Steve Jobs, and Phil Schiller at Apple’s headquarters in 2007.James Martin

Apple has sued a lot of companies for allegedly copying or stealing its intellectual property over the past three decades. In 1988, Apple sued Microsoft and HP for copyright infringement over similarities of Windows and NewWave to the graphical interface of the Macintosh and Lisa. More recently, the late Jobs had declared war against Google’s Android mobile operating system, resulting in a flurry of suits against Samsung, Motorola, HTC, and others who dared to copy ideas expressed in the iPhone and iPad.

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

This from the same Steve Jobs who famously said in 1996: “Picasso had a saying — ‘good artists copy; great artists steal’ — and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Given that the seeds of the Macintosh — which led to the iPod, iPhone, and iPad — came from ideas hatched at research facilities like Xerox PARC and SRI, it could be perceived that Jobs wanted to have it both ways. In fact, Xerox PARC sued Apple in 1989 for what it deemed unlawful use of Xerox copyrights in the Macintosh and Lisa computers, but it was unsuccessful.

During a recent interview with Apple executives Bud Tribble, Phil Schiller, and Craig Federighi, I asked about Jobs’ statement and the seeming contradiction between suing competitors and being shameless about stealing ideas.

“I think that’s been misunderstood. Copying means — I believe this is what he meant when he said it because we talked about it back then — doing the same thing,” said Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing. “I think what he meant by ‘steal’ was you learn, as artists have, from past masters; you figure out what you like about it and what you want to incorporate into your idea, and you take it further and do something new with it. I can see why people might confuse that with the current use people have for that phrase. You don’t just say, ‘I want something that looks just like yours and I’m going to sell it too.’

“Great people actually understand at a deeper level what makes something great and then build on the shoulders of that and build something even more marvelous and take it further,” he added. “I think that’s the case. We all learn from everything in our industry. It doesn’t matter what field you are in, but copying is literally just taking and doing the same thing.”

“I think people focus on the Picasso statement and focus on the word ‘steal,'” said Bud Tribble, Apple’s vice president of software technology and leader of the Macintosh software team during its infancy. “If you take that word, which is kind of pejorative, and replace it with ‘make it your own,’ I think the underlying idea is that you can’t do great design by copying something because you aren’t going to care about it. If you take something and make it your own, what really happens is now you care about that design. It’s your design and that is the dividing line between copying and stealing. That is part of Apple’s DNA. The things we are building and creating, we really care about. We feel like they are ours, and we are making them as great as we can because we care.”

Read: Apple in the courtroom – 25 years of defending the crown jewels

A year before his statement about shamelessly stealing great ideas, Jobs talked about the role that artistry plays in product development in an interview with the Smithsonian.

“I think the artistry is in having an insight into what one sees around them. Generally putting things together in a way no one else has before and finding a way to express that to other people who don’t have that insight so they can get some of the advantage of that insight that makes them feel a certain way or allows them to do a certain thing. I think that a lot of the folks on the Macintosh team were capable of doing that and did exactly that.”

For Jobs, it appears that great ideas are free, but make sure you file copious numbers of patents to protect your own. Ultimately, what matters is the implementation, what you do with the ideas. The Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, and iPad were built on the shoulders of others, but they also were put together in ways that reinvented the product categories.

Whether Apple’s competitors, or Apple itself, have shamelessly but illegally copied or stolen ideas is open to broad interpretation. Apple scored a recent victory in its suit against Samsung, claiming that the Korean manufacturer copied the look and feel of the iPad and iPhone. Apple was given a jury award of about $1 billion. Now chief executives of Apple and Samsung are slated for court-ordered settlement talks to try to resolve the ongoing patent disputes.

Despite Apple’s attempts to claim original art and roadblock Samsung and the Android platform (developed by Google), the iPhone has been losing market share. For the three months ending November 2013, Kantar Worldpanel Com Tech found that Apple’s iPhone share had shrunk in almost all regions compared with the same period in 2012. With the exception of Japan, Android is the leading smartphone platform. In the last quarter of 2013, Samsung had 28.8 percent share of smartphone sales and Apple 17.9 percent, according to IDC.

“Our objective has always been to make the best, not the most,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the financial earnings call Monday. So far, the strategy has worked, but it depends on Apple’s artists continuing to have unique insights and products that command a premium.

As Jobs said in prefacing his statement about Picasso and artists: “Ultimately, it comes down to taste. It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things in to what you’re doing.”

The Patents of My Career

 


Patent drawing from Patent 5,996,127 of a Wearable Device for Feeding and Observing Birds and Other Flying Animals.

Patents Pick-5Every patent examiner has a list of patents that hold special meaning to him or her, from the first application they examined to the one for a groundbreaking new technology.

As I get ready to retire from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) after 24-plus years, I have been looking back at the many people who have been part of my life during my career. It has been a privilege to work with a number of great examiners, managers, attorneys, agents, and so many wonderful and inspiring inventors. I have seen many interesting and not-so-interesting inventions and patents. These five have special meaning to me.

Note: This article is part of an ongoing series detailing some of the Inventors Eye staff’s favorite patents. For each article, the writer selects five patents under a given theme. This list is from Senior Advisor John Calvert. You can read more about John’s career helping independent inventors in our April Spark of Genius .

U.S. Patent No. 4,951,357
Stop Motion Apparatus for a Roving Drafting Device of a Textile Machine

My career as an examiner started in 1990. After two weeks of training, I began examining real applications in the technical area of my college education and work experience: textiles and knitting technology. The very first application I sent a Notice of Allowance for was a stop motion device that helps eliminate excessive fiber waste when a particular part of the machine fails to have the proper amount of fiber moving through the device. While other stop motion devices were previously known, I found that the improvement in this device was new and nonobvious. And so it began.

Fabric cont

 

U.S. Patent No5,515,585
Process for Forming Needled Fibrous Structures Using Determined Transport Depth

When I first read this application, I knew it was different from any other I had ever examined. The subject matter was intriguing; it used mathematical calculations to determine the proper depth of penetration of a needle, so that fiber could be transported without breaking or slipping back and entangling. The invention was intended to create a brake pad disk for use on an aircraft. After extensive searching, I failed to find any patents that disqualified the application. I did find one article in Russian that appeared to show that the invention was not new. However, after a complete translation, I discovered the article did not describe the same invention. For me, this application was one the most difficult and most rewarding.

Needle punch

U.S. Patent No. 5,590,548
Circular Knit Legged Panty Having Knit-in Shaping Panels and a Blank and Method for Making

This was one of many garment patents I examined during my career. The technology provided areas within the legged panty that had more elastic properties for increasing pressure, which resulted in a slimming feature. The real significance of this application for me is not the technology but the attorney who filed the application. Before I joined the USPTO, I worked in a job that I hated. I called my graduate faculty mentor from college for guidance, and he suggested I talk with an examiner at the patent office to inquire about open positions. This eventually led to my work at the USPTO. As it happens, the examiner I spoke with eventually left the office to work as an attorney. She is the one who filed this application. The circle was complete, so to speak.

Legged Panty

 

U.S. Patent No. 5,996,127
Wearable Device for Feeding and Observing Birds and Other Flying Animals

Shortly after I became a supervisory patent examiner in 1998, a new examiner showed me the application that would eventually issue as U.S. Patent No. 5,996,127. It was for a helmet that had a holder for a bird feeder and a place to mount a camera. As soon as I looked at the application I knew it was a candidate for the “Patent of the Month” display. The display showed the most “interesting” issued patent for each month and was placed where almost every patent examiner, manager, and executive would see it. Nobody wanted a patent they had examined to make the display. Once we found there was no way to reject the application, I got a primary examiner to sign with the junior examiner. It did make Patent of the Month, but we all had a good laugh.

Bird Watcher_Feeder

U.S. Patent No. 8,151,720
Open Eye Sewing Needle

My first article in Inventors Eye was about the invention described in U.S. Patent 8,151,720. I met the inventor at the Minnesota Inventors Congress and wrote about how she came up with her invention. The patent issued about two years ago, allowing the inventor to move forward with marketing and protecting her device. While the invention is essentially a sewing needle, the technology she used in engineering the needle allows for a great advancement in that particular technology. Her invention makes it easy for anyone to thread a needle, even folks with large hands and weak eyes like me.

Open Needle

My time at the USPTO is coming to an end. However, my memories of those I have worked with for these many years and have met along the way will stay with me forever. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your exposure to the world of intellectual property.

Keep inventing and innovating.

John Calvert : Office of Innovation Development

Printing porous and flexible 3D objects

First published in http://www.3Ders.org  Dec.22, 2013

German Engineer Kai Parthy introduced his Filament Laywoo-D3 more than a year ago. “This is a year in my life which I will not soon forget.” says Kai. “It was not easy to respond to all the inquiries from all over the world and meanwhile to raise production from small to large quantities due to demand.” In the past year Kai has also developed material Bendlay and Laybrick that contains fillers. But he didn’t stop there.

Kai’s new plan is to complete a range of four pre-structured 3D printing materials:

  • FDM Filaments (new PORO-LAY line, a two-in-one filament)
  • Light curing resins
  • Sinterpowders
  • Other materials based on similar technique and Polymers

Prototypes of the first resulting material-line, which Kai is introducing today, are called PORO-LAY Filaments. In contrast to previous filled materials, 3D-objects built from PORO-LAY are filled with emptiness – namely pores. The PORO-LAY is printable with all standard home 3D printers.

But what’s the trick? How can you get foam or more fibers in 3D printed objects? According to Kai, the process works as follows:

  • First you print your object with PORO-LAY, a stiff filament. You don’t need anything extra, no second hotend, simply print your object as you always do.
  • Next you rinse out the water soluble polymer component which is hidden and homogeneously dispersed inside the filament by shaking your 3D printed object in water.
  • After drying your object will be porous. The technical term for this process is ‘extraction with solvent ‘.

This big X is a standard object for tests. Before rinsing.

Left: The 3D printed X is stiff before rinsing. Right: After rinsing in water the 3D printed X has properties like a soft-rubber (very flexible) with mirco-pores.

Kai further describes the procedure of rinsing as follows:

  • Place the 3D printed object in water and add a drop of soap in. Then keep the object in water for 1 to max. 4 days (depends on which filament of the PORO-LAY line (1, 2, 3, 4) you are using). Water is the best choice for a solvent to handle this process.
  • Shake the object in water, or stir the water / change the water from time to time because it gets milky from the soluble component after a while.
  • Handle the purging procedure accurately until no soluble component remains in the porous structure of the object.
  • Dry the object.

The photos below taken from electron microscope show structure inside the filament BEFORE printing and AFTER printing and rinsing.

Lay-Tekkks: This material has a paperlike thin fibrous surface.

Lay-Tekkks: single magnification of fibers

Lay-Tekkks: electron beam magnification: 24x

 

Lay-Tekkks: electron beam magnification: 200x
firmly packed longitudinal oriented fibres, some stick out

latent porous structures, already 3d-printed, but not yet rinsed, 100x

electron beam magnification: 50x
Filament rinsed in water, with clearly visible porous structures


Clearly visible porous structures, 200x

You can also check out the video below for details.

But what ingredients are homogeneously dispersed in the PORO-LAY? Kai told us that he generally uses a blend of two main components, A+B for his new filament. A is a functional component, for example an Elastomer (i.e. a rubber-like), B is a soluble component (e.g. PVA, sugar, salt, or soluble resins). “In nature you may also find similar mixtures of two or more (mineral) components in stones, e.g. in granite or marble. ” says Kai.

Then A and B are mixed (blended) together, pelletized and extruded to a filament of 3.0 mm or 1.7 mm. “I can choose from a dozen of different Polymers for the mixture of A and B.” says Kai. The resulting materials have different possible characteristics for a lot of applications which we will describe further below.

The Poro-lay line includes four different materials:

  1. Lay-Felt
  2. Lay-Tekkks
  3. Lay-Fomm
  4. Gel-Lay

In general all filaments have structure inside, some are more like a foam, with holes, others are more like a felt, with elongated, fibrous holes. The main characteristics of different PORO-LAY filaments are:

1. Lay-Felt: Lay-Felt contains stiff or soft felt-fibers, it may be used in the following applications: 3D membranes, filters, semipermeable, future cloths, and artificial paper.

2. Lay-Tekkks: Lay-Tekkks and Lay-Felt are both fibrous like felt, but Lay-Tekkks has thinner, finer fibrous structures. Lay-Tekks can be used for making oriented fibers, stacked fibers, future cloths, and tissue.

3. Lay-Fomm: Lay-Fomm is full with holes, it feels like very soft rubber. It may be used in making micro-foam, sponges, bio-cells, elastics, and bendable suits.

4. Gel-Lay: This material is highly porous and the printed objects are very unstable. Its applications could be: objects in water, marine organism flow simulation, and bio-mechanics.

Patents are pending for pre-structured 3D printing materials. Kai also welcomes partners. He plans to start selling the PORO-LAY line in first or second quarter of 2014.

Video

Commercial 3D Printer System

How does a 3D printer work? The science and engineering behind this emerging technology

Originally posted on Gigaom:

There is a lot of excitement building around what 3D printers can and might do. But how does a 3D printer work? It’s actually not very complicated.

Here are the mechanics behind the most common consumer-level printers that extrude plastic.

3D printer owners choose between two types of plastic: acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA). Some printers work with just one, other printers work with both. The plastic comes as strands of filament that are usually a standard 1.75 millimeters or 3 millimeters in width.

ABS, which is used to make Legos, is chemical-based and works at slightly higher temperatures. PLA is derived from natural sources, such as corn or sugarcane. It’s more rigid and glossy than ABS. Outside of 3D printing, it can be used to make compostable packaging.

Filament, which is usually stored on a spool attached to a 3D printer, can be expensive. MakerBot charges $48 for 2.2 pounds of PLA, though PLA or ABS can be had for half the price on eBayThe company estimates one 2.2 pound spool of filament is enough to print 392 chess pieces.

The price is likely to drop as 3D printers become more common and filament is manufactured on a larger scale. One current way to drop the cost is to use a filament extruder; you feed in cheaper plastic beads or recycled plastic and out comes strings of filament.

Once you’ve obtained the filament, it is fed into the 3D printer’s print head. Generally, this is a boxy shape with a nozzle sticking out of it.

Type A Machines Series 1 Pro 3D printer

A gear pulls the piece of filament through the print head. Just before it is extruded by the pointed nozzle, the filament passes through a heated tube and liquifies. The nozzle deposits it in ultra-fine lines generally about 0.1 millimeters across. The plastic solidifies quickly, sealing together layers.

ABS generally needs to be printed on a heated surface; otherwise, the bottom layer of plastic curls up. PLA can be printed on a non-heated surface.

Most printers have one print head, which means objects are printed in one color, or the filament has to be switched out during the print job. Some printers, such as MakerBot’s newest, the Replicator 2X, have two print heads. This allows objects to be printed in two different colors. botObjects has promised to build a full-color printer that mixes filaments to produce a full spectrum of color.

Back and forth, layer by layer

3D printing is additive manufacturing. That means the plastic is built up one layer at a time.

A 3D printed dragon head. Photo by Signe Brewster

The print surface — which is called the print bed — and print head work together to print in three dimensions. On a MakerBot Replicator 2, the print head is suspended on a gantry system. Two metal bars that run across the top of the Replicator support the print head. The print head can move back and forth along them. At the edge of the printer, the two metal bars connect to another two bars. This allows them to move forward and backward, and the print head to move in four directions altogether. The print bed moves up and down to add a third dimension.

MakerBot

Other 3D printers like RepRaps, the open source DIY printers that started the consumer 3D printing trend, sometimes work slightly differently. The print bed may move up, down, forward and backward while the print head only moves side to side. Or there are more unusual systems, such as the DeltaMaker, where the print head moves in three dimensions.

Print jobs can take minutes, hours or days, depending on the size and density of an object. For example, artists recently ran seven Type A Machines Series 1 printers for two months straight to build a 10 x 10 x 8 foot sculpture.

3D printers don’t just print plastic

Not all 3D printers are the same. Professional 3D printers are capable of printing higher quality objects with more diverse materials. At the Shapeways factory, where huge 3D printers output many objects at once, goods aren’t limited to PLA and ABS. There’s brass, ceramic, steel and five types of plastic. Some of their machines rely on laser sintering, which uses lasers to fuse together particles of material. Some key laser sintering patents are set to expire next year, which could soon bring them to consumer printers.

FormLabs’ Form 1, a stereolithography printer, is one of the key printers to watch for non-traditional technologies’ entry into the consumer market. Metal, and even hybrid, printers could be next.

PLA for 3D Printers…what the heck is it?

3D Printer Filament

PLA Filament

Polylactic acid

Polylactic acid
The skeletal formula of PLA
Identifiers
CAS number 33135-50-1
Properties
Molecular formula (C3H4O2)n
Density 1.210-1.430 g·cm-3 [1]
Melting point 150-160 °C [1] 302-320 °F
Solubility in water Insoluble in Water [2]
Hazards
NFPA 704

NFPA 704 four-colored diamond

Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Poly(lactic acid) or polylactide (PLA) is a thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch(in the United States), tapioca roots, chips or starch (mostly in Asia), or sugarcane (in the rest of the world). In 2010, PLA had the second highest consumption volume of any bioplastic of the world.[3]

The name “poly(lactic acid)” does not comply with IUPAC standard nomenclature, and is potentially ambiguous or confusing, because PLA is not a polyacid (polyelectrolyte), but rather a polyester.[4]

ABS or PLA FOR 3D PRINTING?

3D Printer for the Home

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ABS AND PLA FOR 3D PRINTING

You’ve got a 3D Printer, or you’re looking to buy a 3D Printer and each one seems to indicate it prints in either ABS, PLA, or both. So you find yourself wanting to know, what is the difference between ABS and PLA.

Some Common Ground

There are many materials that are being explored for 3D Printing, however you will find that the two dominant plastics are ABS and PLA. Both ABS and PLA are known as thermoplastics; that is they become soft and moldable when heated and return to a solid when cooled. This process can be repeated again and again. Their ability to melt and be processed again is what has made them so prevalent in society and is why most of the plastics you interact with on a daily basis are thermoplastics.

Now while there are many thermoplastics, very few of them are currently used for 3D Printing. For a material to prove viable for 3D Printing, it has to pass three different tests; initial extrusion into Plastic Filament, second extrusion and trace-binding during the 3D Printing process, then finally end use application.

To pass all three tests, a material’s properties must lend desirably to first, it’s formation into the raw 3D Printer feedstock called Plastic Filament; second, process well during 3D Printing giving visually pleasing and physically accurate parts; and lastly, it’s properties should match the intended application, whether that be strength, durability, gloss, you name it. Often, a material will pass one test so superbly, that it becomes worth the extra effort to battle with it during its other stages. Polycarbonate, a lesser known printing material is this way. For some applications, it’s strength and temperature resistance makes it worth the battle to print accurate and fully fused parts.

The first test, that of production from base plastic resin into top-notch Plastic Filament such as what we carry is a strict and carefully monitored process. It is a battle of wits and engineering that takes the plastic from a pile of pellets to a uniformly dense, bubble free, consistently sized, round rod. Here there is little difference between ABS and PLA; most thermoplastics can pass this test, it is mainly just a question of the time and costs required to do so while still producing Plastic Filament that runs smoothly and consistently during the next stage, 3D Printing.

Here is where the two plastics divide and will help to explain why different groups prefer one over the other.

Storage

Both ABS and PLA do best if, before use or when stored long term, they are sealed off from the atmosphere to prevent the absorption of moisture from the air. This does not mean your plastic will be ruined by a week of sitting on a bench in the shop, but long term exposure to a humid environment can have detrimental effects, both to the printing process and to the quality of finished parts.

ABS – Moisture laden ABS will tend to bubble and spurt from the tip of the nozzle when printing; reducing the visual quality of the part, part accuracy, strength and introducing the risk of a stripping or clogging in the nozzle. ABS can be easily dried using a source of hot (preferably dry) air such as a food dehydrator.

PLA – PLA responds somewhat differently to moisture, in addition to bubbles or spurting at the nozzle, you may see discoloration and a reduction in 3D printed part properties as PLA can react with water at high temperatures and undergo de-polymerization. While PLA can also be dried using something as simple as a food dehydrator, it is important to note that this can alter the crystallinity ratio in the PLA and will possibly lead to changes in extrusion temperature and other extrusion characteristics. For many 3D Printers, this need not be of much concern.

Smell

ABS –  While printing ABS, there is often a notable smell of hot plastic. While some complain of the smell, there are many who either do not notice it or do not find it to be particularly unbearable. Ensuring proper ventilation in small rooms, that the ABS used is pure and free of contaminants and heated to the proper temperature in a reliable extruder can go a long way in reducing the smell.

PLA – PLA on the other hand, being derived from sugar gives off a smell similar to a semi-sweet cooking oil. While it certainly won’t bring back fond memories of home-cooked meals, it is considered by many an improvement over hot plastic.

Part Accuracy

Both ABS and PLA are capable of creating dimensionally accurate parts. However, there are a few points worthy of mention regarding the two in this regard.

ABS – For most, the single greatest hurdle for accurate parts in ABS will be a curling upwards of the surface in direct contact with the 3D Printer’s print bed. A combination of heating the print surface and ensuring it is smooth, flat and clean goes a long way in eliminating this issue. Additionally, some find various solutions can be useful when applied beforehand to the print surface. For example, a mixture of ABS/Acetone, or a shot of hairspray.

For fine features on parts involving sharp corners, such as gears, there will often be a slight rounding of the corner. A fan to provide a small amount of active cooling around the nozzle can improve corners but one does also run the risk of introducing too much cooling and reducing adhesion between layers, eventually leading to cracks in the finished part.

PLA – Compared to ABS, PLA demonstrates much less part warping. For this reason it is possible to successfully print without a heated bed and use more commonly available “Blue” painters tape as a print surface. Ironically, totally removing the heated bed can still allow the plastic to curl up slightly on large parts, though not always.

PLA undergoes more of a phase-change when heated and becomes much more liquid. If actively cooled, much sharper details can be seen on printed corners without the risk of cracking or warp. The increased flow can also lead to stronger binding between layers, improving the strength of the printed part.

ABS and PLA General Material Properties

In addition to a part being accurately made, it must also perform in its intended purpose.

ABS – ABS as a polymer can take many forms and can be engineered to have many properties. In general, it is a strong plastic with mild flexibility (compared to PLA). Natural ABS before colorants have been added is a soft milky biege. The flexibility of ABS makes creating interlocking pieces or pin connected pieces easier to work with. It is easily sanded and machined. Notably, ABS is soluble in Acetone allowing one to weld parts together with a drop or two, or smooth and create high gloss by brushing or dipping full pieces in Acetone. Compared to PLA, it is much easier to recycle ABS.

It’s strength, flexibility, machinability, and higher temperature resistance make it often a preferred plastic by engineers and those with mechanical uses in mind.

PLA –  Created from processing any number of plant products including corn, potatoes or sugar-beets, PLA is considered a more ‘earth friendly’ plastic compared to petroleum based ABS. Used primarily in food packaging and containers, PLA can be composted at comercial compost facilities. It won’t bio-degrade in your backyard or home compost pile however. It is natural transparent and can be colored to various degrees of translucency and opacity. Also strong, and more rigid than ABS, it is occasionally more difficult to work with in complicated interlocking assemblies and pin-joints. Printed objects will generally have a glossier look and feel than ABS. With a little more work, PLA can also be sanded and machined. The lower melting temperature of PLA makes it unsuitable for many applications as even parts spending the day in a hot car can droop and deform.

In Summary

Simplifying the myriad factors that influence the use of one material over the other, broad strokes draw this comparison.

ABS – It’s strength, flexibility, machinability, and higher temperature resistance make it often a preferred plastic for engineers, and professional applications. The hot plastic smell deter some as does the plastics petroleum based origin. The additional requirement of a heated print bed means there are some printers simply incapable of printing ABS with any reliability.

PLA – The wide range of available colors and translucencies and glossy feel often attract those who print for display or small household uses. Many appreciate the plant based origins and prefer the semi-sweet smell over ABS. When properly cooled, PLA seems to have higher maximum printing speeds, lower layer heights, and sharper printed corners. Combining this with low warping on parts make it a popular plastic for home printers, hobbyists, and schools.

Additionally one can find a handy chart comparing the two plastics on our Plastic Filament Buyers Guide

Building a Better Patent System

Blog by Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Michelle Lee

Today I had the opportunity to update the public on the USPTO’s continuing efforts to support President Obama’s initiatives to build a better patent system through his executive actions. I want to share my remarks with you through this blog:

“Thank you. I’m pleased to be here at the White House today with Secretary Pritzker, Director Sperling, and Chief Technology Officer Park to discuss what we collectively are doing to advance our nation’s innovation economy. That task is at the core of our mission at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. We do so by issuing the highest quality patents possible; adding ever-more transparency to our patent system; and leveling the playing field for all players, big and small.

The USPTO is approaching its 225th anniversary next year, and throughout the agency’s history our focus hasn’t wavered. Our commitment was—is—and will be—to do everything we can to help foster an intellectual property system that provides American entrepreneurs:

  • the incentives they need to innovate;
  • the tools to help them produce and protect their creative output;
  • and the certainty they need to seek investments and balance risk while developing new technologies that benefit us all.

Even before the president’s call to do more on patent reform last year, the USPTO had efforts underway to:

  • Improve patent quality and metrics;
  • Enhance examiner training, including input from industry experts; and
  • Weed out troublesome patents through post-grant review proceedings.

Furthermore, ever since the administration’s announcement on June 4th, 2013—as my colleagues before me noted—the USPTO has been hard at work implementing four executive actions.

EXECUTIVE ACTION #1 

The first executive action aims to bring greater transparency of patent ownership information to the public. To this end, the USPTO has begun a rulemaking process. Under our proposed new rule—which reflects significant public input—the USPTO would collect patent ownership information for a patent or application and make that information available to all via our website. The result would be increased transparency aimed at:

  • enhancing competition,
  • facilitating technology transfers,
  • helping to ensure the highest quality patents, and
  • leveling the playing field for innovators.

We are now collecting input from the public on the proposed rule and are pleased to announce today two public events: one at our Alexandria, Virginia, headquarters on March 13th, and another in San Francisco, California, on March 26th. We welcome your input.

EXECUTIVE ACTION #2 

The second executive action called for new, targeted training for patent examiners to scrutinize certain types of patent claims that may be overly broad and to increase patent clarity. We have since implemented a multi-phased training program for all examiners to do just this. In addition, in the coming weeks we will launch a pilot program that uses glossaries to define terms in a patent with the goal of further promoting patent clarity.

We have also conducted numerous public engagements to share ideas, feedback, experiences and insights on further ways to improve patent quality, particularly for software-related patents, such as through our four, well-attended Software Partnership Roundtables held within this past year. We recognize that a patent with clearly defined boundaries provides notice to the public to help it avoid infringement, as well as costly and needless litigation down the road, when the patent is in litigation.

EXECUTIVE ACTION #3 

I am very pleased to announce today the culmination of the third executive action calling for new education and outreach to assist those receiving a patent infringement letter. We have just this morning published a new online toolkit of such resources, which you can find at www.uspto.gov/patentlitigation. These resources will help level the playing field for smaller “Main Street” retailers and consumers—those who are not steeped in patent law or who cannot afford teams of patent attorneys—with a variety of complementary resources. These include ways to find information about the patent being asserted (such as assignment information or its past litigation history) to ways to determine if other businesses are being sued on the same patent.

We know of no other online resource, where a recipient of a patent infringement letter can go to get as much information as is available in this toolkit. And, importantly, the new online toolkit features a two-way communication stream so the public can assist us in identifying additional, and we hope even better, resources for all to use.

EXECUTIVE ACTION #4 

Finally, our fourth executive action called for an expansion of our already extensive public outreach efforts, as well as more empirical research. I’ve already mentioned some of our outreach, which we’ve ramped up from an already high level. As for empirical research, we are proud to announce that we have expanded our Thomas Alva Edison Visiting Scholars program. That’s where we bring on board for a limited time talented scholars to examine intellectual property issues.

We’ve already recruited three distinguished scholars to research key issues related to patent litigation —Joshua Sarnoff of DePaul University, Jonas Anderson of American University, and Elizabeth Bailey of U.C. Berkeley. We’ll be announcing more scholars soon. By engaging legal and economic scholars with agency experts, we anticipate a wealth of new research and data. Empirical examination of the interaction of various aspects of our patent system will provide insights on how to further reduce unnecessary litigation and improve the quality of patents.

So that is a quick overview of our work to date on these executive actions, all designed to strengthen our patent system for our country now and in the long run. I’m also pleased by the administration’s announcement today that we will be renewing our USPTO Patents for Humanity program. You can learn more at www.uspto.gov/patentsforhumanity.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama said “The nation that goes all-in on innovation today willown the global economy tomorrow. This is an edge America cannot surrender.” At the USPTO, we are dedicated to a strong intellectual property system that empowers American businesses to succeed by keeping pace with the ever-growing rate of technological breakthroughs. We are working hand in hand with our colleagues throughout the administration, and with our stakeholders, to advance that goal.

Our work also includes actively engaging with the House and Senate as the legislative process moves forward. The patent system is the engine that powers our 21st century innovation economy. Even the most high-performance engine occasionally needs some fine-tuning. But I am confident our collaborative reform efforts will result in a patent system that performs at an unprecedented level of quality and economic output, benefiting us all.  Thank you.”

The Delphion Story – Intellectual Property Network

In the beginning…
The Intellectual Property Network (as it was then called) was an initiative within IBM. In 1997, in response to the growing needs of individuals, organizations, and governments for more efficient methods of exploring intellectual property information, IBM made the network available to the public via the Internet.

Delphion was spun out of IBM in 2000 and created as a wholly independent entity, incorporating the IBM Intellectual Property Network. Now, with its extensive data coverage — collections from all over the world — and value added functionality, it has evolved into one of the most comprehensive sources for finding and viewing patent information.

Delphion Products Overview

Delphion gives you the patent collections & searching options you need to see inside the world’s important patent databases.

Delphion analytical tools give you new insights into your data:

  • Citation Link creates graphical maps of forward and backward references
  • Snapshot allows quick online analysis of your results using bar charts
  • PatentLab-II supports offline analysis of results with 3D graphs and charts
  • Clustering performs keyword-based linguistic analysis
  • Corporate Tree facilitates targeted Assignee name searching

And our productivity tools help make the most of your research efforts:

  • Data Extract exports key bibliographic fields in common formats
  • Work Files save, organize, annotate and share personalized lists of patents
  • Saved Searches saves queries for frequently-used searches
  • Alerts automatically notifies you of updates
  • PDF Express bulk downloads of up to 500 PDFs

Tracking capabilities give you the detail necessary to support client chargebacks and interdepartmental cost allocations.

Patent viewing options include the Delphion Integrated View, both high-resolution and low-resolution image options, and a variety of download and delivery options.

Delphion offers individual subscription packages tailored to meet your individual research needs.

Contacting Delphion

If you have a question about searching, downloading records, using the database or another technical question, please use this link to contact your local Global Customer Technical Support team: http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/techsupport/.

If you would prefer to talk to us on the phone, please contact us at: 

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Or through this convenient form.

Customer Service and Support:
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