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Successful Transition to the Cooperative Patent Classification System

Cooperation between the USA and Europe is a good thing! KTA

Blog by USPTO Commissioner for Patents Peggy Focarino

On January 1, 2015, the USPTO successfully transitioned to the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system from the United States Patent Classification (USPC) system. The CPC is a collaborative venture between the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO), designed to develop a common, internationally compatible classification system for technical documents used in the patent granting process. It offers a more robust and agile classification system for both offices’ user communities and enables more technical documents to be classified, because the USPTO and EPO are both entering documents into the system. Since its launch, the USPTO has successfully issued about 47,000 U.S. patent documents under the CPC.

As we transitioned to the CPC, we made sure to keep patent applicants and owners updated on the transition process. Leading up to the changeover, throughout 2013 and 2014, numerous bilateral CPC events were held with external stakeholders, providing notice that the USPC would become a static document collection for utility patents after December 2014. Stakeholders may continue to see a limited number of U.S. patent grants still issuing with USPC symbols due to allowed applications already in the publication cycle, but the USPTO will no longer actively assign USPC symbols to issued utility patents. However, plant and design patents are not covered in the CPC, so they will continue to be published with USPC symbols.

To facilitate searching for documents, the USPTO’s existing tools have been modified to provide all users the ability to search documents classified in the CPC, the USPC (now a static document collection), and the International Patent Classification (IPC) systems. USPTO examiners are now required to classify and search using the CPC, and we want our user community to understand that the CPC will be continuously updated through bilateral revision and reclassification projects between the USPTO and the EPO. We are also working on creating a bilateral examiner-focused collaborative environment for discussions, work-sharing initiatives and training opportunities.

As a leader in the global patent community, the USPTO is dedicated to providing a quality classification system for employees and stakeholders, and one that is compatible with the international patent community. Most importantly, we will ensure that the quality of the classification system remains strong and agile.

The CPC provides a more comprehensive search result set that includes national documents from China and Korea,  as well as several other countries that are classifying their national documents into the CPC; documents that were not previously available for viewing or retrieval under the USPC. We intend to keep the quality of the CPC documents at a high level by helping more countries classify their national documents into the CPC, and we will continue to work with the EPO to perform an ongoing number of CPC revision projects.

We welcome your thoughts on the transition from the USPC to the CPC. More information, including frequently asked questions, is available on the CPC page of our website. Please send any questions or comments to (link sends e-mail).

What we need next is  CPC and China cooperative! KTA


The USPTO will host a two-day public meeting on patent quality on March 25 and 26 at our headquarters in Alexandria, Va. The Quality Summit will encourage robust discussions among USPTO leadership; patent prosecutors, litigators, applicants, and licensees; and other members of the public interested in the USPTO’s efforts to further improve patent quality through its Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative.

The USPTO is seeking public input and guidance to direct its continued efforts towards enhancing patent quality. These efforts focus on improving patent operations and procedures to provide the best possible work products, to enhance the customer experience, and to improve existing quality metrics. The USPTO has already set in motion several quality initiatives, including robust technical and legal training for patent examiners, as well as a Glossary Pilot, Quick Patent IDS Program, First Action Interview Pilot, and After Final Consideration Pilot. The two-day Quality Summit is one of many ways the USPTO is engaging with the public on this important effort.

Read the press release to learn more.


Deputy Director Michelle K. Lee at the Technology Policy Institute

Patent reform is high on the agenda for Congress. Proponents of reform claim the current system produces excessive litigation, particularly on the part of “patent assertion entities,” imposing costs on entrepreneurs and others and deterring innovation. Those on the other side suggest that the litigation explosion is overstated and that patent reform efforts will weaken intellectual property protections to the detriment of innovation.

Deputy Director Michelle K. Lee joined The Technology Policy Institute for a half-day conference “Patents in Theory and Practice: Implications for Reform” on February 11 to explore the evidence for reform from both sides of the issue.

Learn more by viewing the agenda or watching the fireside chat.


Originally posted on AVA CONSULTING:


Light-bulb moments don’t happen on command, and brainstorming sessions rarely produce extraordinary results. More often it’s a random remark, event, or memory that sends an entrepreneur down the rabbit hole of innovation. From Airbnb to Yelp, here are the surprising origin stories to eight of today’s hottest companies:


A study abroad opportunity during his junior year at Stanford University providedKevin Systrom with the inspiration for Instagram. Systrom brought his advanced SLR camera to the photography class he was taking in Florence Italy, but his teacher replaced it with an inexpensive Holga that used random light leaks and vignettes borders to produce interesting photos. Systrom loved the aesthetic: “It taught me the beauty of vintage photography and also the beauty of imperfection,” he told Forbesmagazine in…

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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’


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  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.


Commercial 3D Printer System