Attorney:

“I’m asking you, though — you certainly know what the use of an apostrophe ‘s’ means, do you not?”

Chris Crawford:

“As I’ve written documents over the years, there are times when I use an apostrophe ‘s,’ and it seems like I’m supposed to use an apostrophe ‘s.’ But I have to say that my grammar is not strong enough to tell you right now with clarity when an apostrophe ‘s’ is used.”

How an apostrophe “s” saved one company from having to pay a patent owner more than $20 million on When Patents Attack…Part Two!

One night in the late 1960s, Eugene Gagliardi was lying awake in bed trying to figure out how to save his company. He was thinking about the Philly cheesesteak.
Gagliardi was trying to figure out a way to turn the Philly cheesesteak into something people would want to make at home. But the meat used for the sandwich was, as Gagliardi says, “so tough you couldn’t chew through it.”
At 3 in the morning, he had an idea. He got up out of bed and went to the plant and tried it.
His idea was complicated — he put the meat through the grinder a bunch of times, then he mixed it, put it in a mold, froze it, then he tempered it, then sliced it — and, finally, he cooked it and ate it to see if it was any good.
In The Kitchen With The Inventor Of Steak-Umm

One night in the late 1960s, Eugene Gagliardi was lying awake in bed trying to figure out how to save his company. He was thinking about the Philly cheesesteak.

Gagliardi was trying to figure out a way to turn the Philly cheesesteak into something people would want to make at home. But the meat used for the sandwich was, as Gagliardi says, “so tough you couldn’t chew through it.”

At 3 in the morning, he had an idea. He got up out of bed and went to the plant and tried it.

His idea was complicated — he put the meat through the grinder a bunch of times, then he mixed it, put it in a mold, froze it, then he tempered it, then sliced it — and, finally, he cooked it and ate it to see if it was any good.

In The Kitchen With The Inventor Of Steak-Umm

Jason Schultz and Jennifer Urban have just launched the Defensive Patent License, an agreement meant to let companies use each other’s patents without fear of lawsuits. Any group that used the license would agree to make all its patents available, royalty-free, to any other signatory. They’d also agree not to launch a patent suit against anyone else who had signed: a kind of mutual non-aggression pact.
theatlantic
theatlantic:

The Best Patent Rejection You’ll Ever See (Featuring Borat)

It is not often that United States Patent and Trademark Office makes a funny. The understaffed and oft-maligned agency is tasked with helping inventors capture the value that they create while stopping copycats and other parasites from patenting things that already exist. They are not known for a sense of humor in pursuing this thankless, impossible assignment. Which brings us to this patent application for a “scrotal support garment,” first filed in February of 2008. (And one of many such garments for which patents have been filed.)
If you are a big fan of Sacha Baron Cohen, you may recognize the form of this suit from the 2006 movie, Borat, which featured Cohen cavorting in a similar outfit near the beginning of the movie. Well, according to Stewart Walsh at IPWatchdog, a patent examiner recognized the garment, too, and rejected the patent application on the basis that the garment already existed. The examiner even included an annotated still of Cohen wearing the swimsuit in the rejection letter. 
“Bifurcated junction” has never and will never be funnier than in this context. 

Read more.

theatlantic:

The Best Patent Rejection You’ll Ever See (Featuring Borat)

It is not often that United States Patent and Trademark Office makes a funny. The understaffed and oft-maligned agency is tasked with helping inventors capture the value that they create while stopping copycats and other parasites from patenting things that already exist. They are not known for a sense of humor in pursuing this thankless, impossible assignment. 

Which brings us to this patent application for a “scrotal support garment,” first filed in February of 2008. (And one of many such garments for which patents have been filed.)

If you are a big fan of Sacha Baron Cohen, you may recognize the form of this suit from the 2006 movie, Borat, which featured Cohen cavorting in a similar outfit near the beginning of the movie. Well, according to Stewart Walsh at IPWatchdog, a patent examiner recognized the garment, too, and rejected the patent application on the basis that the garment already existed. The examiner even included an annotated still of Cohen wearing the swimsuit in the rejection letter. 

“Bifurcated junction” has never and will never be funnier than in this context. 

Read more.

theatlantic
theatlantic:

Yep, Google Just Patented Background Noise

In 2008, Google applied to patent a system that analyzes the environments surrounding mobile phones — temperature, humidity, sound — by way of sensors embedded in those phones. The technology would be mainly used, Google said in its filing, for (yes) “advertising based on environmental conditions.” It would provide another information layer, beyond quaint little GPS, that would target ads based not just on users’ immediate locations, but on their immediate environments. So, the filing noted, detections of hot weather could serve up ads for air conditioners; or, inversely, winter coats. Or the phone sensors might detect, say, the distinctive sounds of an orchestra being tuned, and combine that information — the user is at a concert — with location data and local events data to figure out which concert the user is attending. And then serve ads (for nearby restaurants, orchestral CDs, local violin teachers) based on that intel.
Cool, no? And also totally creepy?
Well. This week, Google was granted its patent. The firm has officially patented background noise. (And also: cold. And also: warmth.)

theatlantic:

Yep, Google Just Patented Background Noise

In 2008, Google applied to patent a system that analyzes the environments surrounding mobile phones — temperature, humidity, sound — by way of sensors embedded in those phones. The technology would be mainly used, Google said in its filing, for (yes) “advertising based on environmental conditions.” It would provide another information layer, beyond quaint little GPS, that would target ads based not just on users’ immediate locations, but on their immediate environments. So, the filing noted, detections of hot weather could serve up ads for air conditioners; or, inversely, winter coats. Or the phone sensors might detect, say, the distinctive sounds of an orchestra being tuned, and combine that information — the user is at a concert — with location data and local events data to figure out which concert the user is attending. And then serve ads (for nearby restaurants, orchestral CDs, local violin teachers) based on that intel.

Cool, no? And also totally creepy?

Well. This week, Google was granted its patent. The firm has officially patented background noise. (And also: cold. And also: warmth.)