Okay, some patent stories are good

Unlike some lawyers’ sense of judgment, or proofreading ability. From a pending patent application: What will forevermore be known as the infamous Claim Number Nine:

Either way, this was a big miss. But someone’s career died so that we might live, and giggle. Via the Funny IP (ahem) blog.

In a more serious vein, a friend sends along this item about pending U.S. Supreme Court litigation that could really upset the patent apple cart because it questions the legal standard for prior art obviousness. Technology companies are not a little interested in the outcome of this case. We should be, too, at least a little.

Did I ever mention that I got my start typing up patent applications off a dictaphone (genericized trademark — sorry!) tape when I was a teenager? My mom worked for a Cities Service patent lawyer at a research and developnment facility in what was once called Cranbury, New Jersey and sometimes brought home “homework,” and I earned pocket money helping her out. (Just picture me in my late-70’s shaggy do and my Bakelite headphones, hammering away on the Selectric.) I learned terms like “prior art” doing these dizzyingly boring patent apps; really made social waves in Hightstown High School, where my grade in chemistry guaranteed I would never actually be a patent lawyer myself. I also used to visit her office and leaf through the PTO Official Gazette and was fascinated to see that this was where, in effect, trademarks were born. Ah, I thought — that’s more like it! The rest is history.

Author:Ron Coleman

I write this blog.


  1. Funny Patents at Law Offices of G. Mathew Lombard, P.C. - November 16, 2006

    […] Patents are not often, in my opinion, a source of amusement.  However, Ron Coleman posts about a patent claim, hitherto known as, “Claim 9″.  And it is funny. […]

  2. Wheels within Wheels » Blog Archive » My patent story - December 7, 2006

    […] Seeing this reminds me of the time some years ago when a customer wanted to patent something we developed for him. I had to sign away my patent rights for $1.00, which must have been included in my standard pay, because I never saw it. […]