US Patent No. 10 Million

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On June 19th 2018 the USPTO issued the 10 millionth patent. It was awarded to Joseph Marron and the Raytheon Company for their invention of « Coherent ladar using intra-pixel quadrature detection ». This device is a culmination of American invention as it can be used across autonomous vehicles, medical imaging devices, military defense systems, and space and undersea exploration.

Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu said: “This patent represents one of ten million steps on a continuum of human accomplishment launched when our Founding Fathers provided for intellectual property protection in our Constitution. Some of the greatest leaps humanity has made have been fueled by our greatest inventors, Americans who have changed the course of history with their brilliance and dogged perseverance.”

At current rates patent no. 11 million should appear in 2021 – the countdown begins!

Click here to read more from the USPTO

To learn more about countdown to the 10th millionth patent click here:

A countdown to the 10 millionth Patent

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Next Tuesday 19th June, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will issue their 10 millionth patent. In celebration, here are some key points in the USPTO’s history!

The first Patent Board was composed of Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of War Henry Knox, and Attorney General Edmund Randolph following the 1790 Patent Act. Patent Number 1, signed by President George Washington, was awarded to Samuel Hopkins for the improvements in making ‘pot ash and pearl ash’, otherwise known as a form of fertilizer. In 1802, Dr William Thornton became the first ‘Superintendent of Patents’ and served for 26 years. In 1975, the Patent Office was renamed to become the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as we know it today and in 2003, the headquarters were moved from Washington D.C. to Alexandria, Virginia.

In the lead up to the 10 millionth patent there is great excitement as to who will be named the patent holder. Let’s look at the past millionth patent holders and their inventions:

1911: Francis H. Holton received US patent no. 1,000,000 for an improvement in vehicle tires.

1935: Joseph Ledwinka received US patent no. 2,000,000 for a pneumatic tire for rail cars.

1961: Kenneth Eldredge received US patent no. 3,000,000 for an automatic reading system that converts human language into machine language.

1976: Robert Mendenhall received US patent no. 4,000,000 for a recycling process for asphalt-aggregate compositions.

1991: Lonnie O. Ingram, Tyrrell Conway and Flavio Alterthum received US patent no. 5,000,000 for creating a means to use E. coli bacteria to produce ethanol.

1999: Jeffrey C. Hawkins and Michael Albanese received US patent no. 6,000,000 for a method of synchronizing files between computers.

2006: John P. O’Brien received US patent no. 7,000,000 for inventing low-cost textile fibers form polysaccharides.

2011: Robert J. Greenberg, Kelly H. McClure and Arup Roy received US patent no. 8,000,000 for a visual prosthesis for people who have gone blind from retinal degeneration.

2015: Matthew Carroll received US patent no. 9,000,000 for a device that collects rainwater from a car’s windshield and recycles it for cleaning the windshield.

Predicting US patent no. 10,000,000 is an impossible task but we are excited to celebrate this milestone with the USPTO! What is your favorite invention?

America’s favorite pastime: Baseball Patents

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Spring is here and as the sun grows hotter we get ready for picnics, beach days and if you are a baseball fan you can’t wait for some peanuts and Cracker Jack. It doesn’t matter if you root for the Yankees or the Dodgers, read about some of the patents that you might recognize from America’s favorite pastime!

1) Protective Garment for Baseball Umpires Having an Inner Cushioned Layer and an Outer Layer of Interconnected Plates

This patent for a chest protector has an inner layer that can flex to to fit the shape of a torso, can provide comfort, and will help protect an umpire from any damage if they get hit by a stray ball or flying bat piece.

2) Baseball Cap with Interchangeable Logos 

Maybe you’re a fan of different baseball teams, but don’t want to buy multiple baseball hats. This cap features a front panel with a button that allows the user to easily attach and swap out different team logos.

3) Baseball Bat with Training Weight

Apply weight training to baseball training with this circular weight! If used properly, this training device helps to improve a player’s batting ability.

4) Outfield Wall Structure for a Baseball Playing Field

This outfield structure boasts an angled wall as opposed to a vertical wall for two reasons: to reduce the force of the trajectory of a ball when it hits the wall, and to reduce injury when a player might run into the wall.

5) Kit for Baseball Field

This portable kit includes Velcro bases, plates, and measuring tape to convert a plain, regulation-sized field into a baseball field for kids to play.

And remember, in the words of Babe Ruth, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Cryptocurrencies and Patents: What Does That Even Mean?

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With the rise of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, there have been questions about the implications for intellectual property and patents due to the previously unseen nature of the technology and processes. On March 1st, PayPal filed a patent for a cryptocurrency system.

PayPal hopes to change the slow transaction time some customers have previously faced to compete directly with traditional payment methods[1]. PayPal’s ‘Expedited Virtual Currency Transaction System’ will create second wallets with their own private keys that will have ‘predefined amounts of cryptocurrency’. The patent application describes this method as ‘practically eliminating the amount of time the payee must wait to receive a virtual currency payment’, thus solving the key problem of why cryptocurrency owners choose traditional payment methods as they offer quicker transfer times.

The success and popularity of cryptocurrencies is growing and is all over the news. However, the volatility of the currencies is still creating uncertainty. Bitcoin famously lost around $67 billion in a week in early February[2]. John Rainey, CFO at PayPal, has spoken out positively of Bitcoin and was one of the first companies to facilitate Bitcoin transfer in 2015 on their business application ‘Braintree’[3]. As one of the most popular payment facilitators in the US and the world, PayPal ended Q3 in 2017 with 218 million active customer accounts.[4] It will be interesting to see whether PayPal’s aim to facilitate cryptocurrency transfers will affect their own stock value as well as the strength of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.


[2] Fortune

[3] CoinTelegraph

[4] ZDnet

International Women’s Day

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Happy International Women’s Day! To celebrate, we’re going to look at a key moment in history for both women and intellectual property.

The Patent Act of 1790 was signed by George Washington and marked the first time in American history that both men and women were given rights to their inventions[1]. However, it wasn’t until May 5th, 1809 that Mary Kies filed her invention, making her the first woman to be awarded a patent[2]. Kies invented a unique method of weaving straw with silk to make hats. At this time, the US had implemented a trade embargo with France due to the Napoleonic War. This meant items such as decorative hats that were usually imported from France were in great demand. Kies’ patent led to $500,000 worth of sales in the New England hat industry in 1810 (approximately $9 million in today’s money) earning her praise from First Lady, Dolley Madison[3]. Unfortunately, Kies’ original patent file was destroyed in a fire at the Patent Office in 1836, however, her legacy remains as the first female patent holder[4].

World Intellectual Property day is just around the corner and this year’s theme is: Powering change: Women in innovation and creativity. How will you celebrate on April 25th?


[2] America’s Library

[3] Wired

[4]History of American Women

Waffles to Olympics: Nike’s Intellectual Property Growth

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As the 2018 Winter Olympics comes to an end we take a final look into the patents behind one of the most prominent sports brand at the Olympics: Nike.

Their involvement in the Olympics was prominent with their “Team USA Medal Stand Collection” – clothing which featured insulated pockets, zippers and patented heat reflective materials and worn for all the below freezing medal ceremonies. Nike has been filing patents for years, but did you know that Nike co-founder, William Bowerman, filed a patent for a new type of innovation sole on this day in 1974? The sole’s design was inspired by his family’s waffle iron. Bowerman received his shoe patent number 3,793,750 on February 26, 1974 and Nike began producing the “waffle” trainers the same year.[i]

Nike has always had a long history of innovation – in 2013 they set a record with +300 patents and in 2016 they filed +650 for all sorts of items, including 262 for footwear, 96 related to data and 73 for manufacturing technology.[ii] Nike now rivals Yahoo and AT&T in terms of patent portfolio size and according to The Fashion Law, “Nike has more U.S. patents than one of the United States’ top defense contractors, a company that is in the business of making stealth jets…”[iii] the trend of sports, innovation and patents won’t be stopping anytime soon.


Robot Patents and the 2018 Winter Olympics

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Today marks the opening day of the Winter Olympics 2018 which is taking place in PyeongChang in South Korea. There have already been news worthy stories surrounding this event, including Norway’s mistaken order of 15,000 eggs when they intended to order just 1,500 due to a Google Translate error. This is before the first medal has been awarded!

One headline that has created anticipation is ‘Meet the Robots of the 2018 Olympics’[1]. Robots are still a sci-fi dream for most countries, with their use restricted to factories and still being largely tested. However, in South Korea ‘social’ robots who interact, communicate with and aide humans are much more visible.

According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), since 2013 social robot patent applications have risen more than 20 percent annually with the figure rising to 75 percent in the last two years. In terms of their skills, the applications for robots capable of more complex action has risen to 49 percent from 32 percent, whilst applications for robots that are capable of simple repetitive work has dropped to 31 percent from 61 percent[2].

The use of robots in the 2018 Winter Olympics was already seen as a ‘humanoid’ robot carried the Olympic torch and even cut through a wall to show its abilities before passing the torch to the next runner. Throughout the next few weeks of the Olympics, there will be a robot ski competition to be held on the sidelines with entries from local universities and tech firms, artificial intelligence (AI) powered translation robots, cleaning and service robots and even schools of robotic fish in aquariums in the International Broadcast Center. Whatever happens in the stadiums and on the slopes, the robots will showcase South Korea’s forward thinking use of technology and AI.

Share your Olympic patent stories by using our hashtag #RWSOlympics! Who are you rooting for this year?



[1] The Smithsonian, 2018

[2] The Korea Herald, 2017

Patent Search Strategies for Success: Join our Webinar

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On Wednesday 15th November, James Fahy and Peter Shea led a webinar titled ‘Patent Search Strategies for Success’. The webinar began by covering three main tool types available for strategy creation:

  • Keywords and classification
  • Citation
  • Name covering applicants, investors and signees

Peter Shea emphasized that ‘A strategy balancing the strengths and weaknesses of all appropriate search tools will be needed to deliver the best possible outcome.’

Once a search strategy is created, the search methodology will follow. Amongst the most popular searches are:

  • Novelty/patentability
  • Validity/invalidity
  • Freedom-to-Operate/Clearance

It was emphasized that Landscape Analysis, whilst not strictly a Search, provides an overview of patenting activity and help drive business decisions. This can be used in varying situations from R&D Decision Making to Competitor analysis.

Attorneys licensed in the State of New Jersey were able to receive up to 1 General CLE credit for attending. In the future, more webinars with CLE credit will be led by James Fahy and Peter Shea.
If you are interested in finding out about future webinars for NJ CLE credit, please sign up for our Insight posts.

If you have any questions, please contact your local RWS office.

Download your free copy of our Patent Search brochure here.

Foreign Filing Roundup W/O 31 July 2017

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Good afternoon readers, here is a round up of this week’s updates in intellectual property news:

  • July 31st 2017 was the 227th anniversary of patents in the USA. On this day in 1790, the very first patent was signed by President George Washington, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Attorney General Edmund Randolph.
  • The Supreme Court have ruled that all filings will be publicly available online for free as of mid-November this year with the introduction of their electronic filing system.
  • The introduction of the UPC is further delayed due to the legislative changes necessary for implementation in both Germany and the United Kingdom. It is predicted that the UPC will be implemented in February 2018 providing there are no more delays.

We also wanted to inform you that we will be attending a number of events coming up in September:

Gearing up for INTA’s Annual Meeting 2017

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With the International Trademark Association’s (INTA) annual conference set to take place in sunny Barcelona this week, we at RWS are excited to once again reconnect with our global colleagues, clients and IP industry peers. INTA has grown into the intellectual property’s largest gathering of IP professionals in the world and serves as an annual benchmark of the topics and trends that will set the tone for the rest of 2017.

Looking back to last year’s event, held in Orlando, we saw several key trends emerging that showed an evolving and expanding path for IP management, trademark law and the role of trademark and patent lawyers. Trademark lawyers are increasingly becoming an integral part of the marketing team as creating and protecting distinct brands in the digital age is becoming more of a challenge. And this is increasingly on a global scale, heightening the importance of having a strong foreign filing and IP translation partner.

Shortly after last year’s INTA conference RWS issued its 7th Annual Global Patent and IP Trends Indicator, an in-depth look at the filing strategies of U.S. and European patent owners over the previous year. Not surprisingly, many of our findings echoed what was discussed in Orlando. Our survey found an increase in international IP filing and search, concerns over the fallout from Alice Corp v. CLS Bank Ruling in the US, and the rising importance of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) on the international stage.

Since that time, the industry has only continued upon its dynamic path. Looking at this year’s agenda, we were struck by how the global theme was reflected in many of the programs, from understanding how cultural differences impact the trademark industry to finding the right global legal counsel to navigate complex international markets. It is hardly a coincidence this year’s event is being hosted in Barcelona.

At RWS, we too have gone more global, as we expanded the international reach of our 8th Annual Global Patent and IP Trends Indicator survey! We polled more international IP professionals than ever, and here is a preview of what they said:

  • Overall patent activity and international filing rates remain on the rise
  • European Unitary Patent is firmly on the minds of patent professionals around the world
  • China continues its development as a key international IP hub
  • Concerns in the US around patent quality, continued fallout from the AIA and post grant challenges with the change from first-to-invent to first-to-file

Please stop by Booth C24-26 from May 21-24 to visit with our IP professionals and learn more about the RWS service suite.

We look forward to not only discussing these issues and more with you in Barcelona, but issuing our full findings in early June. If you are attending this year’s INTA Conference, please look out for our team and follow us as on our social channels @inoviaIP for live updates!

Reminder: Our 8th Annual Global Patent & IP Trends Survey is closing soon!

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Good afternoon! We invite you to take our 8th Global Patent & IP Trends Survey before it closes next week. Patent professionals responding on behalf of companies and universities in the United States and Europe are encouraged to participate below. The survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete:

After compiling the survey’s responses, we will issue an IP indicator report that identifies the trends having the greatest impact on the foreign filing and translation strategies of patentees around the world.

As a thank you for your participation, we will send you the report before released to the general public. You can also download The 2016 Global Patent & IP Trends Indicator here. 

If you have any questions regarding this project, please don’t hesitate to email us at