U.S. Patent No. 7,654,265
Inventor: Attila Mady
Issued: February 2, 2010
1. A condom having a valved geometry, said condom comprising a first layer and a second layer of a material that is capable of providing a barrier to the passage of bodily fluids, microorganisms and viruses, with said first layer and second layer configured in an overlapping fashion to form a plicated membrane valve at a distal portion of the condom, with said first and second layers further configured such that they are tightly apposed to the glans penis, with said condom further including a reservoir for retaining ejaculate at a distal tip of the condom, and wherein said plicated membrane valve is configured such that the aforesaid first and second layers may separate and the membrane valve may open under pressure provided from the urethra to transmit ejaculate therefrom, permitting emission of semen from the reservoir to an area outside of the confines of the condom in the region corresponding to and physically approximated to the introitus of the urethra, to prevent build-up of fluid at the tip of said condom and to permit impregnation of the female partner engaged in sexual intercourse.
I won't post all the details here (you're welcome), but it is worth reading the specification for entertainment (example: this is probably the first patent to use the words "surgically affixed", "Crazy Glue", "condom" and "shaft" in the same sentence. Ouch.)
You have to admire the patience of the examiner, though. Consider this snippet from the first of four interview summaries:
Applicant notified examiner of his displeasure stemming from his experience during prosecution of a different pending utility application. Examiner alerted applicant that he was not the examiner of record in the other pending application. Applicant maintained that his experience thus far with the PTO may be due to his lack of representation by an attorney. Examiner informed applicant that it is his intention to assist applicant throughout prosecution. Applicant maintained that examiner's rejections based on the prior art...were spurious.Really?? An attorney might help? Ya' think? And recall that this is the inventor who actually did hire an attorney for a quick hit to respond to a messy 112 rejection in his previous patent...only to revoke the POA shortly thereafter.
We'll keep an eye out for more of Dr. Mady's patents in the future. Fun stuff.
Timed perfectly to coincide with today's Federal Circuit decision in Prometheus Labs v. Mayo Clinic, the following patent issued yesterday. Here's claim 1:
U.S. Patent No.
Use of onion extracts to prevent and treat acute and chronic cardiac and vascular complications and their sequelae, as well as to resolve hematomas
Inventors: Attila Mady & Juliana Mady
1. A method of treating hematomas comprising the steps of:
providing an extract of onion (Allium cepa); and
topically applying the onion extract to or proximate an area of a hematoma, for transdermal delivery to increase and accelerate hematoma resorption.
Commentary: If the CAFC is correct that "[C]laims to methods of treatment...are always transformative when a defined group of drugs is administered to the body to ameliorate the effects of an undesired condition." then there's no Bilski problem (assuming onion extract is a defined group of drugs).
Of course, there may be other 101 problems, like utility. For instance, in looking at the healing effects of onions, here's what the inventors said:
Onions are even more ignored [than garlic]. Used in multiple cultures worldwide as a blood thinner and "cardiac tonic", there has nevertheless been very little research regarding its composition and effects. Yet there is not only overwhelming evidence that the onion contains compounds that have a profound impact on the entirety of hemostasis (including platelet function and the coagulation cascade), but this evidence is obvious and easily demonstrable in standard platelet and coagulation assays.
However, the most obvious and dramatic effect of onions is on thrombolysis. Topical application of sufficient amounts of onion juice to a site anywhere approximate to a hematoma (and at sufficiently frequent intervals, approximately every 6 hours) will result in the absorption of said hematoma even days after the formation of this hematoma. Even more remarkably, re-absorption shall occur at sites where there is NEVER reabsorption without surgical drainage, such as sub-periosteal pretibial and olecranon hematomas. Due to the absence of blood flow in these areas, an incision and drainage are always necessary to prevent the progression to fibrosis and the development of permanent tissue deformity.
Hematoma resorption does not only occur in places where it never would under spontaneous circumstances, but is also accelerated, meaning absorption occurs more rapidly (approximately 5-7 times faster than without onion juice). Hematoma resorption is also more complete, reducing the incidence of residual hemosiderin deposition. Finally, hematoma resorption will occur long after it would on a spontaneous basis, up to a week after the initial injury. There is no other thrombolytic known that works beyond approximately 12 hours after initial clot formation.
Further, there is also one report that attributes direct anti-arrhythmic effects to garlic (WO9405307). If this is true, it would be logical to assume that onions would also be likely to possess these properties, since onion juice is vastly more active in terms of its impact on the hemostatic mechanism than garlic. This antiarrhythmic property, however, is only conjecture at this point.
There are no citations to documented research or empirical evidence to back up most of these statements, however. Is the utility of the claimed invention "credible" to a person of ordinary skill in the art? (MPEP 2107) (This is an honest question...I'm no POSITA here.)
Other interesting notes:
20090093856 High fidelity electronic tactile sensor and stimulator array, including sexual stimulus
20090093783 Use of vacuum suction in conjunction with diapers.
20090093782 Mask to compress face
20090092794 Turgor shaping. Control of shape and rigidity through the use of pressure transmitting channel patterns (hydraulic channel arrays).
20090092693 Platelet manipulation to prevent and treat endovascular disease and its sequelae, to prevent and treat arrhythmias and to prevent malignancy
20090090671 Apparatus to assist platelet manipulation to prevent and treat endovascular disease and its sequelae
20090090369 Condom Valve
20090090368 Adhesive condom and deployment
20090089934 Gradient bed
To answer the immediate questions:
1) the diaper vacuum appears to be aimed at elder care, not babies.
2) The condom valve has two uses: "to permit re-use with the same partner, or to permit the transmission of semen and thus permit conception as a result of intercourse while retaining the protective effect of barrier type infection control." Sort of like keeping the top down on the convertible when it's raining.
And according to Dr. Mady, "[C]ondoms are completely useless for the prevention of the transmission of the herpes virus. Hepatitis B, hepatitis C and even HIV are only partially prevented with condoms." Not to get political, but is that the message we've been teaching in our kids' sex ed classes??
3) No, I don't expect Judge Posner to sit by designation as an examiner to weigh in on the obviousness of any of these inventions.
4) None of these other applications have yet been allowed.
For the plumber in us all.
U.S. Patent No. 7,574,752 Garment with Integral faux thong extension and associated method Inventor: Patrick Walters, Long Beach, CA 9. A method for covering an exposed portion of a user buttock crevice,
said method comprising the steps of: Commentary: No Accelerated Examination needed here. Just a very helpful examiner (female, if that matters) with some 112 issues. Thirteen months later, voila. Interesting that it was filed with a non-publication request; I'd think the European or South American market might be strong for this invention. And the first eight claims are apparatus claims, as you might expect. Patent of the week? More like Patent of the Rear. (Commenters, you may now insert your own jokes...)
a. providing a leg wear having a
waist line formed along a top-most edge thereof, said leg wear
including a lower torso buttocks
covering garment provided with a crotch and leg portions respectively;
b. providing and disposing a faux underwear garment along an interior
surface of said leg wear such that a bottom-most end of said faux
underwear garment is attached to said leg wear
at a location below said waist line of said leg wear while a top-most
end of said faux underwear garment is exposed above said waist line of
said leg wear, said faux underwear garment being selected from a group
including a faux g-string and a faux thong
c. providing and engaging a first cord with said top-most
end of said faux underwear garment such that a posterior section of
said first cord remains abutted to said top-most end of said faux
underwear garment, said first cord contiguously
extending adjacent to an entire circumference of said waist line of
said leg wear;
d. adapting said leg wear to partially cover a user
buttock in such a manner that said waist line of said leg wear is
selectively situated below the exposed end of the
user buttock crevice during use thereof; and
e. automatically adapting
said faux underwear garment between stretched and equilibrium positions
when said waist line of said leg wear drops below and rises above the
exposed end of the user buttock crevice
respectively such that said faux underwear garment remains continuously
positioned over the exposed end of the user buttock crevice while said
waist line of said leg wear is selectively adapted below the exposed
end of the user buttock crevice
respectively; wherein said posterior section of said first cord remains
abutted to said top-most end of said faux underwear garment as said
faux underwear garment is adapted between the stretched and equilibrium
U.S. Patent No. 7,574,752 Garment with Integral faux thong extension and associated method
Inventor: Patrick Walters, Long Beach, CA
9. A method for covering an exposed portion of a user buttock crevice, said method comprising the steps of:
Commentary: No Accelerated Examination needed here. Just a very helpful examiner (female, if that matters) with some 112 issues. Thirteen months later, voila. Interesting that it was filed with a non-publication request; I'd think the European or South American market might be strong for this invention. And the first eight claims are apparatus claims, as you might expect.
Patent of the week? More like Patent of the Rear. (Commenters, you may now insert your own jokes...)
A runner-up, at just over 100 days, goes to Perfect Pushup. Yes, that Perfect Pushup, whose commercials you've certainly seen if you have ever watched ESPN for more than a few minutes. It seems that one of the inventors is over 65, and the company wisely has filed Petitions to Make Special to jump to the front of the line. Their fourth utility patent, U.S. Patent No. 7,566,292 issued today for a Handle Assembly for Use With an Exercise Bar. All of their utility patents appear to have had quick prosecutions: their longest filing-to-issuance has been 15 months, and the average is about 9.5.
My 21-month old son loves to sing the song "Cows" from Sandra Boynton's Philadelphia Chickens album. Okay, so he doesn't know all the words. But he certainly knows the one-word chorus, "Cows". And over the last couple weeks, that word has become consistently more loud, pounding, deafening, pervasive, annoying..., to the point where I can't tell if it is on the CD player or just in my head. Over. And over. And over...
So when Landon IP's Blaise Mouttet [cow-] tipped me off to this week's patent, I knew it had to be written up.
Such remarkable cows...
U.S. Patent No.
Method of and an installation for milking an animal having at least two teats
Commentary: Where to start?
"It is the ambition of this improved revolver inventor to have this present "Non-Skip Revolver" invention manufactured in superior quality "Non-Skip Trigger Cocking Double Action Revolvers" in 22 mag. and 44 mag. calibers for plinking and hunting, and in a small light weight five shot .38 Spl. for personal protection, and perhaps a licensed manufacturer(s) will offer a special edition set including all three caliber revolvers celebrating the Supreme Court's historic Jun. 26, 2008 Second Amendment Decision."
Certainly not me, Len. Here's to you, for keeping our legs gunshot-free!
The take-a-number toilet reservation system is back. And it's mad.
A few years ago, IBM was issued U.S. Patent No. 6,329,919 for a “System and method for providing reservations for restroom use.” This made news. The patent soon became the face of all that was evil with the recent patentability of business methods. In fact, public outcry rose to such a level that USPTO Director James Rogan ordered a reexamination of the patent. A couple months later, IBM disclaimed the patent.
(Of course, the patent’s poster boy status lives on: like the Walker Digital patent family previously featured here, this disclaimed patent was nevertheless cited by Judge Mayer in his Bilski dissent as somewhere between “ridiculous” and “absurd”)
That brings us to this week’s issuance:
Inventor: Nitesh Ratnakar (Oak Creek, WI) 1. A lavatory reservation system comprising of; receive a request to use lavatory from user; enter user in queue in assigned lavatory set according to
set of rules; assign access code for lavatory reservation request; notify user of lavatory status;
Inventor: Nitesh Ratnakar (Oak Creek, WI)
1. A lavatory reservation system comprising of;
receive a request to use lavatory from user;
enter user in queue in assigned lavatory set according to set of rules;
assign access code for lavatory reservation request;
notify user of lavatory status;
Commentary: Believe it or not, this is not the first bathroom reservation system since ‘919. There’s U.S. Patent Pub. 2002/0022896, innocently entitled “Queuing methods and apparatus” by its patent attorney-applicant, and U.S. Patent No. 6,237,872 which was actually filed a few years before ‘919 (and granted to Dr. Reuven Bar-Levav, a Michigan psychiatrist who was murdered by a former patient in 1999).
Like those applications, today's also has an individual “non-traditional” inventor in Dr. Nitesh Ratnakar. Unlike the previous applications, however, this one was filed pro se. And I must say, it is one of the better pro se filings I’ve seen, both in form and substance of the file history (compare, for example, the classic Godly Powers application). More impressive is that he filed this application electronically before EFS-Web. Any patent attorney who suffered through that kludgy system surely appreciates Dr. Ratnakar’s extraordinary efforts. Even I, a self-proclaimed tech-type, avoided this system and used it just once, and then only because the Rules required it in my particular situation. So kudos, Doctor. [Note: I still would strongly discourage prosecution of a patent pro se.]
Turning to the meat, let’s compare Dr. Ratnakar's claim to that of IBM’s erstwhile ‘919 patent:
1. A method of providing reservations for restroom use,
comprising: receiving a
reservation request from a user; and notifying the user
when the restroom is available for his or her use.
1. A method of providing reservations for restroom use, comprising:
receiving a reservation request from a user; and
notifying the user when the restroom is available for his or her use.
Yep. Reading that two line claim, it’s understandable why people were up in arms. But it’s not clear if the outrage was because of patentable subject matter (101, following the State Street case) or obviousness (103). Recall that this patent was about to be reexamined because of prior art, not because the subject matter wasn’t patentable. [By statute, all reexaminations are based on prior art. 35 U.S.C. Section 302. Should this requirement be changed to allow for new 101 issues? 112?]
In contrast, Dr. Ratnakar’s claim looks pretty good with respect to Bilski. There’s some fairly particular apparatuses in there: a door; a door lock; and a lavatory, at least. And there may even be a physical transformation in the position of the door lock. This claim’s undoing could turn out to be all those “means” under 112 (or 101 – see Ex parte Snyder), but I’m not looking at the spec to analyze that.
The file wrapper is unremarkable, other than the fact that the pro se inventor successfully navigated through two rejections, an RCE and an examiner interview to get his patent issued. Then again, judging from his other filings and issued patents, Dr. Ratnakar appears to have quite a bit of experience with the patent system. His "Parking location reminder device" (U.S. Patent No. 7,411,518) is actually pretty nifty, imho.
So what do you think? Does this week's toilet reservation patent bother you as much as IBM’s ‘919? If not, why not?
As a final note, I'll point out that then-Director Jon Dudas gave a talk last year at which he reportedly referred to an application the USPTO “recently received for what was claimed to be a better way to stand in line while waiting to use an airplane toilet” as an illustration of declining application quality. Sounds like Dudas may have been referring to this very patent, rather than IBM’s. No doubt some will cast this "exemplary" application's allowance as an indictment of the PTO’s ability to separate the wheat from the chaff...
I'm assured by some of my biology-oriented colleagues that such things are patented all the time, and there is no 101 problem. (Dupont received its famous patent on the Oncomouse--a transgenic rodent altered to have increased susceptibility to cancer--in 1988.) Nevertheless, I can't help but get a crazy image in my head whenever I read the title and claims of this patent that issued on Tuesday:
Filed: January 16, 2008
Assignee: University of Rochester
Two prosecution questions: 1) Only 15 months from filing to issuance, and no Accelerated Examination. Why can't we see that in the "digital arts?" 2) I'm not used to the "and/or" language getting past the examiners, but I suppose it is not a 112 problem if there's no resulting ambiguity.
By the way, I hear that the donor for those human glial cells was a woman. I can't quite recall her name... Abby something.