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Natural-born inventors -or- What happens when a computer creates

This week has me thinking again about some of the historical impediments to Black inventors, although in a modern context, that has very little to do with civil rights. Remember that historic rules requiring inventors to state their citizenship were used to prevent Black inventors from filing patents. Thankfully, that roadblock eased over time. But […]

Black Inventors Historically Denied Rights Under Patent Law

The U.S. legal system has both helped and hindered racial justice through our history, including the Supreme Court rulings that have ranged from horrifically racist mistakes to iconic civil rights victories.  On the one hand, there’s the notorious Dredd Scott decision, which said that no Black person could be a citizen or sue someone in court.  […]

Inventions that might make you say “What???”

Some inventions are important.  Some relate to complex technology.  Some are strange, silly, dangerous, or all three wrapped together.  Next week we’ll post about a more serious side of patents.  But for this week, here are some more examples of inventions that might make you say “What???” When I was a kid, my dog would […]

Volunteer Citizen Scientists Make BOINC Supercomputer

It’s an exciting break from day-to-day emails or Web-surfing to check out BOINC and say, “Oh, look, the computer’s searching for pulsars now.” I am typing this on what looks like a perfectly normal laptop computer. I’m at home, comfortable; I have music on. It’s a calm evening. But behind this normalcy, there are larger […]

Kid Inventors Use Empathy as Inspiration

Last week we wrote about a few inventions that were patented by kids.  Once you start to dig into this, it’s amazing – although maybe not surprising –  how inventive kids really are.  Some are on the goofy side, like the Hamster Helmet or trash catapult featured by Ellen. Some are pretty fundamental to childhood […]

Celebrating Innovation: Patents on July 4th

As a lawyer as well as an engineer, part of celebrating July 4 for me is a celebration of the ideals that our constitution aims for.  And as a patent lawyer, the fact that patent law is part of the constitution – that’s true! – has always been interesting too.  So right around Independence Day […]