Horse Shoe

Another one of those examples how design patents make the world a richer place.

Would be interesting to see this patent being litigated. I suspect that prior art will primarily be found outside of patents – which seems a lot harder for the Patent Office to find.

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Pretty Screw

Isn’t this a pretty screw?

The USPTO just granted a design patent (D601004) for this truly novel and non-obvious design of a screw.

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USPTO erlaubt weniger Patente

Anzahl erlaubter Patentanmeldungen in den USA rückläufig

USPTO Statistik: Erlaubte Patentanmeldungen

Wie eine aktuelle Statistik des amerikanischen Patentamtes zeigt ist die Zahl der erlaubten Patentanmeldungen im Verhältnis zur Gesamtzahl aller Patentanmeldungen stark rückläufig.  Vor wenigen Jahren wurden noch fast 3 von 4 Patentanmeldungen erlaubt – heute liegt die Zahl bei weniger als 1 in 2.


Für das USPTO ist diese Statistik alamierend, denn weniger erteilte Patente bedeuten weniger Erhaltungsgebühren, und damit weniger Einnahmen für’s Patentamt.

Schaut man sich allerdings so manche früher erteilten Patente an, beispielsweise die in US Patent 5443036 patentierte Methode eine Katze zu unterhalten, musste wirklich etwas geschehen, um die Qualität erteilter Patente zu verbessern.

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Patent Agent!

A few weeks ago I passed the “patent bar exam” and am now officially a registered patent agent with my very own registration number: 59184.

By the way: My study material is also available on the web at Patentbarquestions.com – the page was a nice motivation to sort everything I had read about the patent bar exam and go over details again and again…

Another site I created, this one is German, is usa-patent.de, following the same concept of making use of the material I had to create while studying anyway.


XM Navtraffic

One of the most interesting projects I had a chance to lead: Getting XM Navtraffic into the 2005 Cadillac CTS:


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Online Banking Security Liability

I just read through the “Web Safety Guarantee” of everbank. The guarantee covers 100% of any losses due to “A computer crime that EverBank security system fails to prevent”.

That seems awefully generous, given the poor web safety standard of US banks in general and EverBank in particular compared e.g. to their German counterparts.

I have used online bank accounts in Germany for years. To ensure security those banks use two layers of authentication: A password to gain access to the account in the first place and a one-time transaction authorization number (TAN) for each transaction. Those TANs come in a long list by mail and are worthless once used. In a new twist bank are going one step further and sending the transaction number via SMS right when needed – further increasing security against stolen TANs or certain man-in-the-middle attacks.
In case that anyone obtains my passwort (e.g. due to a security breach within Microsoft Windows) a hacker would still not be able to transfer any money out of my German bank account without valid TAN numbers. In most US banks the hacker would gain access to the account and be able to transfer money. It seems pretty clear to me: Everbank and other US banks security system would fail to prevent an attack that every German bank would have stopped – hence the liability for such an attack should rest with EverBank.

One question I have never been able to answer though: Why is it, that US banks just don’t care? Are US customers really that lazy that typing in a TAN to increase the security of their bank account is too much? Or do US banks believe their customers can’t handle the complexity of password and TAN?


My latest project

Here is a link to my latest project: A US-Patent Wiki for German inventors. It’ll one day be a comprehensive information source especially for German inventors interested in obtaining a US Patent.

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My Patents

I thought it might be neat to have all my patent / patent applications on one page… ended up taking longer to compile than I anticipated…

  1. Verfahren und Vorrichtung zur Identifikation eines Fahrzeugnutzers
  2. Innenrückspiegel für Kraftfahrzeuge
  3. Vorrichtung für Kraftfahrzeuge zur Benutzeridentifikation
  4. Tragbare Sende- und Empfangsvorrichtung zur Personenidentifikation
  6. Vorrichtung zur Sicherung von Kraftfahrzeugen gegen Manipulation
  7. Kraftfahrzeug mit in verschiedenen Modi betreibbaren Steuergeräten
  8. Benutzeridentifikationsvorrichtung
  9. Vorrichtung für Kraftfahrzeuge zur Benutzeridentifikation
  10. System and methods of wireless vehicle to vehicle data sharing
  11. System and method for wireless broadcast of multimedia files to vehicles
  12. Embedded hard drive infotainment system
  13. Turn-by-turn navigation system with enhanced turn icon
  14. Turn-by-turn navigation system with special routing features
  15. Navigation system with map and point of interest databases
  16. Turn-by-turn navigation system with enhanced turn icon
  17. Turn-by-turn navigation system with special routing features
  18. Navigation system with map and point of interest databases
  19. Motor vehicle engine immobilizer security system and method
  20. Voice recognition in a vehicle radio system
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I wish my Tivo could…

Tivo is great. It does have one disadvantage though: Tornado Warnings typically reach me about 2-5 days after the fact. And even though it is always fun trying to remember what the weather was like that day it kind of defeats the purpose of a warning.

The feature I would like to see: A Tivo popup / banner / whatever that informs me of severe weather even if I am watching Tivo. Certainly the information is available on the internet (weatherbug has it), so why not combine it with the broadband Tivo features?

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Axel’s blog is moving in here…

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