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Lessons From Paper Clips

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Mydesign
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Patent
Mydesign   11/7/2012 6:42:06 AM
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Henry, patenting a technology is a cumbersome procedure. Especially with the technology or things we are using in day to day life. Bottle cork, pins etc are some of the examples, which is so far not patented and difficult to get patent.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Patent
Rob Spiegel   11/7/2012 1:47:21 PM
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Good point, Mydesign. It's interesting, though, to see the patent wars over smart phones and tablets. Patent owners in this territory have been able to win substantial gains by calling their competitors on technology theft. The wins have included both money and bans from selling the offending product in specific countries. These wars have given me a whole new respect for the value of a patent.

Mydesign
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Re: Patent
Mydesign   11/12/2012 1:32:07 AM
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Rob, patenting the technology has both advantage and disadvantage. The advantage is patenting will help them for full right over the design or products, so misuse can be avoided and they will get royalty to use their products or designs. But at the same time it will restrict others to continue research in similar direction, they are forces to rethink or redirect their efforts to some other directions.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Patent
Rob Spiegel   11/13/2012 1:07:11 PM
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Good points, Mydesign. One thing I've seen in the mobile phone world and other tech areas is the value of patents as company assets. Quite a few times in recent years, company acquisitions have been based on the value of the acquired company's patents.

Mydesign
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Re: Patent
Mydesign   11/15/2012 3:40:30 AM
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Rob, you are right. That's the main reason and motivation behind Google to acquire Motorola. Motorola, once the pioneer in mobility have 'n' number of patents (it's assumed more than 11,000) and now Google owns all the patents, so they don't have to worry while releasing a new product.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Patent
Rob Spiegel   11/15/2012 11:10:29 AM
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I agree, Mydesign. The value of patents seems to be particularly strong in the world of smart phones, cell phone networks, and tablets. Courts around the world these days are upholding patent ownership by leveling fines or blocking violating products from sale.

JamesCAnder
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Iron
Re: Patent
JamesCAnder   11/7/2012 3:44:41 PM
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It's odd, no matter how new your idea is, there is probably prior art that is the same thing. I am dealing with this concept on a hand full of projects I am working on. But, as a friend of mine suggested, I am adding "patent defeating holes" to my designs. Features that will make it different from all the others in question. Underhanded, but what can I say... I want to see my ideas come to fruition.

JC

Mydesign
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Re: Patent
Mydesign   11/12/2012 1:35:14 AM
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James, the best way to overcome patent restrictions is addressing the drawbacks or negative aspects of the patented design/product. This will help for obtaining a new patent, which is superior to the existing one. That can also brings more market values.

Charles Murray
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Material science knowledge?
Charles Murray   11/7/2012 6:38:29 PM
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What's surprising to me is how inventors of the day were able to perfect the paper clip's performance with (what I assume) was so little knowledge of theoretical and applied mechanics and material science. Did the clip's inventors pay attention to characteristics such as strain hardening when they chose the material and the shape? Or to the elastic modulus or the flexural strength of the material? Or was the patent art based on seat-of-the-pants conclusions? 

bob from maine
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Re: Material science knowledge?
bob from maine   11/8/2012 11:06:22 AM
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I find the concept of creating a patent as a private citizen extremely daunting. The economics of performing a patent search and all the aspects of generating economic return on an unproven design are difficult. I can make a device to perform very intricate tasks using my normal iterative process and when I have the performance I want, I'll put it to work doing the job it was designed for and go on to the next task. Perhaps wrongly, I regard the application for and issuance of a patent as a luxury. I know some outstanding machinists, mechanics and electronics whizes, mechanical and electronic engineers who daily use potentially patentable devices who had they taken the time to patent, would have starved waiting for the process to work. Perhaps I'll create the next great thing and I'll meet the right person at the right time and have the money and good luck to find it's patentable and I'll get a patent to put on the wall and actually find someone with the capacity and capitol to risk making a bunch of them to sell. Or, I could continue making paper-clip-equivalents and hope for the best.

Tom-R
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Gold
Re: Material science knowledge?
Tom-R   11/8/2012 12:37:19 PM
I use the Gem paper clip as an example of how advances in material science change how problems can be solved. It was the advances in wire making that made it possible to form the Gem at the time it was invented. Prior to that it was pins that were used. I for one don't believe we are any smarter than the inventors of the past. We just have a better portfolio of materials and a larger knowledge base to choose from. For the inventors of the Gem, they finally had a wire they could bend at a small enough radius to make their paper clip. I'm sure they didn't drive the material science, but they knew how to use it when it came.

TJ McDermott
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Innovation eliminates versatility
TJ McDermott   11/8/2012 10:41:00 AM
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The endless filament design and the design with balls on the ends both decrease the clip's versatility.  Both designs would preclude the numerous uses for which a paper clip is perfect.

Opening the stuck CD ROM drive on your computer involves sticking something in a hole that just happens to be paper clip wire sized.

Electrical connectors frequently have female ends that are too small to insert a regular multimeter probe.  A paper clip fits well though.

Improving the design for the original intent is not necessarily a good thing in the grander scheme of things.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Blogger
Patents are the secondary element to success
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   11/8/2012 1:15:10 PM
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You must remember one foundational point about patents that is almost always misunderstood by the general public:  Patents are a defense element to protect the core element; the core being, a profitable business model – in whatever business you may choose.

Too often, patent blogs and message boards are covered with people's inquiries and disappointment regarding developing, filing, processing, and actually getting patents.  None of this makes you money, and on the contrary is extremely expensive.

The patent is to defend the money-making idea.  Additionally, you can turn a defensive patent into an offensive element, by marketing it as a license to your potential competition.  But its still a secondary tool (defensive or offensive) to the primary element – the profitable business plan.

All too often, people think getting a patent will make them rich.  Trust me, NOT true.  I have 23.

 

Scott Orlosky
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Platinum
Re: Patents are the secondary element to success
Scott Orlosky   11/18/2012 7:20:05 PM
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So true, JIm.  I only have four patents, but each one is a lot of work to prepare and bring to fuition and in the end what you have is "a right to litigate".  The obligation to defend the patent territory rests with the inventor and is an expensive proposition.  I've often thought one was better off using the patent money to pay for the marketing of the invention.  First mover advantages in the marketplace are worth a lot to the bottom line in the long run.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Patents are the secondary element to success
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   11/19/2012 1:16:57 PM
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Scott, that's a pragmatic way of thinking, to spend the funds on marketing up-front.  I agree.  Realistically speaking, with today's fast-paced technology growth, many patents are pending obsolescence about the same time the patent grants --typically 24-36 months after filing. Accordingly, often there's no point in protecting the idea.  Better to grab the cash-flow from early adopters while the idea is hot.

popuptarget
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Silver
paperclip trivia
popuptarget   11/8/2012 3:59:20 PM
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Roy Grumman used two paper clips and a drafting eraser to come up with the concept for the folding wings on the US Navy F4F Wildcat fighter during WW2...the eraser/paperclip model was on display in Bethpage Long Island at one time.

tekochip
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Platinum
Round-Cornered Rectangle
tekochip   11/19/2012 9:04:35 AM
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Then there are the true innovators in our industry; companies that are not afraid to stretch the bounds of technology in order to bring society creative, cutting edge designs.  Of course I mean Apple and their patent for the Round-Cornered Rectangle.

http://gizmodo.com/5958762/apple-finally-patents-the-round+cornered-rectangle

 

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Blogger
Re: Round-Cornered Rectangle
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   11/19/2012 1:25:32 PM
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Its funny and frustrating for those who have spent legitimate effort on patenting technologies. I don't discount the value of the styling patent; (known as Ornamental, or "design" patents, vs. Utility patents) they're very important.  One peer long ago explained to me, "that's why every car on the road doesn't look like a Corvette Stingray".  Point well made. However, Patents like Apple's attempt at a rectangle just make me sit back and  ** sigh**

What's next? The wheel?  Maybe Fire-?

Cabe Atwell
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Blogger
Re: Round-Cornered Rectangle
Cabe Atwell   11/20/2012 3:17:43 PM
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---

It's odd, no matter how new your idea is, there is probably prior art that is the same thing. I am dealing with this concept on a hand full of projects I am working on. But, as a friend of mine suggested, I am adding "patent defeating holes" to my designs. Features that will make it different from all the others in question. Underhanded, but what can I say... I want to see my ideas come to fruition.

---

This guy has it right. Unfortunately, both sides of a patent dispute will do the same. In other words, it is whoever is more clever, faster.

A friend of mine said if he has a patent issue with a product he is about to release, he is going to move his company to China. There, patent laws seem not to matter. Though, I don't think that will solve the issue. Money will though. Get some financial backing, and patents are a non-issue.

C

Mydesign
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Platinum
Re: Round-Cornered Rectangle
Mydesign   11/23/2012 1:20:47 AM
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"Then there are the true innovators in our industry; companies that are not afraid to stretch the bounds of technology in order to bring society creative, cutting edge designs."

Tekochip, would you think this will help the industry. No, because rather than common man or community developments, all such patent holders have business mentality. My company has many patents in communication and software process, but anybody can use it without any royalty.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Blogger
What has been will be again
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   11/21/2012 12:47:54 PM
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5000 year old Wisdom from the book of Ecclesiastes; Chapter 1, verse 9: What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. ---Great & Wise King Solomon

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