The Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) aims to achieve "95% satisfaction" among those who receive patents and trademarks. The agency plans to deliver specific improvements in its operations in 1999, and reach its full target goals in 2003. Over the next four years, PTO will be testing reengineered processes and automated systems, in order to deploy electronic processing of patent applications in 2003. One aim: to reduce patent processing time to 12 months for 75% of original inventions by 1999, and for all inventions in 2003. PTO will partner with the World Intellectual Property Organization to achieve electronic filing of Patent Cooperation Treaty applications. PTO officials hope to receive and process such applications electronically in 2000. Under PTO plans, inventors will be able to use the Internet to check on the status of their patent.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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