May 12, 2014
The Communist Manifesto, As a Patent Application

Great books—books that change the way we see the world, books that spur us along our paths as people and cultures—are, in their way, patents. They are innovations made manifest. They are ideas that are claimed by an author on behalf of the rest of us. They are cultural products that concern themselves, when they are at their very best, with hammocks. 
The artist and developer Sam Lavigne has taken these connections to a delightfully logical conclusion. Over at github, he posted a program that renders texts—literary, philosophical—as patent applications. “In short,” Lavigne explains, “it reframes texts as inventions or machines.” 
So! Kafka’s The Hunger Artist becomes “An apparatus and device for staring into vacancy.” Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology becomes “A device and system for belonging to bringing-forth.” And—my personal favorite—​The Communist Manifesto becomes “A method and device for comprehending theoretically the historical movement.” 
Read more. [Image: Sam Lavigne]

The Communist Manifesto, As a Patent Application

Great books—books that change the way we see the world, books that spur us along our paths as people and cultures—are, in their way, patents. They are innovations made manifest. They are ideas that are claimed by an author on behalf of the rest of us. They are cultural products that concern themselves, when they are at their very best, with hammocks

The artist and developer Sam Lavigne has taken these connections to a delightfully logical conclusion. Over at github, he posted a program that renders texts—literary, philosophical—as patent applications. “In short,” Lavigne explains, “it reframes texts as inventions or machines.” 

So! Kafka’s The Hunger Artist becomes “An apparatus and device for staring into vacancy.” Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology becomes “A device and system for belonging to bringing-forth.” And—my personal favorite—​The Communist Manifesto becomes “A method and device for comprehending theoretically the historical movement.”

Read more. [Image: Sam Lavigne]

6:35pm
  
Filed under: Design Ideas Patents Art Sam Lavigne 
July 22, 2013
Get Ready: 3D Printing Will Explode Next Year, When Key Patents Expire

July 17, 2013
U.S. Patent #1,926,420: Combined Racing Greyhound Harness
[via]

U.S. Patent #1,926,420: Combined Racing Greyhound Harness

[via]

March 28, 2012
The Best Patent Rejection You’ll Ever See (Featuring Borat)

It is not often that United States Patent and Trademark Office makes a funny. The understaffed and oft-maligned agency is tasked with helping inventors capture the value that they create while stopping copycats and other parasites from patenting things that already exist. They are not known for a sense of humor in pursuing this thankless, impossible assignment. Which brings us to this patent application for a “scrotal support garment,” first filed in February of 2008. (And one of many such garments for which patents have been filed.)
If you are a big fan of Sacha Baron Cohen, you may recognize the form of this suit from the 2006 movie, Borat, which featured Cohen cavorting in a similar outfit near the beginning of the movie. Well, according to Stewart Walsh at IPWatchdog, a patent examiner recognized the garment, too, and rejected the patent application on the basis that the garment already existed. The examiner even included an annotated still of Cohen wearing the swimsuit in the rejection letter. 
"Bifurcated junction" has never and will never be funnier than in this context. 

Read more.

The Best Patent Rejection You’ll Ever See (Featuring Borat)

It is not often that United States Patent and Trademark Office makes a funny. The understaffed and oft-maligned agency is tasked with helping inventors capture the value that they create while stopping copycats and other parasites from patenting things that already exist. They are not known for a sense of humor in pursuing this thankless, impossible assignment. 

Which brings us to this patent application for a “scrotal support garment,” first filed in February of 2008. (And one of many such garments for which patents have been filed.)

If you are a big fan of Sacha Baron Cohen, you may recognize the form of this suit from the 2006 movie, Borat, which featured Cohen cavorting in a similar outfit near the beginning of the movie. Well, according to Stewart Walsh at IPWatchdog, a patent examiner recognized the garment, too, and rejected the patent application on the basis that the garment already existed. The examiner even included an annotated still of Cohen wearing the swimsuit in the rejection letter. 

"Bifurcated junction" has never and will never be funnier than in this context. 

Read more.

2:43pm
  
Filed under: Funny Patents Borat Movies 
March 22, 2012
Yep, Google Just Patented Background Noise

In 2008, Google applied to patent a system that analyzes the environments surrounding mobile phones — temperature, humidity, sound — by way of sensors embedded in those phones. The technology would be mainly used, Google said in its filing, for (yes) “advertising based on environmental conditions.” It would provide another information layer, beyond quaint little GPS, that would target ads based not just on users’ immediate locations, but on their immediate environments. So, the filing noted, detections of hot weather could serve up ads for air conditioners; or, inversely, winter coats. Or the phone sensors might detect, say, the distinctive sounds of an orchestra being tuned, and combine that information — the user is at a concert — with location data and local events data to figure out which concert the user is attending. And then serve ads (for nearby restaurants, orchestral CDs, local violin teachers) based on that intel.
Cool, no? And also totally creepy?
Well. This week, Google was granted its patent. The firm has officially patented background noise. (And also: cold. And also: warmth.)
There are huge privacy concerns here, obviously, one of them being that the ability to track devices’ background noises would seem to imply the ability to track all their noises. And “it is important to respect the privacy of users,” Google acknowledges in the patent, noting that monitor-tracking will be opt-out-able and that “a privacy policy” specifying which, and how, sensor-gathered information would be used “may be provided to the user.” One wonders about the legality of the hypothetical operation in the 12 states that require everyone recorded to consent to that recording. The sound the phone picks up may just be an advertising signal for an algorithm to Google, but the law could see it differently.
These might be moot points, anyway. There’s no indication, as yet, that Google has plans to implement the “environmental condition” technology, GeekWire points out. But it bears repeating nonetheless, both as a whoa and as an insight into how the firm is thinking about the role it’ll play in our digital future: Google has patented background noise.
And all for the purpose of serving you ads.
[Image: A rendering of Google’s latest patent. Note the lines: “environmental condition” and “ad server.”]

Yep, Google Just Patented Background Noise

In 2008, Google applied to patent a system that analyzes the environments surrounding mobile phones — temperature, humidity, sound — by way of sensors embedded in those phones. The technology would be mainly used, Google said in its filing, for (yes) “advertising based on environmental conditions.” It would provide another information layer, beyond quaint little GPS, that would target ads based not just on users’ immediate locations, but on their immediate environments. So, the filing noted, detections of hot weather could serve up ads for air conditioners; or, inversely, winter coats. Or the phone sensors might detect, say, the distinctive sounds of an orchestra being tuned, and combine that information — the user is at a concert — with location data and local events data to figure out which concert the user is attending. And then serve ads (for nearby restaurants, orchestral CDs, local violin teachers) based on that intel.

Cool, no? And also totally creepy?

Well. This week, Google was granted its patent. The firm has officially patented background noise. (And also: cold. And also: warmth.)

There are huge privacy concerns here, obviously, one of them being that the ability to track devices’ background noises would seem to imply the ability to track all their noises. And “it is important to respect the privacy of users,” Google acknowledges in the patent, noting that monitor-tracking will be opt-out-able and that “a privacy policy” specifying which, and how, sensor-gathered information would be used “may be provided to the user.” One wonders about the legality of the hypothetical operation in the 12 states that require everyone recorded to consent to that recording. The sound the phone picks up may just be an advertising signal for an algorithm to Google, but the law could see it differently.

These might be moot points, anyway. There’s no indication, as yet, that Google has plans to implement the “environmental condition” technology, GeekWire points out. But it bears repeating nonetheless, both as a whoa and as an insight into how the firm is thinking about the role it’ll play in our digital future: Google has patented background noise.

And all for the purpose of serving you ads.

[Image: A rendering of Google’s latest patent. Note the lines: “environmental condition” and “ad server.”]

1:19pm
  
Filed under: Tech Google Patents Inventions News 
March 7, 2011
Alexis Madrigal takes a look at an early sketch of Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, 135 years after he patented it:

At first, Bell holds back the most exciting part of his idea. He details how electrical impulses could be converted into “vibrations of different pitch” without necessarily saying, “You talk in this end and it comes out the other end of a wire!” But by the third page of his patent filing, you sense he bubbled over, permitting himself one paragraph to think about the awesome implications of what he’d done

Read the rest of the story at The Atlantic

Alexis Madrigal takes a look at an early sketch of Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, 135 years after he patented it:

At first, Bell holds back the most exciting part of his idea. He details how electrical impulses could be converted into “vibrations of different pitch” without necessarily saying, “You talk in this end and it comes out the other end of a wire!” But by the third page of his patent filing, you sense he bubbled over, permitting himself one paragraph to think about the awesome implications of what he’d done

Read the rest of the story at The Atlantic

11:05am
  
Filed under: tech telephone patents 
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