Men: Rest your weary head while urinating

In 2002, Eric D. Page was granted US patent #6681419B1 for a "Forehead support apparatus" enabling men to rest their head (the one atop the neck) while standing at a urinal. The device includes a "mounting member," which contrary to what you might think is actually a fitting for attaching it to the wall. It's also suitable for the shower. From the Abstract:

A compressible head support member is attached to and extends from the wall and said mounting member. The head support defines an elastically deformable or resilient forehead support surface which is spaced above the floor and from the wall a distance sufficient for the user to lean his forehead thereagainst and be supported while using the commode or urinal.

(Weird Universe) Read the rest

After industry adopts open video standards, MPEG founder says the end is nigh

Leonardo Chiariglione is founder and chairman of the International Standards Organization's Motion Picture Expert Group (MPEG), whose standards have dominated video playback since the earliest days; MPEG's primary rival is the Alliance for Open Media, an ascendant open standards body that requires that members promise not to enforce patents that overlap with its standards, meaning that anyone can play back AOM video without paying rent to MPEG members. Read the rest

Epson uses dubious patent claims to nuke ink sellers' listings from eBay

Epson has taken a page from HP's dirty-tricks playbook to ensure that no one can compete with them by selling ink at affordable prices. Read the rest

Troubles loom for patent trolls who rent sovereign immunity from Native American tribes

In September, we learned that the pharma giant Allergan had sold key patents to the St Regis Mohawk band in upstate New York, in a bid to avoid a streamlined patent-challenge process called inter partes review (IPR). Read the rest

America's worst patent judge gets a scorching language lesson from the appeals court

Judge Rodney Gilstrap serves the Eastern District of Texas court, the venue from which patent trolls have extorted billions in useless menaces money from US industry; Gilstrap hears 25% of the patent cases brought in the USA, and has a track record for making epically terrible rulings. Read the rest

Supreme Court to Lexmark: when you sell something, the buyer then owns it

Lexmark has spent nearly 20 years fighting the war on carbon, trying to stop you from refilling your laser printer cartridges. In 2003, they attempted to use the DMCA and DRM to argue that it was an act of piracy (the courts didn't buy it) and then in 2015, they went all the way to the Supreme Court with the idea that you were violating their patent license terms if you treated the cartridges you purchased as though you owned them. Read the rest

MP3 put out to pasture

It's the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it's had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it's also true that the decoding patents expired last year, and the last encoding patents are soon to follow. So there's not much hope of selling any licenses in any case. Read the rest

India's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research blew so much money on rubbish patents, it's gone broke

CSIR-Tech is the commercial arm of the Indian government's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research; after spending ₹50 crore (about USD7.6M) pursuing more than 13,000 "bio-data patents" (patents of no real value save burnishing the credentials of the scientists whose names appear on them), they have run out of money and shut down. Read the rest

Donald Trump, Jr is a patent-troll and his biggest client now does business with the US government

Oklahoma's Anyware Mobile Solutions was founded in 1997 to make PDA software, but after its sales collapsed, it changed its name to Macrosolve and devoted itself to suing people for violating a farcical patent that they said covered filling in questionnaires using an app. Read the rest

The US Patent Office just (in 2017!) awarded IBM a patent over out-of-office email

On January 17, 2017 -- yes, 2017 -- the USPTO granted Patent 9,547,842 to IBM: "Out-of-office electronic mail messaging system." Read the rest

Public universities and even the US Navy have sold hundreds of patents to America's most notorious troll

Researcher Yarden Katz scraped the database of Intellectual Ventures, a giant business that buys up patents, but produces nothing but lawsuits (previously), and discovered that IV claims ownership of nearly 500 patents that were created at public expense by researchers employed by public universities, and another 100 or so patents filed by the US Navy. Read the rest

The Trolls: hilarious comedy about...patent trolls?

The Trolls is a new indie feature about plucky entrepreneurs who have their lives destroyed by patent trolls, so they patent the act of being a patent troll, and turn the tables! Read the rest

Patent fighters attack the crown jewels of three of America's worst patent trolls

Unified Patents raises money from companies that are the target of patent-trolling and then uses it to challenge the most widely used patents in each of its members' sectors: now it's going for the gold. Read the rest

Fashion student simulates couture collection made from Alexander McQueen's cloned skin

Alexander McQueen's first collection after graduating from Central Saint Martins was Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims which included locks of his hair; for her own grad project, called "Pure Human," Central Saint Martins student Tina Gorjanc created a line of clothes and accessories that asks the audience to imagine that it was made from pelts cloned from DNA retrieved from McQueen's hair strands. Read the rest

Google patents an adhesive that sticks pedestrians to cars that hit them

Florida man has prior art!

From The Guardian:

The patent, which was granted on 17 May, is for a sticky adhesive layer on the front end of a vehicle, which would aim to reduce the damage caused when a pedestrian hit by a car is flung into other vehicles or scenery.

“Ideally, the adhesive coating on the front portion of the vehicle may be activated on contact and will be able to adhere to the pedestrian nearly instantaneously,” according to the patent description.

Read the rest

Printer ink wars may make private property the exclusive domain of corporations

Printer manufacturer Lexmark hates America, and everything good and right in the world, because we keep stubbornly insisting that if we buy a printer cartridge, we can refill it, because it's ours.

Read the rest

Menstruation is the mother of invention

Rose Eveleth presents us a history of patented menstrual devices from 1928 on, from cellular tampons that message you when they need changing to a "Nether garment for and method of controlling crotch odors." Read the rest

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