Hopefully this Memorial Day finds you honoring our service men and women, not working. In either case, U.S Patent No. 5,255,627 claims a flagpole assembly that keeps Old Glory from getting tangled. On this Memorial Day, the Blog hangs a virtual flag in honor of all those serving our country.

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As usual, on a holiday I take a break from posting about cases and bring you a holiday-themed patent. U.S. Patent No. 7,240,376 assigned to Riddell of Chicago covers a football helmet with ear flaps that extend to protect a portion of a wearer’s jaw. This is not exactly a patent focused on the New Years holiday or setting your goals for 2008. But my focus will be on watching my Wolverine’s and my wife’s Illini play football today.
Happy new year. May 2008 bring you happiness and success.

Continue Reading Happy 2008

As usual, on a holiday I take a break from posting about cases and bring you a holiday-themed patent. U.S. Patent No. 7,175,302 covers a string of LED lights with selectable colors so that you can string lights once and use them for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July or to support your favorite sports teams — sadly, no need for Super Bowl lights this year Bears fans.
Merry Christmas. I hope the holiday finds you enjoying time with family and not writing briefs or preparing for trial.

Continue Reading Merry Christmas

The Blog’s first anniversary was in September.* I chose not to do an anniversary post because I was very busy with client matters and because I did not think there was much to say about the anniversary. But the Thanksgiving holiday reminds me that there is something to say — thank you. I am thankful for all of the Blog’s readers. The Blog is a lot of work, but I enjoy IP litigation and I enjoy communicating with all of you about it. I look forward to another year of blogging about Chicago’s IP happenings. And as always, I welcome your comments and suggestions about the Blog and what I can be doing better or differently.
Happy Thanksgiving
* Much like my dog Gert’s birthday (she was a rescue dog), it is difficult to pin down the exact date the Blog began.

Continue Reading Happy Thanksgiving

On most holidays I post a holiday-related patent, but the Fourth of July seems different. Perhaps it is because the Fourth marks the birth of our legal system (or at least its infancy) and, therefore, the Fourth is tied closely to our profession. Or, maybe it is because I have been reading Ron Chernow’s excellent biography Alexander Hamilton and thinking about the founding of our country. Whatever the reason, instead of a patent, I am posting the text of the Declaration of Independence. It certainly has flaws — in some cases it has taken us a century or two to put the freedoms in to practice and others we may still be struggling with. But it is a beautifully written document that lays out an ideal for self government while inspiring people to greatness. Happy Fourth of July. I hope that in addition to spending time with family and watching fireworks today, we are each thankful for the freedoms provided by our country and struggle with our country’s shortcomings, whatever we each believe them to be.
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Continue Reading Happy Fourth of July

Hopefully this Memorial Day finds you honoring our service men and women, not working.  In either case, U.S Patent No. 7,082,889 is to a device for displaying Old Glory.  On this Memorial Day, the Blog hangs a virtual flag in honor of all those serving our country.  We also extend our condolences to the families

U.S. Patent No. 5,855,705 is to an artificial Christmas tree with attached, or automatically wound, lights.  While the drawings depict a Charlie Brown-type tree, I am sure that was just for ease of drafting and clarity of the specification.

Merry Christmas.

U.S Patent No. 6,491,516 covers a Hanukkah candelabrum which sings/plays traditional Hanukkah songs and interacts electronically with a paired  dreidel to activate lights or play songs when the dreidel is spun.

Happy Hanukkah.

I have much to be thankful for this year, including but by no means limited to all of you who take the time to read the Blog.  So, like the Northern District, I will be taking the remainder of the week off to spend time with family and friends.  Have a happy Thanksgiving.  And, enjoy

In celebration of Halloween, I am holding off on posts about Northern District cases and, instead, I am bringing you a Halloween-themed patent.  This is the first page of U.S. Patent No. 6,419,541 which protects a "device for protecting treats" which can be extended to the treat-giver to receive a treat and an inflatable "scary