Old Robots


Odex I Robot

 The Old Robot Website has a fantastic collection of old robots, some quite advanced for their time like the six-legged Odex I shown here. 


Heathkit Hero I Robot

I still have a soft spot for the Heathkit Hero I robot which I built as a teenager and ensured that I was never invited to any of the really good parties…   Those parties – bad 80s hair and all – are long fogotten but I can still work a soldering iron like no one else!


Popular Science Archive Is Online – All 137 Years!

popular science archives

The entire 137-year archive of Popular Science is available online!  Thanks Google!

Links: Announcement, Search the PopSci Archives.


iPad – The New Apple Tablet! Liveblog Event



May 26, 1981: Programmer-Attorney Wins First U.S. Software Patent

May 26, 1981: Programmer-Attorney Wins First U.S. Software Patent

via May 26, 1981: Programmer-Attorney Wins First U.S. Software Patent | This Day In Tech | Wired.com.

Link: U.S. Patent No. 4,270,182.


Utility and Design Applications May Be Continuations of Each Other

A utility application can claim the benefit of a design application, and a design application can claim the benefit of a utility application:

Where the conditions of 35 U.S.C. 120 are met, a design application may be considered a continuing application of an earlier utility application. Conversely, this also applies to a utility application relying on the benefit of the filing date of an earlier filed design application. See In re Chu, 66 F.3d 292, 36 USPQ2d 1089 (Fed. Cir. 1995); In re Salmon, 705 F.2d 1579, 217 USPQ 981 (Fed. Cir. 1983). In addition, a design application may claim benefit from an earlier filed PCT application under 35 U.S.C. 120 if the U.S. was designated in the PCT application.

via MPEP 1504.20 Benefit Under – 1500 Design Patents.


Can I show my “patent pending” product or idea without an NDA?

Q: We filed a patent application (provisional or non-provisional) and have “patent pending” status.  Can we show our product to others without having them sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement)?

A: Yes… more or less.  If the most important thing to you is building your company, and you have a well written patent application and thorough IP strategy, go show your product and get the word out, but keep the following in mind:

An NDA helps fulfill the immediate need or desire to stop others from copying your invention.  However, it is a bit impractical and reduces your ability to sell your product if you have to ask everyone to sign an NDA.  So, while an NDA would provide some level of “protection” not yet afforded to you by the patent application, you can proceed without one.  Keep in mind, that without a granted patent or NDA, someone can still copy what you have disclosed to them and you would have few if any legal arguments to stop them.

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Half.com (Now Ebay) Patent Granted after 8.5 Years – the Value of Patents

Josh Kopelman at First Round Capital has a good post on the value of patents after fighting for 8.5 years to get one of his granted. His Half.com (Ebay.com) patent received six rejections, half of them final, before it was allowed. I explain this to clients, particularly software startups, on a daily basis – good patents are often very hard to get, you will receive many rejections, and it will be very expensive to respond to those rejections with no guarantee that you will ever be granted a patent. Fire your patent attorney if he fails to explain that to you.

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Solar powered iPod?

This patent application from Apple seems to show a four layer arrangement comprising protective glass, an LCD display, a solar panel, and a circuit board. The solar panel receives light passing through the (semi-transparent) LCD display.

Links: MacRumors.com, Patent Application Solar cells on portable devices.


Memristor invented!

Postulated in 1971, a fourth passive circuit element called a memristor has been invented by a team from HP Labs. Circuit theory books, which will have to be rewritten, teach the existence and use of three passive circuit elements: the resistor, capacitor, and inductor. The memristor, short for memory resistor, changes its resistance based on the history of the flow of charge through the device. It essentially behaves like a non-linear resistor with memory. The device improves in performance the smaller it is made. The memristor can be used as both a digital and an analog device, depending on how current is passed through it. The applications are astounding, including computers that do not need to boot up, the elimination of disk drives, more energy efficient devices, and analog computers that can remember and associate patterns in the same way as the human brain.

Links: HP Press Release, HP Labs, Nature, EE Times, 1971 Paper in IEEE Transactions on Circuits Theory theorizing the existence of a memristor.


Small business lender On Deck Capital launches with patent pending system

My client, On Deck Capital, officially launched today. Their patent pending financial products and technology improves upon standard credit models to offer performance-based loans to businesses that may not have access to traditional bank financing. On Deck Capital offers business loans up to $100,000 based on the performance of the business, rather than the personal credit history of the business owner.

Links: On Deck Capital, USA Today article.