U.S. Patent Office

1:52pm

Mon April 8, 2013
Planet Money

Can You Patent A Steak? (Cont'd)

Detail from an application for a patent on a steak.
WIPO

"It's an un-obvious chunk of meat that has been sitting there — a little diamond surrounded by a bunch of coal," Steve Price told me last year. "I'd love to tell you more. We just can't."

Today, Price told me everything. More to the point, he emailed me this link:

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2:34am

Thu December 27, 2012
Joe's Big Idea

The Quest For The Perfect Toothbrush

A drawing from Michael Davidson's 2012 patent for "Toothbrush And Method Of Using The Same."
Patent 8,108,962 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

There are some consumer products where every year brings new innovations. Computers get faster, cellphones get lighter, cars get new bells and whistles.

It's easy to imagine why inventors are drawn to redesigning these products — the technology for making them is changing all the time.

But what about consumer products that have been around for a long time? For the toothbrush, the answer is a resounding yes.

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1:58pm

Tue October 23, 2012
Planet Money

Episode 412: How To Fix The Patent Mess

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 6:47 am

Innovation?
Lee Jae-Won Reuters/Landov
  • Listen to the Episode

Two big patent cases this summer in the smartphone industry:

1. A jury finds that Samsung violated Apple's patents, and orders Samsung to pay Apple $1 billion.

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1:28pm

Wed September 12, 2012
Planet Money

Can You Patent Yoga Pants?

Originally published on Fri September 14, 2012 12:38 pm

USPTO

The WSJ reports:

The fashion industry's latest hope for protecting its designs may hang on a slimming pair of yoga pants.

Yoga-apparel maker Lululemon Athletica Inc. is accusing fashion house Calvin Klein Inc. of infringing on design patents for its popular $98 "Astro Pant" in a legal battle that could provide new ammunition for the industry to wield against copycats while bolstering Lululemon's dominant position in high-end yoga apparel.

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3:10pm

Mon September 10, 2012
All Tech Considered

What Will Apple's Patent Case Mean For Phone Design?

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 4:52 pm

These Nokia phones unveiled earlier this month are the first smartphones built for Windows 8.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

A lot of thought goes into giving your smartphone a distinctive look and feel, from the shape of the speaker — square, round or oval — to where to put the buttons — side, front or back.

But industrial designers like Robert Brunner say he doesn't have a lot of room to be creative.

"Because you're really being so heavily driven on maintaining a minimal physical size," he says. "So you really get into this very fine envelope of a few millimeters that you have to work with."

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