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Blog Posts by Subject: Patents and Trademarks

Patent Classification: Changes A'Comin'

One premise of the U.S. patent system, and of most of the other large established patent systems in the world, is you can only patent something once. Too late, then, for the wheel; but for the better, improved wheel a patenting opportunity awaits. Of course, how do you find out if someone beat you to it? Or, in the language of patent experts, how do you find the prior art?

If you investigate the USPTO online patent database, it is apparent 

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PTDLP Spring 2011 - Notes from Alexandria, Virginia

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Spring 2011Since 1871, the United States Patent Office (now the Patent and Trademark Office) has partnered with libraries (including a predecessor to NYPL) in different parts of the United States, creating depositories of patents and trademarks so local inventors and businesspeople can conveniently search these documents in anticipation of their own filings or registrations. For the last several years there have been around 80 to 85 Patent and 

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The Final Factors: Your IP Protection Choices

So you have your menu—and now need to choose which form of IP protection to use for your bottle or other idea. Of course if you have all the time and money in the world, maybe you can do it all. But since the question really is about business, it's important to consider what works for you before starting the final processes to protect your IP.

You're a business-person, and to sleep easier know you must choose wisely. What will it cost? How long will it take to get? How long will it 

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Message from a Bottle - Choosing Your IP Protection Redux

While for certain kinds of things the choice of which form of IP protection to seek is obvious, it's not too hard to think of examples where there could be more than one possibility. To illustrate this point, I would like to use for an example nothing less than a humble bottle.  

So, 

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Researching Patents of African American Inventors

In recognition of Black History Month, I thought I would take this opportunity to suggest U.S. Patents as an available primary resource that can be used to do historical and biographical research on African American Inventors.

NYPL has a strong collection of resources on African American inventors, both in our research collections (Schomburg and

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Choose Your IP Too: Trade Secrets and Patents

Continuing from our January 31st entry, and again using Richard Stim's Patent, Copyright and Trademark as our springboard, here is some brief information about the remaining two types of intellectual property; trade secrets and its "polar opposite", patents.

Trade Secrets: According to Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanack of July 1735, 

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Patent, Copyright & Trademark: Choose Your IP

It's impossible to expect every researcher coming to SIBL to know the differences between the four main types of Intellectual Property (IP) protection. We have found that Patent, Copyright and Trademark, by attorney Richard Stim, is an excellent resource for learning about and comparing these laws.

When readers come to SIBL, the New York Public Library's representative to the Patent and Trademark 

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SIBL Recommends: Patent It Yourself

Here at the Science, Industry and Business Library, the title we most frequently recommend to patent researchers is David Pressman's Patent It Yourself, currently available at the library in its 14th edition.

While SIBL is the New York Public Library's representative to the United States Patent and Trademark Office's Patent and Trademark Depository Library 

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NYPL, Mother of Invention

On quitting his classes at Harvard in 1927, Edwin Land moved to New York and became a regular user of the library’s Science Division. His goal: the manufacture of a polarizing light filter, the basic idea behind Polaroid sunglasses. Between the library and a variety of makeshift labs, he eventually figured out how to embed microscopic crystals of “herapathite” in molten sheets of plastic and align them all in one direction. He named the invention Polaroid, and used the name again when he invented his instant photography. Land had discovered the identity of the crucial 

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