Espacenet Assistant: a free resource to learn about patent information, search techniques, and more

The Espacenet Assistant is a new tool on the Espacenet site that aims to help users understand patent information, search basics, and new features within Espacenet itself. Available in English, German, and French, the tool is user friendly and easy to navigate. Especially helpful in that regard is the interface which includes a table of contents on the left side, back/forward advancement on the bottom, and web-like home/directory at the top of most pages.

From the start, the tool offers to let you take a guided tour through a large swath of information or cut to the chase with a listing of “crash courses” that get to the meat of a specific topic of information.

espacenet assistant lesson

The “crash course” system allows users to learn at their own pace and review previous material.

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European Unitary Patent: A Quick Primer

The European Unitary Patent has been a long time coming (depending on who you ask)! In any case, the process to get us where we are today has been a lenghty one. The reality of a European Union-centric patent may seem obvious to outsiders, following the economic ties generated by the creation of the EU, but the unitary patent has long been a subject of contention.

The European Patent Convention (EPC) of 1973 is the origin of the current “EP” patent administered by the European Patent Office. This patent provides protection in the member states (and extension states) party to the EPC.

The new unitary patent will live alongside the traditional “EP” patent as an option, according to the European Patent Office:

A unitary patent will be a European patent granted by the EPO under the provisions of the European Patent Convention to which unitary effect for the territory of the 25 participating states is given after grant, at the patentee’s request. The unitary patent will thus not affect the EPO’s day-to-day search, examination and granting work.

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Patents to defend us against meteors

It seems we can’t go a single column without mentioning some sort of apocalypse. We had a bacon-apocalypse, the Mayan apocalypse, and now we have a potential apocalypse due to a large chunk of meteor flying across the sky in Russia recently, caught on numerous dashboard cameras, injuring over a thousand people due to the shockwaves. Now everyone knows that Russians put cameras on their dashboards to catch footage of cows being dumped from a truck that tips over (go to 3:01 mark), but who would have thought that technology would be used to capture what could have been the destruction of a part of Russia had the meteor impacted the Earth at a more direct angle. Since the world is largely ill-prepared to deal with a much bigger object headed toward the Earth, we need to turn to our heroes to save the day.

Here are some patents that might help us in the fight against meteors:

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Meeting the Challenges of Data Collection and Analysis

As a leader in patent analysis, Landon IP has expert searchers who answer complex questions on a daily basis to produce the highest quality results. If you work with patents, you know the obstacles we face: data collections are huge and unwieldy; errors in the data are rampant; and in short, nothing involving patent data is ever easy. Today, I’m going to share some of our most basic strategies for producing high-quality datasets that lead to reliable results. Read on to get an insight into these best practices.

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Find Patent Coverage Around the World with Intellogist’s Newly Updated Map

Intellogist’s Interactive Patent Coverage Map has been updated and overhauled with new content!

What is the Interactive Patent Coverage Map? Users can select a country or regional patenting authority by name or by clicking on the map to bring up a list of major known coverage providers for that specific entry. Information often includes the national patent office or related official site as well as the various offerings of coverage ranging from full text to bibliographic according to our scale.

interactive map

This is a condensed screenshot of the user interface for the interactive map.

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Patents to help warm you up

After an extended break that saw us survive the Mayan Apocalypse, the fiscal cliff (at least for now), and Lance Armstrong’s “I’m sorry because I want people to like me again” apology, Danny is back to help make your day more palatable with unique comedy stylings and third person references stolen directly from popular TV shows and movies over the past few decades. One of my resolutions this year has been to not be so cold. I don’t mean cold in the sense of being mean or rude to people, but physically being cold. As I have mostly lived in areas with a cold winter, the quest for warmth has been a major goal for mine for 6 months out of the year. There are two solutions to this problem as I see it: I can gain weight or purchase something unique that keeps me warm. While the thought of limitless ice cream and donuts to help me put on the layer of blubber that I recently saw on a birthing elephant seal sounds appealing because I could get to wear a moo moo, the chest pains aren’t so enticing. My best bet would be to try out some of these gadgets to help keep me warm. And if anyone who is reading is from a company that produces infomercials, let them know that I am open to writing their scripts.

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Patents helping you shop ’til you drop

The holiday season is upon us and moved into full swing that day after Thanksgiving that is commonly known as Black Friday. While no one can tell exactly where that name came from, the cynic inside of me thinks that it has to do with all the black eyes and bruises that you receive while shopping for incredible deals in a setting that can only be described as post-apocalyptic. All to wait in line for hours, waking up at the crack of dawn (anything before 9am is dawn for me), to save $12 on some electronics that are guaranteed to break in 3 months as explicitly stated on the packaging. While Black Friday has come and gone, as has the gentler Cyber Monday, where nerds see who can purchase the newest Call of Duty for the lowest price using a variety of web magic, we can still prepare ourselves for next year’s battle royale with some great patents. Cue the eerie and ominous music!

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Turkey Stuffing Innovation

Turkey gets all the credit this time of year, but I want you to focus your attention on the real star of the Thanksgiving show: the stuffing. The glorious, salty, carbohydrate-y, mushy, gravy-welcoming stuffing.

Most people know by now that putting the stuffing inside the turkey is a dangerous proposition. Either the juices from the raw turkey can get trapped in the stuffing, inviting food poisoning, or the cook must blast the heat on the turkey for a longer period of time, possibly turning the whole thing into a dried out affair.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and since some people cling to the stuffing inside the turkey mentality (for extra flavor!), we’ve seen several turkey stuffing patents cross the desk of the USPTO.

Stick around with us and you can see some of these clever ideas, plus a bonus stuffing recipe courtesy of one patent application!

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Voting Patents Past and Present

The election to decide the President of the United States, also known as the POTUS, was completed on Tuesday, with the exception of Florida which can’t ever seem to do these things in a timely manner. Depending on who your candidate was, you are either in a state of elation or sheer demoralization (I suppose you could be blasé if you voted for a third party candidate and knew you had no shot at winning to begin with). But regardless of who you voted for to become the next POTUS, something we can all agree on (besides supporting the cocktail party) is that voting is an easy process (in theory) made more complicated by the various wizardry and gadgetry that is used to count your vote. Much like the VCR (everyone reading this is old enough to remember them, right?) that always blinked 12:00 because the user couldn’t figure out how to set the time, voting technology throughout history has been convoluted and open to all sorts of shenanigans that would make a TV political pundit’s head explode. To honor the patriots who made our process of democracy more interesting, here are some of our favorite voting patent documents.

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Creepy Costume Patents

Halloween is here next week, and that means a few things to kids: scary movies, Charlie Brown’s TV Special on The Great Pumpkin, and a large insulin response due to massive quantities of high fructose corn syrup.  However, for the adults, the art of costuming takes on a whole new meaning.  Sure, the kids want a cool costume, but that is because they are fickle, and cannot yet determine that all of their favorite characters are just fads relating to people of a certain generation (or that cartoons shown in the 80s are the only true cartoons…we will include all of the Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. cartoons from the 60s that were recycled in the 80s on that list).  With novelty stores replacing their risqué merchandise with Halloween costumes (both risqué and regular) and decorations, let’s take a look at some of the best efforts by inventors who stood strong and refused to spend their patent application budgets on Halloween candy, fake blood, and tickets to an Uwe Boll movie.

After the jump, check out some creepy costume patents!
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