The Patent Office has many restrictions on the information it can disclose. In fact, through the 1990s,prior art searches could only be conducted in the Patent Office’s library. And the early version of the Patent Office’s database only used patent classification codes and did not allow full-text searching.
Things started to change in the early 2000s. The U.S. beganpublishing pending applications in 2001, opening the door to a wealth of information for inventors, litigators, and patent prosecutors. Gone were the days of hiring agents near the Patent Office to conduct your patent searches and pull your file wrappers. Instead, anyone with some training and patience could use the Patent Office’s database to obtain patent and patent application data.
We have now reached the next stage in the evolution of patent data tools. Developers have identified the strengths and weaknesses in the Patent Office’s interface. They have created proprietary and open-source tools to obtain, clean, and visualize patent data.
Using the Power of Open-Source Tools to Transform the IP Landscape
Open-source tools have several advantages over proprietary approaches, including:
Free to use.
Open access to source code.
Available for developers to change or incorporate the source code into new tools.
Royalty-free distribution or redistribution.
New business models for corporates.
These attributes encourage developers to adopt a standard instead of creating separate approaches. It also speeds development by allowing developers to “stand on the shoulders” of their predecessors.
Obtaining Patent Data
Formerly, patent data was located in silos in the Patent Office. However, for the past 20 years, the Patent Office has made this information available. Some of the open-source tools designed to obtain patent data include:
PQAI promises to transform the IP landscape for inventors/enterprises, patent attorneys, and even patent examiners by delivering higher-quality search results. Conducting a search and reviewing mountains of search results takes time. Since PQAI only provides the most relevant prior art references, it provides more accurate, faster, and cheaper patent searches.
The initiators of PatZilla call it “a modular patent information research platform and data integration toolkit.” Its primary feature is a search engine that pulls prior art references from the European Patent Office’s database. It also pulls from DEPATISnet, CLAIMS Direct, and depa.tech. In addition, PatZilla provides pdf, image, bibliographic data, and full test acquisition from these services.
A user interface that allows efficient screening of multiple references.
Web-based collaboration for information sharing.
Adaptable API for integration into third-party systems.
Andreas Motl authored PatZilla. But many developers have contributed to PatZilla since its initial release in 2014. To view the files for PatZilla or to contribute, go to PatZilla’s GitHub.
phpIP manages and dockets patents and other IP rights. The software was designed for inventors, enterprises, and IP law firms.
The system’s initiators sought to develop a software package that was flexible and easy to use. Unfortunately, most alternative packages were complicated and provided more features than necessary. As a result, most users paid for features they did not need and could not use the features they wanted.
phpIP was built on open-source software. It is changing the IP landscape by providing intuitive docketing and patent management tool. Notably, users can adapt the system to their specific needs. As they do, they can contribute to the overall improvement of the system.
You can view the documentation and source code files at phpIP’s Github.
Cleaning Patent Data | Open Refine
Not every user who works with patent data will need to clean it. But occasionally, you will have a large file of patent or patent application data that does not have the correct format for your use.
In the past, users have relied on Excel or Open Office to clean data. But this often requires the user to manually fix each cell or have the programming knowledge to write a macro to fix the cells automatically.
Open Refine is a tool that automates patent data cleaning. It is an open-source tool that Metaweb Technologies, Inc, developed. It was acquired by Google and released for open use in October 2012.
Open Refine provides automated data cleaning functions that can be applied to large patent data files. Some of the features that apply to patent data cleaning include:
Separating inventors into different cells.
Repairing corrupted or missing characters.
This tool can improve the speed and accuracy of the review, analysis, and storing of patent data. To contribute to Open Refine, visit the GitHub page.
Visualizing Patent Data
Visualizations can help identify trends or patterns in the massive amount of patent data that may relate to your project. For example, you might benefit from a visualization of when patent applications were filed or which countries they were filed in.
Until recently, you would need to comb through a spreadsheet to spot patterns in the data. Now, there are tools to turn patent data into visualizations, including:
Gephi is a network visualization platform that can create graphs showing relationships between patents or patent applications. It is an open-source application that is free to use. Association Gephi authored the software, but many developers have contributed to it.
Gephi can convert CSV or Excel files into data visualizations. This means you can import a file from The Lens or a cleaned file from Open Refine (both discussed above). Gephi will then create a visualization of the data.
This will change the IP landscape by revealing obscure or hidden patterns in the data. For example, you can visualize the number of pending applications in the data file that belong to each assignee.
To view the source code for Gephi or participate in its development, visit the Gephi GitHub page.
Plotly creates graphs from data files generated through The Lens or Open Refine. Like Gephi, Plotly can help spot trends or patterns in the data. But unlike Gephi, the graphs in Plotly were designed to be interactive and shareable. This makes Plotly a valuable collaborative tool that will alter the IP landscape.
Plotly was developed by Plotly Technologies, Inc. You can help develop Plotly by reviewing the source code and documentation on Plotly’s GitHub.
The open-source nature of these tools almost guarantees that they will continue to develop and improve. To be a part of these opportunities, you can either use the software and provide feedback or you can collaborate with the developers to identify and create new features for these applications.
If our era is the next Industrial Revolution, as many claim, AI is surely one of its driving forces.
– Fei-Fei Li
AI is no more limited to sci-fi movies. The endeavor to replicate or simulate human intelligence in machines has led to AI being mainstream in the last decade. AI has left a lasting impact on all our lives. From being a figment of our imaginations to becoming an intrinsic part of our every day, the AI revolution is real and is here to stay.
We looked back at 2020 and put together a list of the top 20 inventors to Artificial Intelligence.
An Application Architect and seeker of solutions, Sarbjit Rakshit is an IBM Master Inventor with a degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology.
He was awarded 163 U.S. patents in 2019, the highest ever awarded to a citizen of India in a single year. His patent portfolio contains 359 patents in Artificial Intelligence globally belonging to 271 unique patent families.
The most valuable patent in Sarbajit’s portfolio is US20160070439A1 – Electronic commerce using augmented reality glasses and a smartwatch. This patent family is the most cited (47 times), by companies Ariadne’s Thread (USA) Inc., Microsoft Technology Licensing Llc, Siemens Ag, Ebay Inc, Lucyd Ltd.
Before we look at the rest of the list, here’s an interesting insight. 11 of the top 20 AI inventors are either currently at StradVision or have worked there previously. 10 of these inventors are co-inventors on a patent. Not just any patent, it’s their most cited patent. Let’s find out what StradVision does and what their most cited patent is about.
StradVision is a fairly new company, founded in late 2014. Their goal is to bring powerful and safe ADAS (Advanced driver-assistance systems) & self-driving technology to the masses. StradVision’s technology utilizes a novel perception algorithm allowing autonomous vehicles to reach the required level of safety, accuracy, and driver convenience. This is achieved through safe & reliable real-world object detection, tracking, segmentation, and classification. They have an auto labeling system that produces training data with minimal human input, and a semi-supervised learning-based training tool, enabling autonomous vehicles to detect and perceive environments in real-time.
The most cited patent for these 10 inventors is US10169679B1. The patent is for – “Learning method and learning device for adjusting parameters of CNN by using loss augmentation and testing method and testing device.
Yongjoong Kim, Woonhyun Nam, Sukhoon Boo, Myungchul Sung, Donghun Yeo, Wooju RYU, Taewoong Jang, Kyungjoong Jeong, Hongmo Je, Hojin Cho are co-inventors on the said patent.
The said patent family has been cited 27 times, by companies Didi Res America Llc, Stradvision Inc, and Beijing Didi Infinity Technology. The patent’s geographical coverage extends to the United States, China, Japan, and Korea.
Wooju Ryu is a Korean inventor and holds a master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Pohang University of Science and Technology.
He is presently an Algorithm Engineer at StradVision and works in areas of Deep Learning, Computer Vision, ADAS, Text Recognition and Automatic Driving. He has been associated with Intel, Olaworks, and Samsung as a Senior Researcher between 2007 and 2016.
His patent portfolio consists of 831 patents in the AI domain globally, which belong to 267 unique patent families.
Woonhyun Nam is a Korean inventor and holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science Engineering and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Computer Science and Engineering from the Pohang University of Science and Technology.
He is presently the Director, Lead of Algorithm Engineering at StradVision, Inc. His work profile is deeply seated in AI, with him being responsible for engineering, researching, investigating, and deploying algorithms across company products and services.
His portfolio consists of 826 patents in the AI domain globally which belong to 266 unique patent families. Most of his inventions are in the field of Instruments Technology.
Hongmo Je is a Korean inventor and holds a degree in Computer Science from the Pohang University of Science and Technology.
Presently, he is the CTO of Stradvision and leads the RnD Integration/Engineering Team developing camera-based perception SW stack for ADAS/Autonomous Driving applications. He has previously been the Engineering Manager at Intel and the head of RnD at Olaworks.
Hongmo Je’s patent portfolio consists of 824 patents in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) domain globally which belong to 264 unique patent families. He holds 256 patents in the Instruments domain.
Donghun Yeo is a Korean inventor and holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a Ph.D. in Computer vision from Pohang University of Science and Technology.
Yeo is presently a Senior Researcher at the Hana Institute of Technology. Previously, he was an algorithm engineer at StradVision.
Yeo’s patent portfolio consists of 824 patents in the Artificial Intelligence domain globally belonging to 264 unique patent families. The major chunk of his portfolio consists of innovations in Instrument Technology (255).
Myungchul Sung is a Korean inventor and holds a master’s degree in Computer Science Engineering from the Pohang University of Science and Technology. He is an Algorithm Engineer at StradVision.
He holds 824 patents in the Artificial Intelligence domain globally which belong to 264 unique patent families. The largest chunk of his patent portfolio is innovations in the Instruments Technology domain, amounting to 255.
Yong-Joong Kim is a Korean inventor with a master’s degree in Computer Science from Yonsei University. He is presently an algorithm engineer at Stradvision. In the past, he has been a researcher at Pohang University of Science and Technology, and an IT coordinator at the National Institute for International Education. He has interned at the MARG Lab at Seoul National University.
Taewoong Jang is a Korean inventor with a bachelor’s degree in Physics & Math, who graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Pohang University of Science and Technology. He was an Algorithm Engineer at StradVision and is now a Software Engineer at Coinone.
He holds 824 patents in the Artificial Intelligence domain globally across 264 unique patent families. The majority of his patent portfolio (255 patents) are innovations related to Instruments Technology.
Kyungjoong Jeong is a Korean inventor who is an Algorithm Engineer at Stradvision. He graduated from the Ulsan University as an Electrical Engineer as the Dean’s Honoured Graduate. He has previously been at Samsung Techwin and a Researcher at POSTECH from where he earned his Master’s degree. His research interests are in Deep Learning, Computer Vision, Machine Learning.
Kyungjoong Jeong’s patent portfolio has 824 patents in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) domain globally which belong to 264 unique patent families. 255 of these patents are innovations in the field of Instruments Technology.
Hojin Cho is a Korean inventor and holds a degree in Computer Science Engineering and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Image Processing, Computer Graphics, and Computer Vision from the Pohang University of Science and Technology. He is an Algorithm Engineer at StradVision.
His portfolio consists of 824 patents in AI belonging to 264 unique patent families, of which 255 are in the sub-domain of Instruments Technology.
Sukhoon Boo is a Korean inventor associated with StradVision Inc. His portfolio consists of 824 patents in AI belonging to 264 unique patent families, of which 255 are in the sub-domain of Instruments Technology.
Hak-Kyoung Kim is a Korean inventor and is an algorithm engineer affiliated with Stradvision Inc.
His portfolio consists of 758 patents in Artificial Intelligence globally, belonging to 251 unique patent families. He has 242 innovations in the domain of Instruments Technology.
The most valuable patent in Hak-Kyoung Kim’s portfolio is US10229346B1 –
Learning method, learning device for detecting object using edge image and testing method. This is his most cited patent having been cited 13 times. The patent’s geographical coverage is in the United States, China, Korea, and Japan.
Kye-Hyeon Kim is a Korean inventor and holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a Ph.D. in Computer Science (Machine Learning) from the Pohang University of Science and Technology.
Currently, he is the Chief Research Officer at Superb AI Inc. He has previously been associated with StradVision as an Algorithm Engineer, SK Telecom as a Research Scientist, Intel, and Samsung as a Senior Software Engineer.
He holds 754 patents in the Artificial Intelligence domain globally which belong to 251 unique patent families. The largest chunk of his innovations is in the domain of Instruments Technology (242).
The most valuable patent in his portfolio is US10229346B1, same as Hak-Kyoung Kim. They are co-inventors with a few more inventors on this patent.
John M Ganci Jr
John M Ganci Jr is an American inventor affiliated with IBM. His patent portfolio has 223 patents filed globally which belong to 145 unique patent families. He holds 102 patents in the Instruments Technology domain.
John M Ganci Jr.’s most cited patent is US20160070439A1, same as Sarbajit Rakshit. They are co-inventors on this patent with a few others.
Craig Trim is an American inventor and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer and Information Sciences from Cal Poly Pomona and a Master of Science, MS, Data Analytics from Capella University.
He is currently with Causality Link as a Senior Engineer. His past experiences include being at IBM as a Lead Data Scientist and Dristi as a CTO.
Trim’s patent portfolio consists of 223 patents in the AI domain globally which belongs to 144 unique patent families. He holds 116 patents in the Instruments Technology domain.
Craig’s most cited patent is US20160070439A1, Craig is a co-inventor on this with Sarbajit Rakshit, John Gangci and few others.
Corville O Allen
Corville Allen is an American inventor and holds a degree in Computer Science, Mathematics from Lona College. He has 17 years of experience in Enterprise Software Development including web-based software, Application Server infrastructure, Business Application Integration, and Cognitive Systems. He is a Senior Technical Staff Member and Master Inventor, 5-time North Carolina Inventor of the Year at IBM.
His specialities include Application Integration, API Development, Agile Methodologies, SDLC, WebSphere, Connectivity, Architecture.
His patent portfolio consists of 232 patents globally which belong to 142 unique patent families. He holds 120 patents in the domain of Instruments Technology.
Allen’s most valuable patent is US9369488B2 – Policy enforcement using natural language processing. The said patent family has been cited 119 times by company Onetrust Llc. The patent’s geographical coverage extends to the United States and China.
Martin G Keen
Martin Keen is an American inventor and with a degree in Computer Science from Southampton Solent University. He has been associated with IBM as a Technical Content Creation Leader & Video Production Leader.
Martin is an IBM Master Inventor and was conferred the Honorary award in 2016 by IBM. He holds over 200 patent applications issued specializing in areas such as big data, cognitive systems, mobile devices, and predictive analytics. Martin is a Technical Content Creator Leader including the development of dozens of published books. He is also a Videographer and Video Production Lead specializing in corporate video creation and online learning course development.
His patent portfolio has 201 patents filed globally which belong to 138 unique patent families. He holds 90 patents in the domain of Instruments Technology.
The most valuable patent in Martin Keen’s portfolio is US9473819B1 – Event pop-ups for video selection. The said patent family has been cited 16 times by companies IBM, Sony Interactive Entertainment Llc, Amazon Tech Inc, Dish Network Llc.
Jeremy Fox is an American inventor who holds a degree in BBA, Computer Information System from the University of Texas at El Paso. He has been associated with IBM since 2001. He has been accorded the title of Master Inventor at IBM.
Jeremy has also been serving as the IBM Commerce IDT Chair for over 3 years.
His patent portfolio consists of 128 patents in AI globally belonging to 110 unique patent families. 68 patents have been filed in the domain of Instruments Technology.
The most valuable patent in Jeremy Fox’s portfolio is US9826500B1 – Preventing driver distraction from incoming notifications – cited 8 times by Nocell Technologies Llc.
Don’t we agree – those smartphone notifications while driving can be dangerously distractive? Jeremy Fox’s thought process behind this patent is quite appreciable. His ingenious idea is to adjust the intensity of notification alerts based on the driving conditions is remarkable. For example: changing loud beep to just a vibration alert for a certain type of notification. A few examples of conditions include driving:
in fair/poor/good weather
Yasuaki Yamagishi is a Japanese inventor who is currently a Senior Research Scientist at Sony Corporation.
His patent portfolio there consists of 614 patents globally which belong to 104 unique patent families. He has 99 patents in the domain of Electronics Communication Technique.
His patent US10178148B2 – Content supply device, content supply method, program, and content supply system – is his most cited (13 times), by Sony Corporation, Saturn Licensing LLC. The patent’s geographical coverage extends to the United States, Brazil, India, China, and Russian Federation.
Joydeep Ray is an American inventor with a master’s degree in Computer Engineering from the Carnegie Mellon University. He is a Graphics Architect at Intel Corporation and has previously been associated with AMD as an MTS Design Engineer, Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation as a Technical Representative in CPU Sub-committee, Carnegie Mellon University as a Research Assistant, and IBM as a Design Engineer.
Ray’s patent portfolio has 293 patents in the Artificial Intelligence domain globally belonging to 84 unique patent families. 77 inventions are related to instruments belonging to the Instruments Technology domain.
His patent US10108850B1 – Recognition, reidentification, and security enhancements using autonomous machines – is his most valuable. It has been cited 10 times and has geographical coverage in the United States and China.
Let’s Sum it Up
It was interesting to note that most inventors among the top 20 AI inventors across the globe are Korean. 12 out of 20 are either working at StradVision or have worked at StradVision in past. It’s intriguing to know what StradVision is upto. There is a commonaliity in many of these inventors’ most cited patents as well. It’s the object recognition in a video.
Country of Origin
Present Place of Work
Past Places of Work
Intel, Olaworks, Samsung
Hana Institute of Technology
Superb AI Inc.
StradVision, SK Telecom, Intel and Samsung
John M Ganci Jr
Corville O Allen
Martin G Keen
Advanced Micro Devices Inc., IBM
What kindled your interest in this article. Are you currently working on any AI projects?
Since you showed an interest in this article, we wish to share an AI-based initiative with you. It’s called Patent Quality through Artificial Intelligence. The initiative is focussed on inventors and the core value that drives the initiative is “Prior Art Search for Everyone”. At PQAI, we studied patent rejection stats. We observed that most patents receive 102/103 type rejections. This means the invention described in the patent is either not new or obvious based on a combination of one or more previous inventions/literature. Many inventors apply for patents without conducting a thorough prior art search. Usually, this is because there is a lack of budget or patent searching skills. Also, it’s quite difficult to search for non-patent literature while performing a prior art search. These reasons triggered in us an urge to develop an inventor friendly prior art search engine. And what better than AI to turn to for help?
If you feel the pain inventors go through on receiving a patent rejection, we urge you to join the initiative and contribute the best way only you can!
On May 5, 1809, Ms. Mary Dixon Kies became the first woman to receive a patent in the United States of America for her technique of weaving straw with silk. Women, from time immemorial, have been innovating and making breakthroughs in the technological world. From windshield wiper to coffee filter paper, women have contributed significantly with their inventions to make this world a better place.
March is observed as the women’s history month, to reflect on the often-overlooked contributions of women in history. To mark women’s history month, we honor the contributions of these 15 female inventors who have been driving innovation.
#1. Catia Bastioli
Ms. Catia Bastioli is an Italian inventor, chemist, researcher, and entrepreneur. She holds a degree in pure chemistry from the University of Perugia, Italy. Ms. Bastioli also attended the School of Business Administration (“Alti Potenziali Montedison”) at the Bocconi University in Milan. Ms. Bastioli is the CEO of Novamont S.p.A. She is also the president of Terna Spa of the Kyoto Club Association and of the Italian Technological Cluster of Green Chemistry SPRING and member of the Board of Directors of Fondazione Cariplo.
Awards & Honors:
European Inventor of the Year Award in 2007 in the category “SMEs/research”
Honoris Causa Degree in Industrial Chemistry (2008, University of Genoa)
Honorary title of Knighthood (“Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana”), 2013
Honoris Causa Degree in Materials Engineering (2016, University of Palermo)
Appointed as “Cavaliere del Lavoro” by the President of the Italian Republic in 2017
Honoris Causa Degree in Business Economics (2018, University of Foggia)
Honorary Doctoral Degree in Civil, Chemical, Environmental, and Materials Engineering (2019, University of Bologna)
Her most valuable patent is US5412005A for biodegradable polymeric compositions based on starch and thermoplastic polymers.
Ms. Bastioli’s patent portfolio has 1291 patents globally which belong to 186 unique patent families. She is an individual inventor of 4 and a co-inventor in the rest of the 182 core patents.
#2. Esther Sans Takeuchi
Dr. Esther Sans Takeuchi is an American inventor. She completed her graduation from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Ohio State University, under the direction of Dr. Harold Shechter in 1981. She has been a Professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo since September 2007. Prior to this, she has worked with Electrochem as a Chief Scientist and at Greatbatch Inc. for more than two decades as a Director of Research & Development.
She has also served as a postdoctoral research associate in electrochemistry, first at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1982 to 1983, and then at the State University of New York at Buffalo from 1983 to 1984.
Dr. Takeuchi is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering. After 40 years in industry and academia, she continues to work at the forefront of battery technology innovation.
Awards & Honors:
National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2010 awarded by President Obama
European Inventor Award in 2018
The most valuable patent in Ms. Takeuchi’s portfolio is US4964877A for a non-aqueous lithium battery.
Ms. Takeuchi has 584 patents globally which belong to 153 unique patent families in her patent portfolio. She is an individual inventor of 5 and a co-inventor in the rest of the 148 core patents.
#3. Joy Mangano
Ms. Joy Mangano is an American inventor and entrepreneur. She was the president at Ingenious Designs LLC. She completed her graduation in business administration from Pace University.
In 1990 after growing frustrated with ordinary mops, Ms. Mangano developed her first invention, the Miracle Mop. It is a self-wringing plastic mop with a head made from a continuous loop of 300 feet (90 meters) of cotton that can be easily wrung out without getting the user’s hands wet. David O. Russell directed an Oscar-nominated movie based on her life, Joy. Ms. Mangano has also written a best-selling book, Inventing Joy which she says is for those who want to build a brave and creative life.
Named the Long Island Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 1997
Ranked number 77 on Fast Company’s list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2009
Included in Fast Company’s list of the 10 Most Creative Women in Business in 2010
The most valuable patent in Ms. Mangano’s portfolio is US5722260A for reversible jewelry clasp for necklaces and/or bracelets.
Ms. Mangano’s patent portfolio consists of 121 patents globally which belong to 68 unique patent families. She is an individual inventor of 55 and a co-inventor in the rest of the 13 core patents.
#4. Helen Lee
Dr. Helen Lee is a medical researcher. She obtained her Ph.D. in biology, microbiology, and parasitology from Cornell University. Dr. Lee is the Associate Professor in Medical Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge. She is also the President and CEO of Diagnostics for the Real World Ltd (DRW), Sunnyvale, USA, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, DRW-Europe, Cambridge, UK. She has also worked with Abbott Laboratories from 1991 to 1995, as a General Manager, Probe Diagnostics Business Unit.
Awards & Honors:
National Honor Society of Sigma Xi, 1967
Who’s Who of American Men in Science, 1970
The Entrepreneurial Award (Abbott Laboratories), 1988
The Phoenix Award (Abbott Laboratories), 1991
Finalist, YWCA Women of Achievement Award, 1994
Best Diagnostic Innovation Award (Medical Futures Innovation Competition), 2003
Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran Award (British Foundation for Science & Technology), 2005
British Female Inventor in Industry Award, 2006
European Women of Achievement Award 2006
Asian Women of Achievement Award, 2007
Tech Museum of Innovation Award, 2007
European Inventor Award, 2016
Appointed as a judge for the European Inventor Award, 2019
Recognized on the Times’ Science Power List in May 2020
Her invention, the diagnostic kit SAMBA II is being repurposed for use in COVID-19 testing. The most valuable patent in Ms. Lee’s portfolio is US6521747B2 for haplotypes of the AGTR1 gene.
Her invention of mixing steel wire elements into concrete has improved the stability of structures where it is used and reduced building costs. This invention, which is patent no. US6235108B1 is the most valuable patent in her portfolio. Her invention increases the bending tensile strength of concrete by 32%, enabling more pioneering projects to be built.
Ms. Lambrechts patent portfolio has 232 patents globally, which belong to 28 unique patent families. She is an individual inventor of 10 and a co-inventor in the remaining 18 core patents.
#6. Ursula Keller
Dr. Ursula Keller is a Swiss inventor. She obtained her Ph.D. in engineering physics/applied physics from Stanford University.
Dr. Keller joined ETH Zurich as a professor of physics in 1993, where she leads the Ultrafast Laser Physics group. She currently serves as a director of the NCCR MUST (Molecular Ultrafast Science and Technology), an interdisciplinary research program supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, bringing together 15 Swiss research groups in ultrafast physics and chemistry. She has published more than 330 peer-reviewed journal papers and 11 book chapters.
Awards & Honors:
Weizmann Women and Science Award, 2017
European Inventor Award, 2018 for laser technology in the category “lifetime achievement”
IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Photonics Award, 2018
IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Edison Medal, 2019
SPIE (the international society for optics and photonics) Gold Medal, 2020
The most valuable patent in Dr. Keller’s portfolio is US6834064B1 for the semiconductor saturable-absorber mirror technology used in mode-locking ultrafast solid-state laser systems.
Since 1983 she has had her own laboratory for molecular genetics at the University of Antwerp, and since 2005 is focussing her research on neurodegenerative brain diseases. She is an associate editor of the scientific journal Genes, Brain, and Behavior.
Dr. Broeckhoven has over 35 years of experience in molecular genetics research of neurodegenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, amyothrophic lateral sclerosis, lewy bodies disorders, and Parkinson’s disease.
Awards & Honors:
Belgian Quinquennial Prize of the Belgian National Science Foundation
Potamkin Prize (The Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick’s, Alzheimer’s, and Related Diseases),
The Arkprijs van het Vrije Woord
European Inventor Award 2011.
The most valuable patent in Dr. Broeckhoven’s portfolio is EP561087B1 for a mutated form of the beta-amyloid precursor protein gene.
Her patent portfolio has 77 patents globally which belong to 20 unique patent families.
#8. Margarita Salas
Late Dr. Margarita Salas (30 November 1938 – 7 November 2019) was a Spanish inventor. Margarita had graduated from the Complutense University of Madrid with a B.A. in chemistry and obtained a Ph.D. in 1963. She started her career in the US-based laboratory of Nobel-prize winner Severo Ochoa. She returned to her native Spain in 1967 to establish the country’s first research group in the field of molecular genetics.
Dr. Salas led the breakthroughs that have since made DNA testing fast, reliable, and used in a wide range of applications.
Awards & Honors:
Carlos J. Finlay Prize, UNESCO, 1991
Medal of Principality of Asturias, 1997
National Research Award Santiago Ramon y Cajal, 1999
L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science, 2000
Selected among the 100 women of the twentieth century that paved the way for equality in the XXI Century by the Council of Women of the Community of Madrid, 2001
Isabel Ferrer Award of the Generalitat Valenciana, 2002
Gold Medal of the Community of Madrid, 2002
Grand Cross of the Civil Order of Alfonso X, the Wise, 2003
International Prize for Science and Research Cristóbal Gabarrón Foundation, 2004
Gold Medal for Merit in Work, 2005
Medal of Honor of the Complutense University of Madrid, 2005
Award of Excellence granted by FEDEPE (Spanish Federation of Women Directors, Executives, Professionals, and Entrepreneurs), 2006
First Spanish woman to become a member of the National Academy of Science (United States), 2007
Gold Medal of the College of Veterinarians of the Principality of Asturias, 2009
Title of Honorary Ambassador of the Spain Brand, category of Science and Innovation, which fails Leading Brands of Spanish Forum with the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, 2009
Women Leader Award, awarded by the Rafael del Pino, Aliter and Merck Foundation, 2009
Award “An entire professional life” of the Mapfre Foundation, 2009
Chemistry Excellence Award, awarded by the General Council of Associations of Chemists of Spain, 2014
Medalla Echegaray, the highest award from the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences, 2016
ManchaArte Award 2018, 2018
European Inventor Award Lifetime Achievement Award and Audience Award by European Patent Office, 2019
The most valuable patent in Dr. Salas’s portfolio is US5198543A for an improved method for determining the nucleotide base sequence of a DNA molecule.
Her patent portfolio has 80 patents globally which belong to 19 unique patent families.
#9. Marissa Mayer
Ms. Marissa Mayer is an American inventor. Marissa studied symbolic systems and computer science with an emphasis on artificial intelligence, receiving a B.S. degree in 1997 and an M.S. degree in 1999 at Stanford University. She is the co-founder of Sunshine Contacts. She has worked with some of the major corporate giants like Walmart, Yahoo, and Google. Ms. Mayer designed the search interface of Google’s home page. During her tenure at Google, Ms. Mayer helped create a number of patented inventions related to web-browsing software, including a program that searches saved articles.
Ms. Mayer actively invests in technology companies, including crowd-sourced design retailer Minted, live video platform Airtime.com, wireless power startup uBeam, online DIY community/e-commerce company Brit + Co., mobile payments processor Square, home décor site One Kings Lane, genetic testing company Natera, and nootropics and biohacking company Nootrobox.
The most valuable patent in Ms. Mayer’s portfolio is US7096214B1 for a system and method for supporting editorial opinion in the ranking of search results.
Ms. Mayer has 63 patents globally which belong to 14 unique patent families in her patent portfolio.
#10. Annegret Matthai
Ms. Annegret Matthai is a German inventor, working with Audi AG, Germany. She is involved and working on inventions related to the motor industry. The most valuable patent in her portfolio is DE102008004049A1 for a laminated glass unit for use as a windshield in a motor vehicle.
Ms. Matthai has 32 patents globally in her patent portfolio, which belong to 13 unique patent families.
#11. Ann Tsukamoto
Dr. Ann Tsukamoto is an American inventor with a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of California. She is a stem cell researcher, who started her career with SyStemix in 1989.
With her husband, Professor Irv Weissman, as co-patentee, Dr. Tsukamoto’s patent for stem cell isolation was awarded in 1991. Their discovery gave people with blood cancer another chance at life and has since saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Her work with Stem Cells, Inc. involves the isolation of liver and neural stem cells as they pertain to a variety of diseases.
Her most recent position was executive vice president for Scientific and Strategic Alliances at StemCells, Inc. During her 18-year tenure at StemCells, Dr. Tsukamoto led the scientific team that discovered the human central nervous system stem cell (HuCNS-SC®) and a second candidate stem cell for the liver and that transitioned the human neural stem cell into early clinical development in all three components of the CNS: brain, spinal cord, and eye. The biological potential and activity of these HuCNS-SC® cells were demonstrated in some patients and reflected results seen in preclinical rodents’ studies. The many challenges of developing a cell therapy in a small biotech firm led to the closure of StemCells, Inc., in August 2016.
She successfully invented the method to isolate blood stem cells in the body and obtained patent no. US5061620A.
This is the most valuable patent in her portfolio. Dr. Tsukamoto has 48 patents globally in her portfolio, which belong to 8 unique patent families.
#12. Laura Johanna van ‘t Veer
Dr. Laura Johanna van ‘t Veer is a Dutch Molecular Biologist and inventor of MammaPrint. Her research focuses on personalized medicine, to advance patient management based on knowledge of the genetic make-up of the tumor as well as the genetic make-up of the patient. She completed her Ph.D. in oncology and cancer biology from the Leiden University.
Laura is the Professor Laboratory Medicine and Director Applied Genomics Cancer Center at the UCSF (University of California San Francisco) since 2010. She has earlier worked with Agendia and the Netherlands Cancer Institute. Laura was also a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School(HMS) from 1989 to 1991.
Award & Honors:
European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) LifeTime Achievement Award, 2007
Second prize EU Women Innovator Award, 2014
European Inventor Award in the category Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, 2015
European CanCer Organization Clinical Research Award, 2017
Precision Medicine World Conference Luminary Award, 2020
Recognized as one of the ’32 Amazing Women Inventors’, a group of women who succeeded in fields that are overwhelmingly dominated by men
The most valuable patent in Laura Johanna van ‘t Veer’s portfolio is US7171311B2, for methods of assigning treatment to breast cancer patients.
In Laura Johanna van ‘t Veer’s patent portfolio there are 40 patents globally, which belong to 8 unique patent families.
#13. Macinley Butson
Ms. Macinley Butson is an Australian inventor and holds a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Wollongong. She is the founder of Passionately Curious, which provides access and opportunity to STEM, sparking curiosity for a generation of young minds. Prior to starting Passionately Curious, Ms. Butson has worked with Scilutions Pty Ltd as a Director.
She is notable as the youngest female inventor and scientist. She came up with her first invention at the age of 6. Ms. Butson has received numerous awards and honors as an inventor.
Awards & Honors:
Marie Claire + Bumble Glass Ceiling Awards, 2019 – The Future Shaper award winner
Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize Winner, 2019
Instyle and Audi Women of Style Awards Judges Choice Winner, 2019
Instyle and Audi Women of Style Next-Gen Innovator (Science) Award Winner, 2019
1st Place in Translational Medicine at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize Winner
4th Place in Energy: Physical at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
1st Place at the BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Awards
In Ms. Butson’s patent portfolio there are 6 patents globally and all the patents belong to unique patent families. She is an individual inventor of all 6 core patents. She invented an ultraviolet radiation sticker that measures the solar UV exposure required to sanitize drinking water, and a smart shield to protect women undergoing radiotherapy against excess radiation.
Ms. Patricia Billings is an American inventor and businesswoman. She completed her study in Arts at Amarillo College in Texas. Her detour from art into technology came in the late 1970s, when a swan sculpture, after months of work, fell and shattered. Ms. Billings, who knew that Michelangelo and other Renaissance sculptors used a cement additive to give their plaster longevity, set out to create a modern equivalent.
Her specialty was plaster of Paris sculptures and Ms. Billings filed several patents for building materials including modular wall panels and roofing tiles.
The most valuable patent in Ms. Billings’s portfolio is US5647180A for a fire-resistant building panel marketed by the name Geobond®.
Geobond® products are so resistant to heat that after being torched with a 2,000°F flame for four hours, it remains lukewarm.
Ms. Billings in her patent portfolio has 8 patents globally, which belong to 5 unique patent families.
#15. Lynn Ann Conway
Ms. Lynn Ann Conway is an American inventor. After earning her BS and MSEE from Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, Ms. Conway joined IBM Research. There she made foundational contributions to computer architecture, including the invention of multiple-out-of-order dynamic instruction scheduling. Fired by IBM as she underwent gender transition in 1968, Ms. Conway secretly started her career over again in ‘stealth mode’, soon becoming a computer architect at Memorex. She has also worked at MIT as a Vis. Assoc. Professor of EECS, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, and DAPRA. At present, she is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan.
Her specialties are computer science, systems architecture, electrical engineering, microelectronic design, research management, engineering education, human rights advocacy.
Awards & Honors:
Electronics 1981 Award for Achievement
Harold Pender Award of the Moore School, University of Pennsylvania
IEEE EAB Major Educational Innovation Award, 1984
Fellow of the IEEE, 1985, “for contributions to VLSI technology”
John Price Wetherill Medal of the Franklin Institute, with Carver Mead, 1985
Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award, 1985
Member of the National Academy of Engineering, 1989
National Achievement Award, Society of Women Engineers, 1990
Presidential Appointment to the United States Air Force Academy Board of Visitors, 1996
Honorary Doctorate, Trinity College, 1998
Electronic Design Hall of Fame, 2002
Engineer of the Year, National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals, 2005
The most valuable patent in Ms. Conway’s portfolio is US5652849A for an apparatus and method for remote control using a visual information stream.
In Ms. Conway’s patent portfolio there are 5 patents globally, which belong to 5 unique patent families.
These are some of the female inventors from among numerous women who have contributed to the world of innovation. These women are an inspiration for young girls around the world. Women continue to disrupt the patent industry and make life easier with their inventions. We at PQAI salute and celebrate all the female inventors around the world.
Sam Zellner is a Prolific Inventor, an Entrepreneur, Adept Portfolio Manager, Product Lead for PQAI and Ex Director Innovation at At&T.
Mr A: Core innovation happens when we stop believing in the societal norms of accepting ‘that’s how it works’.
Sam Zellner: “The corollary to this is believing long held assumptions can’t change. Ken Olsen, CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) said in 1977, ‘there is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home’. The challenge for all of us is realizing when a basic assumption is no longer true. The funny thing is it’s always obvious later on!”.
Samuel N Zellner is a prolific American inventor with more than 200 issued and pending patents worldwide. He has held many prestigious positions in the IP fraternity. Sam Zellner retired as Executive Director, Innovation at AT&T in January, 2010. During his tenure at AT&T he created state of the art platforms utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI). He also developed new approaches in advanced big data concepts to develop high-value patent portfolios and monetize these Intellectual Property (IP) assets.
His current projects involve creating an open source combinational prior art search engine utilizing AI called PQAI, which stands for Patent Quality through Artificial Intelligence. Sam Zellner is also working on InspireIP, an invention disclosure system making invention management easy for inventors and IP counsels.
Sam Zellner is a board member on a number of the state IP Alliances as well as the newly formed US Intellectual Property Alliance. He has also been recognised as IAM 300 Top Strategist 2019. He is experienced in planning and strategizing in high tech. Sam is also on the board of directors of the Licensing Executive Society (LES), Atlanta chapter since January, 2018.
Exclusive Interview With Sam Zellner
We asked some questions from Sam Zellner and through his experience, he has provided some brilliant insights for the inventors and patent portfolio managers.
#1. What challenges do you face in your daily life as an inventor?
My big joke is that the inventors are some of the loneliest people as they are not able to find support for their ideas. As an inventor, you come up with an idea and if you present your idea to someone, they tend to discount it as being bizarre or incorrect.
For example, way back when the inventors were thinking about putting cameras on cell phones, everybody was like why would we put cameras on cell phones? data transmission is expensive, cell phones cannot hold much data and At the time it seemed like a crazy idea.It is hard as an inventor to share ideas with other people, as inventors typically base their inventions on assumption sets different from the accepted norms. Battery technology will improve (think electric cars), people will change their behavior (think buying online), laws will change (think Uber and taxi licenses). This is why most people can’t see or accept inventors’ visions. Later on, when hopefully the idea is adopted, everyone’s lense looks at the concept with the new assumption set will say that either ‘I was also thinking of this idea back then’ or that ‘it was obvious’. It is really hard as an inventor to get credit. With the patent system, the inventor gets some credit as they are recognised with the patent.
Generally, it’s sort of a lonely life as an inventor, a tough life because very rarely do people acknowledge that you had a good idea. Rarely do you get recognised as doing something novel, rather you are recognised as crazy, which is the common thought process.
#2. Are you part of any inventor groups or community?
I am not aware of a lot of communities. Maybe, the individual inventors are a part of some communities. My experience with corporate inventors is that they tend to talk to their associates, but I am not familiar with the corporate inventors being part of a specific group. You might check with the inventors’ association to see if there are any particular groups that they are pushing towards. I think in Atlanta there are some incubators that have events, which are fairly popular. Tech Village in Atlanta is one.
#3. What motivates you to invent?
As a lot of people say, engineers like solving problems, I think it’s a mixture of curiosity and wanting to solve problems. Patents are about solving problems, so it comes naturally that way. I look at problems and try to think of how to solve them.
#4. When do the best ideas occur to you?
I think most people say that when you are in the shower. On the contrary, I think typically, like I said it’s about solving problems, so the best ideas come a few hours after you see a problem or run into a problem. As they say, your mind is thinking about a problem and to invent, sometimes you really need, almost, the subconscious to be helping you. Because unfortunately, the assumptions that most of us go around with are so strong that it’s really hard to see past those assumptions. Particularly, what are called the ‘old assumptions’ – assumptions that might have been good a year ago but now because of new technologies, change in economic factors or regulatory landscape or something in the environment. Now the old assumption that – ‘we can’t do this’, is probably no longer valid. Then all of a sudden, when you think of assumptions as walls and when you move that wall away, then a whole gamut of opportunities open up.
It reminds me of location services, I did a lot of patents around location services. Before, we had no real in-location services capability, GPS came and then we had the enhancements with cellular, allowing us to do location for 911. The general thinking of the people was that ‘I don’t know where somebody is when they call, when they are using a phone’, now all of a sudden, anybody can know exactly where the other person is. As an inventor, now you wonder as to what you can do with that. What came to my mind, at the time when it started off, was that the cellular network moves when I leave the house. The cellular network knows when I leave the house, it can see me driving my car, location is changing, then it should know how to change the thermostat in my house. So it’s more efficient, I am saving energy because it used to always bother me that when I leave the house, since in Atlanta it’s very hot, the air conditioning is always on and wasting power that way. So it could let the house get a little warmer when I am not there, there’s no harm and I am saving money, energy. And ideally the cellular network could see when I am coming back again so it could turn the air conditioning on and when I get home, the house would be cool again. So it’s a simple example, once it’s realised that location can be used to control things, now it opens up all kinds of opportunities.
Another thought was now that the cellular network can see me arriving in a city, if there’s a hotel in that city, it can automatically register me for the hotel because it can see that I am coming for my hotel room. So it’s amazing, once I start realising and accepting the fact that I can know where people are, now I can make some assumptions about what should be done based on where I am. So that’s what I mean about the whole idea of changing assumptions and opening up more opportunities.
#5. Is there a systematic approach to coming up with innovations?
There are a lot of techniques out there, it depends on the person what technique works well. Everybody is different in how they think so it can be different. There are really two parts to this, one there’s getting the seed idea, identifying the problem and on the cusp of solving the problem and then there’s also sort of extending it. So the hard part is getting the seed idea and finding a problem that’s of significance, which hasn’t been solved well. For me, I go through the assumptions that I am making about the problem and test each one to see if it’s true. If I take this assumption, what it does. And that for me helps quite a bit.
The other piece, which I see a lot of people do and is easy to do, is that as in my example before, about location services and changing the thermostat, people tend to get fixated on one solution to a problem. They don’t really generalise it because again, think about it, the patent is looking into the future. As an inventor you are trying to throw a solution out into the future and it’s very hard to know how the world will change in the future. Therefore, you want to expand your idea plus you don’t know what people have really done.
That’s one of the reasons why PQAI is so helpful. When you run PQAI, you can see where the thinking is and you can modify your idea based on that. As an inventor, you might find out that people have already thought about your idea, so you might want to think about the next generation of the idea. Maybe there are some aspects of using location to control something, what would come next and where else might you apply, if it’s just thermostats. What about using location to provide package delivery notifications and you know there’s lots of other things there.
When you get a seed idea for an invention, try to generalise it. I think about it as trying to generalise it till all of sudden it’s no longer novel, it gets so broad that you’ll run into the wall that says, it sounds familiar or that’s already been done. In any case it helps you, particularly in the patent because as you know, with a patent you have your initial claim and then you have your dependent claims. Thus, it expands your idea and this way if you do a mapping, like again in the example of location services and controlling the thermostat, you might generalise it from controlling a thermostat to controlling a device and you might define control as turning on and off instead you might want to define control as adjusting or you can say controlling multiple devices. So that helps to broaden out your idea in case some prior art is already there, you can find your segment.
#6. What was your first invention and when?
First invention… I didn’t go anywhere with that but I tried. I had two ideas, one idea was in 1983, creating a phone ringer that would play tunes. My interest was particularly in the fight songs in colleges I attended school at Northwestern University. They have a big marching band and they have their own fight song like most universities do. And I thought that wow all the alumni would love to have their phones ring their school’s fight song. So that was my idea and this is prior to cell phones, so this is at the time of landline phones. At the time, the landline phones did not have any tunes playing, they were basically just a standard ringer. So I was trying to put together the electronics around it and unfortunately, I could not quite get it together.
The other idea, which sounded crazy back then, was putting TVs in an elevator. I used to work in a high rise building back then. I just noticed how much time people spend in the elevator and how uncomfortable people were in the elevator. Then, I thought to myself, wow, if you could put a TV in there and show some news or something, that would be actually welcome, since people are looking around uncomfortably in the elevator. I actually talked to the city of Chicago elevator commission about putting TVs in the elevators and they thought I was crazy. Now the ironic thing is, I haven’t seen that many but there are a few TVs in the elevators but you see TVs in public places. It is one of the examples where I should have been thinking broadly because now you see TVs at the airport, gas stations, pumps, and in a lot of different places. It goes back to thinking broadly because sometimes your initial use case is not the most important use case.
#7. What shall be your advice for budding inventors?
Run your idea through PQAI and gather some knowledge about how other inventors have tried to solve the problem. Keep an open mind. Don’t get totally stuck on your one use case. Listen to people, share your idea, obviously in a way that it is protected but maybe after your provisional application or with your close friends to try and get a sense of how people are reacting to your idea. A lot of times it will give you clues as to maybe where you are a little off in your idea. It’s very rare, in my experience, that people have hit it right in their initial idea. They are in the right area, they have the right basic building blocks but it needs to be adjusted in some way. My advice is be open and listen carefully to people’s reactions as it might give you clues for where you should be going.
The other thing is that inventing is very hard. Don’t be discouraged if your first idea might not be novel. It is very hard, you are competing against all the inventors in the world. That’s very tough so don’t get discouraged.
#8. How was your experience as an inventor at AT&T?
My experience at AT&T was very good. AT&T has a very energetic, creative environment and very smart people. We could talk about the new ideas and people were very open to it. We were working with a lot of cutting edge technologies at AT&T. So I found it very easy to come up with new ideas in that environment.
#9. What are some tips you would like to give to a patent portfolio manager?
Again, to have an effective patent one really needs to be broad. So I would want to encourage the patent portfolio managers to make sure the patent is broad enough so that as the future unfolds, the patent is still relevant. I think what helps to broaden your patent out and obviously, to test it is to do some prior art searching. The prior art searching really gives you a sense of how other people are thinking about the idea. Then you can see how your idea relates to those thoughts, that usually generates more use cases and more thoughts about how to broaden out the patent and where novelty really exists.
I would encourage the patent portfolio managers to do some prior art searching and that’s where PQAI provides great opportunity as prior art search takes a lot of time. With PQAI you can do it very quickly. It is sort of a golden opportunity for patent portfolio managers to leverage it and ensure that either the ideas/inventions are new disclosures or continuations or their very best.
Sam Zellner | Patent Portfolio
The statistics and charts hereunder provide an insight into Sam’s patent portfolio, which has more than 200 issued and pending patents worldwide.
Note – Patent families represent the count of total unique patent families. Patents represent the total number of records i.e. considering all the family members of an INPADOC (International Patent Documentation) family. The following four statistics are based on unique families count.
Technology Area And Patent Families Count –
Sam’s patent portfolio has 292 patents globally, which belong to 91 unique patent families. He has worked in many areas of the tech industry but mainly, most of his inventions are related to electronic communication techniques and instruments. The count of inventions in this and related domains is 86.
The chart below details the areas of technology in which his patents have been filed:
Technology Through The Years –
This statistic is based on Sam Zellner’s patent filings periodically, indicating as to how many patents are filed year by year and in which area of technology:
Sam Zellner has patents in 91 different patent families within his patent portfolio. He is an individual inventor of 17 and a co-inventor of the rest of the 74 core patents:
Sam Zellner is affiliated with AT&T Inc, putting AT&T on the top of the list of patent assignments by Sam for his inventions. However, there are a few more names of other assignees in the list, in the cases where Sam’s inventions have been re-assigned by AT&T and all these patents were filed by AT&T. All the subdivisions of AT&T as AT&T Inc have been considered.
The term “Patent Counts” represents the counts of individual patents filed in various countries, irrespective of the patent family. The following statistic is based on the total number of patents in the portfolio:
Patent Filing Worldwide
The following graph shows Sam Zellner’s patent filing for inventions worldwide. Majority of the patents have been filed in the United States of America. Also, there are 10 patents, in which the applications have been filed before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) & the European Patent Office (EPO).
The Key Takeaways
Sam Zellner has decades of experience as an inventor and a patent portfolio manager. Sam’s advice to the inventors is to think broadly and expand the idea beyond your first use case. Sam Zellner recommends the inventors to keep an open mind and observe how the people are reacting to the idea, when shared with people in a protected way and also motivates them to not get discouraged in case their idea is not novel. He encourages the patent portfolio managers as well as the inventors to do some prior art searching, to find how other inventors are approaching the same problem.
The world is anxiously waiting for revolutionary change as Joe Biden, the 46th President of the United States and Vice President Kamala Harris prepare to make history. Topics of interest focus on how the Biden-Harris administration will deal with the impacts and consequences of the nation’s intellectual property (IP) law and policies.
This article provides some insight as publications post comments and concerns about Biden’s IP policy approach. They each share perceptions that speak to the need to fortify U.S. IP protection as an incentive to continue developing inventions, technology innovations, and research patents to retain America’s lead in advancements.
U.S. businesses and inventors are concerned about how IP laws and policies could influence opportunities for supplying goods and services to support continued growth in commerce within the public and private market sectors. Looking in from the outside, President Biden’s plan needs to facilitate a more efficient patent filing process that secures and protects IP transfer and trading practices within domestic and international markets.
Overall, the community’s consensus sees the next four years highlighting the Biden-Harris administration’s effort to improve U.S. IP policies at home and abroad contributing to America’s economic recovery.
The Diplomat – Contributing author Robert Farley commented on the influence that Vice President Kamala Harris brings to the table. Securing her position in U.S. history as Vice President, the post goes on to state how “Harris would influence both the executive branch policy and legislation while presiding over a closely divided Senate.”
As a sponsor of the DEFEND ACT during her tenure as Attorney General of California, Harris legally pursued producers in India and China for IP violations based on fair-trade and law-abiding principles. In her current position as U.S. Vice President, there is no doubt that her influence will carry both inspiration and encouragement for patents filed in the United States.
The certainty of the Biden-Harris administration’s views on IP law and policies will focus on leveling the playing field for American enterprises and research organizations looking to gain a fair share to the supply markets.
Washington Post – Covering world business Jeanne Whalen reported on the Commerce Department nominee Gina Raimondo, pledging to join the fight against unfair trade practices. Raimondo did not share any details on how she planned to proceed – instead, Rhode Island’s Governor made this statement, “I believe America has to lead in standards-setting, particularly in new technology.” Raimondo continued saying, “It’s one way we could help Americans to compete, lead and win.”
China is the target in this article, charged with intellectual theft and misuse of patents with the intent to use stolen technology as a source to spy on other nations. Historically, the United States has held the number one position globally for filing the most international patents comprised of technological advancements, making it a primary targeted.
China misjudged the strength and resilience of the United States as a global competitor in trade as U.S. enterprises continue to develop technology and venture into new research discovery.
New York Times – Ana Swanson covers trade and international economics, reported on Rohde Island’s Governor, Gina Raimondo’s discussions on the Department of Commerce’s “Entity List” prohibiting companies from selling American products and technology to individual foreign firms without a license.
The Department of Commerce added the names of IP violators to the Entity List to protect America’s technology and business invention patents allowing organizations to pursue open and fair markets actively. The Department pledged to continue its enforcement of foreign attempts of intellectual property theft and inappropriate (unlawful) acquisitions of patented data.
The article cites Raimondo’s praise by her peers for her public and private interest, dedicated to dealing with the pandemic, increase investments in U.S. businesses and promote marine and space economies.
Raimondo’s comments and the Department of Commerce’s actions to protect American intellectual property encourages new inventions and continued research advancements in an effort to drive the U.S. economy forward.
IPWatchdog – The article mentions the disarray in the U.S. patent process. Brian Pomper, Executive Director of the Innovation Alliance, sent a letter to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris outlining the need to support patent rights to meet enforcement challenges brought on by foreign competitors.
Similar upsets of the U.S. patent process were mentioned in President Biden’s Plan for Rural America, declaring a recommended change on how patents are awarded. One area pertaining to research, President Biden proposed that agricultural patents granted to private entities for inventions derived from publicly funded research deprive the public of duly earned benefits.
To protect the American people, “Biden encourages the U.S. to “re-invest in land grant universities’ agricultural research so the public, not private companies would hold title to agricultural research patents.”
The Hill – Marc L. Busch, Karl F. Landegger Professor of International Business Diplomacy at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, addressed two IP concerns associated with the forced-technology transfer through joint-venture and government subsidies funding research and development.
China was accused of forcing businesses to hand over their intellectual property to access their market. China then claimed the technology benefiting from the production and sale. Developing a legal partnership is a business strategy that allows the patent holder to sell or license the intellectual property rights to an authorized party for a specified duration and receipt of payment, royalties, or fees.
Busch suggested it may be a viable solution for new or existing patent holders to participate in secondary market spillovers as the concept offers economic benefits while spearheading new market patent developments.
SHRM – Society of Human Resource Management responded to an issue closer to home for U.S. employers and its workforce. President Biden’s platform included eliminating or at least minimizing employee non-compete clauses and no-poaching agreements.
Biden, “specifically, said he would support federal legislation to eliminate most non-compete agreements – allowing only those that are necessary to protect a narrowly defined category of trade secrets.”
Employer IP practices came into play as standard employment clauses and agreements to legally deter employees from sharing company information or competitors from soliciting employees to obtain trade secrets or data. Over time, employment IP protection took on a broader role that interfered with workers’ rights to seek other employment in similar industries.
Employers could secure and protect patented investments by detailing the IP clauses and agreements to guard new technology, confidential information, trade secrets, inventions, or brand data.
In summary, President Biden made two key points in his “Made in America” program; to provide incentives and support companies sourcing and manufacturing products within the United States and to protect U.S. patent rights by challenging attempts to steal American intellectual property.
Artificial Intelligence is changing the world around you. From suggesting videos you may like, to driving cars for you. But can AI accompany you on your prior art search spree? Let’s find out.
To Pursue or Not to Pursue? – That is the question
If you are one of the inventive types, you must be having a lot of ideas as you go about your day, as if problems are just kind of waiting for you to arrive and provide a solution. You also know the power and perils of ideas. Pursue the right one and you can make a fortune, pursue a wrong one and it can lead to wasted effort.
So it is important that you pursue the ideas that are most likely to give you high returns. But how do you know in advance?
Well, there is no simple answer to this question but few loose rules of thumbs. One is that it is better to pursue ideas that are actually new and never thought of before. This is important because if you market your idea, you can also get a patent for it. If your idea is not new you won’t be able to have exclusive access to it and you may not even be able to market it.
Many inventors don’t pay sufficient attention to it. Or they assume that if an idea has not been turned into a product then they have no risk in bringing it to market. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, only a small fraction of the actual ideas that have been patented are realized in the products. Therefore, it is important to run a prior art check before you begin to pursue any idea and be sure that you would be able to patent, and thus, have exclusive rights to market it.
The Prior Art Search | Challenges
There are plenty of free resources available for you to use to run a prior art search. These give you access to thousands of patents. But navigating through that heap of documents is a task of days. Not just that, these search engines require you to create sophisticated search strings. Here is how a sophisticated boolean search string looks like:
The state-of-art patent search tools cater to those who know what to look for and how and where to look for them. But you are an inventor who might not really have a legal background. Don’t worry though, there is a prior art search engine that understands natural language and is super easy to navigate through search results. It’s PQAI – Patent Quality Through Artificial Intelligence. When AI can drive cars it can surely make prior art search less complex.
PQAI – An AI Powered Prior Art Search Tool
When using PQAI, you don’t have to worry about keywords and search strings. You also don’t have to worry about using operators to sieve your results. PQAI also helps you locate prior art without a classification search. Enter your idea into PQAI in plain English. And PQAI shall present to you only the top 10 results closest to your invention. The best part is, each result shows the relevant texts from within the document matching your query. This saves you from reading the patent documents or research papers in full detail.
It’s So Easy You Can Do It Yourself
Let’s assume that your idea is to create a light-weight, portable bluetooth speaker with an in-built light that glows like a real flame together with your music.
Before investing time and resources into this venture let’s check for related prior art using PQAI. Go to projectpq.ai and enter the description of this invention in plain English. We did it for you as shown below.
When we ran this query through PQAI the AI algorithm curated the top ten most relevant representative results. And at the 7th position we found a patent that was pretty close to the invention in question. It’s titled – “Portable Bluetooth Camping Light”. Presented below is the snapshot of the result. It also contains a table showing query element mapping with the relevant text from the patent document.
Here are a few drawings from the above mentioned patent document that match with our invention query.
Looking at the prior art shown by PQAI. The invention seems to be already patented by someone else. This means it might not be very wise to pursue the idea any further.
It’s time for you to look for prior art matching your invention for real. Based on the results you receive you can choose to modify your query. You can also save the results you like to view later. We are sure that you would be surprised to see the insightful results matching your invention.
You can further modify the results by adding filters. You can filter the results based on publication date, document type and source.
How The Dataset Of PQAI looks like?
The results that PQAI curates for you are not limited to just patents. This tool gives you results that include articles, research papers, R&D, and more. PQAI’s database as of today stands at 11 million US patents and applications and nearly 11.5 million research papers in the fields of engineering and computer science.
What really sets this apart, and allows you more time is how you consume the results you are given. The tool will provide you with representative results from different sectors that have a relevance to your idea. Further, it extracts relevant snippets and maps them to different parts of your query. This saves the time you would spend reviewing or analysing an entire document to locate possible prior art.
Let’s Sum It Up
PQAI has been created after mindful research and is still a work in progress. We have taken the concerns of inventors into consideration and are continuously training the AI engine to provide even better results. Easy, curated access to millions of documents and easy search navigation make this the ideal place to begin your patenting/entrepreneurial journey. Prior art searches don’t need to be a chore anymore, especially for inventors like you! Happy inventing!
Inventors get so many queries like: Can I get a patent on my invention? What is prior art? Can a YouTube video count as prior art? We have prepared this guide to prior art to help inventors succeed in their patent seeking journey.
Can I Get A Patent On My Invention?
You came up with a breakthrough idea, say a cot that can put babies to sleep using a particular vibration pattern and soothing music. A lot of parents can’t catch enough sleep if their babies don’t sleep well at night. You have solved a problem that a lot of parents face. A lot of parents might be interested in buying such a cot. You see a possibility of a great revenue stream. And because you feel your invention is novel, you see that it has the potential to be patented.
However, there is a possibility that someone else has already come up with a similar invention and received a patent on it. Now that patent is a “prior-art” that can stop you from receiving a patent on your invention.
Hope this example gave you the basic idea of prior art. In this post, we have brought to you a detailed, visual, and very clear explanation of everything you need to know about it. We have also shared how you can conduct a “Zero Budget Prior Art Search”.
What is Prior Art?
Prior art is any evidence that an invention is already in existence or publicly available prior to the filing date of the patent application. The invention does not need to be commercially available or exist physically to be prior art. It suffices that the invention has been previously described or shown to be something that contains the use of technology that is like your invention.
So, if you file a patent without the searching for prior art and the patent examiner finds that your invention is not novel (new), you receive ‘§102 type rejection’: “Non novel or not new”.
“21.28% of patent applications got rejected over a period of ~4 years from 2017 to September 2020 because they did not meet the ‘novelty’ criterion.”
There is one more common reason for rejection: ‘§103 type rejection’: “Obvious improvement over the prior-art”.
“46.95% of patent applications got rejected over a period of ~4 years from 2017 to September 2020 because they did not meet the ‘non-obviousness’ criterion.”
Note: Stats are based on the rejections (Final +Non Final) given by the Patent Examiners, for the US applications from 2017 to September 2020
The §102 and §103 constitute 68.23% of the total rejections. This indicates that either an examiner found a prior art questioning the novelty of an invention disclosed or an examiner combined two or more references to prove that an invention disclosed is obvious.
It is critical that inventors invest in a thorough search of past and present products and patents before they conclude on the novelty and non – obviousness of their invention.
Does this count As Prior Art?
A very similar invention is available in a video on Youtube, does this mean we cannot obtain a patent for that invention?
It certainly can depending on the similarity with your invention.
Inventors often have queries about what counts as a prior art and if a certain public information can be the reason for rejection of their patent application. Such disclosures can definitely act as a prior art depending upon the level of similarity with your invention.
Any invention that has been publicly disclosed or made publicly available in any language or in any part of the world may count as prior art.
It can be a:
product that was available for sale,
an invention used commercially,
printed or electronic forms of articles,
publications, texts, journals,
presentation at a public event,
or any form of public use of the invention.
An existing product or patent is the most obvious form of prior art. Inventors often assume that because they cannot find an existing commercial product containing their invention, their invention must be novel.
This assumption is far from reality. Inventions often never become products, yet there may be public records showing their existence. That record counts as prior art.
Does This Not Count As A Prior Art?
Generally, information that is disclosed or becomes available to the public after the ‘effective’ filing date (or priority date) of your patent application would not qualify as prior art.
Also, patent applications that are filed after yours generally would not qualify as prior art.
#sidenote: A trade secret does not count as a prior art.
What Is Prior Art Under AIA: §102, §103?
The America Invents Act (AIA) is a complex bill that includes a significant change to U.S. patent law The AIA relates fundamentally to whether or not an invention can be classified as prior art with arguably the most impactful change being the shift from a “first to invent” system to a “first inventor to file” system on March 16, 2013.
Section 102: First to Invent Vs. First Inventor to File
Pre-AIA Sections 102(a) and 102(e): Patents were granted using the “first to invent” system. The section provides that an inventor is not entitled to a patent if the claimed invention was already patented, described in a patent or is in public use by another inventor before the claimed invention.
For example, under old U.S. patent law, an inventor could rely on the earliest documented date of the invention and obtain priority to another inventor with an earlier-filed application.
AIA Section 102(a): Prevents a patent if the claimed invention was described in a patent or patent application filed before the effective filing date of the invention.
For example, under the AIA, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will award a patent to an inventor who has the earliest effective filing date. The earliest effective filing date is the original date that the application was filed.
Section 103: Obviousness
Pre-AIA Section 103: Prevents patenting of an invention if it would have been obvious at the time the claimed invention was made.
AIA Section 103: A patent may not be obtained if the invention would have been obvious before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.
Example: Prior-art reference (1) teaches encryption. Prior-art reference (2) teaches how to send an email. Then sending an encrypted email would not be novel. It would be ‘obvious’ because there is a motivation to send emails in a form that would allow them to be read only by the intended recipient.
How To Conduct A Prior Art Search?
The easiest way to do the search should be like:
telling your innovative idea to a friend,
and asking the friend if he has heard or seen something like it.
assuming that the friend knows it all, if he says he has not heard of it;
your invention is new and there is a possibility to get a patent over it.
Because you just want to determine if your invention is new or novel enough to get a patent on it.
However that’s the ideal scenario and far from reality.
Free Prior Art Search Resources
For an inventor who is (often) not skilled to conduct a prior art search it can be quite challenging to do so. Although there are many free resources for patent or prior art searching available, most of them do not understand natural language queries. To name a few:
Besides that many times companies use deceptive language in patents to hide their IP activity from competitors. That makes it further difficult to find the relevant prior art.
Look at the snapshot below, we have picked this from reddit (r/patents). Clearly the inventor tried to look for prior art in USPTO and Google patents but faced difficulty with language and search navigation.
“Bendable”, “Foldable”, “Flexible” are some synonyms that can be used to refer to the same aspect of an invention. Different patent drafters would have used different terms. However you don’t want to miss out on any relevant result and hence it would be needed to take care of synonyms while searching.
The Complex Search Queries
The patents databases are a huge set of information. Thousands of results are received for a single query. complex search queries are the only way to narrow down the results. These queries are nothing but keywords arranged with a specific logic (Boolean (AND/OR) search string) to get relevant prior art results.
The Patent Language
The patents are usually drafted in a very specific language, difficult for a person with the non-ip background to comprehend. For example: a computer might be written as “an information exchange system” to cover any other similar devices like phone, tablet etc.
How Much Does It Cost To Get A Prior Art Search Done?
Professional Search Fees
According to upcounsel if you hire a professional to conduct an in-depth prior art search, it shall cost you anything between $1000 to $3000 based on the complexity of the invention.
$1,000 to $1,250 for simple inventions
$1,250 to $1,500 for slightly complex inventions
$1,500 to $2,000 for moderately or relatively complex inventions
$2,000 to $3,000 for highly complex inventions or software
Government Search Fees
The USPTO fee for conducting a patent search or prior art search varies according to the entity size. The fee is less for small and micro entities, so to say it’s less for individual inventors like yourself. ($40 to $700)
The snapshot presented below is from USPTO’s website that shares complete details of patent related fees.
Depending on the type of patent, the fee is different: Utility, Design or Plant.
Here are quick definitions for different types of patents based on which you can decide which category does your invention fall in.
It protects process, manufacture, composition of matter and a useful machine.
It protects the shape, appearance, patterns, design, layout or looks of the product.
It protects a new and unique plant’s key characteristics from being copied, sold or used by others.
How To Conduct A Prior Art Search Yourself With Zero Budget?
To conduct a comprehensive prior art search you either need money or skill. With money you can hire an IP research firm to conduct the prior art search for you. With skill you can use other prior art search engines that require you to create sophisticated keyword search strings and go through hundreds of documents to find relevant prior art.
However if you just want to determine the novelty aspect of your invention, you neither need money nor skill.
Yes you read it right!
We would say, don’t go by our words, try it out yourself!
A quick search on PQAI (An Initiative by AT&T ) is enough for you to determine the novelty of your invention.
3. Let’s try a sample query. How about – “A machine learning based system to sort out the waste based on the images captured by the camera in the past”?
Now, let’s take a look at the snapshot presented above. We actually found a prior art similar to the invention query we entered.
4. The best part is each result shows the claim mapping. That means, the relevant section in the prior art document that matches with the invention query. This makes it super easy for the researcher to look for matching elements between invention and the result.
5. Each result is accompanied with the following options:
Save – Just like you bookmark the webpages, you can save the results. Saved results are available for your future reference.
Find Similar – This option helps in further refining the search results. As the name suggests you get to see 10 more similar results matching that selected result.
View Document – With this option, you can view the selected result document in a new tab. Example: If it’s a US patent, you will be directed to the Google patents link for the selected patent.
Feedback – With a thumbs up or thumbs down, you can give feedback on the relevancy of the result.
Once you establish the novelty of your invention, the next step is to fill the invention disclosure form. An up-to-date invention disclosure form shall help you prepare for a meeting with a patent attorney.
Let’s Sum It Up
You don’t want USPTO to reject your patent application because someone else has already patented an invention like yours. To ensure the same it’s necessary to find out if your invention is new before you file a patent over it. The easiest and the most cost-effective way to do so is using PQAI Prior Art Search Engine.
Besides determining the novelty of your invention, you need to check your invention for patentability. You need to make sure that your invention is a patentable subject matter.
Conducting prior art search benefits you in many other ways than just novelty determination. To name a few:
Conducting a prior art search early in the process shall help you save resources which would have been otherwise used in pursuing it for patenting. As it won’t make financial sense if someone else has already patented it.
When you read the patents on the invention like yours, you shall be in a better position to refine your idea. And refine it in a manner that it’s new and non-obvious.
If you have any queries around prior art search using PQAI, feel free to write to us “[email protected]”.