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July 2020 Patent News: Impending Disasters and Patent Races

July 2020 Patent News

Look, it’s 2020. The general mood is that yet another disaster is just around the corner. This doom-and-gloom outlook has one big silver lining: Innovation. In order to prepare for whatever nature—or mankind—throws next, companies and inventors are racing the clock and each other for what they hope will be helpful and life-changing innovation.

Ending Earthquake Damage With a Flexible New Material

Is it really 2020 if there’s not a headline-making disaster somewhere each month? Who has earthquakes on their BINGO card? An earthquake is an event that can cause quite a bit of carnage to anyone not prepared. Fortunately, there have been several improvements in prediction technology and building materials to help us both prepare and survive. Recently, a team of engineers from the University of Missouri designed a flexible 3D material that can be added to the infrastructure of buildings and other tall edifices. The key is the ability to disperse energy limiting shock and possibly averting destruction.  

Surprisingly, the patent on the technology for this flexible 3D material (US 10377076 “System and method for four-dimensional printing of ceramic origami structures”) only cites one other patent as prior art, and it does not mention earthquakes. There are 475 U.S. patents or published patent applications with the word “earthquake” in the Title (IPVision Interconnection Map below). Among these there are 4 with the phrase “earthquake shock damper” in the Title (IPVision Patent Landscape Map below).



earthquake shock damper


“Earthquake” in Title

“earthquake shock damper” in Title

Click images for interactive maps


The Convenience of a Portable Bidet May Be Available This Winter

One disaster response we never could have predicted was the worldwide toilet paper shortage. Since no one wants to be caught in that position again, three forward-thinking people from Singapore developed a product that can set your mind at ease. It’s called “Bidoo,” and it’s a portable bidet to help one stay clean and hygienic no matter where they are. The key to the invention is the two-piece system of a bottle and a long nozzle that can easily attach provide perfect…um, aim.

Interestingly, there are 588 U.S. patents or published patent applications that have the word “bidet” in the Title, Abstract, or Claims. Most of these are still owned of record by their inventors; perhaps the market for bidets in the U.S. has not yet taken off.  Here is an IPVision Patent Citation Interconnection Map of these patent properties:

bidetClick image for interactive map

The World Relies on Patent Races for Quick IP Development

If you have been sitting on a patent idea for a while, it may be in your best interest to get off the pot—or bidet, as it were—and get it in motion. Timing is everything in a day and age where news breaks nearly the instant it happens. This is why technology seems to have exploded since the innovation of the personal microcomputer in the 1980s. World-changing ideas can hit the market much more quickly than a century ago. And the world is banking on that.

Why is it happening so quickly? It’s possibly because there is so much competition. Patent Watchdog estimates that about 10-11% of all patents in development are in a patent race, competing to see whose IP will be patented first. If you have an idea, chances are someone else has the same idea. And in this case, slow and steady does not win the race.

New ideas are arriving on the patent scene every hour. If you don’t get there fast enough, your opportunity may slip away. Don’t waste time – talk to IP Vision today to see the best way to proceed.

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Categories: Innovation, Patent News, COVID-19