As we enter a Jewish New Year, Israeli newspapers and television programs look back over the year that was, and make predictions about the coming 12 months. As an IP blogger, I should presumably do the same.
Patentable inventions sometimes represent major changes in direction and new product lines. I wrote a couple of patent applications 10 years ago that were examined in multiple classes and sailed through. They are now routinely cited against the same applicant’s newer applications. Those types of patent applications are rare.
There is another class that I call the hardy perennials. Some years ago these were whistle activated beepers attached to spectacle cases that are now generally RFID codes connected to an App on a smart phone.
Then there are the trends. As we enter a new Jewish Year, I look back over the past twelve months and note that in Israel last year was the year of the alarm system for detecting a baby left in a vehicle. This sometimes took the form of an RFID App tattooed to the baby’s rear end to alert the parent that their offspring was left in the car. Other technologies were suggested. Despite the fact that I usually managed to avoid taking on these entrepreneurial philanthropic inventors as clients, confidentiality prevents me from recording the range of disparate solutions I learned this past year.
My problem is remembering not to leave the smart phone in the car. I never forgot the kids. The obvious solution is to attach a baby to one’s smart phone, but I digress.
All indications show that the coming year will include a range of wacky processes for detecting under-ground tunnels. The problem will be in enforcing the ideas against the Israel Defense Forces. Not only are there obvious grounds for the Ministry of Defense to issue compulsory license, but how will we know which technology is used to detect these passages?
I suppose one of the attractions of this profession is that we never know what the next entrepreneur who comes through our door will take out of the shoe-box. There is always something novel, or at least non-obvious, or arguably useful to learn about. The pomegranate deseeder pictured above was one of those weird little patents that I wrote up and successfully prosecuted.
I expect there will be a bunch of decisions from the patent office and the courts. Some will be right, a few wrong, and one or two perhaps embarrassingly so.
We wish our readers a successful year ahead.