Every day, old patents expire. I would pay money for a magazine whose staffers read through these old patents, understand the ideas in the meaningful / more interesting ones (perhaps with help from academical experts), and explain them to me in plain English.
Since patents are sometimes only of interest
to a specific field, this could also be an agency; it passes relevant technology descriptions on to professional journals in a specific field.
We worship what we can't have, but it's time to acknowledge that we don't know everything there is, and things *can* lie dormant for 17 or 20 years due to licensing restrictions and still be useful, especially if they're free and open.-- jutta,
Oct 01 2000
(?) Get your subscription here!
http://www.magazine...ica.com/2498-4.html [ldischler, Apr 28 2007]
10 years later... I finally started the Expired Patents Magazine that you asked for
http://expiredpatents.blogspot.com/I'm not sure yet how to open it to more editors [pashute, Aug 19 2010]
Invitation on the blog, for change requests, ideas and joining the staff.
http://expiredpaten...expired-patent.html [pashute, Aug 20 2010]
Some pieces of what you suggest already exist.
1) An easy way to get the list of freshly-expired patents is to look up the issue of the "Official Gazette" of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that just turned 17 years old (they're issued every 2 weeks).
2) The analysis of usefulness is constantly done by many companies for patents in their area of interest. As head of Research for my company, I know (mostly) which useful technologies in our business are patented, and I know when the patents expire. So much of the utility of expired patents is in fact retained by "society." But those of us analyzing the expired patents for commercial purposes have an incentive not to publicize this newly-free potential too widely, in case our competitors have not noticed it.
So the part that does not exist is 3) someone to analyze the concepts for the layman and publish them. I suspect such a publication would save me time if it were edited to my area of interest, so I would probably pay for such a service, too.
And you are correct: Things certainly do lie dormant for the term of a patent and emerge still useful, though surprisingly few patents are actually commercially useful even on the day they're issued. In fact, the "junk factor" is so high that the publication you describe would only be really useful if the editor culled the majority of the patents (as you imply).
How to pay for it: It would not be unreasonable for the USPTO to require from the inventor, as part of the patent application, a "layman's abstract," which would be published only upon the patent's expiration. This would be a minor burden to the inventor, who is best able to write such a summary. Then the entire process (except culling the junk) could be automated.-- beauxeault,
Oct 02 2000
In that context, I would like to mention the so called
Lemelson patents. Jerome Lemelson was an exceptional inventor who invented highly technical procedures and processes ("machine vision") in the 1950s. Due to his intellectual superiority in technology, most of his patents were granted only during the last 10 years.
This means that most of his ingenious inventions were sitting at the various patent offices until technology/science was at a level (40 years later) where his thoughts can be understood.
And what's happening now in the high-tech industry? Well, Jerome Lemelson passed away in 1997 but his foundation (The Lemelson foundation) is still "alive and kicking". Since most high-tech companies are using production processes based on Lemelson's patents (filed in the 1950s), the foundation is basically sueing the whole high-tech industry in the states for hundreds of millions of dollars!-- boris2,
Mar 07 2001
I would like to patent the idea of auctioning expired patents, and use the money to create a centre/facility specifically for inventors with cash flow problems to be able to create/test their inventions for free and only pay a small percentage of the profit made on a successfull invention back to the centre/facility.-- thinck,
Jul 18 2001
I'm willing to work at this magazine, reading expired patents and explaining them to the layman.
Tell me when you want to start, put up a website, and I'll begin filling it with content. I'm willing to be paid when money starts coming in. (I'm sure it will).
If you need help puting up this website (programming) I have a team that could do it for free.-- pashute,
Oct 02 2002
I don't have time to volunteer as a filter person, but i'd gladly pay for this publication. I suspect many would. Have some expired pastry.-- sadie,
Oct 03 2002
How about a similar service for music? I believe works published before 1923 are considered to be in the public domain.
Possible uses of this music would be in movies and TV commercials.-- Gamma48,
Apr 27 2007
Harvesting ideas: This is, in fact, the purpose of patents. The government grants the inventor a time-limited monopoly in exchange for the inventor telling people how to make his invention.-- ldischler,
Apr 28 2007
This idea is the perfect candidate idea to be included in such a service [+]-- xxobot,
Aug 18 2010
[-] I don't understand the usage except either trivia for people like us, or renaming as the "patent troll daily news"... which is more of an abusage.-- FlyingToaster,
Aug 19 2010
See new link. I finally opened the Expired Patents
Magazine. (Actually its an Expired Patents Blog) at
Aug 19 2010
Perhaps a wiki would be more serviceable.-- Spacecoyote,
Aug 20 2010
OK I'll open a Wiki, but I want it to be good looking.
Do you know of bloglike wiki? Or a "Magazine site"?
I just wrote an invitation on the blog, for change
requests, ideas and joining the staff. See new link...-- pashute,
Aug 20 2010
I admire the enthusiasm, pashute, but I don't think this is the best way to get the information out.
There are a *lot* of expired patent (and patents continue to expire at a rate of at least 200,000 per year)
I think the best way to help people make use of this information is providing them with better searching and filtering tools. The patent offices around the world already have rudimentary tools, but these could definitely be improved upon. For example, filtering to only show patents that were renewed every year or only patents that were licenced will help sort the wheat from the chaff.
Of course most direct way of finding useful expired patents is to search directly for the problem your trying to solve (using patent searching tools such as es@cenet, patentlens, google patents etc.). Once you've found the patent with an invention that solves your problem, then figure out whether or not it has expired (which is easy using the patent office website).-- xaviergisz,
Aug 20 2010
Please read the idea. sadie in 2002 was willing to pay
for the magazine...
I'm looking for a means that is like a collaborative
blog, actually an "online Magazine". Anybody knows
of such?-- pashute,
Aug 29 2010